Cape Elizabeth Capers Winter Sports Preview

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Junior Finn Bowe hopes to shoot the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team deep into the playoffs again this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Jim Ray (23rd year, 303-148 overall record, one state championship)

2015-16 record: 15-5 (Lost, 52-49, to eventual state champion Falmouth in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Quinn Hewitt (Senior), Marshall Peterson (Senior), Finn Bowe (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Greely, Dec. 13 @ Falmouth, Dec. 22 @ Westbrook, Jan. 6 MARSHWOOD, Jan. 10 @ York, Jan. 14 LAKE REGION, Jan. 16 YORK, Jan. 27 YARMOUTH, Jan. 31 GREELY, Feb. 7 FALMOUTH,

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got to learn to take care of the ball better and make better decisions. I hope we can work out the kinks. There’s no room for error once our season starts. We’ve still got a lot to learn. We don’t have a lot of depth, but I think we’ll be competitive. I hope we can win enough to get into the tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth came closer to beating Falmouth than anyone else last year and had it scored four more points in that semifinal, it’s likely the Capers would have repeated as state champions. Instead, they fell short and after losing some key players to graduation, have some holes to fill this winter. Regardless, expect Cape Elizabeth to be its usual competitive self even if the Capers have had to spend their preseason practicing at Scarborough High School, Southern Maine Community College and Cape Elizabeth Middle School due to its gym floor being replaced.

Bowe and Hewitt were both all-conference second-team selections in 2015-16. Bowe averaged 12.4 points a game and is renowned for his silky smooth shot. He’ll play guard and forward and if his shot is falling, can keep his team in games against anybody. Hewitt has the ability to slash to the basket and finish and is close to impossible to guard. He’ll see time at both guard and forward. Peterson is the other veteran. He’ll be a factor in the post. The Capers boast another potentially strong post presence in 6-foot-8-inch sophomore Andrew Hartel. Senior Jacob Allen and junior David Hare will share ballhandling duties.

Due to the floor issues, the Capers will have to play their first two games on the road and not just anywhere, but at top rivals Greely and Falmouth. It will make for a tough start, but this team will hit its stride as the season goes on. Ray will get the most out of his talent and by February, Cape Elizabeth will once again be on the short list of title favorites. 

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Chris Casterella (10th year, 69-102 overall record)

2015-16 record: 7-12 (Lost, 30-29, to Westbrook in Class A South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Kelly O’Sullivan (Senior), Sammi Guerette (Junior), Erin O’Rourke (Junior), Brooke Harvey (Sophomore), Alison Ingalls (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Greely, Dec. 13 @ Falmouth, Jan. 6 @ Marshwood, Jan. 10 YORK, Jan. 14 @ Lake Region, Jan. 16 @ York, Jan. 27 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 31 GREELY, Feb. 7 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have very little experience. Only a few kids have seen varsity minutes. The girls will have to get used to the varsity level, so we’ll have growing pains. We have to get better every day and we are. The girls are working hard. We have to take care of the ball and score and we need to develop confidence. We’ll press when we can because we have athletic kids who can create turnovers and get easy baskets. We just want to compete.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has qualified for the playoffs in five of the past seven seasons, but with a nearly brand new team this winter, the Capers will have their work cut out. Expect steady improvement as the season goes on, however.

Replacing the offense of reigning Winter Female Athlete of the Year Maddie Bowe and Carter Harvey will be the biggest obstacle. Cape Elizabeth is guard-heavy, as O’Rourke will run the point most of the time and could be the top scorer. Brooke Harvey will also handle the ball. O’Sullivan is a top defender and sophomores Jess Robicheaw and Saylor Wood will also be involved. Ingalls can play both guard and forward. Guerette will be heard from in the frontcourt.

