LEWISTON — Jess Conant made one 3-pointer in her four-year college basketball career at Plymouth State University. 

Last Sunday, in a pivotal game against the Mt. Vernon Shamrocks, the Lewiston-Auburn Maples guard made three treys, including one late in the game that gave LA the lead for good. 

With 1:46 left in the contest and the Maples trailing by two points, guard Julie McCabe kicked the ball out to Conant, who lined up an open 3 from the left wing and cashed it, putting LA up 72-71.

Lewiston-Auburn’s Jessica Conant dribbles the ball up the court while being guarded by Mount Vernon’s Chimonique Watts. Conant, a Dirigo graduate, had 15 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with less than two minutes remaining as the Maples defeated the Shamrocks 74-71 last Sunday at the Lewiston Armory. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“When I shot that shot, I didn’t think about making it or missing it,” Conant, a Dirigo High School graduate from Canton, said. “I just shoot and imagine they’re all going to go in. Confidence is key.”

A bucket by Allexia Barros with less than 10 seconds remaining put the finishing touches on a 74-71 victory, the first-year Maples’ (2-1) second win of the season.

“The 3 she hit with a little under two minutes to go this past Sunday was the biggest shot hit in the short history of the LA Maples basketball team’s existence,” Lewiston-Auburn coach Jim Seavey said.



Conant always found offensive success in other ways besides long-distance shooting prior to playing for the Maples.

“In high school I was like a small-forward, big guard,” Conant said. “I made less than five 3s in high school. I made a lot of drives and tried to get to the line to get fouled.”

Conant had a remarkable high school career despite her lack of outside shooting. She played four years of varsity basketball for Dirigo, was voted second team all-conference her junior year and Mountain Valley Conference player of the year her senior season. Her senior season, 2014-15, she helped the Cougars reach the program’s first regional final since 2006. 

Following her standout high school career, Conant didn’t change much about her game at the next level.

“I wanted to really perfect my inside game, my close jumpers, and getting to the rim as I did in high school,” Conant said. “That’s just been my game all my life.” 


During her four years playing guard at Plymouth State, the 5-foot-9 Conant was second team all-conference in both her junior and senior seasons, scoring over 800 points in that two-year span.

After she finished playing at Plymouth State, she finally found the need to add to her basketball repertoire.

“After my college career, when I was doing intramurals, I was playing against a lot of men that were stronger than me, so I knew I had to shoot outside,” Conant said. “So that kind of led me to continue working on shooting.” 

That feeling intensified when she saw the types of athletes she was going to face in the Women’s American Basketball Association.

“I knew in this league that the girls were going to be bigger and stronger than me, and it was going to be harder to get to the hoop, and I knew I was going to have to shoot from outside because I wouldn’t be able to get to the rim as easily as I did in high school and college,” Conant said. 

Conant’s practice has paid off, as she has become a knock-down shooter for the Maples. 


“I do wish I practiced it more in college, but I have it now, and I have full confidence with it,” Conant said. “I’m glad to see it paying off in games.” 

Conant said that some of her friends and former teammates are shocked to see her newfound skill. 

“All of my friends are like, ‘What are you doing? Why didn’t you do this in college?’” Conant said. 


After graduating from Plymouth State in 2019, Conant thought her competitive basketball career was over. 

Until she saw a social media post about the LA Maples. 


“I think I saw it on Instagram,” Conant said. “It was $20 for a tryout, so I was like, ‘Hey, I’ll pay $20 to go hoop with some girls for the day,’ thinking I wouldn’t even play if I made it.” 

Her thinking quickly changed. 

“As soon as I got on the court, I realized I can’t say no to this opportunity,” Conant said. “I fell back in love with basketball, and I realized how much I missed it when I got back on the court.” 

Playing for the Maples has given Conant a physical, competitive outlet away from her day job as a staff accountant at BerryDunn in Portland. 

“Going to practice is a nice relaxer after staring at a screen all day. It’s like therapy,” Conant said.


Lewiston-Auburn was scheduled to host Ocean 11 NYC at the Lewiston Armory on Sunday, but the Maples announced on social media that that game has been canceled.

Their next home game is Saturday, Aug. 27, against the New Jersey Expressions. Tickets sold for Sunday’s game will be honored at the Aug. 27 contest.

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