By Roger Amsden
BRISTOL — Ashlee Dukette, a sophomore at Newfound Regional High School who helped lead her team to an undefeated 18-0 regular season, has been named the Division III Player of the Year by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Association.
She was the leading scorer and rebounder for her team, averaging 18 points a game in both categories, and also led the team with an average of six steals per game. And, while she has the size at 5'10" to play down inside, she's actually the team's shooting guard where her size creates mismatch problems for other teams. Either she's in position to take smaller opponents into the post or uses her quickness to drive by defenders when teams bring taller players out to cover her.
When Newfound defeated Somersworth 56-30 to close out its undefeated regular season she had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals. During a Jan. 6 game against Inter-Lakes, which Newfound won 64-37, she scored 29 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had nine steals, six blocks and three assists. A few days later against Berlin, she had a 25-point, 11-rebound, 12-steal triple-double in a game Newfound won 47-35.
She does all of this while playing with a facial expression that shows little emotion, whether she's just blocked a shot or drained a three-pointer, according to Newfound Athletic Director Pete Cofran, who says that Dukette has a reserved personality and doesn't like to draw attention to herself.
"She's a really good team player who is always into the game and alert to what's going on with the other players on the team. When other teams double up on her she knows how to get the ball to other players who are open for good shots," says Cofran.
Dukette says that her teammates "are the reason I was successful," and that she has two sisters who also play sports and enjoy support from their parents.
She also plays volleyball and softball and was a first team All-State Division III volleyball player last fall. In softball she's a catcher and first baseman and when she was only 11 years old hit three homers in three games for the New Hampshire Lightning in an AAU tournament in which she was selected as Most Valuable Player.
"She's very good at all three sports and has a good balance in her life," says Cofran.
Dukette still has two more years to continue to improve her game and has set a high goal for her future, setting her sights on playing college basketball at the University of Connecticut, which ran a 111-game winning streak before being upset in the NCAA women's semifinals last week.
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