All-Banner: Bibens a ‘crazy combo' for Patriots
Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- For the last two seasons, Aaryngston Bibens' role for Mount Anthony Union High School has defied convention and dared description.
Is he more of a point guard or a power forward? A point-forward? A power-guard?
The debate might never be settled.
One thing that is certain, however, is Bibens, the Patriots' double-double machine and focal point for two years running, takes the prize as the area's top boys basketball player, the 2012-13 All-Banner Player of the Year.
Dynamic by nature and necessity, the 6-foot-3 senior averaged 19.6 points and 10.5 rebounds a game as Mount Anthony, after bouncing back from an 0-9 start to the season, came within shouting distance of the Division I Final Four.
"It's hard to believe he's graduating. It's been neat to see him develop over the years," MAU coach Dan Sleeman said. "With his rebounding and ball-handling, his unique combination of skills -- it's really the end of an era."
In three varsity seasons -- the first as the lone sophomore on a loaded semifinal squad -- Bibens racked up 951 points, good enough for sixth in program history. His 751 career rebounds place him third in the school's record books, according to Sleeman.
"Scoring is supposed to be like a big thing but I'm proud of how I rebounded from the guard position," Bibens said.
Breathers were few and far between for the MAU standout. Rare were the minutes he spent on the bench -- for fatigue or foul trouble -- and rarer still were games he failed to see teams gear up for him. Double-teams and specially calibrated help schemes showed up just about every game.
"We devised our whole gameplan to guard him," Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac said. "I'm pretty sure he had to work hard for everything this year."
That sort of attention was satisfying but also took its toll on Bibens, who has said he's drawn interest from Division I and Division II colleges but would like to spend a year in prep school to elevate his game further.
"It's definitely a good feeling, you feel respected, coaches tell you after the game they game-planned for you, double teams and stuff, but at the same time you just have to work really hard," he said. "Once you get past one person there's another person."
Sleeman compared his impact to that of former MAU star A.J. Mahar -- to a point.
"But [Mahar] didn't have the point-guard duties," Sleeman said. "It's a crazy combination."
While Bibens' 25-point, 10-rebound effort in the quarterfinals gave the No. 13 Patriots the halftime lead on the road against Burlington, nearly propelling them to Patrick Gym for the semis, it was his Senior Night effort, showcasing his entire repertoire, that made sure they got the playoffs at all.
In his final game at Kates Gym, Bibens poured in 27 points -- 20 after halftime -- and collected 14 rebounds to power Mount Anthony to a postseason-clinching sixth victory. At one point in the second half, he bracketed an above-the-rim defensive rebound with back-to-back 3-pointers to stave off Mount St. Joseph and its star Jahnathan Mitchell.
"His best attribute was his willingness to accept having to play different positions and take on different roles as a player," Sleeman said. "That's not something everyone can do or wants to do."
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