It’s tough to miss the pipes on Mike Trahan.

With biceps that bulge like a bodybuilder’s, the Gardiner Area High School senior more resembles a light heavyweight wrestler or a running back.

Basketball is Trahan’s game, and he enjoys running the show from his point guard position.

“I’ve been playing point guard since I was in the fourth or fifth grade,” Trahan said. “I loved it from the beginning.”

Trahan has played on the varsity since his sophomore year and has started the last two seasons. But this season he really came into his own as a scorer, ballhandler and team leader. He helped turn Gardiner’s fortunes around as the Tigers went from 5-13 last season to 13-5 this season.

For his efforts, Trahan has been selected Kennebec Journal Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Also considered were Monmouth’s Tim Whitmore and Cony’s Walker Cooper.

Trahan has always been a defensive stopper for the Tigers but this season he expanded his offensive game as well. This season he averaged 11 points and 5.6 assists a game.

“Over the summer I worked real hard,” Trahan said. “I definitely tried to work on my ballhandling and controlling the game.”

A compact 5 feet, 9 inches and 175 pounds, Trahan is a deft ballhandler who often sheds defenders because of his strength or beats them down the floor due to his quickness. He’s particularly adept at finishing baskets after absorbing fouls.

“You’re not going to knock Mike Trahan over,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “He’s just so rugged.”

Trahan and his teammates came together over the summer when they lost just one game in the Central Maine Summer League.

“I knew we had a lot of players coming back,” he said. “I thought we’d do pretty well.”

Gardiner’s season turned with a one-point overtime win against Leavitt. Trahan’s best game probably came during a five-point loss at Medomak Valley. The Tigers trailed by 25 points in the first half and rallied in the second behind Trahan, who scored 19.

“I just kept driving,” Trahan said.

Trahan, who began lifting his freshman year, works out about four times a week in addition to playing basketball nearly every day. He has the ability to finish with either hand — he’s left-handed — and almost always scores after contact.

“I noticed (this season) definitely getting to the hoop my body control has improved,” he said.

In addition to working out and playing basketball, Trahan finds time to be one of Gardiner’s top students. He’s ranked seventh in his class and made the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference all-Academic team.

He plans to study accounting in college — “I love numbers and finance,” he said — and has narrowed his choices to Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Southern Maine. Both schools have recruited Trahan to play basketball and he plans on working hard over the summer.

“I need to improve my shooting and just keep working on my ballhandling and quickness,” he said.

The Tigers return a solid nucleus for next season but Trahan will be tough to replace.

“Mike was the guy who could get it done,” Cassidy said. “He absolutely was our leader on the court and off the court.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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