Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview
Several Scarborough winter sports teams are in the hunt this year. Boys' basketball hopes to finally end its run of preliminary round losses and go deeper in the tournament. The girls' team has all the goods to win a first-ever regional and possible state title. Boys' hockey welcomes a legend as its new coach and should be very strong. The girls' squad has been a top contender in recent seasons and should remain one. Both track teams have an abundance of stellar athletes and high hopes. Swimming welcomes back a former standout as its new coach and expects to be in it all the way to the end. Wrestling looks to grow and improve.
COACH: Joe Johnson (second year)
2008-09 Record: 8-11 (Lost 55-38 to Biddeford in Western Class A preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Conor Sullivan (Senior), Zach Bean (Junior), Kevin Philbrick (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 @ Deering, Dec. 18 (H) WESTBROOK, Dec. 23 (H) BIDDEFORD, Jan. 5 @ South Portland, Jan. 7 (H) TA, Jan. 9 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 12 @ Biddeford, Jan. 18 (H) WINDHAM, Jan. 28 @ Portland, Feb. 2 @ TA
COACH'S COMMENT: "We haven't been able to get by the prelim the past few years. I'm very excited about this year. The guys have played a lot of basketball since last season. I like our chances. We were a couple possessions away last year. We beat the teams we should. This year, I hope we can beat some of the teams we shouldn't."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough is sick of knocking on the playoff door and not getting an answer. After four straight preliminary round defeats, the Red Storm feel they're good enough to make it to the Portland Expo for the quarterfinals this winter. They certainly got off to a good start by winning their first two outings, 42-40 (in OT) over visiting Gorham and 53-34 at Massabesic. Sullivan came up big both games, draining 18 points against the Rams and 15 versus the Mustangs. Bean (the SMAA Rookie of the Year a year ago after averaging 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game) added nine against Gorham and 15 against Massabesic. Philbrick, who replaces his brother Ian as point guard, finished with eight. He was ninth in the league in assists last season, with 3.0 per game. That's a solid core. New to the mix is senior forward Brendan Sullivan. Scarborough has had its share of success in boys' sports, but basketball has lagged behind. With more of a commitment to the sport by this group, Johnson hopes to see dividends by season's end. While there are an abundance of strong teams in the league, the Red Storm should be able to go toe-to-toe with most of them. If this program continues on an upward curve, it will be a postseason force in the not too distant future. If everything really comes together, it could happen this season.
FUN FACT: Scarborough has lost in the preliminary round of the playoffs four years running. The last time the program fell in the same round of the postseason that many years in a row came when the then-Redskins lost in the semifinals four straight seasons between 1964 and 1967.
COACH: Jim Seavey (fourth year)
2008-09 Record: 17-3 (Lost 32-29 to Biddeford in Western A semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Heather Carrier (Senior), Jenn Colpitts (Senior), Christy Manning (Senior), Sarah Moody (Senior), Brittany Ross (Senior), Mo Hannan (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 (H) DEERING, Dec. 22 (H) MCAULEY, Dec. 28 @ Biddeford, Jan. 5 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 7 @ TA, Jan. 9 @ Cheverus, Jan. 18 @ Windham, Feb. 2 (H) TA
COACH'S COMMENT: "It's a pretty talented group going into uncharted waters with preseason expectations. We'll see how they react. I have three kids I feel comfortable with playing point guard. These girls know how to win with championships in field hockey, track and lacrosse. We'll see if it carries over to the basketball court. It's a special group. They're all so unselfish."