Southern teams seeking strong finishing kick
The swimming postseason begins Friday, basketball's regular season ends a week later and it won't be long until state championships are bestowed in several sports.
With that in mind, here's where city teams stand as the winter sports season gets short:
The Scarborough boys' basketball team is doing all it can to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in Western Class A. The Red Storm beat visiting Bonny Eagle 42-37 Friday, behind 18 points from senior Conor Sullivan and 15 from junior Zach Bean, lost 44-38 at home to Windham Saturday (despite 13 from Sullivan), then improved to 7-7 Tuesday after a 66-47 victory at Kennebunk (Sullivan went off for 27 in that one).
Scarborough had a big test at Portland (a team it's never beaten) Thursday, hosts Noble Saturday, visits defending Class A champ Thornton Academy Tuesday, then closes the regular year at home with Kennebunk next Friday, Feb. 5.
South Portland became the latest victim of the Cheverus juggernaut last Friday night when the Red Riots found themselves down 16-0 before they knew what hit them. South Portland (which turned the ball over 14 times in the first period alone) got as close as eight points, 27-19, in the second, but the Stags pulled away from there to win easily, 66-44.
"I think we didn't handle their pressure in the first period, but after their run, we did in the second," Red Riots coach Phil Conley said. "They capitalize on every mistake you make. We missed some shots. I thought the biggest thing tonight was that we didn't do a good job rebounding the basketball. Our team is a rebounding team. We didn't do it tonight. We'll learn from that. There's still a long way to go. I know the kids will come to practice and we'll continue to work hard."
Senior Connor Hasson had 14 points and classmate Matt Lee added a dozen.
Tuesday, the Red Riots bounced back and improved to 12-2 with a 71-46 home romp over Bonny Eagle (Lee had 16 first quarter points and 28 overall to lead the way). South Portland (third in the Western A Heal Points standings) hosted Deering Thursday, go to Westbrook Saturday and Portland Tuesday, then close at home versus Cheverus on Feb. 5.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth has now won seven straight after recent victories over Greely (57-46), Gray-New Gloucester (68-44) and Wells (71-37). Against the Rangers, senior Conor Moloney had 17 points, junior Theo Bowe added 14 and senior Andrew Dickey finished with 13.In the win over the Patriots, Bowe led the way with 16. Against the Warriors, Dickey had 15 as the Capers improved to 14-1 (third behind Falmouth and Mountain Valley in the Heals).
Cape Elizabeth hosts York Friday and Yarmouth Tuesday, then closes the regular year with a showdown at Falmouth Feb. 5.
On the girls' side, Scarborough is on cruise control in the stretch run, boasting a perfect record and essentially have the top seed for the tournament locked up. The Red Storm are now 14-0 after recent wins over Bonny Eagle (51-37), Windham (57-44) and Kennebunk (63-18). Against the Scots, senior Jenn Colpitts had 17 points. Colpitts had 19 points against the Eagles. Senior Heather Carrier added 15 and classmate Christy Manning finished with 14. In the win over the Rams, Manning scored 15 points and senior Brittany Ross added 14.
Scarborough's quest for a first-ever undefeated regular season continued Thursday at home versus Portland. The Red Storm host Thornton Academy Tuesday, then close at Noble Wednesday and Kennebunk Feb. 5.
South Portland is clinging to the ninth and final Western A playoff spot at press time. The Red Riots lost 46-42 to visiting Cheverus Friday night. South Portland had 25 turnovers and despite 14 points from senior Danielle McCusker, fell short.
“We didn’t execute at the end of the game,” said Red Riots coach Mike Giordano. “We just couldn’t find a way to score late when we needed to. Cheverus is a good, athletic team. They come right after you and force you to be a player. Tonight we didn’t do a good job handling that. They are a tough matchup for us on defense. But at the same time, we’re a tough matchup for them on offense, we just didn’t take advantage of that. We need to execute on offense, rebound and take care of the basketball to win games. If we don’t do one or two of those things we’re sitting here with a four-point loss against a good team.”
