BANGOR — After producing one of the finest four-year high school careers in recent memory, Deering High senior standout Kayla Burchill was the deserving winner of the prestigious Miss Maine Basketball award Friday night in Bangor.
Burchill, who was ill and couldn’t attend the ceremony, was a member of the Rams 2008 and 2009 Class A state champions and carried the program to the regional final each of the past two seasons.
Burchill was selected over McAuley’s Rebecca Knight and York’s Nicole Taylor.
“Kayla’s home very sick,” said Deering coach Mike Murphy. “I’m ecstatic for her. I just talked to her. She’s happy. She’s worked at it. It’s a great senior class, players from throughout the state. I know Kayla’s very humble about it. On her behalf, I can’t thank the coaches’ association enough.”
Burchill opened the season with 30 points in a victory over Bonny Eagle and was the focal point of every opponent. She had 24 points and 16 rebounds versus Sanford, 25 points against defending state champion Scarborough, 21 points versus Gorham, a season-high 32 points and 10 rebounds in a win over South Portland, 30 points versus Thornton Academy and 27 against Massabesic, which put her over the 1,000 point mark for her career. Burchill also scored 29 points against Noble, 24 versus Cheverus, 25 against Portland, 22 in the Rams’ lone regular season loss, in overtime to McAuley, and 20 apiece against Marshwood and Portland.
Burchill was the leading scorer in the Southern Maine Activities Association this season, averaging 22.6 points per game. She also averaged 9.4 rebounds (second in the league), 2.5 assists and was the SMAA’s top field goal and free throw shooter.
In the playoffs, Burchill had 16 points in the quarterfinals against Bonny Eagle, 21 versus Sanford in the semifinals and 20 in a regional final overtime loss to McAuley.
“(This award) helps a little with the sting,” said Murphy. “I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what she went through. We had exit meetings last week. She’s in good spirits. She played in the (league) all-star game the other night.”
Burchill will attend the University of Vermont next year and plans to continue her basketball career.
“I think she has the game to play at the next level without changing much, playing out on the wing,” Murphy said. “She can get stronger and quicker. Kayla’s a great kid. I’m happy for her. She’s very coachable. Humble.”
Tyler McFarland, of Class B state champion Camden Hills, was named the Mr. Maine Basketball winner.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @foresports
Nothing could stop Deering senior Kayla Burchill from being named the winner of the Miss Maine Basketball award this winter.