BANGOR, Maine — The McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Games are designed to be a fun time, a chance to get a group of talented basketball players together for one last matchup before they head their separate ways.
That was the case Saturday at Husson University for Sam Brownell of the state Class C champion Central of Corinth girls.
“[Central assistant coach and former All-Star] Jenny Rollins … said it would be the funnest thing I would do, that I would really like it,” said Brownell. “It was.”
Alanna Vose of Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Mary Badeen of Messalonskee of Oakland sensed a different feeling compared to high school tournaments.
“Because it’s an all-star game, the crowd expects more [from the players],” said Badeen. “It was a more fun atmosphere.”
“If something good happened, all the fans cheered,” said Vose.
That didn’t mean the teams didn’t care about winning.
“There was no pressure [such as a gold ball on the line], but everybody still worked hard, and everybody still wanted to win,” said Brownell.
Sixteen points from Carylanne Wolfington of Hall-Dale of Hallowell sparked the West C-D stars’ 69-61 win over Brownell and her East teammates in the first game of the day.
Strong 3-point shooting in the second half by Vose and Badeen powered the Eastern Maine A-B girls to a 95-92 victory over the West in the second girls game.
In the A-B game, Vose poured in four 3s in the second half to account for 12 of her game-high 21 points.
“The coaches said shoot, and I just got into the flow,” said Vose.
Badeen drilled a pair of 3s from well outside the arc, the first from about 26 feet that kicked off her 15-point day and the East’s second-half rally.
“I just kind of shot,” said Badeen, smiling. “I don’t pay attention to where I am.”
The two teams traded the lead several times in the second half. Badeen’s two free throws with 12 seconds left gave the East some breathing room at 95-90, but Windham’s Meghan Gribbin scored with 3.5 seconds left to keep the West stars alive.
The East was able to inbound the ball and keep control without being fouled, running off the final seconds.
“I think it was to be expected [the games would be close],” said Miss Maine Basketball Alexa Coulombe of Catherine McAuley of Portland. “Their best players are on their side and we’ve got our best on our side. It should be close.”
Megan Pelletier of Messalonskee posted 18 points for the East, Jenna Moore of Gardiner had 15 and Amanda Johnson of Skowhegan had 13.
Coulombe, Adrianna Newton of Leavitt of Turner Center and Morgan Cahill of Yarmouth each scored 12 to pace the West. Gribbin and Aubrey Folger of Marshwood of Eliot scored 11 apiece.
“This was really fun,” Coulombe said. “To have all these good players together was nice, to have them on your team was even better.”
In the C/D game, Wolfington’s 3-pointer with 6:57 left in the first half triggered a 12-2 run that cut the West’s deficit to two at halftime.
The East stars were able to push the lead back to six three times, but the West never gave up. A 6-0 run capped by a free throw from Miranda Drinkwater of Greenville put the West up 45-44, and the West stars held the lead the rest of the way.
Selena Lorrey of Traip Academy of Kittery backed Wolfington with 11 points, Alyssa Wade of Dirigo of Dixfield added 10, Jocelyn Jackson of Carrabec of North Anson had nine and Lyndsay Weese of Madison eight.
Taylor Hawkins of Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln topped the East with a game-high 20 points, Amanda Fogarty of Houlton scored 13, Reese Leonard of Penobscot Valley of Howland had seven and Taylor Cochran of Woodland six.
Fogarty provided much of the East offense early as she scored all of her points in the first 11 minutes, helping the East take a 24-14 lead.
After Wolfington triggered the West surge, Hawkins tried to keep them at bay, scoring 14 points in a little more than 10 minutes covering the end of the first half and the opening 10 minutes of the second half. But the West still gained control. Hawkins’ 3-pointer with 10:06 left closed the gap to a single point, but they were her final points and the West retained its lead.