It has been a long wait for Marty Messer, but he finally has his first varsity basketball coaching job.
Messer, who coached the junior varsity girls for Camden Hills for eight seasons and assisted longtime boys varsity coach Jeff Hart the last two winters, is the Rockport school’s new girls coach.
Messer, who also coaches softball at Camden Hills, replaces 25-year veteran Jay Carlsen, who elected not to return to coaching this winter.
Messer’s hiring was approved by the local school board last week.
“Marty brings to our girls basketball program all the tools necessary for continued success,” Camden Hills athletic administrator Bill Hughes said in a recent email. “We look forward to the passion, knowledge and driven enthusiasm that coach Messer will bring to our varsity program.”
Messer, who met with the Windjammers on Friday, is excited to get the ball rolling.
“I wish we started today, I have practice plans all set up, plans for tryouts,” said Messer. “I have a very thick parent-player handbook already compiled, I’m eager to get out there and be able to control my own team and make decisions.”
Messer learned a lot under Hart’s tutelage the last two seasons.
“One thing that I loved about him that I learned was that you go with your strengths,” Messer said.
The Windjammers made the Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinals last winter before losing to Winslow, and led by sophomore Jordan Knowlton, Messer expects Camden Hills to make another tournament run this season.
“It was a good step for them last year to make the tournament and I’m sure we’ll have high goals this year,” he said.
Even though Messer is ready to get started, he also knows that the preseason will be a crucial time.
“I think we need a lot of time to get to know each other,” he said.
Like a lot of Camden Hills teams, Messer expects this one to feature a quick, fast-break oriented style of offense while spreading things out and throwing in some different looks on defense.
“I do have my preferences and one of them is going to be an uptempo, fast-breaking controlled type of offense,” he said. “I like to vary things and throw different things at teams.”
That is similar to the style Carlsen used during his long tenure.
“I got along with him great and everything,” Messer said. “I love how he dedicated his team to one style of play, pushing the ball up, really working on that and focusing on that.”
Messer’s coaching resume also includes junior varsity basketball stints at Old Town and Nokomis in Newport, while he also coached varsity tennis at Nokomis.
He’s expecting Knowlton, a 5-foot-8 forward, to emerge as one of the leaders of the team this winter.
“On the court, of course, a good portion of our offense is going to go through her,” Messer said. “She can handle the ball, she can pass, she’s unselfish, can post up, a girl like her doesn’t come along too often.”
Messer’s wife, Meredith, is the girls soccer coach at Camden Hills.
Rams pleased with results
The Bangor girls soccer team left Falmouth High School on Saturday with smiles on their faces, and for good reason.
Even though the Rams had fallen to Scarborough 3-0 in the Class A state championship game, the road they took to get to Falmouth wasn’t an easy one.
“I’m very proud, our team did a great job,” said senior forward Kim Jordan. “We overcame a lot of things, beating Jordan Pellerin from Waterville and Allie Walton from Brunswick are two major things.”
The Rams beat Pellerin and Waterville three times, including in the regional semifinals, while Walton’s Brunswick club had won 36 straight games before Bangor upended them in the regional final.
Bangor’s roster is loaded with underclassmen, and coach Joe Johnson echoed Jordan’s assessment.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how this season played out,” he said. “To do what they did in Eastern Maine, to shut down two of the best players in the state, and those quality programs that they are, it was quite exciting.”
Bangor’s state-game inexperience showed a bit as they fell behind 2-0 at halftime to a Scarborough club that only surrendered one goal all season, but the Rams played with well in the second half and didn’t quit.
“I was pleased that we came out in the second half and played the soccer that we’re capable of playing,” Johnson said. “You can only build off that experience, and I expect we will.”
The Rams will be among the favorites in Class A in 2011, as the returnees include top offensive threats Ashley Robinson and Grace Maclean, goalkeepers Mia Smith and Meri Wicks, and marking back Denae Johnson.
“Next year I think the team’s going to be great, they can easily make states again,” Jordan said.