As February nears, all eyes on the postseason-Portland edition

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Deering’s Raffaele Salamone goes up for a shot as Portland’s Griffin Foley defends during the Bulldogs’ 63-44 win last week.

Waynflete’s Annika Brooks goes up for two points during the Flyers’ 45-40 home win over North Yarmouth Academy last week.

Portland/Deering’s Donnie Tocci fires a shot during last week’s 4-3 home loss to Yarmouth.

(Ed. Note: For the full Portland-Deering and Waynflete-Lake Region boys’ basketball, Deering-Gorham and Waynflete-NYA girls’ basketball and Portland/Deering-Yarmouth boys’ hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The first postseason event is a little over a week away and every game takes on additional importance by the day.

As January dwindles, here’s a look at what occurred last week and what’s to come:

Boys’ basketball

Portland’s defending Class AA state champion boys’ basketball team improved to 11-1 and extended its win streak to seven after downing rivals Deering and Cheverus last week. First, the Bulldogs rolled over the visiting Rams, 63-44, for their 10th straight win in the series. Griffin Foley had a game-high 20 points, Terion Moss added 16 and Charlie Lyall had nine rebounds and eight blocked shots.

“We knew they’d match our energy, so we had to have even more,” Foley said. “We started slowly, but we knew once we started making shots, momentum would come. We know all of those guys and that’s a big motivation for us to have bragging rights. We came out and played our hearts out.”

“We’ve worked in practice, having me work down low, be aggressive, go for blocks,” Lyall said. “Blocking shots is big for me.”

“These games are interesting because we’re crosstown rivals and the kids know each other, maybe too well,” Portland coach Joe Russo added. “You never know what to expect. It was a fun game. More fun to win. We know it’s only Round One and there might be two more. We have bragging rights for now and we keep them at bay.”

Friday, the Bulldogs got taken to the wire at the Stags, but pulled out a 47-43 victory behind nine points from Manny Yugu and eight apiece from Pedro Fonseca and Moss, who made a circus shot late to put Portland on top. The Bulldogs (second to Edward Little in the Class AA North Heal Points standings at press time) had another huge showdown Tuesday, when they hosted Thornton Academy in a possible state game preview (see theforecaster.net for game story). After welcoming Windham Thursday, Portland goes to Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Deering got 10 points and nine rebounds from Raffaele Salamone in its loss to Portland. The Rams trailed almost the whole way and never made a serious run in the second half.

“I don’t question our toughness,” Deering coach Todd Wing said. “I have a tough group in that locker room with their heads held high. We never got in a good flow on offense. We left a lot of points on the table.”

The Rams bounced back Friday and won, 79-50, at Massabesic to improve to 9-3 and third in Class AA North. Ben Onek had 18 points, James Sinclair added 14 and Jean Claude Butera finished with 11. Deering was at Oxford Hills Tuesday, hosts Cheverus Friday and visits Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week before getting another crack at Portland Feb. 3 on its home floor.

Cheverus enjoyed a 77-37 win at Noble last Monday (Jesse Matthews had 21 points and Jack Casale added 20), then fell to 8-3 and fifth in Class AA North with Friday’s 47-43 home loss to Portland. The Stags, who led the game late, got 24 points from Casale and 10 from Matthews. Cheverus was at South Portland for a makeup game Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and hosted Lewiston Tuesday. After going to Deering Friday, the Stags travel to Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.

Defending Class C South champion Waynflete has hit a rough patch, dropping three straight last week: 45-37 to visiting Lake Region, 41-37 to visiting North Yarmouth Academy and 45-32 at defending Class A champion Falmouth. Against the Lakers, Yai Deng had 10 points and Christian Brooks nine, but the Flyers were doomed by 20 turnovers.

“They were more physical than us and we didn’t respond well to that at all,” said Waynflete coach Rich Henry. “We’ve got skilled players, but they forget sometimes that it’s a team game and they try to emulate what they see on TV.”