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough has rapidly entered the stratosphere of elite contender under Seavey and this season could be the Red Storm's crowning moment. Scarborough felt it would have had a shot against Deering in last year's regional final, but a narrow loss to Biddeford denied it the opportunity. After graduating just four players, most notably point guard and 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year Reegan Brackett, the Red Storm feel that they, and not Deering, are the team to beat this winter. Scarborough got off to a good start with a 53-33 victory at Gorham and a 68-31 home win over Massabesic. Much of the focal point of opposing defenses will be on Manning, a reigning first-team all-star who has become one of the elite players in the state and a possible Miss Maine Basketball candidate by the time this year's said and done. The post standout (17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in 2008-09) can also get the job done outside and is ferocious rebounder and defender. She had 12 points and eight boards in the opener and led the team with 14 points against the Mustangs. Colpitts (an honorable mention all-star last season after averaging 11.2 points and 3.7 steals) is poised to have a monster season as well. She led the team with 16 points versus Gorham and added 11 versus Massabesic. Moody will prove to be a challenge at either guard or forward. Sophomore Emily Kothman was pegged to be Brackett's replacement, but she suffered a knee injury. That means three field hockey standouts, Carrier, Hannan and Fall Female Athlete of the Year Ross (10 points against Massabesic) will play the position. Scarborough's secret weapon (although she won't be for long) could be senior Ellie Morin, who had the championship-winning goal for field hockey and is an All-American in lacrosse. She debuted with 14 points and will be difficult to contend with at her forward position. New sophomore Brittany Bona brings size and ability to the roster. New junior Hannah Freeman will look to make a mark as well. Seavey's teams always play in-your-face defense and force a lot of turnovers. There are ample weapons on offense and a belief now that this program can compete with the best. Now, these girls have to get used to wearing a bulls-eye, but based on their success last season and in other sports, there's every reason to believe they'll rise to the occasion. Deering (which Scarborough hosts Friday) badly wants to three-peat, but there's a special team potentially standing in its way. The Red Storm have what it takes to win it all.
FUN FACT: Last year's 18 victories eclipsed the 1977-78 team by one for the most in program history.
COACH: Norm Gagne (first year)
2008-09 Record: 12-7-1 (Lost 7-4 to St. Dom's in Western Class A quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Trevor Hoxsie (Senior), Matt Mayo (Senior), Andrew Nigro (Senior), Brenden O'Brien (Senior), Nate Tolman (Senior), Connor Gullifer (Junior), Brett Leighton (Junior), Hunter Lynch (Junior), Brian McKeown (Junior), Zach Pettingill (Junior), Jordan Bathe (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 22 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 2 (H) TA, Jan. 6 (H) BIDDEFORD, Jan. 9 @ Falmouth, Jan. 16 @ Greely, Jan. 18 @ Lewiston, Jan. 23 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 30 @ St. Dom's, Feb. 6 (H) WATERVILLE, Feb. 10 @ TA, Feb. 13 (H) LEWISTON
COACH'S COMMENT: "We have great leadership. If our seniors have a great year, we'll have a great year. I think we're young and trying to fit the pieces as we go. I'm looking at us as a middle-of-the-road team right now. I hope we get better and put it all together at playoff time. There's great character on this team."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough stands to be one of the best teams in Class A this year and will benefit greatly from its new coach. Gagne, who last year assisted Jay Mazur (who stepped down to become the Scarborough middle school athletic director), is four wins from 600 for his career and has won six state titles during his career coaching at Gardiner, Waterville and Lewiston. He inherits a program rich with talent. Mayo is a returning all-star in goal. He made 27 saves in a season-opening 4-3 setback at Biddeford. In front of Mayo, the defense consists of Gullifer and O'Brien, along with new senior Scott Peterson and freshman Ryan Bailer. Offensively, the top line consists of reigning all-star Nigro (a goal versus Biddeford), Tolman and Hoxsie, the soccer standout who was Scarborough's Fall Male Athlete of the Year. McKeown is due for a breakout season. He scored twice in the opener. Leighton and Pettingill are also on the second line. Bathe, Lynch, new sophomore Joey Cronin and freshman Nick Bagley will also make noise with the puck. There's a lot of firepower on this squad. Instilling confidence and a hunger to be the best will be Gagne's job and he's certainly up to the challenge. The Red Storm face several very good teams during the course of the season, but will win their share. By playoff time, Scarborough will be molded into a top contender, capable of beating anyone, anywhere.
FUN FACT: Last year's quarterfinal round loss ended a four-year run of semifinal appearances or better, a new program benchmark.
