BANGOR, Maine — Christian McCue developed into one of Eastern Maine’s top outside shooters earlier in his basketball career at Hampden Academy.
But when asked to expand his game as a senior for the Broncos, the 6-foot-2 guard not only evolved into an all-around threat but led his team to the Class A state final.
“A big concern coming into this season was whether Christian could make the adjustment from off guard to point guard where the ball would be in his hands a lot,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett.
“As the season progressed, he really figured out when to be more aggressive with his own game and when to get his teammates more involved, and that was a big reason for our success.”
Coaches and other observers statewide recognized McCue’s development, not only naming him Maine’s 2012 Mr. Basketball but also making him the leading vote-getter on the 57th annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine schoolboy basketball team.
McCue is joined on the All-Maine first team by junior forward Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals, senior guards Josh Britten of Yarmouth and Jon Amabile of Deering of Portland and senior center Cam Sennick of Mt. Blue of Farmington.
Earning second-team honors were senior guards Louie DiStasio of Cheverus of Portland, Liam Langaas of York and Cole Libby of Bonny Eagle of Standish, sophomore guard Dustin Cole of Bonny Eagle and senior center Patrick Stewart of Bangor.
Third-team selections were senior guard Bobby Cote of Biddeford, senior forwards Cody St. Germain of Dirigo of Dixfield and Jordan Hersom of Leavitt of Turner Center, senior center Mike McClung of Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and junior forward Labson Abwoch of Deering.
The All-Maine team honors the state’s top 15 players regardless of class, position or region, as selected by the BDN sports staff with input from coaches, officials and other basketball observers from throughout the state.
McCue, an honorable mention BDN All-Maine honoree in 2011, was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North co-player of the year and voted Eastern A tournament MVP for leading Hampden to its first regional title since 2006.
McCue averaged 18.8 points per game during postseason play, and his scoring (17.6 ppg) and assists (3.1 apg) throughout the winter helped account for nearly 41 percent of Hampden’s offense.
“Christian is a self-made player,” said Bartlett.
Among the college options McCue is considering are MIT and McGill University in Montreal.
Beal, a third-team BDN All-Maine choice as a sophomore, propelled Jonesport-Beals to its first Class D state championship since 1993.
“Unselfish is what comes to mind when I think about Garet,” said Jonesport-Beals coach Gordon Faulkingham. “He makes everybody else around him better.”
The Maine Gatorade player of the year and Eastern D tourney MVP averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per game for coach Gordon Faulkingham’s Royals while shooting 61.5 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from 3-point range and 81.2 percent from the free-throw line.
“He’s a talented kid,” said Faulkingham, “and he steps up his game against better competition.”
Britten topped 20 points per game on average for the second straight year, culminated by a 29-point outburst in the Class B state final to propel Yarmouth to its first gold ball since 1968.
A Mr. Basketball semifinalist, Britten finished his career as the leading scorer in Yarmouth history with 1,331 points. This season he was named the Western Maine Conference MVP after leading the league in scoring (21.8 ppg) and steals (4.3 spg) while ranking fifth in assists (3.4 apg) and ninth in rebounding (6.9 rpg).
He also was named the Western B tournament MVP.
“He’s just a tough-nosed kid, a kid who wants to take that last shot,” said York coach Randy Small. “As an opposing coach I’ve really seen him grow over the last four years.”
An honorable mention All-Maine honoree as a junior, Britten plans to play next winter at Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield or Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Sennick used his combination of strength and speed to become one of the state’s top inside forces while leading Mt. Blue to the Eastern Maine Class A final.
“If there’s a rebound, he just goes and gets it,” said recently retired Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey, “and he’s able to go from one end to the other for the next play really quickly.”
Sennick, a four-year starter who earned honorable mention All-Maine status in 2011, was named KVAC Class A North co-player of the year and selected to the Eastern A all-tournament team.
The Mr. Basketball finalist averaged 16.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a senior.
“Cam has a lot of good leadership qualities,” said Bessey. “He’s a great leader and a great role model for the younger kids in the area.”
Sennick is considering Coast Guard, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Norwich and the University of Maine.
Amabile scored 27 points in the Class A state final — including the 1,000th of his career — to lead Deering to the gold ball.
Amabile was a three-time All-Southwestern Maine Activities Association choice as well as an All-Maine honorable mention selection in 2011 and the Western A tournament MVP this year.
“Jon has been a focal part of our offense for the last three years,” said Deering coach Dan LeGage. “I’ve been fortunate to coach some good scorers, but for his size [5-foot-8] he’s probably the best scorer I’ve coached. He just has a knack for it.”
Amabile averaged 19.1 points per game as a senior while adding more playmaking responsibilities.
