Up until a couple of years ago, Ally Turner had her sights set on a high school and college basketball career, and with good reason. The lanky 5-foot-11 point guard fit nicely into a talented group of players at Messalonskee High School and this year she helped the Eagles to an unbeaten season capped by the Class A state championship.

She didn’t begin playing lacrosse in earnest until her freshman year but she took to the sport right away. The rising senior has by no means abandoned basketball, but she’s all in on lacrosse.

“I really decided I wanted to play lacrosse the summer of my sophomore year,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun for me. The field is open and you can run up and down “

Turner packed a lot into her first two seasons, scoring 94 goals from her midfielder position and leading the Eagles to the Class A state championship her sophomore year. They reached the Class A state final her freshman year and last season won the state championship over Massabesic. This year with a far less experienced team Messalonskee fell in a rematch with Massabesic in the title game.

Along the way, Turner kept getting better. This year she scored 85 goals to run her career total to 179. She also won 116 draws and recorded 35 assists, giving the Eagles many extra possessions. For her efforts, Turner has been selected Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.

Turner has already accepted a full tuition scholarship from Wagner College in Staten Island, New York where she plans to further her playing career and study nursing.

Turner sees a lot of room for improvement in order to get ready for her senior year and beyond. She’s playing for the Maineiacs club team this summer and will also make a trip to Wagner to get acclimated to the college game.

“I’ve been working on my speed and my strength,” she said. “Also on my stick skills and my shot placement.”

First-year Messalonskee coach Crystal Leavitt was an assistant coach Turner’s sophomore year and has watched her develop into a dominant player.

“I think her confidence has gotten stronger,” Leavitt said. “and her knowledge and IQ.”

Leavitt agrees there’s always room for improvement, particularly since Turner has played only three years. But she’s already quite polished in comparison to many of her opponents.

“She’s amazing with her stick skills,” Leavitt said. “She does not have one go-to move. She’s very comfortable with her stick.”

Leavitt believes Turner’s height is a big advantage in gaining draws. Her height and speed work well in the open field where she can out-run or dodge defenders.

“She’s a very strong girl,” Leavitt said. “She’s so fluent with her body. Long arms, long legs, long reach — that works to her advantage.”

Of course, any player with 179 goals to her credit draws a lot of defensive attention and Turner is just as comfortable with setting up her teammates as she is taking a shot.

“In basketball I’ve always kind of had that,” she said “That always leaves someone else open.”

Leavitt and Turner were both happy just getting back to the state game this season. Thirteen players on the roster were either freshmen or sophomores and there were just three seniors.

“We just had a lot of young kids,” Turner said. “You have to teach them how to play and involve them.”

Leavitt coaches a central Maine team consisting of girls in grades 3-6 and most of them already know about Turner and have seen her play.

“A lot of girls look up to her,” Leavitt said. “She inspires little kids.”

Turner often stayed after practice to work on her shot and plays wall ball when there’s no one else around. One of her goals this summer is to become equally adept shooting with either hand.

“She has great footwork,” Leavitt said. “She knows how to make the right moves. Defensively she talks real well. She loves it, you can tell when she’s out on the field.”

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