There is nothing quite like high school girls basketball in Maine, and there was nothing quite like the brand of hoops played throughout the Midcoast this past season as hundreds of student-athletes took the court in hopes of winning games, advancing to the postseason and beyond.

And for 17 of those Midcoast student athletes, recognition is just around the corner as VillageSoup unveils its second annual high school girls basketball notables.

This year’s notables include Belfast’s Lexi Nelligan; Camden Hills’ Jordan Knowlton and Taylor Porter; Georges Valley’s Kennadi Grover and Jill Bradbury; Islesboro’s Autumn Johnson; Medomak Valley’s Ericka Christensen, Alanna Vose, Vanessa Davis and Lindsay Ranquist; Mount View’s Chrissy Larrabee and Hayleigh Kein; North Haven’s Erin Cooper; Searsport’s Briana Grant; Rockland’s Hannah Plourde; and Vinalhaven’s Alex Slivinsky and Izza Drury.

Christensen, Cooper, Davis, Kein, Larrabee and Ranquist are seniors; Bradbury, Vose, Slivinsky, Porter and Drury, juniors; Nelligan, Grover, Knowlton and Plourde, sophomores; Grant, a freshman; and Johnson, an eighth-grader.

VillageSoup will name notables in all high school varsity sports where there are at least two Midcoast teams in that season playing an official varsity schedule. Student-athletes who will be considered for notable distinction can come from Belfast Area High School, Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockland District High School, Medomak Valley High School, Georges Valley High School, Vinalhaven High School, North Haven Community School, Islesboro Central School, Mount View High School and Searsport District High School.

In the winter, VillageSoup names notables in boys basketball, girls basketball, indoor track, swimming and wrestling.

Basketball is offered at Belfast, Camden Hills, Rockland, Medomak Valley, Mount View, Searsport, Georges Valley, Islesboro, North Haven and Vinalhaven.

The criteria to become a Midcoast notable student-athlete begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are their top student-athletes for that season, not necessarily a high school career. In this case, for girls basketball, Belfast’s Amy Dyer-Kelley, Camden Hills’ Marty Messer, Georges Valley’s Dwight Henry, Searsport’s Amanda Pullen, Rockland’s Teel Foster, Mount View’s Erika Gabbianelli, Medomak Valley’s Randy Hooper, Vinalhaven’s Alan Lazaro, North Haven’s Roman Cooper and Islesboro’s Will Aldrich were polled for their nominations.

The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

In naming notables in a sport, VillageSoup is not trying to highlight every potentially deserving student-athlete from a given team, only to highlight the most consistently strong performers during a particular season in a particular sport. Obviously, with any such list of notables being subjective, not all those initially considered ultimately will make the final list of notables.

In addition, there usually is at least one representative from each school in a given sport, but that is not always the case. From that point, the rest of the notables could be a mix of student-athletes from many schools, or weighted heavily on one or two schools. Obviously, the more success a particular team has will, in some respects, dictate the number of potential notables it receives.

In most sports, the nomination process for a sport begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are each respective team’s premier players for that season, not necessarily for a high school career. The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

A nomination only guarantees each candidate’s consideration, not ultimate notable status. While the input of each coach is weighed heavily with each candidate, the final decisions are made by VillageSoup Sports Director Ken Waltz and Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell.

Again, not all potential notables will ultimately become VillageSoup’s notables. Only those nominated by coaches and ultimately selected by the VillageSoup sports staff.

Belfast, competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division, finished with a record of 4-14 and 15th in Eastern Class B. The Lions did not qualify for postseason play.

Camden Hills, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished with a record of 9-9 and 11th in Eastern Class B. The Windjammers narrowly missed on Eastern Class B’s 10-team playoff field.

Georges Valley, competing in the Mountain Valley Conference, finished with a record of 10-9 and ninth in Western Class C, qualifying for the preliminary round of the playoffs. The Buccaneers defeated No. 8 Old Orchard Beach to advance to the quarterfinals, where they fell to top-seeded Hall-Dale of Farmingdale. Georges Valley will merge with Rockland next season to form Oceanside High School.

Islesboro, competing in Western Class D, finished with a record of 3-15 and were 14th in the region. The Eagles did not qualify for postseason play.

Medomak Valley, competing in the KVAC Class B division, had by far the most successful season of any team in the Midcoast, finishing with a record of 16-2 and claiming the No. 3 seed in Eastern Class B. The Panthers defeated No. 6 Caribou in the quarterfinals and knocked off No. 2 John Bapst of Bangor in the semifinals before falling to No. 4 Nokomis of Newport in the regional final. The Panthers also earned a berth in the KVAC Class B championship, where they lost to undefeated Leavitt of Turner, which went on to beat the Nokomis Warriors for the Class B state title.

