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Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

Winter Sports Previews

Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

Scarborough's winter athletic teams will be in the hunt for greatness pretty much across the board. The boys' basketball team looks to join the top contenders in Western A. The girls' squad welcomes a new coach and hopes to get back to its championship form from two seasons ago. Both hockey teams have plenty to get excited about and will be heard from all season. The boys' track team is defending a championship, something the girls have done for years. Expect the excellence to continue. Both swim teams feature plenty of talent. The nascent ski program will turn heads as well. Wrestling didn't provide information for this article.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Joe Johnson (fourth year, 27-29)

2010-11 Record: 8-10 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kolbey Adams (Senior), David Conceison (Senior), Conor McCann (Senior), John Passarelli (Senior), Ben Wessel (Senior), Brendan Hall (Junior), Kevin Manning (Junior), Dillon Russo (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 16 (H) MARSHWOOD, Dec. 23 @ Portland, Jan. 3 @ SP, Jan. 6 (H) TA, Jan. 10 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 16 (H) DEERING, Feb. 3 @ Bonny Eagle, Feb. 7 @ TA

COACH’S COMMENT: “We'll cause a lot of problems on defense. We'll get up and down the floor. If we can put the ball in the hole, we'll be OK. The seniors are great people. Beyond basketball. It's a more competitive league. It won't be easy, but I think we're tougher.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough was 5-0 entering the new year last winter, but went just 3-10 the rest of the way and fell short of the playoffs. Despite the loss to graduation of all-star Zach Bean, who appeared near the top of several statistical categories, this year's team, which has played together for awhile, could be a darkhorse. The Red Storm impressed in the opener, a 51-46 win at Gorham, as Wessel scored 20 points and Conceison added 13. They'll help pace the offense all year and will get help from Adams and Russo. McCann and Passarelli bring experience. Hall and Manning saw minutes as sophomores. Junior Sam Wessel is hurt, but will be back after Christmas. Senior Scott Thibeault, the football standout, is new to the team and could make an impact with his athleticism. Keep an eye also on seniors Dan Frank and Ben Sirois, juniors Sam Terry and Jon Wheeler (the lacrosse star) and sophomore Matt Hartl. There's plenty of reason for optimism when you look at the quality of athlete on the roster, several of whom have enjoyed great success in other sports. Scarborough's schedule gives it an opportunity to win more than it loses and get back to the Expo. A year ago, the Red Storm was third in the league in defense, but was mired in 14th in offense. If this team can stay healthy, come together over the next few weeks and become a force on offense, it will be a force to be reckoned with well into February.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Tom Maines (first year)

2010-11 Record: 6-12 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Brittany Bona (Senior), Carly Rogers (Senior), Courtney Alofs (Junior), Taylor LeBorgne (Junior), Marissa O'Toole (Junior), Maria Philbrick (Junior), Alisha Starbird (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 16 @ Marshwood, Dec. 20 (H) WINDHAM, Jan. 6 @ TA, Jan. 10 @ Cheverus, Jan. 16 @ Deering, Jan. 20 (H) MCAULEY, Jan. 27 @ Sanford, Feb. 3 (H) BONNY EAGLE, Feb. 7 (H) TA

COACH’S COMMENT: “The girls are learning every day. I'm pleased with their focus. They're great kids. I teach a different style. It's more up-tempo with more pressure than they're used to. We'll press full out all the time. I like what we're doing. If we play well, we will create problems. We should be in the top six..”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: One year after an undefeated, first-ever state title, last year's Red Storm was done in by graduation losses and injuries. This year's squad figures to be a lot more like 2009-10 than 2010-11. Jim Seavey's successful five-season run as coach ended in the offseason. Stepping in is Maines, who played at Erskine Academy and at the University of Maine and Unity before getting into coaching. He's coached boys' basketball for 27 years, most memorably at Morse, which he led to three straight Class A championships in the late 1980s. Maines' 354 wins helped secure a spot for him in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Having four daughters primes him for this job. He has a lot to work with. Scarborough has an impressive frontcourt, featuring Fall Female Athlete of the Year Bona, who stands over 6-feet, the 5-11 Rogers, Alofs and O'Toole. Starbird, another forward, is primed for a breakout season. Freshman forward Ashley Briggs will soon become a household name. In the backcourt, Philbrick runs the point. LeBorgne and junior Mary Redmond (a transfer from Gorham) will look to hit long range shots. In a season-opening 58-51 home victory over Gorham, Bona and Redmond each had 13 points, Briggs 10 and LeBorgne nine. The Red Storm wasn't getting much preseason buzz, but that figures to change quickly. The schedule favors a hot start and by the time Scarborough faces league favorites Cheverus, Deering and McAuley in an 11-day span in January, it should be full of confidence. The Red Storm is back and the rest of the SMAA better take cover.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Norm Gagne (third year, 15-21-2)