The Capers don’t face many expectations this winter, but could sneak up on the opposition. This group will only get better. Whether or not that results in enough wins to make the playoffs remains to be seen, but Cape Elizabeth will be a very different team in February than it at the outset.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Matt Buotte (fifth year, 33-41-5 overall record)

2015-16 record: 8-10-2 (Lost, 5-4, to Gardiner in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Ben Ekedahl (Senior), Sean Agrodnia (Junior), Derek Allen (Junior), Alex Glidden (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 30 FALMOUTH, Jan. 9 @ Brunswick, Jan. 14 GREELY, Jan. 25 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 28 CHEVERUS, Feb. 2 YARMOUTH, Feb. 10 @ Bangor, Feb. 16 GARDINER, Feb. 21 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 23 @ York

Coach’s comment: “’We want to win a game at the Colisee. We fell painfully short of the regional final last year and want to get to that game and beyond. We’re returning nearly all of our team and have nine seniors, so we’d really like to make a deep push. We’ve been building for this year for awhile, so hopefully the stars will align and we’ll have a successful season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has been to the semifinals five of the past six seasons, but hasn’t been able to advance. The Capers almost did so last year, but a late rally fell short against Gardiner. This time around, Cape Elizabeth has what it takes to emerge from a balanced region and compete for its championship in 11 years.

Agrodnia and Allen both made the Class B South All-Rookie team last winter and will play even bigger roles this season. Agrodnia had six goals and five assists in 2015-16 and will help Glidden (9 goals, 4 assists) pace the offense. Senior Peyton Weatherbie, who played for the team as a freshman and sophomore, is back from Philips-Exeter and will play a big role, as will sophomore Jackson Woods, who saw limited time as a freshman. Ekedahl, the school’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, is a top defenseman, who can also score (6 and 5 a year ago). Allen is another top defender, who will be heard from on the offensive end. Junior Peter Haber is the man in goal this winter. He saw limited time behind Grant Rusk last season, posting a .886 save percentage and a 2.66 goals-against-average.

Class B South is loaded with tough teams. Defending champion Yarmouth remains formidable, Gardiner will again stand in the way and teams like Brunswick, Gorham, Greely and York will test the Capers over the next couple months. By February, look for Cape Elizabeth to hit its stride, boast a winning record and be ready to make a playoff run. This could be the year the Capers take the next step.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Bob Mills (fifth year, 29-44-4 overall record)

2015-16 record: 6-13 (Lost, 5-1, to York in South Region quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Hannah Bosworth (Senior), Eliza Connolly (Senior), Kate Ginder (Senior), Laura Baginski (Junior), Abby Joy (Junior), Sophia Venditti (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Jan. 2 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 11 @ Scarborough, Jan. 16 @ Greely, Jan. 19 @ Cheverus, Jan. 28 CHEVERUS

Coach’s comment: “We have a skilled and experienced core group of players. If we can avoid injuries and stay healthy, our hope is to go deeper into February than we ever have before. Defense and goaltending will be strengths, but we’ll also have forwards who will put up points. Our seniors have worked hard for three years and hope to finish their high school careers on a high note.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete co-op team has made the playoffs three years running and has the ability to get there again. Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete opened the season by sandwiching losses to Falmouth around wins over Gorham and Biddeford/TA. The wins figure to keep on coming.

The offense is paced by co-captain and reigning league all-star Bosworth, who had 10 goals and 10 assists in 2015-16. Venditti was injured much of last season, but still scored eight times. Baginski is equally adept scoring (nine goals last winter) and setting up her teammates (eight assists). Ginder (11 and 7) is an offensive-minded defenseman who was a second-team all-star last year and Connolly also plays defense and can score as well, she had the overtime tally in the victory over Biddeford/TA. Joy returns in goal.

While defending regional champion Scarborough and perennial powerhouse Falmouth lead the way in the South, Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete could be the next team in line. This is a squad that will be competitive throughout, should enjoy its share of wins and could be a thorn in someone’s side when the postseason begins.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (21st year)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) No score @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 19th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Brett McAlister (Senior), Ethan Avantaggio (Junior), Matt Concannon (Junior), Luc Houle (Junior)

(Girls) Liv Palma (Senior), Erin Thibeault (Senior), Sophie Garland-Dore (Junior), Katie Gilman (Junior), Kristen Penley (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The boys have a lot of great freshmen and juniors and newcomers in the sprints. We’re weaker in the distance events, but as our teams age, we hope to improve our chances for a top 10 state finish. The girls have good carryover from cross country and some very talented younger athletes. We hope to edge into the top six at states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has the pieces in place to be competitive in the regular season and the postseason.

The boys’ squad will be paced by McAlister in the sprints, Avantaggio and Concannon in the sprints and jumps and Houle in the throws. A pair of new sprinters, junior Brendan Tinsman (the baseball standout) and sophomore Calvin Stoughton, will be factors as well. After not scoring at states last winter for the first time since 2000, look for this group to return to form and be a factor throughout.

