A friendly rivalry helped prepare new Deer Isle-Stonington basketball coach

·3 min read

Dec. 7—Bob St. Peter is the first-year coach of the Deer Isle-Stonington High School girls basketball team. He has not had to spend much time learning each player's strengths and weaknesses.

That is because he had been coaching the junior high basketball teams at the Bay School in Blue Hill and one of its rivals is Deer Isle-Stonington.

So he already knew the players and he got to know them even better last season because his daughter, Luna Perry-St. Peter, played for the Mariners after transferring from Blue Hill's George Stevens Academy following her sophomore season. He also coached the Deer Isle-Stonington girls this past summer, helping out former head coach Randy Shepard.

"It's a wonderful group of kids," said St. Peter, also in his first year as the school system's director of athletics. "They do whatever I ask and more."

St. Peter landed the job after Shepard informed him a week before practices began that he was not going to be able to coach this season. He got feedback from somebody close to the program who said he would have support from players and parents.

"That's all I needed to hear so I applied to the principal (Laura Davis) and the superintendent (Bob England) approved it," he said.

St. Peter had coached the Bay School's middle school girls team for five years and he was also the boys coach for one season. His wife, Juli Perry, has succeeded him as the Bay School's girls middle school coach and their daughter, Emma, is an eighth grader who plays for her.

St. Peter was raised in an Air Force family that had two tours at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. He played basketball for two years at Caribou High School and then earned a degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire in 1998.

The 45-year-old St. Peter has a diverse background that includes working for non-profit organizations and farm work. He has also been involved in basketball camps and strength and conditioning clinics, saying the new $100,000 fitness room at the Deer Isle-Stonington elementary school, courtesy of a national grant, will be an asset.

"The kids will be able to grow up and develop in a fitness culture and that is a huge boost for our program," he said.

St. Peter inherited a program steeped in recent success: Over the three seasons prior to last season's COVID-19-shortended pod season, the Mariners went 48-2 in the regular season before losing in the regional finals to Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook twice after losing to Woodland in the semifinals in 2017.

He feels he has two of the best players in Class D North in his daughter, who averaged 12.6 points and 12.6 rebounds at GSA her sophomore year, and guard Macey Brown. He also has several other good players but has just eight on his roster.

"We've got to make sure we keep them healthy," said St. Peter, who will be assisted by Ryan Hayward. "This season is going to be a lot of fun."

His Mariners open the season against George Stevens Academy on Friday at 6 p.m.

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