Mount View, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished with a record of 9-9 and 13th in Eastern Class B. The Mustangs did not qualify for postseason play.

North Haven, competing in Western Class D, finished with a record of 4-10 and 13th in the region. The Hawks did not qualify for postseason play.

Rockland, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished with a record of 1-17 and 18th in Eastern Class B. The Tigers did not qualify for postseason play. Rockland will merge with Georges Valley next season to form Oceanside High School.

Searsport, competing in the Penobscot Valley Conference, finished with a record of 0-18 and 20th among 20 teams in Eastern Class C. The Vikings did not qualify for the postseason.

Vinalhaven, competing in the East-West Conference, finished with a record of 8-7 and seventh in Western Class D, earning a spot in the quarterfinals. The Vikings fell to No. 2 Rangeley in the first round of the playoffs.

The following are the VillageSoup high school girls basketball notables, listed in alphabetical order:

Bradbury, a junior, was Georges Valley’s most consistent player on the hardwood this season and earned first-team all-conference honors from the MVC. A left-handed player who could slash to the basket and spot up and shoot, Bradbury averaged 12.4 through 20 games, along with five rebounds, three steals and one assist. She also connected on 23 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the foul line. Bradbury was one of the team’s most versatile players, is quick and “can really anticipate the ball and made many steals for us,” according to coach Henry. She also led the team in minutes played and “probably the best defensive player we had and the hardest worker on the team.”

Christensen, a senior, was Medomak Valley’s center and not only gave the Panthers a much-needed interior presence, but thrived in the role as she gave opposing defenses much to plan for every night. Christensen led the Panthers in scoring at 13.3 points per game and also pulled down an average of 7.4 rebounds, along with being named second-team all-conference by the KVAC. Whether scoring points, pulling down rebounds, blocking shots or jump-starting a fastbreak, Christensen could do it all in the paint this season for the Panthers. She also thrived in the playoffs, scoring 18 points in the quarterfinals against Caribou, 14 in the semifinals against John Bapst and 15 in the regional final against Nokomis.

Cooper, a senior, was the heart and soul for the Hawks, a role she has played for the small island team the past few years. She persevered through a shoulder injury and opted not to have surgery, which would have ended her high school hoop season. The decision proved to be a good one, with Cooper leading the team in all statistical categories with 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.6 steals. Cooper is a natural shooting guard, but played point guard and thrived as a facilitator and “is one of the smartest players I have coached in 12 years,” according coach Roman Cooper, who also is her father. “She cannot be replaced,” he said. “We can only hope that the younger group that is coming in this year has an individual who can take on the role that Erin had.”

Davis, a senior, was team captain for Medomak Valley and despite not having mind-boggling offensive numbers, Davis was the defensive catalyst for the Panthers and drew the assignment of guarding opponent’s top offensive players night in and night out. Coach Hooper said that Davis is “one of the best captains I have ever had, boys or girls.” Davis averaged 2.4 points, one rebound, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals.

Drury, a junior, was a hard-nosed and intense player for the Vikings and the team’s best all-around defender. In a snapshot of the season, Drury had a tooth loosened after being hit during a game but “shoved it right back in there and kept playing,” according to coach Lazaro. Drury averaged nine points, eight rebounds and 2.5 steals.

Grant, a freshman, was the top player on a Searsport team that had a down season record-wise, while coach Pullen said Grant is “a talented basketball player who is only going to get better.” A player with the ability to play both guard and forward, Grant led the team in all statistical categories, averaging 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and one assist.

Grover, a sophomore, had another stellar performance after breaking onto the scene last year as a freshman for Georges Valley and collected a second-team all-conference nomination by the MVC. A center who can handle the ball and essentially play any position on the court, Grover led the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game, along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She also shot 48 percent from the foul line. Grover often drew double and triple teams from foes, setting up teammates with more offensive opportunities. She has a terrific skill set that allows her to play with her back to the basket in the paint, but also face the hoop and knock down perimeter shots. She currently has 555 career points.

Johnson, an eighth grader, broke onto the scene for Islesboro this season as a shooting guard and was quickly tabbed as the team’s most valuable player by coach Aldrich. The younger sister of highly touted Islesboro boys hoopster D.J. Johnson, she led the Eagles with an average of 10 points, five rebounds and three steals. Coach Aldrich added that Johnson leads by example, brought a lot of energy to the floor and routinely guarded opponent’s top offensive player.

