Holiday break arrives for local teams
Just as quickly as we began, the 2009-10 winter sports season is set to take a brief holiday hiatus. While the sample size is small, early results have impressed and plenty more drama and triumph appear in store for 2010. Here's a glimpse at where things with the arrival of Santa Claus.
While Greely was dropping a showdown at Cape Elizabeth (please see story), Falmouth's boys' basketball team continues to excel.
The Yachtsmen improved to 6-0 on the year with wins last week over Greely (74-63), Lake Region (62-51) and Yarmouth (58-41). Against the Rangers, senior standout Stefano Mancini went off for 32 points. Senior Ryan Rogers added 17 points and senior John Roberts finished with 10.
"We didn't really know what to expect, but we came out and we played," Mancini said. "We've learned. That's a benefit of having seniors on the team. We embrace the bulls-eye. We want to be the team to beat, the one everyone circles on their schedule."
"We responded well in spots," added Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. "We had control of the tempo. We let them get back when we tried to force things. I liked our defense. I was pleased how we responded to their runs. We've had three easier games. This was our first test. We're still a work in progress."
In the win over the Lakers, Mancini led the way with 28 points. Rogers had 16 and Roberts added 10. Against the Clippers, Mancini had 19 points, while senior Sam Horning added 13. Falmouth closed the 2009 portion of its schedule at Poland Tuesday. The Yachtsmen begin 2010 with a showdown at undefeated, two-time regional champion Cape Elizabeth Jan. 5, in a rematch of last year's regional final.
Yarmouth has competed well in the early going, but hasn't been able to beat the top contenders. After enjoying a 77-43 home win over Wells last Tuesday (behind 19 points from sophomore Josh Britten), the Clippers gave visiting Cape Elizabeth a scare Thursday before falling, 64-56.
"Cape wore us down tonight," said Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. "We're not as deep as they are. We're still having some growing pains. We had a chance in the fourth quarter to win. To be down four going into the fourth to that team as well as they shot and played, that was great. They shot the lights out. We had opportunities and that's all we can ask. Hopefully we'll get better quick at finishing these."
Juniors Mike McCormack and Luke Pierce both scored 19 points in defeat.
"We had two juniors really step up," Smith said. "Mike carried us in the first half unbelievably. Luke's work ethic was huge all game. We really need five guys playing well to beat a top team. We seem to be an interior team so far. We're still establishing and trying to find out who we are and where we'll score night to night. When we put it all together, I think we'll be really good."
Saturday, Yarmouth fell 58-41 at Falmouth (despite 10 points from senior Evan Henry). The Clippers (3-3) hoped to finish 2009 on a high note when they hosted York Tuesday.
Freeport got its second win for first-year coach Nick Jewett Saturday, 63-56 over visiting Wells. Senior Tom Dorsey led the way with 18 points. Sophomore Josh Weirich added 17 and senior Jackson Dodge contributed 11. The Falcons improved to 2-4 and ended a four-game skid, which included losses earlier last week to Gray-New Gloucester (58-41) and Greely (73-32). Freeport was home with Lake Region Tuesday.
North Yarmouth Academy also improved to 2-4 Saturday with a 57-30 home win over Sacopee. Junior Anderw Esancy had 21 points. Classmate Mohamed Dahia added 11 for the Panthers, who bounced back from a 46-21 loss to Hyde two days prior. NYA visited Old Orchard Beach in its 2009 finale Tuesday.
On the girls' side, Greely continues to excel. The Rangers rolled over visiting Falmouth, 63-39 last Tuesday, behind 19 points from senior star Abby Young.
"Not bad," said Greely second-year coach Billy Goodman. "Falmouth's a good team and we played well. We're working on things still. Good team basketball. Recognizing good shots. Moving the ball well. We get each other now. They get what I want and I get what they can do. It's good. I love my team. They're really working hard."
The Rangers then downed Freeport 63-35 (behind 15 from Young and 14 from senior Megan Grondin) and Cape Elizabeth 56-37 (rallying from a halftime deficit to triumph thanks to 13 points from senior Karlee Biskup and a dozen from junior Megan Coale). Greely (6-0) closed 2009 at home versus Fryeburg Tuesday.
Falmouth got 10 points from senior Annelise Keeler in the loss to the Rangers.
"It was a tough game," said Yachtsmen coach Kristi Ouellette. "Hopefully we'll learn as we go."
Falmouth then was unable to hold a fourth quarter lead at Lake Region Thursday, losing 57-48 (despite 13 from Keeler), but bounced back with a close win (something which has become a Yachtsmen specialty, their four victories have come by a combined 17 points) Saturday against visiting Yarmouth. Falmouth eked out a 45-43 triumph on late foul shots from sophomore Laney Evers. Junior Jess DiPhillippo led the Yachtsmen (4-2) with 11 points. Falmouth was home with Poland Tuesday.
