Kaeti Butterfield may not have ended her high school basketball career the way she had hoped, but her future in the sport is bright.

Immediately following her team’s 52-35 loss to North Yarmouth Academy in the Class C South quarterfinals Tuesday morning, the Monmouth Academy senior signed her letter of intent to play basketball next season at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Monmouth senior Kaeti Butterfield with University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball coach Alex Stern. Butterfield signed to play with the Moose after the Mustangs lost to NYA on Tuesday. (Kennebec Journal photo by Dave Dyer)

Butterfield signed her letter in the team’s locker room at the Augusta Civic Center, joined by UMA women’s basketball coach Alex Stern and former UMA head coach Jennifer Lainey, who is the school’s athletic director.

“I’m very excited. Obviously it’s kind of hard when your season just ended,” Butterfield said. “Coach Lainey, who used to be the coach for UMA, sent me a letter about recruitment. I came here and toured the college during the summer. I don’t want to go to a big (Division I) school, because I know I probably wouldn’t play. It’s only 20 minutes from my home, has what I want for a degree. I met with Coach Stern when he became the coach, and he said I’d be a great fit for the team.”

Stern, who has been at the Civic Center scouting the tournament throughout the week, said Butterfield will be an excellent fit for the Moose.

“Kaeti is going to bring a lot of intensity to our team,” Stern said. “Her work ethic is phenomenal, she’s always out there hustling, working hard, going after the long rebounds, the short rebounds. The effort that she gives just brings a lot of energy to us on the court, which is something that I always look for in players.”

Butterfield will be a part of Stern’s first recruiting class at UMA. He took over the program right before the season, inheriting a young team full of Lainey’s previous recruits. Despite the quick adjustment period needed between Stern and his players, the Moose wrapped up the season Sunday with a 10-15 record, including a 77-75 upset victory in overtime over Thomas College on Dec. 4 in Waterville.

Stern believes Butterfield’s versatility will mesh well with his up-tempo style of play.

“She’s worked on expanding her game, so she’s not just a post player anymore,” Stern said. “She’s expanded into shooting 3s as well, which is nice, because when I look for a post player, I like for them to be an inside-out type threat. That way, if we go up against a team that has a post who’s uncomfortable with guarding a post who can shoot from further out, we can expand the floor that way. It opens up so much more for the other players.”

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