2013-12-20 / Sports Spotlight

Versatility is hoop star’s calling card

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Junior Ashley Briggs is being counted on to bring varsity experience to the Scarborough girls’ basketball team this year. The team, which includes only three players who have played at the varsity level, is looking continue the success of a 15-3 season last winter. (Michael Kelley photo) Junior Ashley Briggs is being counted on to bring varsity experience to the Scarborough girls’ basketball team this year. The team, which includes only three players who have played at the varsity level, is looking continue the success of a 15-3 season last winter. (Michael Kelley photo) Ashley Briggs is a jack-of-all-trades for the Scarborough girls’ varsity basketball team. The junior has been on the varsity team since her freshman year and is being counted on to learn a new position on a roster that is learning how to meld as a team.

New head coach Mike Giordano is sure his star player will transition just fine.

“In three years she has played three different positions. It shows her versatility,” he said of Briggs, who started at strong forward her freshman year, point guard her sophomore year and shooting guard this year. “She is capable of playing all three positions.”


Head coach Mike Giordano said Ashley Briggs has talent both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. On defense, she guards the opponents’ best offensive threat. Briggs, he said, will take a more active role in the scoring this season after playing the point guard position last winter. (Michael Kelley photo) Head coach Mike Giordano said Ashley Briggs has talent both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. On defense, she guards the opponents’ best offensive threat. Briggs, he said, will take a more active role in the scoring this season after playing the point guard position last winter. (Michael Kelley photo) The idea of moving Briggs to shooting guard, Giordano said, was to give her a bigger role in the Red Storm’s offensive attack.

“Her skill set is the best on our team and one of the best in the league,” said Giordano, who took over the team after Ron Cote resigned for health reasons after one year at the helm.

Giordano was a longtime girls’ basketball coach in South Portland.

“She can do it all. She can dribble, she can pass, she can shoot, but what I think she does best is defend,” Giordano said. “Not only do we ask her to score, we ask her to defend the opponent’s best player. There is no question in my mind she can handle that role.”

Giordano said despite being only a junior, Briggs brings leadership to a starting roster made up of junior Bailey Adams, sophomores Jamie Sargent and Emma Hall and freshman Brooke Malone.

“We lost a lot from last year. The team graduated four starters and two other seniors,” Giordano said. “We lost a lot of leadership from a 15-3 team.”

He said his biggest challenge going into the season was familiarizing himself with the Scarborough basketball program.

“The advantage I had coming in was I knew the league, because I coached (at South Portland) the last 17 years. The disadvantage was I needed to get to know a new team,” Giordano said.

So far so good for Briggs and her teammates, which, after a 48-43 loss to Windham Dec. 13, own a 2-1 record.

“It was really important for a young team like this to get comfortable with each other from the start,” Giordano said.

Giordano is the fourth head coach Briggs has had since she started at Scarborough High School.

Jim Seavey was the head coach during the start of her freshman year, but left before the season started to take an assistant coaching job at the University of Southern Maine.

In October 2011, Tom Maines, a longtime boys’ basketball coach in Maine, replaced Seavey, now the head coach of the Freeport girls’ basketball team.

Maines only lasted a year before he resigned, citing family reasons, and was replaced by Cote, who coached at Biddeford High School for much of his nearly 40-year coaching career.

Briggs said she sees a benefit to the revolving door of head coaches.

“It boosts everyone’s basketball IQs learning different styles and ways to play the game,” Briggs said Thursday, Dec. 12, a day before she scored 16 points in the loss to Windham. “We all get a different lesson on how high school basketball is played.”

Briggs said her teammates, many playing varsity basketball for the first time, didn’t have much time to build a rapport with each other in the two weeks between tryouts and the start of the season, Dec. 6.

“We can only improve from here if we practice hard. We are working on being quick and well conditioned,” Briggs said.

Briggs is following in her aunt and father’s footprints.

Her aunt, Heather, who earned scholarship to play at the University of Maine, was inducted Dec. 12 into the Biddeford High School Athletic Hall of Honor.

Ashley Briggs’ father, Donald, played at the University of Maine at Farmington.

“Basketball’s been a huge part of my dad’s side of the family,” Briggs said.

It was a game Briggs quickly fell in love with.

“I’ve always loved basketball,” said Briggs, who just started thinking about colleges she is interested in attending in fall 2015, including Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and Stonehill College in Massachusetts. “I love how fast it is and how you can go from nuts on defense to patient on offense. There is a great pace to the game.”

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