Lawrence High School junior forward Nia Irving, the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, and Greely High School senior forward-center Ashley Storey, who won the Miss Maine Basketball award, headline the 39th annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team.
The team is chosen via votes from coaches, administrators, media officials and observers.
Irving and Storey, who led their teams to the state Class A and B titles, respectively, earned first-team honors, along with Thornton Academy of Saco senior Victoria Lux, Bangor High senior Mary Butler and Gorham High School sophomore Emily Esposito.
Esposito, a third-team choice a year ago, is the first sophomore to earn a first-team spot since York’s Nicole Taylor in 2009.
Irving was a second-teamer last season, and Lux was a third-team pick. Butler was a third-teamer two years ago.
Houlton’s Kolleen Bouchard became the third freshman since 1991 to earn a spot on one of the top three teams. She is a second-team pick. She followed Lawrence’s Cindy Blodgett (1991) and Esposito.
The other second-teamers were seniors: Presque Isle’s Hannah Graham, Calais’ Maddy McVicar, Brunswick’s Julia Champagne and Washburn’s Mackenzie Worcester.
Graham and McVicar were second-teamers last season, and Worcester was a third-teamer.
Irving, Graham, Bouchard and Worcester were Eastern Maine tournament Most Valuable Players in their respective classes this season.
The third team comprises seniors Kaitlyn McCrum from Thornton Academy, Maranacook’s Christine Miller and Gray-New Gloucester’s Maria Valente along with juniors Sierra Tapley of Mount Desert Island and Maddie Hasson of South Portland.
Brunswick coach Sam Farrell called IRVING “the best player I saw this year. I can’t remember a player in Class A as dominant as she was.”
Irving, who averaged over 22 points and 14 rebounds per game, is a three-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring and rebounding each year.
Lawrence coach John Donato said the unselfish 6-foot-1 Irving improved her upper body strength and her jumping ability “so she was able to finish a lot easier. She has great hands.”
Irving, who had knee surgery in May, had 27 points in the state final.
The 6-foot-3 STOREY averaged over 20 points, 10 rebounds and nearly four assists to key Greely’s state-title run.
“She was the whole package,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Mike Andreasen said. “There wasn’t a player in the state who was more valuable to her team. And she could handle the ball.”
“She was our best passer and press-breaker,” Greely coach Joel Rogers said. “Nobody could contain her. She was a real leader who could hit 3s or play with her back to the basket.”
Storey will play at the University of New Hampshire.
The versatile ESPOSITO was the Southwestern Maine Activities Association Player of the Year because of her 17 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.7 steals.
“She could run the point, and she was also our best power forward,” Gorham coach Laughn Berthiaume said.
“She was the most athletic kid in our league,” South Portland coach Lynne Hasson said. “She’s talented offensively, she can jump out of the gym and she’s real strong defensively.”
The 6-1 LUX transferred from Catherine McAuley in Portland and played in four state “A” championship games.
“That’s pretty remarkable,” TA coach Eric Marston said. “She’s a strong kid who is hard to defend. She could have scored more but she was unselfish.”
“She would get the ball on the block and kick it out to her open teammates,” Hasson said.
Lux, who is going to Bentley University (Massachusetts), averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Donato called the 6-1 BUTLER “a great athlete.”
“She does everything well,” Donato said.
“And she hit 3s this year, which made her stand out,” Farrell said. “Defensively, she had a knack for getting her hands on the ball.”
“She had a huge impact on every part of a game. Her stat line was always full,” Bangor coach Joe Johnson said.
Butler, who is going to Brown University in Rhode Island, averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
The second team featured five gifted multi-dimensional players.
The 5-10 BOUCHARD led the Shires to the Class C state crown by averaging 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.7 steals.
“She is a complete player who plays older than she is,” Calais coach Dana Redding said. “She has great court awareness.”
“Her versatility is second to none,” Houlton coach Shawn Graham said. “She can play point guard, shooting guard and she can play in the post.”
The University of Maine-bound McVICAR averaged 22.4 points, seven assists and eight rebounds.
“Her athleticism is incredible,” Graham said. “She can do a lot of things girls typically can’t do.”
“She’s a complete player who makes everyone around her better,” Redding said.
The Bowdoin College-bound GRAHAM averaged 16.7 points and 4.3 assists.
“She’s a player everyone would love to coach,” MDI coach Brent Barker said. “She has it all.”
“She is a true leader who did whatever it took for us to be successful,” PI coach Jeff Hudson said.
The St. Joseph’s College-bound CHAMPAGNE averaged 22.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
“I don’t know if any player did as much at both ends of the floor as she did for us,” Farrell said. “She was our point guard, she led us in scoring in the paint and she always guarded the other team’s best player.”
The 5-5 WORCESTER led a relatively inexperienced team to a fifth straight state “D” title with her 25 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Her 37 points vs. Rangeley was a Class D state championship-game record. It gave her 2,001 career points.
“She wasn’t very big, but she was deceptively quick and very athletic. She had a great basketball IQ,” Fort Fairfield coach Larry Gardner said.
“She did it all. She knows the game,” Washburn coach Diana Trams said.
Worcester is mulling her college options.
Hasson and Tapley lit up the stat lines.
HASSON averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals while Tapley had 16.3 points, four assists and 3.5 steals.
“Maddie is a great player. She’s smooth,” TA’s Marston said. “She always finds ways to score.”
“She can play anywhere,” said Lynne Hasson, whose 5-11 daughter added inside scoring to her arsenal this year.
Hudson called TAPLEY “one of the best offensive players in the state. She can shoot outside or take the ball to the basket.”
Barker said the Big East Player of the Year “was a very hard worker who did a lot of things for us.”
The 5-9 MILLER led Maranacook to the regional title, averaging 17 points and seven rebounds.
She was the two-time KVAC Class B player of the year, even though Maranacook is in Class C.
“She led us in points, rebounds, steals and assists,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said. “The tougher the game, the more she excelled.”
Miller will play basketball at Emmanuel College (Massachusetts).
Marston said Colby College-bound McCRUM was “our most valuable player as far as her overall game and floor leadership. I don’t know if I’ve seen a better perimeter defender.”
The 5-7 guard averaged 9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.8 apg.
Four-year starter VALENTE was called “relentless” and a great competitor by Andreasen.
“She had a big motor, she never stops. She was one of the finest overall players I’ve ever seen,” Rogers said.
The recipient of the Bob Butler Award, given to the Western Maine Conference’s top player, averaged 14.4 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Valente will focus on academics at UNH.