JAY — During the middle of an interview, Spruce Mountain’s Haley Turcotte spoke up and politely asked if she could answer a previous question.

She looked over at teammate Calley Baker for a moment and the pair chimed in about forward Julianne Doiron’s return to the basketball team and contribution to the Phoenix’s success this season.

The pair shares two important traits — humility and gravitas. They understand they are not the whole ball of wax even though these impact players are reasons why the Phoenix will land another postseason appearance.

A shoutout to Doiron by Baker and Turcotte — both three-sport athletes — demonstrated their modesty and leadership.

“They’re leaders; they’re coachable,” Spruce Mountain coach Zachary Keene said. “They compete at a high level day in and day out — on the court and in the classroom.

“They’re great teammates. Most importantly, they’re great kids and I’m lucky to be able to say I coach them.”

Spruce Mountain senior guards Calley Baker, left, and Haley Turcotte are two good reasons why the Phoenix make another trip to the postseason. (Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi)

Two times the fun

Baker and Turcotte are two different personalities who have their own unique perspective of the game. But they have found a way to make it work between them and the other two seniors — guard Emily White and Doiron.

“Haley and Calley are both effective in their own way,” Keene said. “Haley is a thinker and an offensive force — a calming presence who leads us in big situations.

“Calley is all instincts and athleticism. Her length, athleticism and motor make her a very unique player to have.”

Turcotte, also a top-notch golfer whose slow, confident approach on the links carries over to the court, goes about her business in a nonchalant way. Baker is the effervescent type who gets up close and personal when an opponent has the ball. The pair feed off each other and work in unison.

“Calley is an amazing defender. She does so much for us on the defensive end. She gets stops, rebounds — and anything we need of her — and I am like the opposite,” Turcotte said. “I am more like an offensive guru, you could say.

“I think it is cool that we are two totally opposite players. We are two totally different players and work well together. Our main goal is to win. I feel like we both have a good basketball I.Q. I definitely feel like it is our passion,” Turcotte said.

Spruce Mountain senior forward Juju Doiron fights for a rebound.(Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi)

Baker, whose specialty is defense and began playing basketball just five years ago, thinks this winning tandem works for a variety of reasons and the pair seem to thrive on the additional pressure that comes with calling the shots.

“I see the ball and I want it,” Baker said. “I just go for it. Haley helps us a lot. We always lift each other up when we are down. We don’t argue. We never argue. We just love the game.”

Turcotte said the Phoenix’ success comes from players who know how to work together.

“Say we need a defensive stop or rebound, Calley goes and gets it,” Turcotte said. “That motivates me to do my thing, to do what I can to help us win. So yes, she definitely does motivate me on the court. She is on my side; I am on her side. We all work together.”

Baker points to the Phoenix’ speed as one of the reasons for Spruce Mountain’s prosperity on defense.

“The success we have had defensively this year has come from everyone,” Keene said. “Julianne Doiron, Emily White, Auri Armandi, so on and so forth. Everyone has bought in to what we are trying to do on that end of the court. Their improvement as a unit has been awesome.”

“We have a lot of talented people on our team,” Baker added.

Spruce Mountain senior guard Emily White takes a defensive posture. (Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi)

“Everyone has made huge strides forward,” Turcotte said. “We are all a year older…and have all taken steps forward and it has definitely helped us a lot. Defense is definitely our strong suit and we’ve all taken to that.”

White and Turcotte played together coming up through the ranks.

“Ever since we were younger, I remember playing with Haley and she has always stuck out,” White said. “When there is a shot to be made or a game to win, Haley is the one who is going to shoot it.

“But on the court, I think nobody outputs Calley. She gives 110 percent all the time. She is just go, go. I think a majority of our defense comes from Calley and Juju.

“Those two are probably our biggest defensive players and I think Haley is our biggest offensive player. I think if we didn’t have Calley and Haley, we wouldn’t be where we are now. I think what makes (the team) special is our connection on and off the court. We are super tight knit.”

Doiron added: “I think we all bring something different. We all bring a different type of defense and offense, and I think when we are all out there together, we are all one and we know what we are going to do. We just make it happen.”

Keene said opposites attract and that’s what propels Turcotte and Baker on the court.

“I think it goes without saying that Haley is huge for us offensively,” Keene added. “Even when she is not scoring, just having her on the floor is huge. She spaces the floor and gives others room to work.

“When its all said and done, she’ll be one the of the most prolific scorers in Spruce history.

“Calley just works. Her best offense is her defense — playing passing lanes and anticipating. She’s improved her perimeter game and improved as a shooter. She’s dangerous in transition. To have her as another option with Haley and Jaycee Cole has been a huge lift.”

Doiron a welcomed sight

Haley Turcotte, left, and Calley Baker right double team Madison’s Katie Worthen during a game at The Nest in Jay. (Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi)

Turcotte said Doiron’s return to the team has made a big difference in the season’s outcome.

“I think you can agree that having JuJu (Juliatte Doiron) back is huge for us,” Turcotte said. “She took a year off. I don’t know why, but she is huge for us.

“She brings so much energy to us. Having her on defense, she usually has our back because she lets us know everything.”

“Everyone wanted her back,” Baker said. “She’s the loudest on the court.”

Dorion said she missed basketball a “little bit” her junior year and wanted to finish out her senior year on the court.

“I do a lot of skiing,” Doiron said. “I did miss it so I wanted to come back.”

The absence of camaraderie and the wooing of her teammates to return also persuaded Doiron to return.

“It’s great working with Turcotte and Baker,” Doiron said. “We are all seniors. I think we are really close as a team. We all work so well together.”

What’s next for fearsome foursome

All four seniors are looking forward to college in the fall.

Turcotte, a top-10 student, might major  in chemical engineering at the University of Maine or actuary science at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Baker, who is hovering just outside the top 10, has already been accepted to Husson College, but she is also eyeing UMaine to major in psychology and criminal justice.

White wants to attend UMF and Dorion will be heading to Southern Maine Technical College to study radiology.

“They allow us to be who we want to be,” Keene said. “The senior class has honestly been a joy to have and the younger players have followed suit.

“Whether its Haley knocking down shots, Calley flying around on defense, Juju battling in the post night in and night out or Em White’s toughness and competitiveness, its all been great.

“I look forward to the rest of the year and one more run for these guys. They are a special group of kids.”

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