COACH: Catilin Cashman (first year)
2008-09 Results: 13-5-2 (Lost 3-1 to Cheverus in West Region semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Rebecca Bragg (Senior), Jordan Finley (Senior), Marina Sterrer (Senior), Abby Rutt (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 (H) CHEVERUS, Dec. 16 @ St. Dom's, Dec. 18 @ Lewiston, Dec. 19 @ Greely, Jan. 14 @ Cheverus, Jan. 18 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 23 (H) BIDDEFORD
COACH'S COMMENT: "It's going really well so far. It's a great group of girls. They're getting better and learning. Focusing on teamwork. I think we have a lot of speed. We need to be more controlled and disciplined. There's great chemistry. I have faith we'll go far. I'm excited to see how well we can do."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough has been one of the state's premier programs in recent seasons and should remain near the top this season under its new coach. Cashman played at the University of Southern Maine and coached Portland last winter. So far this season, the Red Storm's play has been encouraging. Scarborough won three of its first five contests and has gotten plenty of offense. Rutt (a first-team all-star last year who has already been named Player of the Week by the Maine Girls' Hockey Academy) is a standout with the puck and on defense. Finley has scored her share of goals, as have Sterrer (second-team all-star last winter), sophomore Kennedy Johnson and freshman Sarah Martens. Bragg joins Rutt on defense in front of new sophomore goalie Emma Chaloux-Pinette. Freshman Shannon Hicks will also see time in goal. This squad will only get stronger as the season progresses and will need to with some big tests upcoming. If Scarborough can tighten up defensively, it will be very tough to beat. Look for the Red Storm to be one of the last teams standing.
BOYS' COACH: Derek Veilleux (seventh year)
GIRLS' COACH: Ron Kelly (14th year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Southwesterns (Class A state champions)
(GIRLS) 1st @ Southwesterns (Class A state champions)
TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:
(BOYS) Luke Bogdanovich (Senior), Eben Bradley (Senior), Sean Griffin (Senior), Nate Hathaway (Senior), Zach Brown (Junior), Tom Hague (Junior), Dennis Liu (Junior), Alex Pok (Junior), Nick Morris (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) , Melissa DellaTorre (Senior), Jenny Snyder (Senior), Kelsey Schild (Senior), Abby Chick (Junior), Emelia Scheemaker (Junior), Samantha Armishaw (Sophomore), Nicole Kirk (Sophomore), Andrea Tolman (Sophomore), Emily Tolman (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Cheverus, Deering, Gorham, Thornton Academy
COACH VEILLEUX'S COMMENT: "We scored 56 points at the state meet last winter, but only return 13, so this team will have a new look. Our goal will be to get better each week and peak for the championship meets, with the ultimate goal to win the state title again. It will be a new cast of athletes, but the coaching staff is excited to work with them and we're confident we can get them to a championship level by February."
COACH KELLY'S COMMENT: "We will battle for No. 6. We must continue to improve with our young sophomores. Pole vault, hurdles, 60 and the relays are our key events."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough swept Class A a year ago and even though both teams were hit by graduation, will be in the hunt again this winter.
The boys return state meet scorers Hathaway (runner-up in the mile, seventh in the two-mile, dominant in cross country this fall), Hague (relay) and Morris (relay). Distance should be a strength for the team. Brown, Griffin, Hague and Morris could all score. In the sprints, look for Bradley and Pok to step up, as well as new juniors Colin Cain and Joe Viola, John Gonzalez and freshman Ryan Jamison. Liu is the lead hurdler. In the field events, Bogdanovich and new senior Andrew Meyers are threats in the throws. In the jumps, Viola and senior Ross Thomas are in the running. Bradley and freshman Alec James will be heard from in the pole vault. The Red Storm will miss the likes of Sam Chick and Brad Nakanishi, but have enough depth and talent in reserve to be very strong during the regular season, then be in the hunt for a repeat title.