“He was able to get more shots for Labson and Thiwat,” said LeGage, “and that in turn helped Jon get better shots because the defenses couldn’t key on him.”
Amabile will play at the University of Southern Maine next winter.
DiStasio, a 2011 third-team BDN All-Maine selection, anchored a Cheverus defense that was among the stingiest in the state, leading the SMAA in steals (3.6 spg) while also ranking among the league leaders in scoring (16.8 ppg) and 3-point shooting.
“Louie was who we were, he gave us a chance in every game,” said recently retired Cheverus coach Bob Brown. “He was the heart of our defense up the middle, he led the league in steals and because of that he gave us extra opportunities to score.”
DiStasio was named to the All-SMAA first team for the second straight year and was a semifinalist for Mr. Basketball after leading the Stags to a 13-5 regular-season record and a berth in the Western A semifinals.
DiStasio plans to play baseball at the University of Rhode Island next year.
Cole quarterbacked 17-4 Bonny Eagle to its second straight Western A final, leading the Scots in scoring (17.0 ppg) while topping the SMAA with 4.4 assists per contest.
An honorable mention All-Maine choice as a freshman, Cole was named to the All-SMAA first team for the second straight year.
“He’s had so much success as a young kid,” said LeGage. “Obviously, he’s a very hard worker, but what he does better than most is his ability to change pace and change direction as well as anybody I’ve seen. He can control the tempo of the game as well as anyone.”
Libby used increased strength to elevate his game this season, emerging as a Mr. Basketball finalist after leading the SMAA with 9.6 rebounds per game while also ranking among the SMAA’s top 10 scorers (15.0 ppg).
“I’m glad Cole Libby is graduating,” said LeGage. “He does all the dirty work. He gets all the rebounds, defensively he’s their best player, and he always gets a lot of cleanup baskets.”
The Bonny Eagle captain shot 80 percent from the free-throw line and also ranked among the conference leaders with 2.7 steals per contest.
“He has been regarded as the best man-to-man defender in our league for two years straight,” said Bonny Eagle coach Phil Bourassa.
Langaas did whatever was needed in leading 15-5 York to the Western Maine Class B semifinals, scoring in double figures and distributing the basketball at a rate of four assists per game.
A four-year varsity player and two-time Western Maine Conference all-star, Langaas led his team with three steals per contest and ranked second in rebounds (7.0 rpg).
“Liam is just a very intelligent kid,” said Small. “He understands the game really well. He can get his shot when he wants it, but he’s also a very good passer.”
The Mr. Basketball semifinalist will play at Trinity (Conn.) College next winter.
Stewart, the lone returning starter from Bangor’s 2011 Class A state championship team, stepped up to lead the Rams in scoring (12.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg) despite being a focal point of defensive attention.
“Patrick was one of the best rebounders in the league, bar none,” said Bangor coach Roger Reed. “When we needed it he always came up with double figures in rebounds, and he was a primary scorer for us.”
Stewart also played a significant leadership role in helping the Rams finish 14-6 and reach the Eastern A semifinals.
“Patrick’s leadership was very good,” said Reed. “He was one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had, just a great all-around person.”
Stewart plans to continue his basketball career at Colby College.
Cote sparked Biddeford to its first postseason berth since 2009, earning SMAA player of the year honors after leading the conference in scoring (22.5 ppg).
The Mr. Basketball semifinalist plans to continue his basketball career at either Worcester Polytechnic Institute or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
St. Germain helped Dirigo reach the Class C state final for the fourth straight year, then scored 26 points as the 21-1 Cougars defeated Lee Academy to win their first gold ball since 1983.
A first-team All-Mountain Valley Conference choice as a junior, he was the MVC’s player of the year and a Mr. Basketball semifinalist this season after leading Dirigo in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 ppg).
Hersom averaged 17 points and 16 boards per game this winter to complete his career with more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for Leavitt.
An honorable mention All-Maine selection as a junior, Hersom was a semifinalist for Mr. Basketball this year as well as the KVAC Class B player of the year.
Hersom, who also won the Fitzpatrick Trophy symbolic of the state’s top high school football player, plans to play basketball and football at Springfield (Mass.) College.
McClung frequently faced double- and even triple-teams as he manned the middle for Central Aroostook but still led his team in scoring (17 ppg), rebounding (13 ppg) and blocked shots (6.0 bpg) as the Panthers compiled an 18-3 record and reached the Eastern D semifinals.
The Husson University-bound McClung was named to the All-Aroostook and All-Eastern D tournament teams for the second straight year.
Abwoch, a second-year starter for Deering, teamed with Thiwat to provide the inside complement to Amabile’s perimeter play for the Class A state champs.
The second-team All-SMAA honoree ranked second in the conference with 9.2 rebounds per contest while also finishing among the league’s top 10 scorers at 13.8 points per game.