An age-old basketball argument asks whether it’s best to start a team with a top big man or a stellar point guard.
The 62nd annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolboy Basketball Team accomplishes both.
Junior guard Terion Moss of Portland, already recognized as the Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Player of the Year, provides star power at the point while the 2017 Mr. Maine Basketball, 6-foot-7 senior forward Matt McDevitt of Greely of Cumberland Center, brings top-flight versatility to the frontcourt.
Moss and McDevitt are joined on the BDN All-Maine first team by Jack Casale of Cheverus of Portland, Taylor Schildroth of George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill and Ruay Bol of South Portland.
Earning second-team status are Jacob Hickey of Winthrop, Mason Cooper of Lawrence of Fairfield, Justin Thompson of Schenck of East Millinocket, Colin Coyne of Falmouth and Matthew Fleming of Oxford Hills of South Paris.
The third team features Jarod Norcross Plourde of Edward Little of Auburn, Ian McIntyre of Hampden Academy, Cameron Allaire of Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Austin Boudreau of Thornton Academy of Saco and Nate Desisto of Orono.
The team, selected without regard to position or class, is compiled by the BDN staff with statewide input from coaches, officials, media and longtime observers.
Moss, Schildroth and Thompson were BDN All-Maine third-team honorees in 2016 while Cooper, Coyne, Desisto, Hickey, McDevitt, McIntyre and Norcross Plourde earned honorable mention accord a year ago.
Moss is the second member of his family to attain first-team BDN All-Maine honors in as many years following older brother Amir, who is now at the University of Maine at Farmington.
The 5-9 Moss was named Class AA North player of the year and tournament MVP and a first-team Southwestern Maine Activities Association all-star after leading the Bulldogs to their second straight state title.
“He is the best all-around player in the state,” said South Portland coach Kevin Millington. “He has very few weaknesses. He can handle it with both hands and finish with both hands. He can shoot from the perimeter and attack the rim. He is great rebounder. Most importantly he is a phenomenal defender. He forces other teams to start their offense in a place on the court that significantly impacts a team’s offensive rhythm.”
McDevitt displayed all the skills of a modern-day small forward, an offensive threat from beyond the 3-point line, where he made 43 shots this season, to the free-throw line, where he shot 91 percent while leading undefeated Greely to the Class A state championship.
The first-team All-Western Maine Conference selection, who may spend next year at a prep school, scored his 1,000th career point as coach Travis Seaver’s Rangers defeated Messalonskee of Oakland in the state final.
“I felt Matt made a significant jump his senior season, not necessarily skill-wise but mentally,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson. “In the past he had to score to be effective. [This year] he had a much more commanding presence on the floor, whether it be defensively, distributing, rebounding or being a leader.”
Casale topped the SMAA in scoring and was named the conference player of the year and a first-team Class AA North all-star.
“I’ve coached many players who wanted to win, but none more so than Jack,” said Cheverus coach Ryan Soucie. “He was our go-to guy offensively, and defensively it was not uncommon for him to guard the toughest matchup.”
A Mr. Basketball semifinalist who plans to play at Saint Joseph’s College next year, the senior routinely stretched defenses with his shooting range while also making 83 percent of his free throws.
“Jack Casale is a warrior,” said Millington. “He is a scorer and can do it in a number of ways, and considering how many minutes he plays and how much Cheverus asked him to do on offense, his defense never slipped and it was played at a very high level.”
Schildroth led undefeated George Stevens to its second straight Class C state championship with a stirring mix of individual offense and playmaking that included a 61-point outburst during a regular-season win over Lee Academy.
“He has a great basketball mind and is really quite special in the way he sees the court,” said GSA coach Dwayne Carter. “He’s got so much confidence that he does things you don’t expect him to do, intangible things that people might not see but if you’re a coach you see them.”
Schildroth’s versatility came to the forefront late in the Class C state final. First he made two 3-pointers to rally the Eagles from a six-point deficit before deflecting and then knocking an inbounding pass out of bounds off a Winthrop player for a turnover that set up GSA’s final possession. Schildroth then drove into the lane and passed the ball back to teammate Jarrod Chase for a buzzer-beating, 3-pointer that gave GSA the 47-44 victory.
“He just makes plays that leave you thinking, ‘How did he do that?’” said Carter of Schildroth, also a Penobscot Valley Conference all-star and Class C North tourney MVP.
