Dramatic wins highlight return to action for North area teams
The first week of 2010 high school sports action was full of memorable moments.
The Falmouth boys' basketball team stayed unbeaten last week with a pair of wins. The first one was the big one, a 62-55 victory at rival and two-time defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth. The Yachtsmen, being led by assistant coach Jamie Hilton after head coach Dave Halligan received two technicals in a holiday tournament game against South Portland (necessitating him missing the next contest) led almost all the way and held a seemingly commanding 49-31 advantage late in the third before the hosts closed the quarter with six straight points and opened the fourth with nine more to make it 49-46.
Undaunted, Falmouth stayed calm and turned momentum back in its favor with 5:29 to go when sophomore Jack Cooleen got to the line. He missed both shots, but senior Sam Horning came up with a huge board and after Horning missed a shot, senior John Roberts tipped the ball home to end the 15-0 run and 4 minute, 11 second drought.
"It was huge," said Roberts. "That possession was demoralizing for Cape. It was a big turnaround. It got momentum on our side."
Cooleen followed with a layup, Roberts sank a free throw, senior Stefano Mancini hit a leaner and Roberts made a hook shot and just like that, with 3:21 remaining, the Yachtsmen's lead was back to a dozen, 58-46. Falmouth's advantage never dipped below seven the rest of the way as it held on for the victory.
"It was a little nerve-wracking," admitted Hilton. "It's probably the 12th time I've done this for Dave. Whenever he's away, it's always interesting to see how the kids react. I couldn't be prouder of them. They reacted well. I think the seniors led us. We bent, but we didn't break. To have both teams come in 7-0, be without our coach, at their place, really shows the intensity of these guys. They stepped up. They did it. They played hard and executed the game plan we put in."
"It's really big," added senior Ryan Rogers, who led all scorers with 20 points. "We knew this was the biggest game so far. We wanted to take them out after they knocked us out last year. We circled it on the schedule. We were ready for them."
Mancini added 13 points (along with seven assists), Roberts finished with 12 points (and 14 rebounds), Cooleen had 10, Horning five and senior Jahrel Registe two.
"It means so much," said Roberts. "We've had a couple games where we kind of ran over teams. It wasn't the best thing for developing our team. I think we rallied and we held them. It meant a lot to us to show we had the stamina to keep going. It's a big win. Down the stretch, we realized the lead was gone and that we had to work. It started on the defensive end. We did that toward the end."
Friday, the Yachtsmen kept the good times rolling and improved to 9-0 for the second year in a row with a 72-36 romp over visiting Fryeburg. Mancini led the way with 22 points and Roberts added 17.
Falmouth (second to Mountain Valley in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) was home against Wells Tuesday (where Mancini, who entered with 986, had a chance to score his 1,000th career point), hosts York Thursday and visits Fryeburg Saturday.
The Greely boys are 7-2 after cruising 62-19 at Wells and holding off visiting York 63-51. Against the Warriors, senior Trevor Tierney had 14 points. Versus the Wildcats, junior Sam Johnston erupted for 25. The Rangers (fifth in Western B) were home with Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, play at Lake Region Thursday and visit York Saturday.
Yarmouth continues to quietly put together a solid season. Last week, the Clippers improved to 6-3 after wins over Gray-New Gloucester (58-44) and Lake Region (68-54). Against the Patriots, senior Evan Henry led the way with 20 points. In the win over the Lakers, junior Luke Pierce led five players scoring in double-figures with 16. Yarmouth (seventh in Western B) was at NYA Tuesday, hosts Freeport Thursday and visits Poland Saturday.
Freeport dropped to 2-7 (and 17th in the region) after losses last week to Old Orchard Beach (71-49) and Cape Elizabeth (76-19). Senior Tom Dorsey and sophomore Josh Weirich both had 14 points against the Seagulls. Weirich finished with a dozen against the Capers in a game in which the Falcons trailed 27-4 after one quarter and 46-9 at halftime. Freeport looked to get back on track at Poland Tuesday. It visits Yarmouth Thursday and welcomes Gray-New Gloucester Saturday.
In Western C, NYA lost 56-43 at Gray-New Gloucester Friday (despite 10 points each from juniors Andrew Esancy and Mohamed Dahia) and fell to 2-7 Monday after a 64-46 setback at Kents Hill. Senior Toey LeBlanc had 15 points in defeat. The Panthers (19th in the Heals) hosted Yarmouth Tuesday and welcome Gould Saturday.
On the girls' side, Greely went to York Friday night seeking revenge for last year's regional final playoff loss, but couldn't get it in a 51-43 defeat.
The game was tight throughout. The Rangers didn't make a field goal in the first period, but trailed just 10-8 after eight minutes. Greely was still down two, 22-20, at halftime, but appeared primed to seize control in the third when junior Megan Coale's 3-pointer made it 29-26 Rangers. York pulled even at 30-30 by quarter's end, then had too much junior Niki Taylor down the stretch. Taylor scored half of her game-high 24 points in the final eight minutes and Greely was done in by fouls and 22 turnovers as it fell to 8-1 on the year.
"We just didn't do it," lamented Greely's second-year coach Billy Goodman. "We turned the ball over. I don't mind my subs going in. I have a good team so I don't mind the fouls. It's the turnovers I'm not too psyched with. We'll either fix it or we won't. If we do, we can beat anyone. If we don't learn from this, shame on me. We get (York) again. I still like my team. There were no trophies handed out tonight."
The Rangers were paced by 13 points from senior Megan Grondin. Coale added nine on three 3-pointers.
Greely (fourth behind York, Leavitt and Lake Region in the latest Western B Heals) was back in action Tuesday at Gray-New Gloucester. The Rangers host Lake Region Thursday, then welcome York in a rematch Saturday.