In the loss to NYA, the Flyers’ first against the Panthers since 2009, Alex Saade had 13 points and Deng added 10. Askar Houssein led the way with 14 points in the loss to the Yachtsmen. Waynflete (8-4 and seventh in Class C South) looked to get back in the win column Tuesday when St. Dom’s paid a visit. After hosting Poland Friday, the Flyers welcome Old Orchard Beach Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ basketball

While the Waynflete boys struggled last week, the girls’ team surged, extending its win streak to four by holding off visiting NYA (45-40), then upsetting visiting Class A South contender Falmouth (32-29). In their 24th straight win over the Panthers, Annika Brooks had 15 points and 17 rebounds.

“I got some great passes from my teammates and I was there for rebounds,” Brooks said. “I box out and try to get the ball and be aggressive.”

“We couldn’t match their intensity at certain points of the game, but our key players stepped up when they needed to and they delivered,” said Flyers coach Mike Jefferds.

Waynflete (7-5 and fifth in the Class C South Heal Points standings) hosted St. Dom’s Tuesday, goes to Poland Friday and plays host to Old Orchard Beach Tuesday of next week.

In Class AA South, Maine Girls’ Academy has won three of its past five games and after suffering a 70-42 loss at undefeated, defending Class AA state champion Gorham (Madison Legassey had 19 points in defeat), improved to 5-7 Friday with a hard-fought 47-41 win at Portland. Serena Mower had 14 points and Catherine Reid added 10 against the Bulldogs. The Lions (fifth in the Heals) go to Massabesic Wednesday, host rival Deering Friday and visit Scarborough Tuesday.

Deering’s girls won at home over Noble (51-23) and lost at home to Gorham (50-23) last week. Delaney Haines had 16 points and Tasia Titherington added 12 in the victory. Abi Ramirez had nine points against Gorham, but Deering was out of the game by halftime.

“(Gorham’s) one of the best girls’ teams that I’ve seen in a long time,” said Deering coach Mike Murphy. “They have no weakness. You can’t play timid against them. They have too many strengths.”

Deering (8-4 and third in Class AA North) hosted Oxford Hills Tuesday, goes to MGA Friday and welcomes Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus extended its win streak to six and improved to 8-2 after Friday’s 50-35 home win over Windham. Abby Cavallaro had 19 points and Kaylin Malmquist and Emme Poulin each added 13. The Stags (fourth in Class AA North) went to Lewiston Tuesday, host Thornton Academy Friday, go to South Portland Saturday and host Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Portland fell to 0-12 and eighth in Class AA North after losses last week at South Portland (65-28) and at home to MGA (47-41). Taylor Sargent scored nine points and Nettie Walsh added eight against the Red Riots. In the loss to the Lions, Sargent led the way with 13 points and Shayla Eubanks added 10. The Bulldogs were at Thornton Academy Tuesday, go to Windham Friday and host Noble Tuesday of next week.

Hockey

Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team, which went 1-2 at a recent Jesuit tournament in Chicago, returned to league action Saturday with a 3-0 win at Gorham to improve to 5-3. The Stags (fourth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) went to defending Class B South champion Yarmouth Tuesday, host Portland/Deering Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visit Cape Elizabeth Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Portland/Deering fell to 6-3 with losses last week at York (6-3) and at home to Yarmouth (4-3). Goals from Donnie Tocci, Dom Tocci and Will Herboldsheimer spelled a 3-1 lead at the Wildcats, but the Bulldogs couldn’t hold on. Against the Clippers, Portland/Deering fell behind early and despite a goal from Cam King and two from Dom Tocci, it fell just short.

“We kind of lost our focus as the game was going on,” said Portland/Deering coach Jeff Beaney. “When you get off to a good start, all of a sudden, it gets harder. We’ve had some people out sick, not to use that as an excuse, and it’s juggled things around. It’s easy to go 5-13 (like last year). It’s harder to win.”

Portland/Deering (second to Falmouth in Class A South) visits Cheverus Thursday, goes to Massabesic Saturday and plays at Thornton Academy Monday.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team was 4-5-1 and sixth in Class A South at press time entering Thursday’s home game versus Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon. Biddeford pays a visit Saturday and Cape Elizabeth visits Tuesday.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus (which also includes players from Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach) was 6-8 at press time following losses last week at Scarborough (3-0) and at home to the Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team (5-4, in overtime) and a 6-2 win at Gorham/Bonny Eagle. Catilin Wolff had two goals, while Abby Lamontagne and Lilly Wolff had one goal each in the OT loss. Cheverus (sixth in the South Region Heal Points standings) hosted Scarborough Monday and goes to Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP Saturday.

