Edward Little’s Troy Barnies and Mountain Valley’s Andy Shorey now have more in common besides playing basketball near the banks of the Androscoggin River.

Both are among the finalists for the 2007 Mr. Maine Basketball Award, the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches announced Monday.

Gardiner senior center Sean McNally is the third finalist for the award, given to the state’s outstanding senior player after considering their “performance on the court, as well as their contribution to their team and to Maine basketball.”

The winner will be announced March 16 at the Maine McDonald’s All-Star Banquet at Husson College’s Newman Gymnasium.

The finalists were selected among a group of 10 semifinalists announced earlier in the month.

“I think it’s amazing,” Barnies said Monday night. “I remember my freshman year talking to Coach (Mike) Adams about Mr. Basketball, and we were joking around about how if I really worked hard, I would have a chance to win. It’s gone from something I joked about my freshman year to a dream, really.”

Barnies, a 6-foot-7 center, led Edward Little to an undefeated regular season and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship before the Red Eddies were upset in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Class A tournament by Hampden Academy. He averaged 22.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game and was named the KVAC’s co-Player of the Year along with McNally. Both of them have signed to play basketball at the University of Maine in the fall.

“It’s recognition of the hard work that Troy has put in,” said Adams, who himself was Maine’s Mr. Basketball in 1990 at Mt. Blue. “All that it takes for a team and an individual to be successful, he’s done that.”

Barnies credited Adams with playing a major role in his development as a basketball player.

“He made me really want to play basketball and really work hard,” Barnies said. “His dedication to make me better is why I’m here today.”

Shorey learned of the announcement shortly before he and his team began its first practice in preparation for Friday night’s Class B state championship game against Camden Hills,

“It feels good to see your name in there with Troy and Sean. I know Sean pretty well,” said Shorey, who played AAU ball with the Gardiner star.

“I’m more looking forward to the state championship right now, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll look back on and say, ‘Wow,'” he added.

Shorey, a 6-foot-4 center, averaged 18 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while leading the Falcons to a 15-3 regular-season record and was named the Mountain Valley Conference’s Player of the Year. During the postseason, he’s averaged 19 ppg and 11 rpg and was named the Western B tournament’s outstanding player.

“It’s well deserved,” Mountain Valley coach Dave Gerrish said. “He had a great four years and worked hard all the way through. He plays all facets of the game well. He defends well, he rebounds well, he passes well, he scores well and he’s a great teammate.”

The finalists for Miss Basketball 2007 were also announced and they are: Chelsey Barker of Messalonskee, Ashley Cimino of Catherine McAuley and Cassie Cooper of Cony.

The banquet precedes Saturday’s full slate at Husson, which includes the Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star Basketball Games as well as a girls’ 3-point shoot-out and a boys’ slam dunk contest.

Barnies said he’s invited a large contingent to the weekend festivities.

“I’ve got a bandwagon coming, but they’re coming to watch me in the dunk contest,” he said. “I’ve already got my routine down. Now, it just comes down to practice.”

Tickets are good for all events on game day and can be purchased at the door on Saturday, March 17. All tickets are $5 and net proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine.

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