Throughout all of the Snohomish High School girls basketball program’s success the past four seasons, the one constant on the court was Maya DuChesne.
The four-year starting point guard played an integral role in the Panthers’ three state trophies over that span, serving as a steady floor general who provided whatever her team needed to win games.
That was never more evident than this season, when she assumed the role of a go-to scorer and carried a young team to yet another success-filled campaign.
DuChesne averaged 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game while leading youth-laden Snohomish to a district title and a fourth-place trophy at the Class 3A Hardwood Classic. And in the most pivotal moments during the Panthers’ state run, it was the 5-foot-8 senior who came through in the clutch.
For her standout campaign and postseason heroics, DuChesne is The Herald’s 2019 Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“She just does what you need to do to win basketball games,” Snohomish coach Ken Roberts said. “… She has the stuff that you can’t teach kids. You don’t look at her and go, ‘Wow, that’s an imposing kid.’ And yet, at the end of the day, all she did was win.”
After taking over as the starting point guard in the fourth game of her freshman season, DuChesne helped the Panthers to an 80-20 record. That includes a 65-10 mark in conference and postseason play.
Two of her biggest performances occurred last month, when she led Snohomish to a pair of comeback wins en route to the state quarterfinals.
The first came in a loser-out state regional contest against Lake Washington, with the Panthers facing an eight-point deficit after a miserable first-half offensive performance. DuChesne took matters into her own hands and rescued Snohomish with 10 third-quarter points — including eight in a span of two minutes — to lead a second-half rally that sent the Panthers to the Tacoma Dome for the Hardwood Classic.
“It was the difference in the game,” Snohomish senior Courtney Perry said of her teammate’s third-quarter scoring barrage.
DuChesne then continued her clutch play in the opening round of the Hardwood Classic, draining a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to lift the Panthers into the state quarterfinals with a 42-39 upset victory over Seattle Prep. She finished with a team-high 18 points, helping Snohomish erase a 13-point second-half deficit.
“She’s willing to take big shots,” Roberts said. “You can’t be afraid to fail, and she’s not. … She’s competitive.”
DuChesne is the daughter of former Snohomish basketball star Nate DuChesne, a 1985 graduate who was a high school teammate of Roberts. Nate DuChesne went on to play at the University of Montana before embarking on a coaching career that included eight seasons at the helm of the Stanwood boys program, as well as college assistant-coaching positions with Montana and Portland State.
“I’ve kind of been around basketball my whole entire life,” Maya said. “I don’t really know life without it. My dad’s been a coach for a very long time, so it was the first sport I started to play, and I just really fell in love with it.”
DuChesne grew up playing point guard, and her years of experience at the position — along with her background as a coach’s daughter — are evident in her advanced understanding of the game.
“She was really a coach on the floor,” Roberts said. “She has some of those things you just can’t teach — a feel for the game. She knows what should happen before she even gets the ball — whether it’s a shot (or) a pass to somebody. … She gave (teammates) a lot of lay-ins over the last few years that were just great passes where she knew exactly where the ball should go.”
Over the course of her career, DuChesne’s role varied depending on the team’s personnel.
During her sophomore year, DuChesne assumed more of a scoring role and helped key several comeback wins on a team that placed third in the state. As a junior, with a pair of strong post players inside, she went back to being more of a facilitator while helping the Panthers to a Wesco 3A/2A title.
“She could’ve scored more her junior year,” Roberts said. “She was just getting it to other people, (and) we were winning games.”
But with youth surrounding her this season, DuChesne developed into Snohomish’s leading scorer.
“I think between junior and senior year is when I really learned to score — not just shooting 3s (and) lay-ins, but shooting in between those spots,” she said. “That’s where I saw myself improve.”
DuChesne, who plans to continue her basketball career at Northwest University in Kirkland, also was key to a stifling defense that allowed just 37.7 points per game. Because of personnel reasons, she moved to the bottom corner of the Panthers’ 2-3 zone this season. Yet despite a height disadvantage, she still was effective both as a defender and one of the team’s leading rebounders.
“She improved every area of her game for all four years,” Roberts said. “You want to see your seniors playing their best basketball their senior year — kids getting better every single year. And she definitely did that. … That’s why we had success this year.”