Sierra Tapley of Bar Harbor will play for the University of Maine Black Bears when she attends college. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Tapley commits to UMaine

BAR HARBOR — The easiest place to find Mount Desert Island High School junior Sierra Tapley is the gym. This is all the more fitting considering the Mount Desert Island native has just committed to spending a significant part of the next four years of her life in one.

Tapley has accepted a full scholarship to the University of Maine under fifth-year Coach Richard Barron.

Tapley had a couple of offers from Division II schools in the Northeast-10 conference. She also was waiting for two other Division I schools, who were planning on watching her play this weekend before making things official. But Maine literally gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“Ever since I was a kid, it has been my dream to go to UMaine,” Tapley said “The idea of playing in front of my hometown community – that was something no other school had. That was really the decision-maker.”

Tapley follows fellow Bar Harbor native and Mount Desert Island High School standout Bracey Barker on the road to Orono. Barker, a 2002 graduate from MDIHS, played four years at Maine before continuing her career professionally in Germany and Luxembourg. She was a 1,000-point scorer, and helped lead Maine to multiple American East conference tournament appearances.

Tapley may have been too young to remember watching Barker, but she was proud to be following her footsteps. “I didn’t really watch her play, but my dad talks about her all the time. She’s definitely a household name.”

Like Barker did, Tapley will join a young UMaine team. They will graduate eight seniors this year, leaving a lot of room for younger players like Tapley. “He always said in all our phone calls that there’s no ceiling put on anybody, whether you’re a walk-on or a full scholarship player. If you work hard and just play the way you need to play basketball, your game will just take you to where you need to be.”

Before she becomes a Black Bear however, Tapley will enjoy one more year in a Trojan uniform. She will lead a team that returns a talented core group and has a little extra fire from their early ousting from this year’s Eastern Maine tournament.

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