University of Maine at Augusta’s Jalaughn Jackson (14) draws the foul from University of Maine at Farmington’s Jack Kane (55) on Wednesday in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

 

The University of Maine at Augusta men’s basketball team is currently 2-8 this season.

But if its effort on the road against the University of Maine at Farmington on Wednesday night proved anything, it showed the Moose have plenty of fight.

The UMA roster this season is young. Three of the starting five Wednesday night — guards Trevor Beals and Keegan Scanlan, along with forward Jovan Sisovic — are all underclassmen. With a roster of 14, five players are freshmen.

“We’ve got a bunch of young guys,” UMA guard Elijah Smith said. “I feel like it’s a confidence thing. Once we get that down, we should be fine. UMF is a good team, it’s always tough when you play against them.”

But under Smith, a junior from Odessa, Texas who scored 34 points against the Beavers and has averaged 11.4 points per game, the young players are making progress. Beals, a Massabesic High School graduate, added 24 points for the Moose against UMF.

“There’s no fear (with the team),” Smith said. “There’s discipline (within the team), and they’re really coachable, so that can go a long way.”

Beals is second on the team in points, averaging 10.2 per game. Eric Crawford, the son of NBA veteran Jamal Crawford, is third with 8.9 points per game. And despite the 2-8 record, the Moose are 2-2 in Yankee Small College Conference play.

“I think if we take (Wednesday night’s) level of concentration and commitment into our conference, we should be fine this year,” Smith said.

UMA hosts Vermont Tech on Saturday at Central Maine Community College in Lewiston.

 

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University of Maine at Farmington’s Makayla Wilson, top right, grabs a rebound from Bates’ Brianna Gadaleta, top left, as UMF’s Page Brown, bottom right, and Bates’ Ariana Dalia, bottom left, look to get in on the play during the first quarter of a Nov. 16 game in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The University of Maine at Farmington women’s basketball team is 5-2 under interim head coach Nate Carson, its latest win coming at home Wednesday night in a 62-54 win over the University of Maine at Augusta at Dearborn Gym.

Carson was named the interim head coach in late October, taking the program over from Jamie Beaudoin, who is currently serving the school as the interim athletic director. Carson was previously an assistant coach under former UMF men’s basketball coach Dick Meader and is not long removed from his playing career at UMF, scoring 536 total points for the Beavers from 2010-2014.

Carson said he appreciates the cohesiveness and communication of the team.

“As a team, they can speak to each other pretty honestly, from player one all the way down to 19,” Carson said. “That’s so necessary, because I can’t call them all the time on these little things. When I have to look at this macro picture, they have to hold each other accountable. The way they can communicate with each other internally has been great for me. It’s been a big help as a new coach.”

Carson said he’s also thankful to have a strong senior core, led by Alex Bessey and Messalonskee graduate McKenna Brodeur.

“It’s a total luxury,” Carson said. “Especially with a first-time (coach), most coaches don’t fall into a position like this, first year with such a well-rounded senior class,  and two players like Alex and McKenna. The other five (seniors) they know exactly what they’re supposed to do in their role on the team. That’s priceless.”

Bessey, a Spruce Mountain graduate, leads the team with 13.7 points per game. She’s followed by fellow seniors Page Brown (10.6 points per game), Monmouth Academy graduate Tia Day (10.1 ppg) and Brodeur (9.6 ppg).

Bessey said a strength of this year’s UMF squad is familiarity among the players.

“Most of us came back, we didn’t lose very many (players),” Bessey said. “So I think we’re kind of used to each other at this point.”

UMF hosts North Atlantic Conference opponent Northern Vermont-Lyndon on Saturday.

 

 

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Much like the men’s team, the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team showed an ability to fight back against long odds during its 62-54 loss to the University of Maine at Farmington.

Trailing 26-23 at halftime, the Beavers started the second half with a 15-0 run, outscoring the Moose 21-14 in the quarter. But instead of giving up, or letting UMF cruise, UMA (3-4) chipped away at the lead, outscoring the Beavers 17-15 in the fourth quarter.

“It got away from us a little bit in the third,” UMA head coach Heath Cowan said. “But the kids didn’t hang their heads, they kept fighting. We closed with a couple baskets in a row there. When you make shots, the game looks a lot easier. We’re not making a lot of shots, but I thought the shots we were taking were decent. Our offense is still kind of stagnant. We’re not in great movement yet, but I think we’ll get there. Certainly UMF is a good team. Clearly, in the conference they play in, they’re going to be very successful. We’re hopeful in our conference, we’re going to be pretty successful, too.”

Cowan, previously an assistant at UMA, should sound familiar to area high school basketball fans. Before joining the Moose, Cowan had previously run the boys basketball programs at Waterville, Carrabec and Mt. Abram. He may best be remembered for his time as the head coach of the Skowhegan girls basketball program, serving nine years in the role, finishing with a record of 131-50. He also served as the Gardiner girls basketball coach before going to Skowhegan.

This season, the Moose are led on the floor by senior forward Madeline Suhr, who is averaging 18.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Suhr scored 18 points and had five rebounds Wednesday night against UMF. Freshman Tazneji Valencia is averaging 10.5 points per game for UMA, while Hope Butler (9.5 ppg) and Madison graduate Sydney LeBlanc (8.8 ppg) round out the group.

The Moose are 3-1 this season in Yankee Small College Conference play. UMA hosts Vermont Tech on Saturday at Central Maine Community College in Lewiston.

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