ELLSWORTH — Years before they starred on their respective Ellsworth High School basketball teams, Trinity Montigny and Jackson Curtis played alongside one another as teammates.
As youngsters at the Down East Family YMCA, Montigny and Curtis competed together as members of the third/fourth-grade boys’ team. The team, coached by Jackson’s father, Dan, would be a launching pad for years of basketball memories the two players would make on courts throughout the state.
“Those two have always been two of the hardest-working kids around, and you could see it even back then,” Dan Curtis said. “They were great players then, and they’re great players now.”
Montigny and Curtis have shown as much in recent years as standout players on competitive Ellsworth teams. In 2020, nearly a decade after their time as teammates, both players forever etched their names in school’s storied basketball history — and did so in rapid succession.
Montigny and Curtis reached one of high school basketball’s most notorious milestones in January as they became the newest additions to Ellsworth basketball’s 1,000-point club. The two reached the mark just four days apart from one another in front of boisterous Katsiaficas Gymnasium crowds.
“For us both to get it in such a similar time period as each other was just amazing,” Montigny said. “We’ve always been really close competitors and really close friends, and we’re always rooting for each other. That just makes it even more special.”
Curtis became the seventh player in Ellsworth boys’ history to reach the 1,000 mark when he did so Jan. 25 against Presque Isle. The senior entered that Saturday afternoon game needing to score just 22 points to reach the milestone, and he would do so in the third quarter of the Eagles’ 64-47 victory over the Wildcats.
The clinching shot for Curtis came on a free throw that followed a Presque Isle technical foul. After missing the first of his two attempts at the line, Curtis rattled home the second to send the crowd into raptures as his teammates surrounded him in celebration on the floor.
“When I went to the line after [the technical], I heard everybody yelling and cheering,” Curtis said after the game. “That’s when I was like, ‘Wow, it’s really happening.’”
Four days later, Montigny took to the Katsiaficas Gymnasium floor needing 14 points to join Curtis in the 1,000 club. In what would be her final game on her home floor, Montigny reached the mark with ease in the Eagles’ 80-35 Senior Night triumph over Foxcroft.
Starting off hot out of the gate against the visiting Ponies, Montigny finished the first quarter with 11 points to give Ellsworth an early lead. Then, after receiving a pass from teammate Morgan Clifford on the first possession of the second quarter, Montigny drained a triple to join Lynne Wescott (1988) as one of just two Ellsworth girls’ players to notch 1,000 career points.
Although the game was stopped momentarily as Montigny was recognized at midcourt, the senior was far from done. Continuing her offensive onslaught for the remainder of the evening, the Mariaville native finished with a career-high 42 points to propel the Eagles to a vital win in the Class B North standings.
“It was a different night from the beginning,” Montigny said. “I was more focused on the Senior Night aspect of it rather than the 1,000 points. That was also a really important game for us in the standings, so we knew we had to come out and win that one. I just wanted to win, and I guess that translated really well for me.”
Even after graduating high school, Montigny and Curtis are still schoolmates, this time at Husson University. Montigny plays for the women’s basketball team, and Curtis is hoping to begin his freshman year on the school’s baseball team in the spring.
Whenever sports resume at Husson, both athletes will look to build on the legacies they built at Ellsworth. Meanwhile, as future generations of Eagles come through the Katsiaficas Gymnasium doors, the names “Trinity Montigny, 2020” and “Jackson Curtis, 2020” will be hanging side-by-side on the gymnasium walls for all to see.
“Looking back on it, it could not have come together more perfectly for both of us,” Montigny said. “I was one of the loudest cheerers for him that Saturday night, and I know he was pumped for me, too. … I hope we inspired some of the younger kids to keep working hard and continue to grow Ellsworth basketball.”