The offseason wasn’t what Megan Pelletier was hoping for. But the actual season was her best so far. Pelletier was the center of a controversy when she transferred from Winslow to Messalonskee last summer before her junior year. She shook off all of that and led the Eagles from the No. 8 seed to the Eastern A championship game.

Pelletier, a 6-foot-1 center who averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds per game this season, is the choice for the Morning Sentinel Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Also considered were Nokomis guard Julie Smith and Skowhegan’s Amanda Johnson.

As a sophomore, Pelletier was the leading scorer on a 17-win team at Winslow. When she transferred to Messalonskee, she was one of the targets of rumors and accusations on Internet discussion boards. Many claimed that since Messalonskee coach Brenda Beckwith teaches at Winslow, she must have recruited Pelletier and two other transfers.

Both Pelletier and Beckwith deny this. Pelletier said she wasn’t happy at Winslow and had relatives who went to Messalonskee and had positive experiences there.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Pelletier said. “I hated hearing those rumors. I thought that was ridiculous.

“She never once said, ‘Come to Messalonskee and play with me.’ I never had a conversation with her about it. It was never brought up.”

Recruiting questions aside, Pelletier was a force at both ends of the floor for Messalonskee. Beckwith, who was let go as coach shortly after the season, said Pelletier just loves basketball, can put the ball on the floor and drive past the person guarding her, alters shots on defense, and has above-average knowledge of the game.

“She’s the consummate team player,” Beckwith said. “She really knew that one person couldn’t do it by themselves.”

While Pelletier had an outstanding season, Messalonskee was 9-9 and barely held on to the No. 8 seed in Eastern A. But after nearly missing the playoffs altogether, the Eagles stunned No. 1 Morse and then defeated No. 4 Cony to advance to the regional final.

“She just went to another level,” Beckwith said.

Pelletier scored 22 points against Morse and 13 against Cony.

“We knew we had nothing to lose,” Pelletier said. “Everyone wanted to just prove everyone wrong, because people had their expectations of how far we would go. As a team, we wanted to be like, ‘You don’t know us. We can do whatever we put our minds to.’ “

In the end, transferring to Messalonskee has worked out well for Pelletier. She said she loves all her teammates, is looking forward to her senior year, and would like to play at a Division I or D-II school.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Beckwith said, “she’s the total package of what you’re looking at for a Division I kid.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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