When Aleya Pelletier was filling out information on a form before taking her SATs, she had to list her extracurricular activities.
Even though she had been a skier for Greenville High School and didn’t play basketball her first three years, she decided to check off the “Senior Basketball” box.
That meant she would finally team up with twin sister Halle — the younger of the two by 1 hour, 27 minutes — on the court this winter.
Aleya, who is still on the ski team, has helped lead the defending Class D South champion Lakers to a 5-1 start, including Saturday night’s 39-35 victory over previously undefeated Deer Isle-Stonington during the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
The Pelletier twins are both 5-foot-11 and have been a force in the paint for the Lakers.
“It has been really fun,” said Aleya, who had not played basketball since eighth grade.
Aleya Pelletier knew the Lakers were short on numbers, it was her senior year and she missed playing with her friends.
Only nine players are on the roster.
Having the opportunity to play with Halle also was a huge factor in the decision according to Aleya, who acknowledged that her sister was persistent in trying to lure her back onto the basketball court.
“She asked me multiple times [to play],” Aleya said.
“Every year she got closer to cracking. I knew I’d get her,” said Halle, who a Bangor Daily News All-Maine honorable mention last season.
Halle said she loves having her sister on the team.
“She can play the five [center], and I can play the four [power forward]. I can pop out and hit outside shots, and she can have layups,” Halle said.
However, juggling two sports means Aleya has a busy schedule. She goes to ski practice right after school and then goes to basketball practice at 5 p.m.
She said the physical demands have not been excessive.
Aleya is the first player of the bench, but she is capable of posting a double-double (10 or more points and rebounds). She said she is still trying to shake off the basketball rust, but has been satisfied with her performance so far.
Greenville coach Maren Mason has been elated with Aleya’s contributions.
“She is a game-changer for us underneath the basket with her sister,” Mason said. “She is a rebounder and a great finisher. She has a beautiful layup.”
Mason said the time away didn’t stop Aleya from contributing right away.
“I wished I had her the past three years,” Mason said.
The Pelletiers are surrounded by a strong supporting cast as the Lakers look to win the program’s first Class D girls basketball state title since 1985.
Last year’s regional title was their first since 2010.
Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook beat Greenville 55-30 in the 2019 state game to capture its second straight state title.
Mason and Halle Pelletier think this team, which is seasoned with five senior starters, is better than last season’s group. All but one player returned and they added Aleya Pelletier.
“They’re more determined this year,” Mason said. “After getting to the state final last year, they knew they had another run in them this year if they really worked hard. They played a lot more summer ball and put more effort into it.”
The improvement of senior point guard Morgan Noyes has been an important development. She scored 12 points and Halle Pelletier posted 13 in the victory over Deer Isle-Stonington.
“Morgan’s 3-point shooting has come a long way as has her ball-handling,” Mason said. “Nobody wanted to step up and play the point last year, but she has done that this year.”
Guards Jessica Pomerleau and Tiegan Murray along with forward-guard Bianca Breton, who are all seniors, are experienced players and consistent contributors.
Pomerleau is a good outside shooter and sophomores Lila Kronholm, a 5-foot-10 forward, and guard Ashley Bussell, along with freshman guard Alex Bjork, supply the Lakers with depth.
Greenville has been stingy this season, allowing on 24 points per game. Its only loss came to defending Class C North champ Penobscot Valley High of Howland (38-32).
“We really key on our defense,” Mason said. “That has really gotten us to where we are. So now we’re really working hard on offense. We’ve never been a [good] shooting team so we’re taking 150 to 200 shots every practice.”
Greenville is averaging 43.7 points per game.
Halle Pelletier said the Lakers are trying to develop reliable 3-point shooters in practice to complement the inside game.
“We hit them in practice. We just have to translate that into the game,” she said.
Mason said Halle Pelletier is closely guarded by opponents, so it is important for her team to develop consistent outside shooters.
“We’ve got to be able to knock down jump shots,” Mason said.
Greenville hosts Class C North challenger Dexter at 6 p.m. Thursday.