The Jonesport-Beals boys basketball team is in familiar territory as tournament time nears — highly ranked in Class D North.
But the Royals are usually judged relative to their school’s hoops history, which includes 10 state championships and 14 regional crowns, beginning with a run of five straight gold balls in 1970 after the consolidation of Jonesport and Beals high schools.
Those trophies remain a reminder of annual aspirations that have largely remained constant within the program throughout the last five decades.
“With Jonesport-Beals there’s always an expectation,” said head coach Skipper Alley, who played on the Royals’ state championship teams in 1983 and 1985.
The Down East school’s championship tradition has produced at least one state title in each decade beginning in the ’70s except for the 2000s. The most recent came in 2012 by a team led by two-time Maine Gatorade Player of the Year Garet Beal.
As a new decade unfolds, an undefeated Jonesport-Beals team, led by seniors who have competed together since qualifying for the Little League Baseball state tournament as 9- and 10-year-olds, is determined to complete its own gold-ball mission after reaching the last two North regional finals.
“Ever since grammar school we’ve had that same goal, that same dream of winning a gold ball,” said senior forward Ryan Alley, son of the head coach and one of four captains, along with classmates Kaiden Crowley, Adam Robinson and Brady Reynolds. “That’s the ultimate goal for us. Unfortunately for us we’ve fallen short, but this year it’s all business for us. We want it.”
“I felt terrible for the kids, I really did,” coach Alley said. “But they’re just high school kids and that’s the way it goes sometimes. The year before when we played Woodland, that game could have gone either way.”
Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...
More by Ernie Clark