For senior point guard Chloe Arsenault, March 2, 2019 is a night she will never forget and remembers it vividly through the miracle of DVDs. Arsenault has watched her school’s first girls basketball state championship since 1984 three times. “It was a really exciting moment and I love watching how we trailed early, but played really great defense to win the gold ball,” she said.
Junior forward Glory Blethen has watched the championship game numerous times. “Oh, way more than three,” Blethen said. “I want to relive that moment every day. It was great being part of such a great team with great teammates and it reminds me of how much the whole community supported us in such a gritty game.”
In 2018, the Lady Seahawks didn’t just win the state championship, they finished their golden season at 22-0. Boothbay won the Mountain Valley Conference championship game, regional title and state championship in the team’s undefeated championship season. And the signs are pointing toward another season as a strong championship contender, as four of Boothbay’s solid six return. Arsenault and Blethen are joined by guards junior Kylie Brown and senior Maddy Faulkingham.
For Coach Brian Blethen, this year’s team will look a lot like last year’s championship squad. Boothbay has a roster full of size, speed and experience. Coach Blethen expects to use a full-court defensive pressure in the 18-game MVC schedule. He also plans on using a rotating starting lineup as he did last season. “Kylie and Maddy were essentially starters and I expect to use the same strategy this year adding (sophomore) Jaelyn Crocker into the starting rotation,” he said.
Another key ingredient returning this season is the Lady Seahawks’ work ethic. Despite a state championship on their resume, members are dedicated to making sacrifices to make themselves prepared for the title defense. The players often request an early morning practice. “I give them an option, and they want an early practice so they can come in and get their work done,” Coach Blethen said. “These girls show up prepared and eager to play which has been a trademark of past teams, too.”
As the season approaches, Blethen expects his Lady Seahawks to battle Winthrop and Hall-Dale for supremacy in Class C South and Penobscot Valley, Dexter and Calais in the North. As far as another Seahawk championship run, the coach believes that lies mostly on his players’ desire. “We will be in the mix. We have a good foundation and they know what is expected. This group still thinks they have something to prove, and wants to show they can accomplish a championship of their own. And I think they are just as capable as anyone.”
And Coach Blethen has fond memories of the past season and has re-watched the game numerous times. He is proud of the resilience of last year’s team in overcoming a bad early start, trailing 13-4 in the first quarter, to eventually win 33-25 in Bangor. But his plans for this season started long before last season finished. “I’m already thinking about next year now, and I did the same thing last year. We have 14 players. There will be a 7 to 7 split between varsity and JV. So I began planning this season last year in developing players on both varsity and junior varsity,” he said.
Boothbay begins the 2019-20 season versus Hall-Dale on Friday, Dec. 6 at Porter Memorial Gymnasium.
This article has been updated from its original posting.