Falmouth's girls also played at Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday, but didn't enjoy a win like the boys managed. The Yachtsmen fell, 39-32, but had ample opportunity to win the game. Falmouth trailed 22-7 in the second period, then roared to life with a 16-0 run that stretched into the third period. The Capers then took the lead back and held on down the stretch. The Yachtsmen were led by 10 points and eight rebounds from sophomore Jenna Serunian.
Falmouth dropped to 5-4 (and 10th in Western B) Friday with a 37-25 setback at Fryeburg. Freshman Kylie Libby had 12 points, but the Yachtsmen only scored 10 points in the second half. Falmouth was at Wells Tuesday, visits York Thursday and hosts Fryeburg Saturday.
Yarmouth has now lost six straight after falling 50-39 to visiting Gray-New Gloucester and 66-48 at Lake Region last week. Against the Patriots, sophomore Morgan Cahill had 19 points. Against the Lakers, Cahill had 17 and junior Devin Simsarian added 14. The Clippers (15th in the Heals) were home against North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday, host Freeport Thursday and welcome Poland Saturday.
Freeport enjoyed its first victory of the season last Tuesday, a 43-29 home triumph over Old Orchard Beach. Freshman Leigh Wyman led the way with 23 points. Friday, the Falcons fell to 1-8 (and 16th in Western B) after a 46-33 setback at Cape Elizabeth (despite 18 points from senior Rachel Foster). Freeport hosted Poland Tuesday, goes to Yarmouth Thursday and plays at Gray-New Gloucester Saturday.
In Western C, NYA lost 33-29 at home to Old Orchard (despite 12 points each from juniors Eliza Gendron and Blair Haggett) and 49-33 to visiting Gray-New Gloucester (Haggett led the Panthers with 11 points). Monday, NYA improved to 3-5 with a 45-37 home victory over Kents Hill (Haggett led the way with 20).
"Things are coming along," said first-year coach Liz Smith. "We're still a young team. I'd love to be get to .500 after the next two games."
The Panthers (15th in Western C) went to Yarmouth Tuesday and visit Hebron Saturday
While Falmouth's boys were skating to an exciting 4-4 home tie against Scarborough last weekend (please see story), Greely and Yarmouth weren't as fortunate.
The Rangers, the defending Class B champions, eked out a 4-3 win at Gardiner Thursday, but fell 3-2 at home to Winslow Saturday to drop to 4-3 on the year (good for fourth in the latest Western B Heals). In the victory, junior Devyn Rogers scored the game-winner. Against Winslow, junior Justin Murphy had a pair of goals in defeat. Greely went to Kennebunk Wednesday, hosts Camden Thursday and welcomes Scarborough Saturday.
The Clippers fell to 4-3 after losing 4-1 at Massabesic and 7-1 at home to York last week. Better news came Monday when senior Ethan Gray was named the December Western B Goaltender of the Month after posting a 1.88 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage. Yarmouth (third in Western B) looks to get back on track Saturday when it hosts Kennebunk. Monday, the Clippers visit Noble.
On the girls' side, Falmouth's nine-game unbeaten streak came to an end Saturday after a 3-2 loss at Leavitt. The Yachtsmen (second to Cheverus in the West Region Heals) hope to bounce back Thursday when they host Yarmouth. Saturday, Falmouth is at Lewiston. Monday, it goes to Winslow.
The Clippers are now 2-9 (and seventh in the East Region) after losses last week to Winslow (3-2) and Brunswick (3-0). Yarmouth goes to Falmouth Thursday and Leavitt Saturday.
Greely dropped to 3-7 (and fifth in the East) after a 5-0 loss at Lewiston last Wednesday. The Rangers return to action Thursday at St. Dom's. Saturday, they go to Brunswick. Monday, Greely is home with Biddeford.
NYA has turned it on in prep action. winning 4-1 at St. George's and 4-2 at Newton Country Day School last weekend. After hosting Berwick Academy Wednesday, the Panthers are at Tilton School Saturday.
The indoor track continued last weekend at USM. In boys' competition, Falmouth (213.5 points) defeated York, Greely (127), Yarmouth (90.5), NYA (30) and Freeport (21). On the girls' side, Greely was tops with 229 points, followed by York, Falmouth (129), NYA (59) and Yarmouth (18). Freeport failed to score.
Elsewhere, NYA senior standout Henry Sterling placed third in the mile at the Dartmouth Relays last weekend (with a time of 4 minutes, 22.35 seconds).
This week, Falmouth and NYA compete against Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Lake Region, Poland and York, while Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth go against Gray-New Gloucester, Traip and Wells.
In the pool, the Greely girls defeated Cheverus 58-36 last week with Sarah Easterling setting a new school and pool record in the 100 breaststroke. The Rangers boys lost 50-44 to Cheverus, then bounced back and downed Deering, 112-71. Falmouth lost at Cape Elizabeth. The boys fell 102-50 and the reigning Class B state champion girls lost to the defending Class A champs, 103-83.
Falmouth hosted a diving invitational last weekend. Yachtsmen standouts Nicola Mancini (325.55 points) and Evie Perry (316.40) finished first and second, respectively. Teammate Brianna Esposito (217.25) came in ninth. On the boys' side, Falmouth's Ryan Conley placed third (230.10). Greely's Ben Marchese finished eighth (184.85).
Freeport's boys were first and the Falcons girls second in a giant slalom last week.
Monday, Falmouth defeated Cape Elizabeth, Marshwood, Cheverus and Portland in both boys' and girls' giant slalom action. Yarmouth was also a double winner in the slalom against Fryeburg Academy, Windham and Gorham. Senior Reed Wommack won the boys' race. Sophomore Taylor Hornney was first on the girls' side.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com