Maranacook’s Cash McClure hoists the Class B South championship plaque with his teammates after the Black Bears sank Wells in the 2020 regional final at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. Portland Press Herald file photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Finally, Cash McClure said, he can breathe a sigh of relief.

The former Maranacook basketball standout recently gave a verbal commitment to play for Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. McClure, the 2020-21 Mr. Maine Basketball and the Gatorade Player of the Year, said he received a full athletic scholarship to attend Bentley.

“It’s really nice, definitely a relief,” McClure said. “It’s something that kind of weighs on your shoulders for a while. Everyone is kind of wondering when you’ll make a decision or where you’re going to go. It feels good when you get to that point and know what you want to do, and then actually announce it… It was a long time coming, and I worked my (tail) off to earn the scholarship part of it. Obviously, it made my family proud and I was really happy.”

McClure said his final choices came down to Bentley and Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Both are members of the Northeast-10 Conference. Bentley is 8-2 overall this season, with a 3-2 NE-10 record under head coach Jay Lawson.

“The basketball part was a big piece, they’re always pretty good,” said McClure, who is enrolled and playing basketball at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. “But just the fact that it’s one of the best, if not the best, business schools in the country. Once I graduate from there, if basketball doesn’t continue, I’ll have a good job out of college. It kind of sets you up for success immediately. Also, when I took the visit, I liked the coaches a lot, I liked the campus, the players, the style of play. I built a pretty good relationship with both (Bentley assistant coach Jack) Cole and Coach Lawson.”

McClure was a four-year starter for the Maranacook boys basketball team, first under Rob Schmidt, then for Travis Magnusson. As a senior last year, McClure averaged 27 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals per game for the Black Bears. He is the second player in school history — the first being Ryan Martin in 2008 — to be named Mr. Maine Basketball. McClure led Maranacook to a Class B South title in 2020, and the Central Maine championship in 2021 (there was no Maine high school basketball tournament last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic).


Magnusson saw a big jump in McClure’s game from his junior to senior year.

“His explosiveness went way up,” Magnusson said. “He went from, I don’t think he could even dunk (the year before), to just dunking over people. He grew a few inches, but his jumping got  a lot better. His speed got a lot better, his first step, explosiveness. All that stuff, athletically, was just at a different level. When he went to the rim, last year, there was no one that was going to stop him. He was jumping over people, he was quicker than people. The year before, he was more of a mid-range guy and didn’t get really get to the rim, but he changed that last year.”

Gardiner’s Braden Dorugi, (10), left, tries to bring ball up court as Maranacook’s Cash McClure plays defense during a Central Maine basketball tournament game in March in the Mr. Burbank Memorial Gym at Maranacook Community School in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file photo

McClure is playing for his uncle, Cory McClure, at Kimball Union Academy. The Wildcats are 3-4, but Cash McClure said he’s already seen and experienced a different level of basketball that will help him at the next level.

“It’s different with this team. (At Kimball), I’m the point guard, kind of the leader of the team, or try to be,” McClure said. “It kind of falls on my shoulders when something goes wrong, which is to be expected for a point guard. Just last game, which is the Wednesday before break, we played (Wilbraham & Monson center) Kyle Filipowski and his brother (Matt Filipowski). They’re two 7-footers. Kyle is going to (Division I) Duke, his brother is going to Harvard. It’s pretty insane playing that level of competition.”

McClure is the second athlete from Maranacook to receive a Division II scholarship this year. Soccer standout Emily Harper will attend and play for Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire next fall. It’s a first in both cases for Magnusson, who is also the school’s girls soccer coach. In his 15 years as a basketball coach, and 13 as a soccer coach, it’s the first time he’s had players receive athletic scholarships in either sport.

“It just shows scholarships don’t happen very often,” Magnusson said. “To have it happen within two months of each other is cool. It’s an interesting dynamic. Coaching both Cash and Emily was unique because you’re never going to find two more humble kids that are stars. From Day 1, Cash was one of the best players, Emily was one of the best players. You walk through the school, you’d never even know they played sports. There’s just no cockiness from either one of them. It’s just really unique, they’re good role models.”

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