Every basketball season is special, but you could make the argument that the 2012-13 campaign raised the bar to a triumphant new height.
Forecaster Country featured plenty of highlights and almost produced a state champion.
Here’s one man’s opinion on the best stories in our coverage area this season.
Michael’s Top Five stories/moments:
5) Seven of eight squads make playoffs
Both Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland squads made the cut, while the Greater Portland Christian School girls also qualified. Only the GPCS boys fell short.
4) Scarborough girls produce again
For the second year in a row, the Scarborough girls’ team had to adjust to a coaching change just before the start of the season and as it did in 2011-12, the Red Storm rose to the occasion. Scarborough won 15 games under Ron Cote, earned the No. 4 seed for the tournament and downed South Portland in the quarterfinals to make it to the Cumberland County Civic Center for the fourth time in five seasons. There, despite, a strong effort, Scarborough lost to eventual state champion McAuley, 47-38, to wind up 16-4.
3) Scarborough boys shoot way to Expo
The Scarborough boys were one of the most exciting teams to watch this year. The Red Storm didn’t have the size to match up with many foes, so it (mostly) lived and (occasionally) died from behind the 3-point arc. Scarborough was never shy about launching a shot and had one of the league’s most prolific offenses. The Red Storm finished 12-6, earned a home prelim and beat Gorham, 65-46, for the program’s first postseason victory since 1986. That sent Scarborough to the Portland Exposition Building for the quarterfinals for just the second time in program history. There, the Red Storm couldn’t get enough shots to drop and it was eliminated by Bonny Eagle, 48-32.
2) Capers girls get hot, race to quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth went just 1-5 to start the year and didn’t appear to be a factor in the Western B race, but did the Capers ever turn things around. It all began with a stunning 49-45 overtime victory at eventual Class C champion Waynflete Jan. 3. Cape Elizabeth would win five straight and after losses to Falmouth and York, closed with victories in four of five contests, including a first-this-century win over Greely to wind up 10-8 and seventh in the region. The Capers hosted a preliminary round contest and had no trouble with No. 11 Oak Hill, earning their first playoff win this century, 55-36. Cape Elizabeth hung tough with York in the quarterfinals, but ultimately went down to a 47-39 defeat to finish 11-9, its best record (stop me if you’ve heard this before) this century.
1) SP boys fall four points shy of gold
The South Portland boys entered the 2012-13 expected to be competitive, but not viewed as a title hopeful. The Red Riots then proceeded to leave the rest of Western Class A in their wake. A 15-3 regular season, highlighted by a romp at Scarborough, a double-overtime triumph at Bonny Eagle, a decisive victory at reigning champion Deering and a home win over Portland, gave South Portland the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1994. Even entering the playoffs, there were still doubts, but the Red Riots rose to the occasion with a hard-fought win over No. 9 Sanford in the quarterfinals, a statement-making triumph over No. 4 Portland in the semis and a come-from-behind win over No. 3 Bonny Eagle in the regional final. While senior standout Tanner Hyland led the way with his dazzling shooting and passing, he got plenty of help down low from seniors Ben Burkey, Conner MacVane and Jack Tolan and sophomore sensation Jaren Muller. South Portland’s hope of a first Gold Ball in 21 seasons was dashed by Hampden Academy in the state final. There, the Red Riots fell behind, 10-2, early and never could quite catch up. Despite the agonizing ending, it was a glorious season to remember.