Portland/Deering fell to 1-11 and eighth in the South after losses last week at York (6-0) and at home to Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP (7-0). Portland/Deering hosts Biddeford Wednesday, goes to Scarborough Saturday and hosts Falmouth Monday.

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP co-op was 7-7 at press time after an 8-1 loss at Greely, a 5-4 come-from-behind win at Cheverus and a 7-0 victory at Portland/Deering. In the win over Cheverus, Sophia Venditti scored twice, including the winner in OT and Kate Ginder tied the score late.

“We finally got an overtime win,” said Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP coach Bob Mills. “The first two periods weren’t the prettiest periods for us, but we came out and executed in the third. This is a big confidence-booster, especially with Cheverus being right behind us in the standings.”

The squad (fourth in the South) hosts Gorham/Bonny Eagle Thursday and welcomes Cheverus Saturday before playing host to Edward Little/Leavitt Tuesday.

Track

Deering’s boys’ indoor track team got a chance to measure itself against powerhouse Scarborough Saturday, but finished second in a meet which also included Thornton Academy and Massabesic. The Rams did get first-place showings from Alec Troxell in the junior 800 (2 minutes, 8.95 seconds), Ezra Chapola in the senior long jump (19 feet, 9 inches) and senior triple jump (40-1). Hisham Ramadan in the open 600 (1:21.92) and Yahya Nure in the open two-mile (10:10.48).

In the girls’ meet, Deering came in fourth. The Rams got wins from Haley Foreman in the junior 800 (2:44.34) and Elizabeth Erbe in the senior 800 (2:32.72).

Portland’s boys and girls were each fourth in a four-team meet won by Windham, which also included Biddeford and Marshwood. The boys got wins from Alex Frank in the senior 55 (7.06 seconds), senior 200 (24.72) and senior 400 (55.71) and Dylan Bolduc in the senior high jump (5-10). Girls’ first-place finishers included Karina Boothe in the junior 55 hurdles (10.19) and Jaidyn Appel in the junior long jump (14-4),

Cheverus’s girls were third behind Westbrook and Bonny Eagle in a meet which also included Noble. The Stags got wins from Emma Gallant in the junior 55 (7.60) and junior 200 (26.40), Evelyn Hanley in the junior 55 hurdles (9.54), Katelyn Gendron in the senior 200 (28.61), Ashley Turner in the senior 800 (2:46.95), Julia Pomerleau in the senior high jump (5-2) and their open 4×400 relay team (4:21.99).

Cheverus’ boys came in fourth. Winners included Sean Tompkins in the junior 55 (7.07) and junior high jump (5-4), Matthew Sarapas in the junior shot put (37-00.75) and Mike O’Brien in the open pole vault (11-0).

Swimming

Cheverus’ powerhouse swim team swept Portland and Scarborough in meets last week.

Against the Bulldogs, the boys prevailed, 114-52. Stags event winners included Raymond Le in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 21.46 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (59.26 seconds), Shane Moore in the 50 freestyle (22.48) and the 500 free (5:04.52), Ben Tompkins in the 100 backstroke (1:00.70), Chase Cameron in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.19) and their medley (1:47.00), 200 freestyle (1:41.71) and 400 freestyle (3:37.46) relay teams. Portland winners included Reed Foehl in the 200 free (1:57.44) and Joshua Ying in the 100 free (53.63).

Cheverus’ girls beat Portland, 97-53. The Stags got first-place showings from Caroline Arpin in the 200 individual medley (2:28.64) and 100 breaststroke (1:18.20), Abby Longstaff in the 50 free (26.09) and 500 free (5:43.93), Tholia Hallett in the 100 fly (1:12.38), Lauren Girard in the backstroke (1:12.61) and their medley (2:11.93), 200 free (1:57.95) and 400 free (4:16.12) relays. The Bulldogs got wins from Ava Giaquinto in the 200 free (2:17.47) and Fiona Silva in the 100 free (1:05.38).

