By Bangor Daily News Staff Ernie Clark Hunter Curtis of Ellsworth, Will Kusnierz of Dexter and Hunter Burpee of Aroostook South of Dyer Brook were instrumental in leading their teams to basketball championships- Northern Region Men’s Ball at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Their play and leadership earned the trio the Bangor Daily News 2022 William C.
By Bangor Daily News staff member Ernie Clark
Hunter Curtis of Ellsworth, Will Kusnierz of Dexter and Hunter Burpee of Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook were instrumental in leading their teams to the Northern Region Men’s Basketball Championships at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor .
Their play and leadership earned the trio the Bangor Daily News William C. Warner Awards 2022 as the most valuable players in Class B, C and D.
Teams for all tournaments were selected by votes from media and tournament staff.
Curtis was a unanimous MVP choice while leading Ellsworth to his first Class B North title since 2016, while Kusnierz also garnered all MVP votes as Dexter won his second straight Class C North crown.
The MVP race was a family affair in Class D, with Burpee, a senior center, edging out his brother, sophomore forward Dylan Burpee, for the Warner Award after both propelled Southern Aroostook to their first regional championship since 1991. .
Curtis is joined in the Class B all-tournament squad by teammate Chance Mercier of Ellsworth, Pierce Walston of Orono, Edoardo Fiore of John Bapst of Bangor and Gabe Gifford of Old Town.
The Class C all-tournament team consists of Kusnierz and Avery Gagnon from Dexter, Bryce Schneider from George Stevens Academy from Blue Hill, Simon Allen from Central of Corinth and Austin Delisle from Fort Kent.
Machias cousins Shane and Kashman Feeney and Carter Pelletier of Wisdom of Saint Agatha join Hunter and Dylan Burpee on the Class D North all-tournament team.
Curtis’ versatility was on display across the region as the senior forward averaged 13.7 points per game at Bangor and nearly scored a triple-double in the championship game against Orono with 18 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
Mercier, a sophomore forward, was Ellsworth’s top scorer in their three-game tournament, averaging 16 points to a game-high 25 in the Eagles’ quarterfinal win over Almost Isle.
Walston, a sophomore goaltender, was both a playmaker and point producer as a young Orono team qualified for the championship game. He averaged 14.0 points per game, including 24 points in the Red Riots’ semi-final win over John Bapst.
Fiore, a senior guard for John Bapst, via Venice, Italy, announced his arrival at the tournament with 20 points and 12 rebounds as the 11th-seeded Crusaders upset No. 3 Foxcroft Academy in the quarterfinals, a performance that included a ¾ pitch. 3 points to end the first quarter. He averaged 17.0 points in two tournament games.
Gifford, a junior guard, scored 13 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Coyotes survive Mount View of Thorndike in the quarters. Gifford had four 3-pointers in the contest and finished his team’s tournament averaging 13.5 points per contest.
Kusnierz joins older brother Brett, the 2020 winner, as the all-tournament pick and is Dexter’s second consecutive player to earn MVP honors, following Nathan Richards two years ago. The junior forward averaged 21.7 points and scored 29 in the quarter-finals and helped Dexter recover from an early 23-2 deficit in the league game against George Stevens by scoring 12 of his 14 points after the intermission.
Gagnon epitomized the team defense that helped Dexter win its second straight regional crown, and the senior guard also averaged nearly 10 points per game, including 19 points in the semis and the game-winning basket with 38. seconds left in the title match against GSA.
Schneider was a key part of the commanding GSA frontline, averaging 10.3 points with a team record 17 as the Eagles beat Central of Corinth in the semi-finals.
Allen, a senior guard, averaged 20.5 points per game during his time at Bangor, including 23 points in the Red Devils’ quarter-final loss to No. 3 Woodland, despite defending box- and-one.
Delisle averaged 16.0 points per game, including a burst of 28 points in the quarter-finals as the Warriors dominated Calais.
Hunter Burpee showed considerable versatility at the South Aroostook Tournament, with a 3-point shooting range. But his strength was his inside game, as the senior Warriors big man was averaging 18.0 points per game. He had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the quarterfinals, then scored 25 points with nine boards in the semifinals.
Dylan Burpee, a sophomore forward, nearly matched his brother’s offensive output, averaging 16.7 points at Cross Center, including 21 points and nine rebounds in the quarterfinals and 17 points in the semifinals.
Shane Feeney was the D North tournament’s top scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game for Machias, including a 26-point semi-final.
Kashman Feeney, a senior forward and Class D North 2020 Most Valuable Player, averaged 16.0 points in three games, including 29 in a semi-final win over Wisdom.
Pelletier, a senior guard, led Wisdom to its first semifinal appearance since 1996, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers rallied from a 10-point deficit to edge Bangor Christian in quarter-finals.
Class B, C, D
All North Tournament Teams
*Hunter Curtis, Sr., F, Ellsworth
Chance Mercier, So., F, Ellsworth
Pierce Walston, So., G, Orono
Edoardo Fiore, Sr., G, John Bapst
Gabe Gifford, Jr., G, Old Town
Honorable Mention: Gage Hardy (Ellsworth), Ben Francis (Orono), Isaac Hayes (Old Town), Ellis Spaulding (Orono), Emmitt Byther (Old Town)
* Will Kusnierz, Jr., F, Dexter
Avery Gagnon, Sr., G, Dexter
Bryce Schneider, Sr., C, George Stevens
Austin Delisle, Sr., G, Fort Kent
Simon Allen, Sr., G, Central
Honorable Mention: Seth Robbins (Dexter), Ethan Daigle (Fort Kent), Teague Smallidge (George Stevens), Bryce Burns (Central), Patrick Dagan (George Stevens)
*Hunter Burpee, Sr., C, South Aroostook
Dylan Burpee, So., F, South Aroostook
Shane Feeney, Jr., F. Machias
Kashman Feeney, Sr., F, Machias
Carter Pelletier, Sr., G, Wisdom
Honorable mention: Camden Porter (So. Aroostook), Kaden Hannan (Schenck), Kaden Daigle (Wisdom), Graham Siltz (Southern Aroostook), Damon Beal (Jonesport-Beals)