This past winter, five former Boothbay Region High School scholar-athletes are playing basketball at the college level. Faith Blethen-George Washington University, Glory Blethen-Coast Guard Academy, Ben Pearce-Plymouth State University, Kaleb Ames and Zach Rollins-University of Maine at Augusta.
All five are remembered from their playing days at BRHS. Faith and Glory each joined the 1,000-point club and were Miss Maine Basketball finalists. Ben poured in 663 points, while Kaleb had 327. Note Glory, Ben, Kaleb, and Zach played during the COVID 19 shortened season in 2020-21.
Here are the questions posed to the five of them and their responses.
How did you and your team do record wise, playoffs?
Faith-We are currently in season and in third place in the Atlantic-10 Conference. Our overall record is 17-10 and our conference record is 9-5. The conference tournament takes place starting March 1st.
Glory-We are currently 12-10 overall and 4-3 in conference play. I am grateful for the competitive and gritty games we play within our conference. We also have a challenging non-conference schedule that our coach puts together.
Ben-We finished 10-15, just missing the playoffs. Eleven seniors graduated from last year’s team. This year we had a young team. Pretty much the entire group will be returning next year. We will be using this off-season to work on getting better and being stronger next year.
Kaleb and Zach answered together-Overall record is 11-15, which includes playing teams like Orono. In conference our record is 7-6.
What is your major and your goal in a career?
Faith-I am finishing up my bachelor of science in accounting with a minor in economics and will graduate in May. I am planning on earning my CPA and working in the business world. This summer I will be interning with Deloitte.
Glory-My major at the Coast Guard Academy is business management. After I graduate, I plan to become a deck watch officer in the Coast Guard. From there I will serve a minimum of five years and see where my career takes me. I knew I wanted a career on the water after growing up in Boothbay and learning from my parents the importance of service. My goal is to retire from the Coast Guard. From there I hope to work for either a financial firm or on a project management team for a big corporation.
Ben-I am a physical education/health education major with a minor in coaching. My career goals are to become an athletic director at the high school or college level. Before I can do that, I have to get my master’s degree. While I am pursuing that, I will be getting experience as a PE/HE teacher and a coach.
Kaleb-My major is CIS and my goal is to be a corporate developer. I was also recently named to the USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball All-Academic Team.
Zach-My major is ISS with the goal of becoming a cyber analyst
What are some differences between playing at high school vs. college level?
Faith-The college level is played at a much faster pace from a physical and mental standpoint. The college game requires greater time and energy for on the court and off the court activities. There is more film review, strength and conditioning workouts, recovery and treatment sessions, and overall time on the court.
Glory-College basketball is a much faster game than high school. The shot clock speeds the game up. I appreciate a fast-paced game with lots of transition plays. Luckily enough my coach does too. Everyone is that much better, stronger and quicker. I love the constant challenge and being surrounded by people who have a love for the game. It also takes up more time in your day. I learned very quickly that time management is crucial. Between practice, weight lifting sessions, scout, academics, and military obligations you must plan out your weeks effectively.
Ben-The biggest difference from high school to college would be the vigorous schedule change. It is a lot to manage the practices, games, weight lifting sessions, classes and social life. It’s very important to find a balance. Living with three of my teammates this year, has motivated me because I know they are going through the same things. Expectations are much higher at the college level. As a student/athlete, you have to hold yourself to a certain level to achieve the cumulative goals the of the team.
Kaleb and Zach-The college level is much faster. The step up is massive and the game is much different. Practices are much more intense from both a physical and mental standpoint. In college they let you play and there are far less fouls called, meaning the game is much more physical. The shot clock changes strategy quite a bit compared to high school.
What coach at BRHS had an impression on you and taught you things you remembered when playing on the college level?
Faith-I was coached by my dad, Brian Blethen, for my junior and senior years on the girls’ basketball team. He impressed many important lessons on me on and off the court. The most important ones being if you work hard and have fun with it, everything will work its way out. He emphasized being a great teammate and the important of being selfless and team oriented in everything you do. I was coached by Nick Scott for four years on the girls’ cross-country team. The lessons and mentalities I learned and exercised as a runner in his program served me greatly while conditioning and playing at the Division 1 level in basketball. My mental and physical endurance is greater because of my time competing in cross-country.
