(Ed. Note: Watch for a recap of the rest of the winter sports season next week)
Entering the 2010-11 boys’ and girls’ basketball season, consensus held that it wasn’t going to be anything special, that the quality of play would be down and that there weren’t that many talented players in our midst.
In reality, the season which just ended proved to be one for the memory banks, as local schools produced thrills from December into the tournament.
This winter, the Cape Elizabeth boys made it back to the state final where a standout player put forth an epic performance in defeat. South Portland made it back to the tournament and produced some thrilling moments along the way.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth played in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996. South Portland also made it to the Expo, while Greater Portland Christian School took part in the Western D tournament in Augusta.
Before basketball recedes into the background, at least somewhat, here’s a look back at the five top stories of the 2010-11 campaign.
5) GPCS makes playoffs
Coming off an 8-9 season in 2009-10, not much was expected of the Lions this winter, but they managed to go 13-4 in the regular season and earn the No. 6 seed for the Western D tournament in Augusta. There, GPCS gave traditional power Valley a 32-minute battle. The Lions actually led by a point late before a shot ended their dream at 13-5 with a 54-53 decision in favor of the Cavaliers.
4) SP girls competitive throughout
South Portland won 11 games this winter and played every top team tough, including eventual champion McAuley and powerhouse Deering. The Red Riots, led by senior Abby Hasson down low and some sharpshooting guards, earned the No. 7 seed for the tournament, but ran into a hot Lions’ squad in the quarterfinals, one which would go on to win it all. A 52-27 loss ended South Portland’s year at 11-8.
3) Cape Elizabeth girls to Expo
After 15 years away, the Cape Elizabeth girls’ team finally played in a quarterfinal contest this winter. The long dormant Capers program has returned to prominence under the coaching direction of former star player Chris Roberts and she might have done her best job this season with just two returning players (senior Emily Donovan and junior Kayla Raftice) who had seen any kind of varsity time the previous year. Cape Elizabeth got off to a hot start and wound up 9-9, punching their ticket to the Expo as a No. 7 seed in Western B. Unfortunately for the Capers, they earned the worst possible playoff draw in No. 2 Leavitt, which would go on to win it all. Despite the lopsided quarterfinal loss, Cape Elizabeth had climbed another rung up the ladder and should be back in the hunt next year.
2) SP boys go extra
One word you’d never associate with the 2010-11 South Portland boys’ basketball team is boring. The Red Riots had to overcome several hurdles en route to a 12-6 regular season. Not only was the program decimated by graduation from the year before, but it also had to play four successive road games (against good teams no less) in one stretch and play on three straight days in another. The highlight came Jan. 15 in Saco when South Portland overcame a huge halftime deficit and rallied to knock off one of the league’s top contenders, Thornton Academy, in an epic 82-78 double overtime decision. If two OTs weren’t enough, the Red Riots had to play three four nights later at Portland. This time, the Bulldogs created the drama, forcing a first and a third extra session on buzzer-beaters. In the end, Portland prevailed, 80-71. The Bulldogs later ended South Portland’s season in the quarterfinals, but these Red Riots created thrills from start to finish.
1) Bowe’s command performance not enough
Entering the Class B Final the night of March 4 at the Cumberland County Civic Center, few gave the Cape Elizabeth boys any shot against highly touted, undefeated Camden Hills. The Capers had won 14 regular season games, survived a scare from Wells in an overtime win in the quarterfinals, then eliminated York and Yarmouth to make it to their third state final in four seasons and a proud triumvirate of seniors, Theo Bowe, Cam Brown and Joey Doane, weren’t about to go out without a fight. They did more than put up a fight as Bowe sizzled from the get-go. He helped propel Cape Elizabeth to a halftime lead and dreams of an upset were in the air, but in the end, the Windjammers had a little too much and prevailed, 68-59. Even though Camden Hills cut down the nets, the buzz afterwards was about Bowe, who had one of the finest championship game performances in memory, scoring 36 points in his final high school game.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @foresports
Senior Joey Doane and the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team made a spirited run to the Class B Final.
Even though the Scarborough boys’ basketball team fell short of the playoffs this winter, senior Zach Bean had an all-star season.
The strong play of senior Abby Hasson helped South Portland’s girls’ make it back to the tournament.