BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School and University of Maine basketball alumna Bracey (Barker) Ulin and her husband, Kasey, are the focus of a documentary coming to Reel Pizza this weekend.
“Extending the Play” chronicles the couple’s basketball careers in high school, college and in professional leagues in Europe. It also tells the story of overcoming the personal challenges that arose when they were playing in Luxembourg.
The film’s director and producer, John Dahlgren, is a childhood friend of Ulin. “He came to us one day and asked, ‘What do you think about me filming you guys?’” Ulin said. “It was going to be just a 15-minute short film, but as he did more research, found out more about Bracey and how impressive her career has been, it kept growing.”
The final cut of the film, nearly an hour in length, has been included in several festivals. “He did a really good job, I thought,” Bracey said.
Kasey Ulin grew up in Forks, Wash., which like Bar Harbor is a small coastal town near a national park. The Ulins finished their final season playing professional basketball in April of this year and welcomed their daughter Brooke Jean in June. They now live Washington State, where Mr. Ulin works as a youth coordinator for the Quileute Nation.
“My job is about helping kids make better choices, be more active, live a healthier life,” he said. “It’s a lot about trying to improve the high school graduation rate there.”
Bracey studied kinesiology at the University of Maine and hopes to go back to school for nursing.
The pair met early in their professional careers when Bracey was playing for New Basket Oberhausen. In a subsequent season, they moved to first league club teams in Luxembourg.
They enjoyed connecting with fans. “Whole families come out to the games,” Mr. Ulin said. “You get to know the kids, which is really cool.”
The couple stay connected to Maine and MDI basketball news. Bracey’s brother Brent is the MDI High girls’ basketball coach. “Overseas, we always watch the state tournaments,” Mr. Ulin said. “This year, we stayed up until four in the morning watching the live stream online.”
Asked for advice for young basketball players dreaming of playing in college and beyond, Bracey said, “I always knew I wanted to go to the University of Maine. My dad was my coach, and he really taught me the fundamentals from a young age.” They should have that goal in mind, and know it is possible if you work really hard, she said.
Watch the official trailer below.