A jump shot, a big steal, some clutch free throws - the 5-foot-9 senior forward made all the right plays to ensure the Tigers would win their fourth straight Eastern Maine Class C championship Saturday night at the Bangor Auditorium.
The only returning member of the Eastern Maine Class C all-tourney team, Cote breaks through as this year's 2006 Bangor Daily News Owen Osborne Most Valuable Player award.
Cote was the only unanimous MVP selection.
New regional champions and runners-up in Classes B and D, meanwhile, meant new MVPs and a host of new all-tourney team members in those classifications.
Presque Isle's Katie Delong led the Wildcats to their first Eastern Maine Class B title in nine years to win the Class B MVP award, while voters felt Michelle Ferry helped Woodland make a triumphant return to Class D, and she was named the MVP in that classification.
Cony of Augusta's Cassie Cooper, like Cote, went from Class A all-tournament team to MVP.
The MVP award was established in 1994 in memory of Osborne, a former NEWS sports editor and reporter. The award and all-tourney teams, which are listed below by classification, are selected by a vote of media, tourney officials and representatives of the Maine Principals' Association.
In Class C, Cote was named to the 2005 all-tourney team. She's joined by newcomers Mallory Ames of Dexter, Central of Corinth's Caitlin Elliott, Fort Kent's Kristin Violette and Rachel Foster of Houlton.
Cote not only led Dexter in scoring, but she also led the Tigers in rebounding and seemed to make a key shot or defensive play whenever her team needed it. She averaged 16.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while picking up the toughest assignments in Dexter's man-to-man defense.
Ames was playing on an injured ankle, but her 6-foot-6 inside presence was too much for most teams to overcome. An all-tourney honorable mention last year, she averaged 12.3 ppg and 5 rpg. Ames poured in 25 points in the quarterfinal.
Elliott, a 6-foot forward, averaged 8.3 ppg for a well-rounded Central team that got scoring from a number of different players during the tourney. She also averaged 7.3 rebounds with a tourney-high 10 in the EM final.
Foster and Violette's teams both got to the semifinals despite holding lower seeds.
A 6-1 center, Foster had a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds) in the quarterfinals. She was limited to five points in the semis, but still grabbed 10 rebounds. Violette, another 6-foot center, led the Warriors with 13.5-ppg and 11.5-rpg averages.
In Class B, Presque Isle's Angela Norsworthy, John Bapst of Bangor's Ashley Freeman and Hillary Laferriere and Lindsay Lewis of Mount Desert Island round out the all-tourney team.
Delong's value to the Wildcats was demonstrated in the Eastern Maine final, when she went to the bench in foul trouble but seconds after coming back into the game hit a 3-pointer that put Presque Isle up for good. And like Cote, she also drew tough defensive assignments.
Delong averaged 12 ppg and 5.3 rpg as a 5-7 point guard.
Norsworthy's growth has been a big reason the Wildcats persevered this season. The 5-10 center's ability to drive the baseline, and her team-high 12.6 ppg, made opponents respect the Wildcats inside, which opened up things on the perimeter.
John Bapst's Ashley Freeman demonstrated what senior leadership is all about. The Crusaders don't look for their point guard to score, but Freeman played an integral role with 8.6 ppg on a team that averaged 40.6 points per game.
The 5-11 Laferriere, who plays a lot stronger than her sophomore experience level and whose power made her a tough matchup, chipped in with 9.6 ppg.
Lewis shot the MDI Trojans into the semifinals, scoring 18 points in a quarterfinal win over defending state champ Winslow. Her 3-pointer with less than two seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. She led the Trojans with 10 points in a semifinal loss to Presque Isle.
In Class D, Ferry and teammate Courtney Cochran make up one of the tallest post tandems in the state as forwards and centers dominated.
Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook's Audrey Charette, another fine post player, was named to the all-tourney team along with Greenville's Beth Bartley and Greater Houlton Christian Academy's Megan Korhonen.
Ferry and Cochran - the "Twin Towers" as one sign in the Bangor Auditorium put it, had similar numbers during the week. In the EM final, for example, Ferry scored 14 points and had nine rebounds, while Cochran finished with 13 points and nine boards.
The 5-10 Ferry was named all-tourney honorable mention in Class C last year. Her best tourney game this season came in the quarterfinals, when she scored 24 points to go with nine rebounds.
Cochran, a 5-11 sophomore, had her best game in the semis with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
The 5-10 Charette, who has been one of the top forwards in Eastern D in her four years, averaged a double-double (13.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) as the Warriors advanced to the regional final for the first time since 1997.
Bartley, Greenville's 6-0 senior center, paced the Lakers with an average of 16 points and 11 rebounds in two games. She also shot 53.5 percent from the field for one of the top shooting efforts of the Class D tourney.
Korhonen helped open fans' eyes to the GHCA Eagles, who were making their first appearance at the Bangor Auditorium. The junior guard scored 22 points in a semifinal, but had a well-rounded nine points, eight rebounds and five assists in a quarterfinal win.
In Class A, Cooper is joined by returning all-tourney member Nicole Paradis of Skowhegan, as well as 2005 honorable mention players Rachael Mack of Cony and Bethany Sevey of Skowhegan. Cony's Maggie Rende, the sister of 2005 all-tourney player Briiana Rende, also joins the top five.
Cooper added another honor to her three-year varsity career with her first MVP crown and the third in a row for Cony. The 6-1 forward averaged 15.6 ppg, including 19 points and 15 rebounds in the semifinals, to lead the Rams to their third straight EM title.
Mack, a 6-2 sophomore forward, paired with Cooper to dominate inside. In her first season starting for the Rams, she averaged 13.6 ppg with a dominating 23-point, 14-rebound performance in the EM final.
Senior guard Rende made the most of her first injury-free season. She averaged 11.6 ppg while running Cony's offense.
Paradis made her third all-tourney team. The Skowhegan senior point guard averaged 17 ppg with a
well-rounded effort of 21 points, six steals and six assists in the quarterfinals. Sevey, a junior guard who
provides a tough matchup at 5-10, followed with 16.6 ppg.
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