Clement wins Miss Maine Basketball honor
BANGOR—Just when it appeared things couldn't get any better for Allie Clement, she cemented her legacy with the most coveted award in girls' basketball.
The McAuley senior standout, one of the most prolific winners and champions in the history of basketball in the state, yet one whose on-court brilliance was dwarfed by her character, sportsmanship and poise, was named the 2014 winner of the Miss Maine Basketball Award Friday evening at the Maine McDonald's All-Star Awards Banquet at the Cross Insurance Center.
The Mr. Maine Basketball award went to Bonny Eagle point guard extraordinaire Dustin Cole, who was selected over Hampden Academy's Isaiah Bess and Zach Gilpin.
Clement beat out Lake Region post standout Tiana-Jo Carter and Van Buren scoring machine Parise Rossignol for the top honor as she became just the third member of the state's premier girls' program (Ashley Cimino in 2007 and Alexa Coulombe in 2012) to win the state's most prestigious award.
"Honestly, I was surprised because Parise and Tiana are such great competition," said Clement, who made a point of thanking her parents, Brian and Carolyn (younger sisters, Sarah and Camille, were also on hand), McAuley coach Billy Goodman and AAU coach Don Briggs during her acceptance speech, while in a gracious touch, also paying tribute to Carter and Rossignol. "They're great players. They've had a lot of accomplishments. I wouldn't have been disappointed if one of them had gotten it. It's cool to win it, but I would've been happy for them."
Clement burst on to the scene as a freshman, scoring 11 points, forcing a late turnover and making a late free throw in a come-from-behind 45-42 win at rival Cheverus, then hitting a clutch 3 to force overtime in an eventual palpitating 47-43 overtime win at Deering. She showed not an ounce of trepidation as the point guard in a 39-23 Class A state championship game win over Hampden Academy, scoring 10 points, while adding five rebounds and three steals.
Clement averaged 12 points per game in her freshman season, was named All-Conference honorable mention and was also a member of the Southwestern Maine Activities Association's All-Rookie team.
She played an even bigger role as a sophomore, leading McAuley to a second straight championship, this one in undefeated fashion, capped by a 54-41 victory over Cony. In the state game, Clement had 11 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Following the season, Clement, who averaged 12.7 points, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists, was named to the SMAA first-team for the first time.
While her brilliance continued as a junior, nothing came easily, as Clement had to fight through a nagging foot injury. Still, she led McAuley to an undefeated season and a third straight championship, scoring 13 points, while adding four assists, four steals and three rebounds in a 60-45 victory over Bangor.
Clement (who had an opportunity to team with Sarah, a freshman, that season) was named the Western A regional tournament's most valuable player/sportsperson, earned first-team SMAA mention after leading the league in scoring (18.9 points per game) and finishing second in steals (4.0), and after the season was chosen McAuley's Winter Athlete of the Year by The Forecaster and even better, won Maine's Gatorade Girls' Basketball Player of the Year award.
Prior to her senior season, Clement committed to attend and play basketball at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Clement then went out and as expected, produced a final campaign to remember.
Once again, there were challenges. For starters, Sarah Clement missed the season with a knee injury. Fellow senior standout Olivia Smith missed early games recovering from a knee injury of her own and on the court, the Lions, for the first time in three years, were vulnerable, seeing their 56-game win streak snapped Jan. 7 with a 50-49 loss at Thornton Academy.
McAuley, led by Clement, was able to overcome and there were far more highlights than struggles.
The biggest individual thrill for Clement came Dec. 30 in a 74-29 home win over Windham, when she eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career. The Lions hit their stride in January, went 21-1 and made it four titles in a row March 1 with a 67-41 win over Oxford Hills. Clement capped her high school playing career with 17 points in that game. She added six assists, four steals, a rebound and a blocked shot as she became one of the select few since the Maine Principals' Association began sanctioning a girls' basketball tournament four decades ago to win state titles in each of her four seasons.
"I think Allie's one of the top three high school players to ever play in Maine," said Goodman. "She's a four-time champion. She's a special kid. She works hard and she's gotten her due."
Clement averaged 18.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a senior and was named the SMAA Player of the Year and a first-team all-star. She was a repeat winner of the Western A tournament MVP and is still in the running for a repeat Gatorade honor.
For her career, Clement averaged over 15 points per game and wound up with 1,374. She also had 347 rebounds, 265 steals and 239 assists. In the majority of her games, Clement only played two or three quarters due to lopsided scores, suggesting her numbers could have wound up even more in the stratosphere.
All in all, Friday evening was a perfect coda for a transcendent career.
"I've dreamed of this for a long time," Clement said. "My freshman year, I came up here when (former teammate) Becca Knight was up for (Miss Maine) and she didn't win and I know how disappointed she was. I can't really put things like this and winning Gold Balls into words. It's just so cool. I couldn't ask for a more perfect ending."