BANGOR — If a player is athletic enough, the dunk is considered the easiest shot in all of basketball, a near-guaranteed two points any time it’s attempted.

That may be true in the NBA, or even major college basketball. But for some of the top senior high school players in Maine, it’s not nearly as easy as it appears.

“It’s hit or miss,” said Monmouth Academy senior Sammy Calder. “I can either dunk pretty good, or sometimes it’s just not there.”

Calder was one of four players who participated in a dunk contest during the McDonald’s Senior All-Star Games on Saturday at the Newman Gymnasium on the campus of Husson University. The games pit the best senior players in the state against one another, throughout all classes. Joining Calder were Evan Hamm of Yarmouth High, Mason McDunnah of Schenck and Jalen Reed of Bangor Christian School. It was Hamm — who entertained the crowd with a self alley-oop off the glass, finished by a two-handed jam — who would walk away with the title.

“I thought the competition was going to be a little bit meaner, but we got lucky with some missed dunks,” Hamm said.

An open call was made for players to participate in the competition in the weeks leading up to the games.


Monmouth’s Sammy Calder dunks during the slam-dunk contest in the Class C/D McDonald’s Senior All-Star game Saturday at Husson University in Bangor. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“I was thinking about (what dunks to do) about a week coming up to this,” Calder said. “I was thinking about throwing (the ball) off the wall. There was one dude who threw it off the wall and dunked it, I wanted to do that. But I don’t know, today I just wasn’t feeling it. My ankle is still recovering (from a late season injury).

“It’s (hard to do),” Calder added. “Even (Reed), his bounce is insane, but he just got unlucky and got two back rims in a row. If he got one down, he would have probably got to the second round. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.”

A team of judges sat on the sidelines, critiquing each dunk on difficulty, creativity and athleticism. The competition involved two rounds, with the two top scorers of the first round surviving to face off in the final.

Hamm started off the competition with a running two-handed slam, much to the delight of the crowd.

“The first round, I just decided that I was going to get an easy dunk that I knew was going to go in,” Hamm said. “The second one, I knew I was just going to try adding a little bit of flavor.”

McDunnah followed with a simple move of his own, a hard bounce, leading to a quick, two-handed dunk. Ham got the early advantage, netting a score of 24, while McDonough had a 23.


While Calder and Reed both get credit for creativity, neither were able to finish their respective dunks. Calder tried to bounce the ball, catch it in mid-air and lay down a one-handed jam. He managed to complete the motion, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim. Reed tried to make a strong side-dunk with one hand, but like Calder, the ball bounced off the back of the rim. Both received a score of 15 knocking them out of the competition.

“Today, I just wanted to do something cool, not just go up there and dunk it one-handed,” Calder said. “I just tried to self alley-oop, but I just couldn’t get a good one.”

“Honestly, I had no thought process to what I was going to do,” Reed laughed. “I was in the shower last night thinking about what I was going to do, then went to bed. I had no plans, just to jump, that’s it.”

Both Calder and Reed still have plenty to be happy about. Calder was a member of a Mustangs’ team that edged Mount View 52-50 for the Class C title last week, while Reed was a member of a Class D title team at Bangor Christian.

“(The All-Star weekend) is really fun, because you get to play against all the people that you played against during the season,” Reed said. “It’s really fun to get to know each other and play with and against each other.”

Hamm started the final round on a successful note with his self alley-oop, which netted a score of 28. It was all he needed to secure the title, as McDunnah was unable to finish a dunk on his two attempts.

“I’ve done (a dunk competition) before, so it wasn’t too (pressure-packed),” Hamm said. “It wasn’t too bad at all.”

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