On the girls’ side, Palma scored in the both the mile and two-mile (seventh in both races) and also was part of a fourth-place scoring 4×800 relay team at last year’ state meet. She’ll pace the distance contingent. Garland-Dore, Gilman and Thibeault are experienced sprinters. They’re joined by senior Grace Stoughton and freshman Darcy Cochran. Penley looks to score in the high jump. She’s joined by freshman Jaya McClure. Freshman Elena Keller is a top throwing prospect. The Capers have the pieces in place to get back into the top 10. 

SWIMMING

Coach: Ben Raymond (11th year, three state championships)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Kyle Long (Senior), Elliot McGinn (Senior), James Plannisek (Senior), Connor Thoreck (Senior), Owen Thoreck (Senior), Sam Berman (Junior), Ben Carroll (Junior), Andrew Herrera (Junior), Dan Howard (Junior), Sam Loring (Junior), Ryan Connelly (Sophomore), Rohan Freedman (Sophomore), Oliver Kraft (Sophomore), Matt Yim (Sophomore)

(Girls) Rose Baillie (Senior), Maggie Baker (Senior), Caroline Coburn (Senior), Josephine Auzou (Junior), Hope Campbell (Sophomore), Casey Concannon (Sophomore), Maddie Culkin (Sophomore), Zahra Freedman (Sophomore), Kelsey Kennedy (Sophomore), Alicia Lawrence (Sophomore), Jade Lindenau (Sophomore), Maddie McCormick (Sophomore), Maggie Pierce (Sophomore), Maria Smith (Sophomore), Daphne Te Bokhorst (Sophomore), Olivia Tighe (Sophomore), Corinne Wight (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have a great mix of boys on the team. A strong group of year-round swimmers supported by a very good group of seasonal athletes. We hope to compete on a daily basis, whether it’s in practice or in a meet. We return all but two swimmers from last year’s runners-up and we hope to improve on that performance. We have strong leadership and a desire to improve. It should be an exciting season. The girls return a talented group of swimmers and divers and welcome some outstanding freshmen who will only add to our depth. We have a good senior group of leaders. I’m hopeful for a very successful and exciting dual meet and championship meet season and I know the girls are as well.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is poised to be a powerhouse in the pool this winter as it looks to sweep championships for the first time since 1992,

The boys have been in the top five at states seven years running and will be formidable all season. Top returners include Loring (third in both the breaststroke and individual medley at last year’s state meet), Long (fifth in the backstroke, seventh in the 100 free), Kraft (sixth in both the backstroke and butterfly), Freedman (eighth in the IM) and Yim (eighth in the 500 free). They’ll all look for even higher finishes this time around. Also returning are McGinn (fly and freestyle), Connor Thoreck (freestyle and breaststroke), Owen Thoreck (freestyle), Plannisek (freestyle), Herrera (backstroke, IM, fly), Howard (freestyle), Berman (backstroke), Carroll (freestyle) and Connelly (freestyle). Sophomore Jacob Membrino is new to the team and will swim the freestyle, IM and backstroke. There’s a ton of depth and talent on this roster. If all goes well, the Capers will capture their second state title in three seasons.

On the girls’ side, after five straight top three finishes, Cape Elizabeth is aiming for its first title since 2013. Top returners include Tighe (the state champion in the 200 free and runner-up in the 500 free), Lawrence (runner-up in the 100 free, third in the 50 free), Lindenau (fifth in the IM and seventh in the 500 free), Campbell (fifth in the 100 free), Wight (sixth in the IM and eighth in the backstroke), Baillie (eighth in the 50 free) and divers Kennedy (fourth) and Pierce (eighth). They’ll all be heard from in the weeks to come and that’s just the beginning. Adding depth are Coburn (freestyle), Auzou (IM, freestyle, butterfly), Baker (sprint freestyle), Culkin (IM, breaststroke, freestyle), Concannon (IM, backstroke), Freedman (freestyle, fly), McCormick (breaststroke, IM), Smith (freestyle, fly, IM) and Te Bokhorst (backstroke, freestyle). If that’s not daunting enough, the Capers have a promising group of freshmen, who will keep the program at the top for years. Look for Milo Cook-Sharp (fly, freestyle), potential standout Emily Eccker (all strokes), Bella Emerita (fly and freestyle) and Caroline Mahoney (all strokes) to soon become household names. While some tough opposition looms, Cape Elizabeth has what it takes to be the state’s best team.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Jeff Davis (fourth year)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Jon Fiutak (Senior), Cole Spencer (Senior), Duncan Geikie (Sophomore), Devon Lathrop (Sophomore)

