Youth girls basketball

Black Bear North third-fourth team wins state title

Handful of Midcoast players help squad secure hardware
By Staff | May 08, 2018
Courtesy of: Becky Mason Team members include, front from left, Emma Tripp, Kaylee Bagley, Sydney Mason and Carley Andrews; and back, coach Howard Fogg Jr, Olivia Jordan, Elizabeth Boles, Maddison Kronkite, Julianna Sprague, Brenna Odone, Calleigh Trenholm and Jordyn Kneeland. Not pictured is Payten Wardsworth.

Gorham — The members of the Black Bear North third- and fourth-grade girls basketball team came from near and far — with players from the Midcoast, Central Maine and Downeast — but gelled on the court during April and earned impressive hardware in the process.

Led by coach Howard Fogg, Black Bear North surged to an 11-0 record in its travel team season, which culminated with the American Athletic Union (AAU) third- and fourth-grade state championship Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29 at the University of Southern Maine.

Team members included Calleigh Trenholm and Sydney Mason of Lamoine, Kaylee Bagley of Hancock, Julianna Sprague of Searsport, Maddison Cronkite of Rockport, Brenna Odone of Appleton Village, Payten Wadsworth of Morrill, Emma Tripp of Swanville, Jordyan Kneeland of Belmont, Olivia Jordan of Waltham, Carley Andrews of Bangor and Lizzie Boles of Ellsworth.

Black Bear North defeated Maine Basketball Club 32-7 and Blue Wave/Legassey 22-18 before defeating the Firecrackers 25-16 in the championship.

Prior to the team’s New England title, it went 4-0 on consecutive Sundays — April 15 and April 22 — after going 4-0 and winning the Maine Hoops Club Championship Saturday and Sunday, April 7-8.

However, the team’s season did not get off to a great start as Black Bear North trailed 16-4 at halftime in their opening game of the Maine Hoops Club tourney. The squad then ended on a 20-4 run and rallied to win the game.

“After that game, we figured out how good we could be, and learned how to play as a team,” said Fogg. “We had many learning curves, and with so many young kids, it was hard for them to figure out that everyone that was on the team knew how to play, we eventually learned how to pass to each other, run fast breaks and play as a team. It didn't matter who scored, and we became a team.”

Fogg said it was a grass-roots effort comprising the team and that he had “to be ‘that guy’ and reach out randomly” to the majority of players, which culminated in open tryouts.

But the team became a family as the season wore on, which the players vocalized in their team huddles. The team would chant “1-2-3 BBN,” and follow that up with “4-5-6 family," the coach said.

Fogg said the team “played very good man-to-man defense” and that Sprague “helped our defense tremendously.”

“Brenna was usually our best offensive player,” he said. “And once Julianna figured out how to play team defense she became our best defensive player. I had the benefit of having two points guards in Sidney and Kaylee. As the season grew older, Jordyn learned how to score very well [and] Maddison was a starter every game and made minimal mistakes.”

“Carly, Peyton, Emma, Olivia [and] Calleigh all knew their roles. To play good defense and score when the opportunity presented itself. Elizabeth was a late add for us who filled in when girls were away [and] she was a true scorer to go along with Brenna.”

Winning the New England tournament earned the team the opportunity to play in tournaments in Massachusetts in June and Florida in July, but no decision has been made on if the team will make the next jump.

“This is a huge commitment and we would need to fundraise as a group and get everyone to Florida,” said Fogg.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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