Against Scarborough, Cheverus’ boys won, 106-64. Winners included Phineas Underwood in the 100 free (54.20) and 200 free (2:00.17), Moore in the 50 free (22.13) and breaststroke (1:00.59), Le in the fly (57.54), Tompkins in the backstroke (59.78), Jeremy Baker in the 500 free (5:35.69) and the medley (1:46.52), 200 free (1:34.73) and 400 free (3:34.96) relay teams.

The Stags girls beat the Red Storm, 116-63, and got first-place showings from Patsy Ciampi in the 200 free (2:23.00), Longstaff in the 100 free (57.40) and IM (2:27.42), Girard in the 50 free (28.51), Arpin in the 500 free (5:45.55) and breaststroke (1:15.90), Hallett in the backstroke (1:08.61), Nina Greenwood in diving (199.80 points) and their medley (2:00.62), 200 free (1:54.48) and 400 free (4:08.97) relay teams.

Deering was swept by Kennebunk, with the boys losing, 91-53, and the girls falling, 93-75. The boys got wins from Jasper Sommer in the 200 free (2:22.98) and backstroke (1:11.89), Owen McLaughin in the fly (1:10.89) and their medley relay team (2:12.89). Girls’ first-place finishers included Nicole Whipkey in the IM (2:48.54) and 50 free (31.98), Claire Christopher in the 100 free (1:08.19) and backstroke (1:18.64), Bryn Sylvia in the breaststroke (1:29.57) and the medley (2:24.19) and 400 free (4:46.46) relay teams.

Maine Girls’ Academy lost to Falmouth, 107-56. Ana Neff-Jendrasko won the IM (2:16.34) and breaststroke (1:10.61).

Portland split its meet against Thornton Academy, as the girls eked out an 86-83 win, while the boys lost, 104-61. The girls’ team got wins from Fiona Silva in the 200 free (2:17.89), Reegan Leslie in the 50 free (26.91) and 100 free (59.47), Ava Giaquinto in the fly (1:13.04), Corry Hermond in the 500 free (6:22.69) and the 400 free relay team (4:15.33). On the boys’ side, Reed Foehl took the breaststroke in 1:08.65.

Waynflete’s boys edged Yarmouth, 58-53. The Flyers got wins from Caleb Levine in the 100 fly (59.34) and 200 free (2:01.84), Tim Clifford in the IM (2:27.02) 100 free (1:00.04), PD Silk in the backstroke (1:03.43) and their medley relay team (1:58.78). The girls lost to the Clippers, 76-71, but got wins from Kiera MacWhinnie in the 200 free (2:12.27) and 100 free (1:00.19).

Thursday, Cheverus goes to Yarmouth. Friday, Deering is home with Sanford, MGA goes to Gorham. Portland visits Massabesic and Waynflete hosts Westbrook.

Skiing

Portland’s boys’ Nordic ski team came in eighth out of 17 scoring teams at the Maranacook Wave race Saturday. Liam Niles led the Bulldogs with a 21st-place finish (15 minutes, 10.7 seconds). Deering didn’t score as a team, but Caleb Niles was the third-fastest individual (13:20.3). Cheverus also didn’t score as a team, but got a 36th-place individual finish from Michael Manetti (15:54.4).

In the girls’ meet, Deering’s Ewka Varney placed 11th (17:51.6). Portland’s Elizabeth Thomas had the 26th-best time (19:34.1).

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team returns to action Wednesday at Cheverus. The Bulldogs are 5-8 on the season. The Bulldogs also will take part in a four-team meet Saturday at Massabesic.

Cheverus will enter its match versus Portland at 3-9 after losing last week to Bonny Eagle (60-18) and Deering (30-24). The Stags host Kennebunk, Westbrook and Windham Saturday.

Deering beat Cheverus (30-24) and lost to Bonny Eagle (54-18) last week. The 2-8 Rams go to Windham Wednesday and visit Massabesic Saturday.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.