Yarmouth has been competitive in the early going. The Clippers lost 55-41 at Wells last Tuesday (15 points from sophomore Morgan Cahill kept them in it), then had a great shot at a win Thursday at home versus Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth was up 27-17 in the third, but scored just four points the rest of the way as the Capers closed the game on a 22-4 run to win, 39-31. Cahill led the Clippers with 10 points. Saturday, Yarmouth (which got 13 points from junior Devin Simsarian) lost by two at Falmouth to drop to 2-4. The Clippers visited defending regional champion York Tuesday.
Freeport is still chasing its first victory. Last week, the Falcons fell 43-35 to Gray-New Gloucester (senior Rachel Foster had eight points), 63-35 to Greely (Foster led her team with 10) and 60-49 to Wells. In that one, Freeport rallied from an early 10-point deficit to lead midway through the third period, but the Warriors closed the game on a 23-11 run. Freshman Leigh Wyman went off for 19 in the setback which left the Falcons 0-6. Freeport closed 2009 at Lake Region Tuesday.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy got its first two victories last week. First, the Panthers won 51-32 at Hyde (behind 16 points from junior Blair Haggett and 14 from senior Jaime Rogers). Saturday, NYA improved to 2-3 with a 34-31 win at Sacopee. Haggett led the way with 15 points. The Panthers were home with Old Orchard Beach Tuesday.
On the ice, Falmouth's boys got a pair of big wins last week, downing visiting Cape Elizabeth (6-0, behind two goals each from senior Julien Clement and sophomore Mitch Tapley) and host Brewer (2-1, thanks to goals from senior Ford Bohrmann and sophomore Cam Bell) to improve to 3-1. The Yachtsmen were at Scarborough Tuesday in their 2009 countable finale. Falmouth will take part in the Maine High School Hockey Invitational over the holiday break.
In Western B, defending champion Greely lost 4-3 at York last Wednesday (junior Justin Murphy had two goals and an assist), then fell 5-4 at Presque Isle Friday in a rematch of last year's state game (despite sophomore Pete Stauber's two scores). Saturday, the Rangers improved to 3-2 with a 2-0 win at Houlton-Hodgdon (senior Carter Cyr and junior John Downey had the goals). Greely (with the exception of holiday tournament play) is now idle until a Jan. 7 game at Gardiner.
Yarmouth is off to its best start since 2003-04. Last Wednesday, the Clippers cruised past visiting Leavitt, 5-1 (thanks to two goals each from sophomores Marshall Brunelle and Alex Kurtz). Saturday, Yarmouth improved to 4-1 with a 3-2 home win over South Portland. Brunelle had the winner in the final minute. Kurtz and senior Steven Petrovek also scored. The Clippers don't play another countable game until Jan. 7 at Massabesic.
On the girls' side, Falmouth is leading the local charge. The Yachtsmen are 4-1-1 after Saturday's impressive 6-0 victory at Cape Elizabeth (thanks to senior Nicole Foley's hat trick and junior Jen Greene's shutout). Falmouth was at St. Dom's Wednesday in its 2009 finale.
Greely dropped to 2-6 Saturday after a 4-2 home setback to Scarborough. The Rangers got two goals from junior Michaela Finnegan in the loss. Greely hosted defending state champion Lewiston Monday night and went to Winslow Wednesday.
Yarmouth fell to 1-5 Saturday after a 9-0 home loss to St. Dom's. The Clippers were home with Gorham Monday in their final 2009 contest.
Falmouth, Greely and North Yarmouth Academy's indoor track teams took part in the Bowdoin Relays Saturday in Brunswick.
The boys' meet was won by Brunswick with 97 points. Falmouth (25 points) placed seventh, Greely (23) was eighth and North Yarmouth Academy (9) came in 14th. The Yachtsmen took first place in the 1,200 sprint medley and the 1,800 sprint medley.
In the girls' meet, won by Mt. Ararat with 61 points, Greely (38.5) placed fifth, Falmouth tied Noble with 11th with 13 points and NYA was 14th with 4. The Rangers were first in the shot put competition.
In the pool, Greely and Windham did battle Thursday with the Eagles eking out a 50-44 win in the boys' meet and the Rangers triumphing 62-32 in the girls' competition.
"The boys' meet was one of the most exciting regular season meets I've been involved in," said longtime Greely coach Rob Hale. "In a four-lane pool, our teams match up very well. The girls' meet obviously wasn't the thriller the boys' was, but we got some kids qualified for states in new events and we got some new kids to qualify."
NYA split its meet with Portland. The girls were 88-66 winners, while the girls fell 93-22 to the Bulldogs.
Falmouth downed Hyde and Bonny Eagle Friday night. The boys had 98 points to 91 for Hyde and 77 for Bonny Eagle, while the Yachtsmen girls finished with 151 points, while the Scots had 84 and the Phoenix 28.
Yarmouth's recent results weren't available.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com.