Calais Girls Have Championship Legacy

By Lura Jackson

In the 2013-14 season, the Calais girls added their names to a long legacy that has repeatedly brought distinction to this remote area. In becoming State Champions in basketball, the girls’ team joins the distinguished company of the many stalwart and competitive young women from Calais that earned the title before them, including those that were victorious in the very first state championship ever held in 1931. 

Girls’ basketball began in Calais with the 1926 class of the Calais Academy. “Resplendent in their freshly-starched white middies and black ties” (in the words of one of the earlier coaches), the girls would fiercely battle against familiar rivals: Eastport, Woodland, Lubec, and Princeton. The girls quickly earned a reputation for their skill as the coaches learned to utilize it, and the team was well-prepared for the first official championship tournament five years later.

The tournament of 1931 was held in Livermore Falls in the southern part of the state, and as occasionally happens in Maine, there was a blizzard during the championship game. It took the girls two days to travel down there, with seven of them crammed into the coach’s single car. At several points the car got stuck in a snow drift and the whole team had to get out and push it free, and they witnessed the aftermath of at least one terrible accident. Facing each of these challenges with determination, the team was united in defeating Oxford by a margin of 16 points for the state cup, displaying what the Livermore Advertiser referred to as “a flashy basketball style hither to unknown for a girl’s team [sic] on the local courts.”

That sense of flashiness endured throughout each season for the Calais girls, bringing them title after title (including the very next year in1931-32). The 1940-41 team was undefeated in its season, toppling the Bangor Maine School of Commerce and their record of 28 consecutive victories.  The modern Lady Blue Devils have proven equally tenacious, with seven state championships earned between the years of 1993 and 2014, consistently demonstrating what a group of individuals can do with hard work and the support of the community behind them.    

With thanks to the St. Croix Historical Society for materials. The society now has a Facebook page with frequent postings of historical photos for all to enjoy, which can be located at: https://www.facebook.com/stcroixhs.