The 2014-15 high school basketball season now belongs to the history books and what a year it was, from the opening tip in early December, right through the final day of February.
In Forecaster Country, it was a season that won’t soon be forgotten.
On the boys’ side, Cape Elizabeth won its first Class B state title in 27 seasons and couldn’t have dreamed up a more dramatic way to do so, on a shot at the buzzer. South Portland had a superb season, but was upset in the Western A semifinals. Scarborough also made the playoffs, losing in the preliminary round.
On the girls’ side, the biggest story was the stunning Cinderella run of Cape Elizabeth, which shocked everyone by making it to the regional final for the first time this century. South Portland sprung an upset in the quarterfinals before losing in the Western A semis. Scarborough got to the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual regional champ.
Before we shut the door on the season, here’s one last look back at the most memorable highlights:
1) Murphy’s Miracle
Cape Elizabeth’s boys were the preseason favorite in Western B, but making it to the state final wasn’t easy. The Capers struggled early in the season and got challenges from Greely, Lincoln Academy and Lake Region in the regional tournament, but passed each test. Cape Elizabeth’s fourth trip in eight seasons to state game appeared to be leading to another loss, as Medomak Valley took a fourth quarter lead, but the Capers would get off the canvas to produce an ending for the ages. First, freshman Finn Bowe got his team close with a clutch 3. Cape Elizabeth then tied the score when Bowe found Jack O’Rourke for a layup. The Panthers went for the win, but couldn’t convert and Eddie Galvin got the rebound. As time wound down, Galvin dribbled out of traffic and spotted Ethan Murphy behind the defense. A perfect pass Galvin led to a Murphy layup just before the horn and after 27 years of waiting, the Capers had a most dramatic 44-42 victory and a Gold Ball at last and Murphy is now part of Maine basketball lore.
2) Cinderella dances a long time
Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ team lost its last four games to finish 9-9 and wound up ranked ninth in the Western B field. Few expected the Capers to survive a preliminary round trip to Fryeburg Academy, but they did and they were just getting started. In the quarterfinals, against top-ranked, undefeated Spruce Mountain, Cape Elizabeth had to grind it out, but survived, 32-30. Then, the Capers put on a show in the semifinals, as senior Hannah Sawyer caught fire from behind the 3-point arc, leading Cape Elizabeth to a 61-47 victory over No. 5 Lincoln Academy. All good things must end, however, and in the regional final, against eventual champion Greely, the Capers hung tough, but lost, 53-28, to finish 12-10. The loss was quickly forgotten. The thrills from the magical run will remain.
3) SP girls get their signature win
South Portland’s girls’ squad went 13-5 in the regular season, but couldn’t quite get over the hump against top competition, letting a 20-point halftime lead slip away at Deering, allowing Gorham to tie the game at the horn en route to an overtime loss and dropping a close home decision to McAuley. The Red Riots had to play a preliminary round game, but came alive late to survive Westbrook. South Portland then got another shot at Deering and this time, got the big win it had long been seeking, by the impressive score of 49-37. The Red Riots couldn’t solve McAuley in the semifinals, as their season ended with a 39-34 loss, but this team will be back.
4) SP boys exceed expectations
South Portland’s boys missed the playoffs in 2013-14 and were expected to be a competitor this season, but few thought they’d win 16 games. The Red Riots shot out of the gates with four straight wins, then took defending state champion Portland to the wire before losing on a buzzer beater. South Portland only lost twice more in the regular season and avenged its loss to the Bulldogs late in the year. The Red Riots entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed and pulled away to down Cheverus in the quarterfinals. South Portland then met Falmouth in the semifinals and simply had no answer for Yachtsmen senior Jack Simonds, who tied a regional tournament record with 42 points and the Red Riots’ fine season came to a crashing half with a 67-57 setback.
5) Scarborough girls finish strong
Scarborough’s girls won their first three games this winter, then dropped six of eight. With their season at a crossroads, the Red Storm came to life, going 4-3 down the stretch to lock up the No. 7 seed in Western A. Hosting a talented Marshwood squad in the preliminary round, Scarborough impressed, riding a second half surge to a 51-36 victory, allowing the Red Storm to get to the Expo where they gave Thornton Academy a mighty scare in the quarterfinals. Scarborough even held a lead in the third period before the Golden Trojans finished strong to prevail, 43-27. Thornton Academy went on to the state final, making the Red Storm’s effort even that much more impressive.
Senior Eddie Galvin and his Cape Elizabeth teammates got to celebrate a dramatic Class B state title last month.
South Portland junior Maddie Hasson was one of the region’s top players this winter.