2010-11 Record: 9-10 (Lost, 6-0, to Thornton Academy in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jordan Bathe (Senior), Ryan Johnston (Senior), Trevor Murray (Junior), Damian Ramsdell (Junior), Jack Rousselle (Junior), Garrett McDonnell (Sophomore), Ian Morris (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 9 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 11 @ TA, Jan. 19 (H) PORTLAND, Jan. 26 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 28 @ Biddeford, Feb. 11 (H) BIDDEFORD, Feb. 16 @ Portland, Feb. 20 (H) TA, Feb. 23 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “A lot of kids have stepped up in the preseason. We have good scoring depth It's a very young group. We have four freshmen and six sophomores to go with six juniors and four seniors. Things have gone a lot better for us than I thought. I'm really optimistic. We play a Tier I schedule and it won't be easy for us, but we'll battle to get in the tournament. Barring injuries, we'll do that.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough is looking for more wins and a deeper playoff run this winter and there's enough talent in place to make that happen. The Red Storm was hindered by the loss of sophomore Jake Gross, last year's leading scorer, to a football shoulder injury. Gagne hopes to get him back toward the end of the season. With Gross sidelined, Bathe (a captain), McDonnell and Rousselle will look to pick up the scoring slack. Murray and Ramsdell will also be involved. On defense, Johnston (another captain) and Morris will stand tall. Three goalies are battling for playing time. Junior Dalton Finley, sophomore Alex Cherry and freshman Ben Bragg will all get an opportunity. Scarborough opened in style with a 6-0 victory over South Portland and showed terrific offensive balance as six different players tickled the twine. The Red Storm has a favorable schedule and should get off to a good start and while there are many tough games ahead, this team will be up for the challenge. By the time Gross returns, Scarborough could be chasing one of the high playoff seeds and this time around, the Red Storm figure to be a factor in the postseason.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Caitlin Cashman (third year, 24-12-2)

2010-11 Results: 12-5-2 (Lost, 2-1, in OT, to Biddeford in West Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Shannon Hicks (Junior), Sarah Martens (Junior), Kristina Block (Sophomore), Devan Kane (Sophomore), Rachel Wallace (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 @ York, Dec. 30 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 31 @ Cheverus, Jan. 7 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 13 (H) PORTLAND, Jan. 21 @ Biddeford, Jan. 23 @ Portland

COACH'S COMMENT: “This season, we're really focusing on teamwork, hard work and discipline. Unlike past seasons, we'll rotate three lines. Offensively, we're stronger than in seasons past. I expect the offense to be aggressive, especially around loose rebounds and we'll move the puck well in the offensive zone. Defensively, we expect to play tough along the boards, in the corners and in front of our goalies. We're expecting the goalies to control rebounds and make the first save. We can go far if we play like a team, don't underestimate anyone and play strong, disciplined hockey.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough has been one of the better girls' programs since the sport's inception. Last year, the Red Storm appeared primed for a title run, but was upset by Biddeford in an overtime heartbreaker. This year's team could be just as good, if not better. Scarborough has a 4-2-1 record to date. After beating Winslow in the opener, 7-4, the Red Storm settled for a 1-1 tie with York. After a 10-2 win over Gorham, Scarborough was blanked by Greely, 3-0. A 4-3 overtime triumph against Cape Elizabeth and a 6-1 win over Biddeford were sandwiched around a 2-1 setback at Brunswick. So far, the a balanced offense has been led by Martens. Block, Wallace, Alyssa Hulst and Sam Nablo also figure to pace the attack. Kane missed the start of the year with a wrist injury, so Hicks stepped in between the pipes and did very well. Look for Cashman to platoon the two all season. The loss of Abby Rutt certainly hurts, but the Red Storm have the pieces in place for another successful season. While there are several formidable foes, Scarborough should be able to match up and beat most of them, which will likely spell another impressive record and a trip back to the postseason.

INDOOR TRACK

BOYS' COACH: Derek Veilleux (eighth year)

GIRLS' COACH: Ron Kelly (16th year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) Class A state champions

(GIRLS) Class A state champions (seventh in a row)

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Nick Morris (Senior), Mike Tudor (Senior), Robby Hall (Junior), Alec James (Junior), Ryan Jamison (Junior), Merrick Madden (Junior), Greg Viola (Junior), Austin Doody (Sophomore), Mike Pino (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Catherine Bailey (Senior), Haela Booth-Howe (Senior), Kat Gadbois (Senior), Nicole Kirk (Senior), Maggie Smith (Senior), Andrea Tolman (Senior), Emily Tolman (Senior), Karli-An Gilbert (Junior), Jessica Meader (Junior), Stephanie Ostrowski (Junior), Ali Pelczar (Junior), Avery Pietras (Junior), Cailley Ledue (Sophomore), Morgan Rodway (Sophomore)

COACH VEILLEUX’S COMMENT: “We'll have a target on our backs. The athletes we have are ready to continue our success despite graduating several top athletes. We have a great core group back. They're hungry, focused and motivated to repeat the success of last winter. Our depth may not be as good as a year ago, but we'll still cover most of the events. Staying healthy will be a key. As always, the focus is to run our best at the championship meets in February.”

COACH KELLY’S COMMENT: “We will be battling for top honors.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Scarborough program was second to none last winter and the fun should continue this season as the boys seek a third crown in four years, while the girls look to make it a jawdropping eight in a row as the sport moves from the Expo to the University of Southern Maine.