Tuesday, South Portland improved to 8-7 with a 53-46 win at Bonny Eagle. Junior Danielle DiBiase led the way with 20 points.
The Red Riots host Westbrook Friday and Portland Monday, then close at Cheverus on Feb. 5.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth is still in the hunt to make the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996. At press time, the Capers were eighth in the region (the top nine make the playoffs). Cape Elizabeth fell 43-33 at home to Greely last Friday (senior Gabe Donahue had nine points in defeat). The Capers then suffered an agonizing 42-35 overtime setback at Gray-New Gloucester (senior Morgan Pillsbury finished with 14). Tuesday, they bounced back and improved to 8-7 with a 52-25 home win over Wells (behind Pillsbury's 21).
Cape Elizabeth is at undefeated, defending regional champ York Friday, hosts Yarmouth Tuesday, then closes with a pivotal matchup at Falmouth Feb. 5.
While Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough's boys' hockey teams were doing battle last weekend (please see story), South Portland continues to quietly put together another stellar campaign.
Last week, the Red Riots were victors against visiting Portland, 6-3, and visiting Gorham, 9-2, to extend their win streak to seven and improve to 8-3. Against the Bulldogs, junior Zach Griffin scored twice and junior Brittany Harrison made 19 saves to earn her first victory in goal.
South Portland (fourth in Western A) was at Kennebunk Wednesday, visits Gorham Saturday and goes to Sanford next Wednesday.
On the girls' side, Scarborough took an 8-6 mark (and the fourth spot in the West region Heals) into Wednesday's game with Portland. The Red Storm fell 7-5 at home to Biddeford Saturday. Sophomore Abby Rutt and freshman Sarah Martens both scored twice in the loss. Scarborough still has to make up games at Deering and Gorham and closes the regular season at Cape Elizabeth Monday.
The Capers will likely fall short of the postseason this winter. They're sixth in the West and only the top five advance. Cape Elizabeth lost 8-1 at York Saturday and 5-1 at Deering Monday to fall to 4-9-2.
The Capers were home with undefeated, powerhouse Cheverus Wednesday, welcome Portland Saturday, then finish up at home Monday versus Scarborough.
On the track last weekend, Cape Elizabeth's boys were fifth and the girls third in a seven-team Western Maine Conference meet at the University of Southern Maine. The Capers wrap up the regular season this weekend.
In the SMAA at the Expo, Scarborough's boys stayed undefeated in the league by downing Noble and Portland. The Red Storm girls also beat those squads. Scarborough finishes up the regular season Saturday against Gorham, Westbrook and Windham.
South Portland competed against Bonny Eagle and Gorham last weekend. The girls were second and the boys came in third. The Red Riots square off against city rivals Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland Saturday.
In the pool, Scarborough continued its dominance by easily sweeping Biddeford. The Red Storm now turn their attention to the north division Southwesterns held Friday (boys) and Saturday (girls) in Westbrook. Scarborough's boys are considered the favorite.
South Portland swept Westbrook last weekend, with the boys triumphing, 102-68, and the girls winning, 95-39. The Red Riots will also be at the Southwesterns meet.
Cape Elizabeth had its hands full with Class B power Greely last weekend. The Capers lost the boys' meet, 103-79, and the girls' competition, 107.5-72.5. Cape Elizabeth will be in Westbrook this weekend for Southwesterns.
Last Friday, Cape Elizabeth's Alpine ski team joined Falmouth, Gray-New Gloucester and Greely for a slalom meet. The girls were third and the boys came in fourth. Samuel Barber was runner-up for the boys' individually (with a two-run combined time of 1 minutes, 20.83 seconds).
Scarborough's wrestling team fell 75-6 to Westbrook last weekend. The Red Storm faced Marshwood and Traip Wednesday, then will get ready to compete in the Western A regionals Saturday, Feb. 6 at Deering High.
Scarborough's cheering team was second to Biddeford at last weekend's Western A championships and advanced to compete at states, Feb. 6, in Augusta. South Portland placed 13th and did not qualify for states.
Eric Carson contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com