Kein, a senior, was Mount View’s most valuable player this season and proved it on the court with her versatility, determination and all-around ability. An All-State field hockey player and tremendous all-around athlete, Kein averaged 14.3 points this season (258 total points), while pulling down 57 rebounds, making 43 steals and dishing out 43 assists. She was also 90-of-163 (55 percent) from the foul line. Kein had a sensational start to the season, pouring in 44 points in an 80-78 double-overtime loss to Camden Hills in Rockport. Coach Gabbianelli added that Kein led by example and had terrific leadership qualities, which she also displayed in the classroom being named to the KVAC all-academic team.

Knowlton, a sophomore, had another sensational season on the hardwood for Camden Hills after she broke onto the scene last year as a freshman. Arguably the top girls basketball player in the Midcoast, Knowlton poured in 385 points this season for an average of 21.3 points, while also pulling down 247 rebounds, making 54 steals and handing out 53 assists. She led the league in rebounding, was second in the league in scoring and was also named first-team all-conference by the KVAC. Knowlton was always the focal point of the opposition’s defensive schemes, often drawing double teams and setting up scoring opportunities for her teammates. Coach Messer added that Knowlton is incredibly competitive and dedicated, as she plays the sport year-round. Last season, Knowlton tossed in 241 points, currently leaving her 374 points shy of 1,000 for her career.

Larrabee, a senior, was second on the team in scoring at 9.2 points per game (167 total points), but led the team in all other statistical categories as the backbone of Thorndike-based squad. Larrabee pulled down 119 rebounds, had 53 assists and also made 54 steals on the year. She was also 23-of-54 (43 percent) from the charity stripe. Coach Gabbianelli added that Larrabee was the team’s most consistent player all season and “when we needed a stop she got it [and] when we needed to make something happen she would create plays.”

Nelligan, a sophomore, led Belfast in scoring for the second straight season and proved to be a versatile scoring threat for the Lions. Nelligan is an athletic player who can seamlessly play both forward and center and was an integral part of the team’s success. Nelligan averaged 21.1 points (218 total points), while pulling down 98 rebounds, making 46 steals and finishing with 36 blocked shots. She was also 60-of-92 (65 percent) from the charity stripe, was eighth in the KVAC in scoring and was a conference honorable mention.

Plourde, a sophomore, was the heart and soul of Rockland’s team this season and played a huge role for the Tigers as they tried to find the winning formula. She also turned in an 18-point effort in the team’s lone win of the season at Belfast. Plourde led Rockland in all statistical categories, averaging 12 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two assists. She was also in the top-10 in the KVAC in scoring and rebounding, while also being a conference honorable mention. “Hannah is a true competitor,” said coach Foster. “She fights every minute of every game. She is a leader on and off the court, pushing herself all the time.”

Porter, a junior, played 11 games for the Windjammers this season and not only was the second leading scorer on the team, but also was one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, according to coach Messer. Porter was steady throughout the campaign as she averaged 9.1 points and also pulled down 27 rebounds, had 27 assists and made 25 steals.

Ranquist, a senior, was a major cog in the Medomak Valley machine this year and thrived in her final season as arguably the team’s most versatile all-around player. Named second-team all-conference by the KVAC, Ranquist was third on the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game, while also averaging 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.2 steals. Ranquist had the ability to play both guard and forward and, while she could compete in the paint, it was on the perimeter where she thrived, knocking down a plethora of both mid-range and long-distance jumpers with beautiful form. She was also nearly automatic at the foul line and has a keen knowledge of the game, according to coach Hooper.

Slivinsky, a junior, was coach Lazaro’s most consistent player this season and led the team in scoring with just over nine points per game. She also led the team in rebounding with 10 rebounds per contest and also averaged one steal. Slivinsky was often the team’s go-to player when needing a key basket and turned in many solid performances throughout the season for the Vikings.

Vose, a junior, was Medomak Valley’s key facilitator and most dynamic scorer this season and was a key cog in guiding the Panthers to the regional finals. A shifty guard who has the ability to both slice to the basket and step back and hit the big shot, Vose averaged 12 points, along with 3.7 assists and 2.4 steals. Vose’s impact was never bigger than during the postseason, where she scored 10 points in the quarterfinals against Caribou, 18 in the semifinals against John Bapst and nine against Nokomis in the regional final. Vose is arguably one of the most exciting girls player in the Midcoast and will likely reprise that role as one of the Panthers’ only returning starters next year. Vose was also named second-team all-conference by the KVAC.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.