The boys' team returns state meet scorers Morris (champion of the 800 and sixth in the two-mile), Hall (part of the champion 3,200 relay team and sixth in the 800), James (fourth in the pole vault) and Madden (sixth in the 55 hurdles). Doody and Jamison return in the sprints. Viola is a middle-distance threat. Tudor is another distance runner to watch. Pino could threaten in the shot put. Newcomers include senior Wout Moulin (distance), sophomore Andrew Morrissey (middle-distance) and freshman Jerry Kenney (middle-distance). There are plenty of good teams in the SMAA and in the state, but the Red Storm have enough ammunition to defend their crown.

On the girls' side, the loss of jumper extraordinaire Emilia Scheemaker will hurt, but Kirk is the reigning 200 champion (she was also runner-up in the 55) and Rodway and Emily Tolman were part of a state champion 800 relay team. Meader and freshmen Katherine Kirk and Miranda Panico join Nicole Kirk and Rodway in the sprints. Bailey and freshman Sarah Rinaldi compete in the hurdles. The distance contingent features Gadbois, Gilbert, Pietras, Smith, Emily Tolman (last year's runner-up in the 800 and third-place finisher in the long jump) and freshman Maria Quartararo. On the field side, Booth-Howe is the top thrower. Jumpers include Rinaldi, Andrea Tolman and freshmen Julia Martens and Emma Tirrell. Ledue, Ostrowski, Pelczar and Andrea Tolman (runner-up last winter) all will vault. This has the makings of another all-star and championship team. Seven was heaven, but for this crew, eight will be great.

SWIMMING

COACH: Eric French (second year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 6th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Andrew Doran (Senior), Nathaniel Duggan (Senior), Thomas Fitts (Senior), Jonathan Alas (Junior), Paul Babirak (Junior), Patrick Rogers (Junior), Karsten Schelasin (Junior)

(GIRLS) Dayna Ankermann (Senior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of work to do this season. It's a very young team with the smallest freshman team ever. We lost 18 swimmers and divers to graduation and two state qualifying females, so we're down in numbers, but not in pride. Our schedule is not easy and there will be a lot of close meets. The kids have worked hard in the weight room and in the pool. We're not focused on winning or losing. We're focused on making states and checking off our goals. I have faith in our coaching staff and our captains that the leadership will provide the right chemistry to have a successful season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough has long been a top Class A contender and while there will be challenges this winter, the Red Storm will be a force again. French is assisted this season by Ana Bussone and J.B. Whipple.

The boys' team graduated Jack Clark, Mark Endrizzi and Martin Schelasin, but return state meet scorers Doran (relays) and Duggan (butterfly and medley relay). Fitts is another returning senior who does everything from sprint freestyle to backstroke to diving. Alas also dives. Babirak and Rogers are sprint freestylers. Karsten Schelasin competes in the 200 free. The Red Storm will have a lot of tough foes and may not equal last year's 7-1 record, but by February, it will be a team to be reckoned with once more.

The girls are hurt by the departure of Samantha Couillard, who was runner-up in the breaststroke and fourth in the IM last year. That leaves Ankermann as the top returner. She was eighth in both the 50 free and the backstroke and also scored in the relays at states. Several others will have the opportunity to step up and fill the void. Even when Scarborough's cupboard is bare, it's a program that most envy. The Red Storm will turn their share of heads in the next couple months.

SKIING

COACH: David Mills (first year)

2010-11 RESULTS:

(BOYS)

Alpine 9th @ Class A state meet;

Nordic Did not score @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS)

Alpine 9th @ Class A state meet;

Nordic Did not score @ Class A state meet

SKIERS TO WATCH:

(BOYS) Kevin Dryzga, Jack Goodwin, Anders Jepson, Steve Marchewka, Matt McAlary

(GIRLS) Shelby Bernier, Meghan McAlary, Abby Mills, Rori Sutkowski

COACH'S COMMENT: “We're expecting a very promising season. We'll be missing a couple outstanding seniors like many other programs, however, several other athletes will be stepping up to the starting gate. One of the big things we take from last year is that we can compete against the larger, more established programs due to hard work and fundamentals.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough was impressive as a first-year program and some very good skiers again.

The Alpine boys' team features Dryzga, Goodwin and McAlary (an SMAA all-star in 2010-11). Jepson and Marchewka compete in Nordic.

For the girls' squad, Bernier, McAlary, Mills (17th in the Class A slalom and 28th in the giant slalom during an all-star season last year) and Sutkowski lead the Alpine team. On the Nordic side, Bernier leads the way.

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

Photo: File photo

Junior Taylor LeBorgne will be a player to watch for the Red Storm this winter.

Photo: File photo

Senior Carly Rogers will be difficult for the opposition to contend with.

Photo: File photo

Senior captain Jordan Bathe and the Scarborough boys' hockey team will be in the title hunt this season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Sarah Martens will be a scoring leader for the Red Storm girls' hockey team.

Photo: File photo

Senior Catherine Bailey will be heard from on the track this winter.

Photo: File photo

Senior Chelsea Damon hopes to score in the throws this season.