Glory-I would have to say one of my biggest mentors, supporters, and coaches at BRHS was my father, Brian Blethen. My dad instilled a work ethic in all the girls on the Lady Seahawks basketball team. Whether we went onto play basketball, field hockey, or whatever we do in life, I believe we still practice the principles we learned on the court from him. That is, trust, work ethic, communication, and the word that was printed on the back of our warmup jerseys, commitment. He taught us that if you want to achieve your goals you must stay committed and put in the work to reach that goal.
Ben-Coach I.J. Pinkham instilled in me what it takes to look and act professional. He expected us to always be clean shaven with hair which didn’t cover our eyes. We expected to be properly dressed for away games. Coach Pinkham taught me to properly present myself as I am proudly representing my school and family.
Kaleb-My dad, Kevin Ames has coached me as I’ve grown up and he has developed my style of play. The way I play entirely reflects what he has taught me. My dad worked with me on playing more aggressively and shooting with confidence.
Zach-Kevin Ames was the most influential on me.
How have you changed/progressed in your sport since starting at college?
Faith-I have gained a great deal of physical strength and my shooting ability has increased significantly. Through playing basketball year-round and studying the game more at the college level, have increased my basketball IQ.
Glory-I would say that I have been challenged more than I have ever before. In high school you are playing with people you have played with since the second grade. You know your role, the expectation, and your teammates very well. In college, specifically as an underclassman, you are learning your role on the team. You are developing as a student-athlete at a higher level. I have been fortunate to have great coaches who have high expectations and push me, but also are so supportive of me. I am grateful that I have another two years of college basketball and can play with amazing people, who, I will one day serve alongside.
Ben-Over the past year, I have come to understand what it takes to be a true student-athlete. It requires a lot of willpower to never miss a weight lifting session, practice, and most importantly classes. My education is my number one priority. Since middle school, I have known what career I wanted to pursue. So, day in and day out, having the mindset that no matter how tired I might be, I cannot skip practice or classes. This keeps me going strong. I find myself being in a state of never being satisfied with where I am at. I am constantly in search for a better version of myself. This is what being a student athlete is all about.
Kaleb and Zach-College basketball rewards physical and mental toughness. It makes your tougher than you ever thought you would be.
Could you share something which happened outside of playing with your team which might be humorous, showing character, or helping or mentoring someone.
Faith-One thing I have really learned while playing college athletics is celebrating others. Picking others up with your energy and positivity is the best way to elevate yourself and others. It is important to protect your own time and energy, but you will never regret doing good for other people, whether it is volunteering with kids, or just being there for a teammate.
Glory-This summer I was able to spend 11 weeks on a 270-foot Coast Guard cutter out of Portsmouth, Virginia. I interacted with enlisted and officer members, seeing what the fleet had to offer. When I was asked where I was from, I would always say, “Maine.” I thought not many people would know a small town on the coast of Maine. They would say, “Where in Maine?” I replied with, “Boothbay Harbor.” Instantly, I felt like I gained some credibility within the cutter community. Most if not all the senior members I spoke with, knew where it was and what Boothbay Harbor was all about. I am grateful to be from a town known for its working waterfront, Coast Guard Station in Boothbay Harbor, and the community of mariners. I want to thank the Boothbay community for creating a place I will always call home.
Ben-When I graduate in two years, I will look back not at the record of our seasons or the number of point I scored, but rather the memories I made with my teammates, who have become my brothers. The bond which is created when you spend every day together, experiencing the ups and downs, it brings you closer together than you could ever imagine. Young men from different states, backgrounds, upbringings, all coming together for one common goal. For anyone aspiring to become a college athlete at any level, this aspect along should be enough to motivate you to do it.
Kaleb and Zach-These guys are really great teammates and friends. The character of each player is different as we have pulled from Denver, Orlando, Texas, Turkey, France, Serbia and Australia. We all get along very well and we’ve learned a lot from each of them. We hang out off the court quite a bit as a team.