Varsity Maine girls’ basketball Player of the Year: Jaycie Christopher, Skowhegan

Skowhegan senior Jaycie Christopher dribbles between her legs during the Class A state final against Greely on March 5 in Portland. Ben McCanna / Staff Photographer

Jaycie Christopher had one goal this year: win a state championship.

Jaycie Christopher

And with her leading the way, that’s exactly what the Skowhegan High girls’ basketball team did. The River Hawks defeated Greely 60-46 to win the Class A title – the school’s first in basketball.

“It’s been a dream since I was a little kid,” said Christopher, a senior guard who will play next at Boston University. “And to be able to reach that dream, especially with all the work that me and the team put in, it just meant everything.”

Christopher was the River Hawks’ leader all season, averaging 22.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.4 steals. For her accomplishments, Christopher is the Varsity Maine girls’ basketball Player of the Year. She was also named Miss Maine Basketball and the Gatorade Maine girls’ basketball player of the year.

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Opposing coaches said Christopher’s versatility and athleticism set her apart from everyone else. She finished her career with 1,561 points and 663 rebounds.

“She was the best player I saw,” said Sam Farrell of Brunswick. “She could play anywhere on the floor and make it look easy. I don’t know if there was a player who made it look easier. “

Bangor Coach Jay Kemble said Christopher was “one of those players who comes around once every five, six, seven years, in that… she can do everything, she’s just so well rounded. I thought they had an inexperienced group and she was able to bring them along to the point they were of championship caliber. But at the same time, when they needed a big basket, it was going to go through her. “

Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said he knew from the moment Christopher stepped onto the varsity as a freshman that he had a special player.

“She’s always done everything well,” he said. “Over the years, she got stronger. And she worked at her skills every day, no matter what. She refined most of them. “

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LeBlanc said the biggest difference this year was her leadership. She began to show that leadership during the summer entering her junior season. With all summer team activities shut down by the Maine Principals’ Association because of the coronavirus pandemic, Christopher had players gather at her driveway hoop twice a week. They would play all day, especially 3-on-3 ball.

“It was fun, a good way to get everyone together and just play,” said Christopher. “We played a lot of pickup games, and I think that helped a lot, just learning how to play basketball, just the understanding of playing hoop.”

At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, LeBlanc talked with Christopher about involving more of her teammates in the offense. And she responded. Time and again, when she faced double-teams or trick defenses, Christopher would find an open teammate for an easy basket.

“To win a championship, I learned that it takes a team,” said Christopher, who was a Varsity Maine All-State shortstop last year on Skowhegan’s Class A state championship softball team and also played golf for the River Hawks. “You can’t win with one player scoring 20, you have to rely on everyone contributing.”

She also relied on her father, Jon, the athletic director at Skowhegan, to prepare for her senior season.

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“There were a lot of conversations between me and my dad to try to stay relaxed,” she said. “It was a matter of trusting myself, trusting my teammates and trusting the coaches.”


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