(Girls) Kinnon McGrath (Senior), Caroline Paclat (Senior), Tori McGrath (Sophomore), Morgan Stewart (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “I think the boys have the potential to finish well at states. With all four scorers from last year returning, we expect to better last year’s result. We have a few freshmen who will add depth. The girls lost a strong skier in Emma Dvorozniak, but we return four solid skiers. There are a few freshmen and we’ll see what they can add to the team.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth’s Alpine program has established itself as a perennial contender in Class A and both squads will be heard from in the weeks to come.

The boys return reigning Winter Male Athlete of the Year Lathrop, who won the giant slalom and was fifth in the slalom at last year’s Class A state meet. He also made the Maine Shootouts and Eastern Regional team. He set the bar high and should remain one of the state’s finest. Fiutak, a captain, was seventh in the GS and 10th in the slalom a year ago and looks to move up. Spencer (29th in the slalom, 30th in the GS last winter) is also a captain and Geikie (25th in the slalom, 31st in the GS) will also play a key role this season. The Capers are hoping to make a run at the top spot when all is said and done.

On the girls’ side, Paclat is the top returner. She was 12th in the GS and 15th in the slalom last season, then made the Maine Shootouts and Eastern Regional team. She should be in the top 10 this year. Kinnon McGrath (27th in the slalom) joins Paclat as a captain and will be in the hunt for a high finish. Tori McGrath (26th in the slalom and 43rd in the GS) and Stewart (35th in the GS) will also be heard from. Cape Elizabeth will be very competitive during the regular season and will be one of the teams to beat in February.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Shawn Guerrette (third year)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 6th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) No score @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Calvin Barber (Senior), Will Corsello (Senior), Jack O’Brien (Senior), Henry Menz (Junior), Peter DiNinno (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With three seniors, the boys may be competitive. I’m hoping for significant improvement over past results. I believe we’ll be able to improve. With five freshmen girls, I’m hoping we lay down a base for the team to grow. Hopefully they’ll have fun skiing.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has had a lot of fun skiing over the years and this winter, the Capers will be formidable again.

The boys’ team returns state meet scorers Corsello (19th in the classical and 20th in the skate), Barber (26th in the skate, 31st in the classical), O’Brien (30th in the skate and 36th in the classical) and DiNinno (31st in the skate). Menz also has experience. Senior Mac Huffard, a cross country running standout, is new to the team and could make an impact. Look for Cape Elizabeth to hold its own against its strong conference foes and be in a position to place in the top five at the state meet.

On the girls’ side, while no scorers return, five freshmen provide hope for future success. That group includes Chloe Butzel, Violet Grimsley, Meredith Hetrick, Jackie Lombardo and Helen Vaughn. While the Capers goals are modest, they could turn heads and become competitive more quickly than expected. The future is bright.

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

Senior Quinn Hewitt will be one of the top players in Class A South.

Senior Marshall Peterson, a three-sport athlete, will do it all for the Capers.

Senior Ben Ekedahl will be an offensive-minded defenseman for the Cape Elizabeth boys’ hockey team which is eyeing a championship this season.

Junior Alex Glidden scored nine times a year ago.

Junior defenseman Derek Allen made the All-Rookie team last year.

Senior Eliza Connolly is a co-captain for a Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey team that seeks to return to the playoffs.

Sophomore Sophia Venditti scored eight goals last year despite battling injuries.

Junior Matt Concannon will sprint and jump for the Capers boys’ indoor track team.

Senior Liv Palma is a top distance runner for the Cape Elizabeth girls’ indoor track team.

Junior Kristen Penley will be a top jumper.

Junior Sam Loring is a standout multi-stroke swimmer for a Cape Elizabeth boys’ swim team which will be a powerhouse this season.

Sophomore Casey Concannon and her Cape Elizabeth girls’ swimming teammates are seeking the state title this winter.

Sophomore Devon Lathrop won the giant slalom at last year’s state Alpine ski meet. He’ll be a force again this winter.

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