Cam Sennick had just completed eighth grade when then-assistant coach Dave Simpson encouraged him to talk to Mt. Blue High School boys basketball coach Jim Bessey about playing with the varsity team in the summer.

“Coach Bessey, he had no idea who I even was,” Sennick said.

Now everybody who follows Maine high school hoops knows who Sennick is. A four-year starter at Mt. Blue, Sennick was named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North Co-Player of the Year, and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball, given annually to the top player in the state.

For his outstanding season, Cam Sennick has been named the Morning Sentinel Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Sennick averaged 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, helping the Cougars win 16 games and reach the Eastern Class A championship game, and led the conference in blocked shots.

“It’s pretty basic,” Sennick said. “I’m not a fancy basketball player in any sense of the game.”

At 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, Sennick has a blend of size and speed that for many teams was a brutal matchup problem.

“We could never handle Sennick. We never got a comfortable feel for him. He’s a beast. I thought he dominated the game, offensively and defensively. He gets every rebound. He alters shots, takes away our inside game,” Lawrence head coach Mike McGee said after Sennick scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots in Mt. Blue’s 65-62 win at Lawrence on Feb. 3.

“He was the fastest big kid in the KVAC, by far,” Bessey said. “He was our fastest player, period.”

After their initial meeting that summer before Sennick’s freshman year of high school, Bessey quickly got to know his young post player.

“By the time summer was over, I was aware of his physical abilities. He was just bigger and faster than everyone else,” Bessey said.

Despite making the varsity team as a freshman, Sennick knew his game needed a lot of work.

“In middle school I was never very good. I was just the tall, lanky kid that shot layups,” Sennick said. “When I got that call back to practice with the varsity, I really understood I can make it happen. It’s real now.”

Under the tutelage of Bessey and assistant coach Chris Brinkman, Sennick developed an array of post moves which, by his senior year, made Sennick one of the most formidable inside players in the state. One time down the court, he might go with a simple drop step and spin to the basket. The next time, Sennick could use a power move to the baseline, or a jump hook, maybe an up and under layup.

“My dad worked with me a lot on the basic drop step, stuff like that. When Coach Bessey had me, I’d stay after practices with him and he’d have me do what they call the crab dribble. You start going towards the middle and if someone’s there you just spin away,” Sennick said. “Choose a side and go that way until someone stops you. I’m sure 90 percent of my baskets came from doing that, going one way until someone stops me.”

Added Bessey: “He has tremendous work ethic and a commitment to the team. His post play, that’s just something we worked on twice a week… He was willing to work on it.”

A two-year captain for the Cougars, Sennick feels some of his leadership ability comes from helping to take care of his three younger brothers while his father, Mark Sennick, spends the week working out of Boston with the Coast Guard. This season, the Cougars battled through injuries and not having their own gym (construction at Mt. Blue High School forced the basketball teams to play home games at Mt. Blue Middle School). Sennick helped keep the team focused, despite the distractions.

“I try to push everyone around me. I kept everyone on the same page this year,” Sennick said.

Bessey praised Sennick’s worth ethic, noting his habit of arriving early to practice and leaving late.

“He set such a good example,” Bessey said.

Sennick plans on playing basketball in college. His first choice is the Coast Guard Academy, and he’s waiting to hear if he’s been accepted. Sennick also is considering Norwich and Wentworth, and has been accepted at the University of Maine.

“He’ll be either a four or a five (in college). He does have range. He’s a decent shooter. He’s a good free throw shooter,” Bessey said.

“Going into college, I definitely want to be a better ball handler. I want to shoot better. I’ve played a lot, pretty much all my basketball through high school has been 5 feet from the rim. If I can move that out a little bit, I’ll be better off,” Sennick said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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