Richmond junior Jamie Plummer will have a speech prepared for her teammates prior to today’s Western Maine Class D girls basketball championship game against Rangeley.

Plummer started the practice last year and reads them in the locker room before tournament games as a way to inspire her team. The speeches vary in length to one or two pages to Thursday’s terse “Do Work,” before Richmond’s game against Seacoast Christian.

The night before each game Plummer also sends a mass text message to each team member, usually consisting of an inspirational quote, and ending with “good night, we love you, we got this.”

“She really helps everyone get into the game and pumped up,” teammate Noell Acord said.

Speeches and text messages aside, Plummer is an inspiration in herself. In a town that prides itself for its soccer and softball state championships, she carries the banner for basketball.

“I’ve never seen anyone love anything like she loves basketball,” Acord said. “We all feed off her energy. She loves it, so we love it. She works hard, we work hard.”

The 6-foot center leads the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding and is the focal point of every opponent’s defense. She wouldn’t have it any other way. And this year, Plummer is stronger and healthier. She’s rarely plagued with calf soreness than caused her to sit out for stretches of games last season. And she’s packed some muscle onto her slender body.

“I think she’s giving more on both ends of the floor,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. “She knew what she needed to do before, but now she’s physically strong enough to do it.”

Plummer joined the Little Dribblers when she was 3 or 4 years old, but her interest in basketball really took off when her dad signed her up for the Augusta Rec program in third grade. She went on to play for a number of Augusta travel teams and still follows many of her friends on this year’s Cony squad.

Basketball may top the list of Plummer’s passions, but it’s a pretty long list that includes singing with the Richmond madrigals, dancing and horseback riding.

Plummer and a couple of her friends on the team are in the school play “Guy and Dolls,” but only have bit parts because of their commitment to basketball.

“We’re just the dolls, I guess,” she said.

The family has owned Morgan horses since before Plummer was born, including Willie who is 21 or 22 years old.

“He’s definitely part of the family,” Plummer said.

Jamie’s mom had her in the saddle about the same time she began dribbling a basketball and she’s performed on Willie at several horse show.

“It’s just an awesome feeling,” Plummer said. “I love it.”

Horse shows have taken a backseat to sports and studies the past couple of years. Plummer also plays soccer and softball while maintaining excellent grades.

Last season the Bobcats won their first regional title in 15 years, but lost to Washburn in the state championship game. Acord said a basketball state title has been a dream of Plummer’s since they were best friends in kindergarten.

“I hear her talking about how much she wants a state championship,” Acord said. “I feel like I do it for her sometimes. I cried for her last year at the state game.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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