BANGOR, Maine — The quickness of Presque Isle senior point guard Chandler Guerrette on the basketball court accounts for her zip to the top rung of the 37th Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team.
Guerrette, who led the Wildcats to their second straight Class B state championship, jumped to the first team after making her first All-Maine appearance last year on the third team.
Greeting Guerrette on the first team is Kristen Anderson of Leavitt of Turner Center as Anderson makes her second appearance in a row on the first team. Also on the top five are Allie Clement of Class A state titlist McAuley of Portland, Martha Veroneau of state Class C winner Waynflete of Portland and Tiana-Jo Carter of Western Maine B winner Lake Region of Naples.
The BDN All-Maine team recognizes the top 15 players statewide, regardless of class, position or region, as selected by the BDN sports staff with input from coaches, officials and other basketball observers.
Named to the second team are Olivia Smith of McAuley, Parise Rossignol of Van Buren, Josie Lee of Cony of Augusta, Jordan Knowlton of Camden Hills of Rockport and Kristin Ross of Gorham.
The third team consists of Mary Butler of Bangor, Ashlee Arnold of Edward Little of Auburn, Sydney Hancock of Lake Region, Megan Ireland of Presque Isle and Emily Campbell of York.
Guerrette uses her speed and quickness to drive to the basket often, but those attributes also come in handy when the 5-foot-5-inch whirlwind suddenly pops in to grab a rebound and in the Wildcats’ pressure defense.
“She can do whatever it takes,” said Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson. “In the state game we needed her to score and she did.”
Guerrette, who finished with 1,120 career points, scored 14 in the fourth quarter of the Wildcats’ game against Lake Region, completing a second-half rally that gave Presque Isle a 51-44 victory.
“There’s nothing she can’t do on the floor,” Hudson said, then added, “She’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached.”
Guerrette will play for Husson University in Bangor next season.
Clement, a junior point guard, has played on three straight state championship teams.
“She’s a winner, a champion,” said coach Bill Goodman.
Clement was an SMAA first-teamer, on the all-defensive team and was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Maine.
“On the fast break, she’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Goodman, “and her ability to read defenders and her decision-making are better this year.”
She has been scouted by several NCAA Division I programs, including Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Holy Cross, but hasn’t let it affect her.
“She’s very humble,” said Goodman. “She keeps a steady attitude.”
Anderson had to overcome a strained ligament in her left ankle midway through the season, which was a setback for the Hornets.
“We were 8-0 and in first place in Western Maine Class B,” said Tammy Anderson, her coach and mother.
Anderson, who will play for the University of New Hampshire next, was averaging 29 points a game, even while often being double-teamed, but Leavitt also missed her team-leading assists and steals.
And she helped the younger players who were just coming onto the team.
“We were asking a lot of her this year,” said Tammy Anderson.
Veroneau was the winner of the Miss Maine Basketball award this year, which was not a surprise to her coach, Brandon Salway.
“She is the most amazing player I’ve ever coached,” said Salway, noting he has also coached boys soccer and boys basketball.
Veroneau, who won the Robin Colcord Award as the Western Maine Class C tournament MVP for the second year, struggled with tightness in the first half of the state game against Calais, but came alive in the second half to lead the Flyers to the title.
“What sets her apart is her will and her passion to win,” he said.
Veroneau, who finished with 1,485 career points and 186 3-pointers, is going to Boston College.
Carter impressed Hudson, with the Lakers having faced the Wildcats in the last two state championship games.
“She’s a game-changer,” said Hudson of the 6-2 junior center. “She’s improved a lot offensively, but she’s a key defender and rebounder. She’s why we had such a hard time in the first half.”
Her most impressive stats are on the defensive end as she averages almost 20 rebounds a game and more than four blocked shots, and Carter’s carrying some of that over to her offense.
“Her post moves are good and she’s active on offensive rebounds,” said Hudson.
Smith was also an SMAA first-team pick for the Lions who played her best game in the state contest.
“She scored 20 points [double her average] vs. Bangor,” said Goodman. “She just played a great game.”
Smith faced single coverage from the Rams, and that was rare for her to see.
“She was double- and triple-teamed a lot this year and still found a way to score,” said Goodman.
Rossignol, making her third All-Maine appearance, averaged more than 30 points a game, including a 49-pointer in January. The junior guard, who has verbally committed to the University of Maine, now has 1,847 career points.
With two key players having graduated, Rossignol also had to help bring new varsity players up to speed.
“The first half of the season, she literally carried us,” said Matt Rossignol, her coach and father.
“Probably most impressive about her numbers is that she had two or three defenders on her every game,” he added.
Lee was the lone returning senior from the 2012 EM Class A championship team and had to add multiple roles this season, from point guard to post play, said coach Karen Magnusson.
“She’s more than her statistics,” said Magnusson. “For her to take the team back to the EM championship game is pretty impressive.”
Lee, who is first in her class academically, is going to Tufts University.
Knowlton can play both inside and outside, said coach Marty Messer.
“That makes her a difficult matchup for other teams,” he said.
Knowlton continued to improve during her time with the Windjammers.
“Her shot selection has improved a lot, and she’s making good decisions with the ball,” said Messer.
Knowlton plans to play basketball at the University of Southern Maine in the fall.
Ross, who has a scholarship to play at Binghamton University, played both inside and outside as a forward, primarily.
“She’d jump [center] for us, but she could step away and play outside,” said coach Laughn Berthiaume.
Ross, who was an SMAA first-teamer for the second year and on the all-defensive team, learned to read defenses better and was more focused this year, Berthiaume said.
Ireland was the shooting guard for Presque Isle, nailing 40 3-pointers in the regular season and another dozen (in 21 attempts) in the postseason.
Hudson also praised her defensive efforts, saying, “She put a lot of pressure on the other point guard. She has very active hands.”
Arnold, the KVAC player of the year and a third-time KVAC first-teamer, was just as important on defense as she was on offense (1,153 career points).
“She has really, really quick hands,” said coach Craig Jipson, pointing to her 78 steals and 107 deflections this year.
“She makes amazing things happen on the court,” Jipson added.
Butler, while 6-1, played both guard and forward for the Eastern Maine Class A champion Rams and averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.
“Mary has great quickness and is a great ball handler which allowed us to play an uptempo game,” said coach Katie Herbine of the only sophomore on the All-Maine team. “In addition she changes our defense and allows us to take more chances because of her length and quickness.”
Campbell, who is headed for Bowdoin, played in every varsity game for four years and was an important all-round player and tri-captain, said coach Rick Clark. She glides up and down the court, he said, and could post up, too.
“She’s the reason we went as deep as we did in the tournament,” Clark said.
Hancock, who is also going to Bowdoin, was the key that makes the Lakers go, according to Presque Isle’s Hudson.
She shoots 3-pointers, runs the offense and plays good defense, he said.
“We felt if we were going to win, we would have to control Sydney,” said Hudson.