Minutes after the Madison Area Memorial High School girls basketball team lost the Western Class C championship game to Waynflete, and the Bulldogs mourned the end of their season, senior Samantha Bruce spoke to coach Al Veneziano.

“I said, ‘It’s all right Mr. V. We have another game together,’ ” Bruce said.

On Saturday, Bruce and Veneziano will play one final basketball game together. Bruce is a member of the Western C/D all-stars, and Veneziano will coach the team in the McDonald’s Senior All-Star Game.

The day-long event will be at Husson University’s Newman Gymnasium. The day will begin with the free throw shooting championship. The boys C/D game will tip off at 9:15 a.m., and will be followed by a slam dunk competition. The boys A/B game will be at 11 a.m.

The girls A/B game will start at 12:45 p.m. After a 3-point shooting competition, the girls C/D game will begin at 2:30 p.m.

“I’m really pleased she was picked to play the game,” Veneziano said of Bruce. The Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year, Bruce was also a first team all-conference selection.

Bruce averaged 16 points, three assists and three rebounds per game for the 17-4 Bulldogs. At the free-throw line, Bruce shot 76 percent.

“She has a beautiful shot,” Veneziano said. “Her drive and determination are fantastic.”

Flipping through the season’s scorebook, Veneziano said Bruce’s offensive consistency was a key to Madison’s success.

“She had 19 points in the first Spruce Mountain game, 21 points vs. Monmouth,” Veneziano said. “Every big game we had, she had a big game for us. You knew she was going to come to play every night.”

Bruce’s offense comes in the flow of the game.

Added Bruce: “Our plays are set up for the shooting guards. I run baseline and get open looks. I don’t concentrate on being a really high scorer.”

Veneziano said Bruce’s biggest improvement this season came on defense. By her own admission, Bruce “was lazy” on defense. This season, she made it a point to improve.

“She worked at it. You would see her rotating to get out on defense,” Veneziano.

“I worked on it a lot, being faster on my feet,” Bruce said.

Bruce will continue her basketball career at Central Maine Community College. When Bruce visited the school, she felt right at home.

“I saw them play and I liked their style of play,” Bruce said. “They’re really fast-paced.”

For now, Bruce is looking forward to one final game with Veneziano as her coach.

“He teaches us a lot,” Bruce said. “He has fun.”

Joining Bruce on the girls C/D team are Mikayla Luce and Miranda Smith of Mt. Abram.

“I’m excited to play with different players,” Bruce said.

Evan Worster of Forest Hills will play for the C/D West boys team, along with Carrington Miller of Valley and the Madison duo of Austin Kane and Dylan Price.

Gabby Foy of Mt. Blue will play for the A/B girls. Erskine’s Devin Duncan and Spencer Carey of Lawrence will play for the A/B boys.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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