Minutes after helping Forest Hills earn a Western D semifinal win over A.R. Gould, senior Evan Worster heard some more good news. Worster, who set Forest Hills’ career scoring record earlier this season, was named a semifinalist for Mr. Basketball.
“I’m very honored. It’s an award not just for me, but for the team,” Worster said.
Spencer Carey of Lawrence also is a semifinalist for Mr. Basketball. Josie Lee of Cony was named a semifinalist for Miss Basketball.
Joining Worster and Carey are Anthony DiMauro (Boothbay), Quin Leary (Edward Little), Charlie Fay (Falmouth), Garet Beal (Jonesport-Beals), John Murray (Medomak Valley), Garrett Libby (Old Town), Mitchell Worcester (Washburn) and Aaron Todd (York).
Joining Lee as semifinalists for Miss Basketball are Jordan Knowlton (Camden Hills), Lauren Crane (Dexter), Kristin Ross (Gorham), Sydney Hancock (Lake Region), Kristen Anderson (Leavitt), Jillian Woodward (Orono), Chandler Guerrette (Presque Isle), Martha Veroneau (Waynflete) and Emily Campbell (York).
Three finalists for each award will be named after the high school tournaments are complete. The winners will be announced at the annual Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star banquet at Husson University in Bangor on March 8.
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Dylan Belanger did not score a point in Valley’s quarterfinal win over Greenville on Saturday. He was scoreless for first 31 minutes, 50 seconds of the the Cavaliers’ Western D semifinal game against Hyde on Wednesday.
Then he made the biggest field goal of the game.
Belanger took a pass from a driving Carrington Miller and layed it in with 10 seconds left to tie the game. Valley won 55-53 after a Hyde turnover on an inbounds play with 5.1 seconds left and a pair of foul shots by Miller to advance to its first regional final since 2008.
Belanger struggled against Greenville, missing a few layups on similar plays to his big shot. Due to his struggles, Belanger asked coach Wade Morrill for some help after practice this week.
“All season I’ve been cutting behind guys and making that shot, but lately, I don’t know what’s been going on,” Belanger, a junior, said. “Yesterday in practice, Coach took the pad and was bumping me and we’ve been doing drills to finish.”
Morrill said he spent about 20 minutes after practice working with Belanger, at the request of Belanger. Morrill used a pad to bump Belanger as he tried to make layups, with passes from Miller.
“The last two practices we’ve been hitting him with that pad when he’s shooting layups and throwing him bad passes to make sure he’s catching them,” Miller said. “He made a big shot for us tonight.”
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The Lawrence girls basketball team turned its program around this season, finishing at 14-6, a year after going 2-16 and two years after finishing at 0-18. The arrival of two freshmen, center Nia Irving and point guard Dominique Lewis, played heavily into the Bulldogs’ success. Both were named to the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference all-star team and Irving was named North Division player of the year.
But both are still freshmen while their teammates had no tournament experience. It showed in their 49-37 semifinal loss to tournament-tested Cony.
“The inexperience really hurt,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “You had Josie Lee who has four years experience and she took over the game. I didn’t have that.”
Without a senior on the team, the Bulldogs will be one of the teams to beat in Eastern Maine Class A next season.
“We played an amazing season,” Irving said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team. We defintely showed people what we can do and I’m just overall very pleased.”