On the girls' side, Scarborough is optimistic about making it six straight seasons atop Class A, but it won't come easily. Replacing state champions Lauren Blaisdell, Whitney Chamberlain and Catie Funk will be difficult, but not impossible. Kirk was part of a state champion 800 relay team last year. She'll be a top sprinter, along with Armishaw and freshman Avery Pietras. Snyder was third in the state in the 55 hurdles and fourth in the 55 last season. She's another sprint threat. Chick, DellaTorre, Andrea Tolman and Emily Tolman (part of a state champion 3,200 relay team a year ago) will be strong in the longer races. In the field events, Scheemaker scored in both the long and triple jumps, as well as the 55 hurdles last year. She hopes to move up in the standings. Schild brings depth to the long jump. Kelly will need to develop some throwers and hope this team will come of age quickly. The potential is there for great things and anyone writing off the Red Storm will come to regret it.
COACH: Sean Flaherty (first year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Southwesterns (5th @ Class A state meet)
(GIRLS) 5th @ Southwesterns (5th @ Class A state meet)
TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:
(BOYS) Adam Saltz (Senior), Martin Schelasin (Senior), Jack Clark (Junior), Mark Endrizzi (Junior)
(GIRLS) Maya Glab (Junior), Dayna Ankermann (Sophomore), Sam Couillard (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Cheverus
COACH'S COMMENT: "The boys are returning a number of talented swimmers and are adding many new faces who haven't swum high school previously. These young men will lead a very deep lineup that will be among the state's best. Watch for Scarborough to head into the state championships as the team to beat. The girls return a young, but strong group. They'll be a force to be reckoned with at every dual meet. They'll certainly be among the favorites at Southwesterns. Look for Scarborough to move up at states. They could surprise a lot of people by bringing home some hardware."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough is loaded for bear this winter and welcomes home Sean Flaherty as coach. Flaherty was the premier swimmer in the state earlier this decade, swimming for the Red Storm, and went to compete at George Washington University. He's a state representative from the town as well.
This year's boys' squad will be led by a nice mix of solid returners and impact newcomers. Leading the returners are Clark (eighth in the 500 free and 13th in the 200 free last year), Endrizzi (ninth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free) and Saltz (11th in the backstroke and 13th in the 500 free). Schelasin adds depth in the freestyle races. Then, there's junior Kip Gravel (backstroke), junior Arthur Hamill (butterfly) and freshman Jerry Gravel (backstroke), who should elevate this squad right to the top. Scarborough opened with a hard-fought 136-124 win over another top contender, Cape Elizabeth, and a 136-66 triumph over South Portland. Look for the Red Storm to be formidable throughout and to make a serious run at the championship in February.
On the girls' side, Couillard if coming off a sensational state meet showing as a freshman (setting a new school record in placing second in the breaststroke and coming in fifth in the IM). Ankermann came in seventh in the backstroke and ninth in the 200 free last year. Glab was 12th in the 500 free and 14th in the breaststroke. She'll focus on freestyle this season. Junior Laura Flewelling (breaststroke) and freshman Lucy Iselborn (a sprint freestyler) will soon become household names. The Red Storm beat Class B contender McAuley, 111-69 in the first meet. With the returners only getting better, Scarborough should be in the hunt all season. They'll be a compelling story when the Southwestern and state meets come around.
COACH: Phil Hamilton (fourth year)
2008-09 Results: 6-10, 9th @ regional meet (23rd @ Class A state meet)
TOP WRESTLERS: Pat Damicis (Senior), Hamlet Ghukasyan (Senior), Kyle Jamison (Senior), Molly O'Connor (Senior), Mike Cyr (Junior), Scott Merrill (Junior)
COACH'S COMMENT: "We have an experienced group of seniors and juniors to anchor the middle and upper weight classes, while integrating several from the middle school program into the lighter weight classes. We've made huge strides this summer and have the heart and desire to make a name for ourselves at the state meet."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The young Scarborough program will be heard from this winter. Top returners are Cyr (189 pounds), Damicis (215), Ghukasyan (160 or 171), Jamison (135 or 141), Merrill (135 or 140) and O'Connor (112). Several newcomers expect to contend. That group includes Brandon O'Roak (152), Travis Profit (171), Kaylee Reny and Chris Taite (103). The Red Storm should have most or all of the weight classes covered, giving them an advantage over many of their foes. By year's end, expect a few wrestlers to emerge and be top contenders. Next year should be even better.