Bol may not have generated the gaudiest individual statistics amid a balanced South Portland attack, but his overall influence was significant as the Red Riots won their second straight Class AA South championship.
“He was our heart and soul,” said Millington. “There were several games where he put us on his back and he usually saved his best games for the tournament.”
Bol extended his shooting range this winter to complement his smooth inside game and was a constant interior presence defensively while earning All-SMAA first-team honors and being named the Class AA South tournament MVP.
“He’s the most athletic player in the state,” said Edward Little coach Mike Adams, “and he’s a much better basketball player than people realize.”
Hickey earned Mountain Valley Conference player of the year and Class C South tournament MVP honors for the second straight season after leading Winthrop to the regional title.
The Mr. Basketball semifinalist finished his high school career as just the fifth player in school history to surpass 1,000 points.
“Jacob’s basketball numbers are impressive, but his biggest contribution is his impact on rebuilding a program,” said Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur. “His obsession to commitment and work ethic has lifted the Winthrop basketball program back to its high standards.”
Cooper’s court prowess is epitomized by his selection as Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A player of the year and a Mr. Basketball semifinalist despite Lawrence scoring just four victories this winter.
The two-time KVAC first-teamer found ways to generate offense in the face of defenses designed specifically to stop him, concluding his career as the third-leading scorer in Lawrence history.
“Mason continually improved each year,” said Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin. “He faced double- and triple-teams all season and still led the league in scoring.”
Thompson was one of the state’s top scorers and rebounders for the second straight year while leading Schenck back to the Class C North semifinals.
“His height, arm length and athleticism make Justin a difficult matchup,” said Piscataquis of Guilford coach Jamie Russell of Thompson, a Mr. Basketball semifinalist and three-time PVC all-star. “He can shoot from the perimeter, he can get to the rim and he was unstoppable against us in the lane.”
Thompson became the leading scorer in Schenck boys basketball history with 1,756 career points.
“He’s also very unselfish,” said Russell. “You pay the price if you double him or try to help because he is very good at putting his teammates in a position to score.”
Thompson plans to continue his basketball career next season at Husson University in Bangor.
Coyne was a finalist for the state’s Mr. Basketball award for leading Falmouth to the Class A South final before being sidelined by a leg injury.
“He was the heart and soul of this year’s team,” said Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan of Coyne, a three-time WMC all-star. “After losing three starters from last year to graduation Colin took the team on his shoulders and led them to another successful season.”
Coyne will play baseball next year at Bates College where older brother Thomas — a first-team BDN All-Maine choice last winter — plays basketball for the Bobcats.
Fleming, whose older brother Andrew was a first-team BDN All-Maine honoree last year before heading to the University of Maine, established his own identity as a formidable two-way player for Oxford Hills this winter.
He was a Class AA North first-team all-star after a sophomore season that included a 41-point outburst against Gardiner and a four-game stretch when he made 41 of 43 free throws.
“Matt was a matchup nightmare for most teams because of his shooting skills, his ability to get to the rim, and his post game,” said Vikings coach Scott Graffam.
Norcross Plourde was the glue that kept Edward Little near the top of the Class AA North standings this winter, often serving as more of a facilitator for the Red Eddies until late in the regular season and tournament time as he led EL to the regional final.
The multisport standout will play Division I baseball next year at the University of Hartford.
McIntyre added a leadership role to his considerable low-post game as the elder statesman on a youthful Hampden Academy squad this winter.
The Broncos’ big man shot 61 percent from the field and emerged as a premier rebounder while earning first-team All-KVAC Class A recognition as Hampden went 14-4 to finish second in the Class A North Heal points.
Allaire shook off constant double-teaming to lead Medomak Valley to an undefeated regular season and the top spot in the Class A North standings.
The first-team All-KVAC Class A center and Mr. Basketball semifinalist was one of the state’s leading shot-blockers from the back line of the Panthers’ defense, and will play next winter at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.
Boudreau, who transferred to Thornton Academy from Cheverus for his senior year, was one of the state’s top long-distance shooters after making 73 3-pointers on 48 percent accuracy from beyond the arc.
Boudreau’s range opened up the floor for the Golden Trojans’ inside game as TA advanced to the Class AA South championship game.
Desisto was named Big East Conference player of the year and a Mr. Basketball semifinalist after leading Orono to its third consecutive regional final.
He shot 57 percent from the field, including 45 percent from 3-point land, to finish with 988 career points despite missing 13 games as a sophomore due to injury. Desisto will play next winter at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.