Life and athletics have been truly a family affair for the Flemings of South Paris.
Whether it’s involved following sons Andrew and Matthew as they have emerged among the state’s top basketball players of recent vintage or supporting twin daughters Abby and Libby as they develop in their chosen sports, parents Brian and Gretchen Fleming have not been far behind.
Now, with Andrew Fleming set to start his sophomore year at the University of Maine after earning America East All-Rookie team honors as a freshman basketball standout for the Black Bears and both parents having numerous connections to the Bangor area, the family has decided to move north.
“We’re a pretty close family. The kids and I and Brian do a lot together,” said Gretchen Fleming. “We followed Andrew around a lot last year to as many games as we possibly could, so part of it was just a desire to be around his home games easier.”
While Andrew Fleming continues his studies at UMaine, Matthew, Abby and Libby will enroll in Bangor High School, Matthew as a junior and Abby and Libby as freshmen.
The move figures to have immediate ramifications on high school basketball in the region, with the 6-foot-5 Matthew Fleming coming off a sophomore season at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School of South Paris when he earned second-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine recognition.
Fleming, whose older brother was the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and a first-team BDN All-Maine selection for the Vikings in 2016, averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last winter in leading Oxford Hills to a berth in the Class AA North semifinals. He scored a career-high 41 points during a game against Gardiner.
Fleming, also a Class AA North first-team all-star last winter, played this summer for the highly successful Black Bear North AAU program based in Hermon.
He’ll join a Bangor High School program coached by Carl Parker that won its last six regular-season games last winter to finish with an 8-10 record in Class AA North.
Abby and Libby Fleming will be first-year student-athletes at Bangor High School. Both twins participate in basketball, while Abby also plays field hockey while Libby competes in soccer.
“If we were going to (move), it was going to be this year,” said their mother. “We would not have moved if Abby and Libby were already in high school.”
Both Brian and Gretchen Fleming grew up in the Bangor area, Brian in Hampden where he played basketball at Hampden Academy and Gretchen in Glenburn where she lived until age 12 while her father served as a city planner in Bangor.
The two met while attending the University of Maine and later lived in Winterport until moving to the South Paris area when Brian Fleming took a management job with New Balance Athletics. Inc.
Gretchen Fleming, a teacher, has accepted a position at Fruit Street School in Bangor while her husband is seeking employment in the Bangor area while still working at Jones & Vining, Inc., in Lewiston.
“It just worked out the way it did,” said Gretchen Fleming. “I don’t want this to be that we weren’t happy with Oxford Hills. The Oxford Hills community has been spectacular to my children. My kids had a lot of support from Oxford Hills.
“It was more a desire to be back up in this area.”