Girls Tourney MVPs: Stephenson, Smith, Seeley, Bragg

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Posted March 02, 2011, at 7:33 p.m.

Even though Mother Nature turned the Eastern Maine girls high school basketball tournament upside down with a couple of snowstorms, the tourney still produced plenty of memorable moments.

Many of those moments came from Hampden Academy’s Michaela Stephenson, Nokomis of Newport’s Julie Smith, Washington Academy of East Machias’ Taylor Seeley and Washburn’s Carmen Bragg, winners of the Bangor Daily News’ Owen Osborne Most Valuable Player awards.

The MVP award was established in 1994 in memory of Osborne, a former BDN sports reporter and editor. The award and subsequent all-tourney teams were selected by a vote of media, tournament officials and Maine Principals’ Association representatives.

Class A

Stephenson quarterbacked Hampden Academy to its first regional championship in over three decades, leading a balanced attack for coach Chad Bradbury’s Broncos.

She’s joined on the squad by teammate Julia Snyder, Edward Little of Auburn’s Ashlee Arnold, and Megan Pelletier and Mary Badeen of Messalonskee in Oakland.

Stephenson scored all 11 of her points in the second half of Hampden’s 62-40 victory over Messalonskee in the regional final, spurring the Broncos’ 3-point onslaught with three shots from beyond the arc.

Snyder complemented Stephenson’s outside play with hard work in the post for Hampden.

She was particularly clutch in the regional final, pouring in 17 points while her defense frustrated Messalonskee’s Pelletier.

Snyder was also money from the free-throw line in Hampden’s 50-47 semifinal win over Edward Little, hitting three out of four from the line in the waning seconds to help preserve that victory.

Arnold put on a dazzling shooting display in EL’s quarterfinal win over Bangor, scoring 17 first-half points despite battling the flu.

Arnold, a sophomore, hit three 3-pointers in that contest, while she scored 14 points in the Eddies’ semifinal loss to Hampden.

Badeen helped spur eighth-ranked Messalonskee’s run to the regional final, scoring 17 points while canning three 3-pointers in the Eagles’ quarterfinal upset of top-ranked Morse of Bath.

Pelletier was 12-for-13 from the foul line in the aforementioned contest in helping Messalonskee preserve their first upset victory, the first by a No. 8 seed over a No. 1 seed in the girls Class A tourney.

Pelletier averaged over 14.3 points per game during tournament play.

Class B

Smith’s performance mirrored that of Hampden’s Stephenson, as the senior point guard fueled Nokomis’ run to the Newport school’s second straight regional championship.

Joining Smith on the squad are teammates Kelsie Richards and Emilee Reynolds, Ericka Christensen of Medomak Valley and Kayla Richards of Presque Isle.

Smith’s free-throw shooting proved pivotal in Nokomis’ 50-41 win over Medomak in the regional championship game, as she was 11-for-15 from the stripe in helping the Warriors hold off a determined Panthers’ comeback.

Smith was steady for coach Kori Dionne’s Warriors during the EM tourney, averaging just under 13 ppg.

Richards, a freshman, burst onto the tourney scene in a big way in Nokomis’ quarterfinal victory over Mount Desert Island, burying four 3-pointers en route to 19 points.

Reynolds averaged just over 10 ppg in Nokmois’ balanced offense, scoring 12 points in the quarterfinals and 14 in the semifinals for the Warriors.

Richards helped lead Presque Isle into the regional semifinals for the second time in as many years.

One of the top defensive threats for the Wildcats, Richards had seven steals over two games while averaging just under 10 points.

Christensen averaged 16.3 ppg in spurring Medomak Valley’s run to the Eastern Maine final.

Class C

The third time was the charm for Seeley and her Washington Academy Raiders, as they won the school’s first regional championship in girls basketball.

The Raiders had lost in the regional finals the last two seasons.

Joining Seeley are teammate Christy Smith, Orono’s Jade Keezer and Central’s Hannah Pray and Bekah Campbell.

Seeley was money down the stretch in the regional final against Orono for the Raiders, scoring on a reverse layup late in the fourth quarter to put coach Gary Wood’s club ahead for good.

She went on to average 14 ppg over three games, with her best output being a 17-point effort against Central in the semifinals.

Smith was dynamite on both ends of the floor for the Raiders, but enjoyed her best game in the semifinal round.

She went 4-for-6 from 3-point land en route to 17 points in WA’s victory over the previously undefeated Red Devils.

Smith went on to contribute 10 points in the regional final.

Keezer will forever be etched in tourney lore as she set a Class C record for most 3-pointers in one game with eight.

Those efforts helped lead the Red Riots into their first Eastern Maine final since 1998, when Orono won the state championship in Class B.

Pray fueled Central’s backcourt with her quickness and led the Red Devils with 20 points in their quarterfinal victory over Penquis of Milo.

Campbell’s inside play was a key factor in the Red Devils’ undefeated season, as she connected for 20 points in the semifinals against WA and 15 more against Penquis.

Class D

Bragg was among three freshmen who were instrumental in leading Washburn to its first Eastern Maine championship since 1989.

Joining her on the all-tourney squad are teammates Nicole Olson and Rebecca Campbell, Britnie Jones of Deer Isle-Stonington and Amanda Hotham of Fort Fairfield.

Bragg was clutch on both ends of the floor for the Beavers, coming up with three steals while scoring 12 points in Washburn’s 50-43 win over Deer Isle-Stonington in the regional final.

Washburn rallied from 17 points down to claim the win.

Bragg wound up with 38 points in three games, including 20 in a quarterfinal triumph over Bangor Christian.

Olson had the second half of a lifetime for Washburn in the regional final, scoring all 11 of her points in the final 16 minutes to key the Beavers’ comeback.

That included some clutch 3-pointers, including one on which she was fouled and still banked one in off the glass early in the fourth quarter.

Olson, also a freshman for Washburn, provided 11 points in the Beavers’ semifinal win over defending state champion Fort Fairfield.

Campbell was a workhorse inside for Washburn, averaging 16 points per game during the Beavers’ run to the regional championship.

Her highest output was a 20-point effort in the quarterfinals against Bangor Christian.

Jones averaged 11.6 ppg in fueling Deer Isle-Stonington’s march to its first regional title game appearance since 1987.

Her best effort came in the Eastern Maine final, in which Jones scored 15 points.

Hotham, the 2010 tourney MVP, posted 37 points in her two tourney games, including a 23-point outburst in Fort Fairfield’s regional quarterfinal victory over Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook.

https://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/02/sports/girls-tourney-mvps-stephenson-smith-seeley-bragg/ printed on April 25, 2014