The new year has brought action for everyone, in all sports.
Local athletes and teams continue to set the bar with plenty of challenges to come.
Here’s a glimpse:
The cream is rising to the top on the hardwood and so far on the boys’ side, Portland is leading the way. The Bulldogs enjoyed recent wins over visiting Gorham (73-44), at Biddeford (49-40) and at Windham (49-31, behind a team-high 11 points from Jayvon Pitts-Young) to improve to 8-0 and first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings. Portland hosted Kennebunk Tuesday, has a home showdown with one-loss South Portland Friday night (please see theforecaster.net for game story) and next week, hosts Cheverus and goes to Thornton Academy.
Defending state champion Deering entered the week third in Western A, behind Portland and Bonny Eagle. The Rams suffered their first loss to the visiting Scots Dec. 29, 45-44 (please see theforecaster.net for game story), then bounced back with wins at Kennebunk (70-37) and South Portland (a come-from-behind 58-52 overtime thriller, thanks to 18 points from Labson Abwoch). Deering (7-1) was at Biddeford Tuesday, hosts Cheverus Friday and welcomes Scarborough next Tuesday.
Cheverus has struggled of late, dropping three in a row to fall to 10th in Western A with a 3-5 record. Just before the new year, the Stags fell at Marshwood, 47-39. Last Wednesday, they lost at home to Bonny Eagle, 69-48, then were defeated by host Sanford, 67-62 (Emmanuel Ismail and Noah Stebbins both had 17 points in defeat). After hosting Scarborough Tuesday, Cheverus goes to Deering Friday and welcomes Portland and goes to Windham next week.
In Western C, Waynflete began the week second to Boothbay in the Heals. Last week, the Flyers dropped a 52-34 decision at Western B contender Cape Elizabeth, then improved to 7-1 Saturday with a hard-fought 47-44 home win over Fryeburg (Serge Nyirikamba had a team-high 19 points and Max Belleau finished with 10, including some big points late). Waynflete (7-1) was home with Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, goes to A.R. Gould Thursday and visits defending Class B state champion Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.
On the girls’ side, two-time defending Class A state champion continues to set the bar. The Lions won their first seven games by an average of 49 points, capped by victories at Biddeford (60-19, in a game which saw McAuley up, 37-0, late in the first half) and at home over Windham (72-32). Friday, the Lions welcomed Deering for a highly anticipated showdown, but condensation on the floor forced the game to be suspended to Saturday afternoon. There, McAuley took care of business, winning again, 43-35 (please see theforecaster.net for game story), to improve to 8-0 and extend its three-season win streak to 34 games. Allie Clement led the way with 17 points, while Sarah Clement added 10.
“I was just excited the whole time,” said Allie Clement. “I was afraid I’d psyche myself out, so I tried to keep myself calm. I’ve never had a game suspended. Especially a big game like that that was hyped up so much. We had to keep our composure and keep calm. We just needed to come back out like it was the beginning of a 0-0 game.”
“I felt we started the game really badly yesterday,” said McAuley coach Billy Goodman. “We didn’t play disciplined. Today, we came out with fire and the girls adjusted and made better decisions. We have a young team and Deering’s well coached. They’re disciplined. They’re tough kids. They’ve been together a long time. They’re a veteran team and it showed. They know their roles and they do it.”
The Lions (third behind Scarborough and Deering in the Western A Heals) were at Massabesic Tuesday, go to Thornton Academy Friday, then have big tests at Cheverus Tuesday of next week and at home versus Scarborough (in a rematch of last year’s regional final) Jan. 18.
Cheverus is also 8-0 at the start of the week after recent wins over visiting Marshwood (57-33, please see theforecaster.net for game story), host Bonny Eagle (76-48) and visiting Sanford (57-47, behind 18 points from Victoria Nappi and 14 from Brooke Flaherty). The fourth-ranked Stags were at Scarborough Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and welcome Deering Friday and McAuley Tuesday of next week.
Speaking of the Rams, they won their first eight games, capped by victories at Bonny Eagle (68-39), at South Portland (45-37) and at home over Kennebunk (50-21), but the fun ended Saturday at McAuley, 43-35, despite a strong effort from Alexis Stephenson, who had 12 points.
“The kids played hard,” said Deering coach Mike Murphy. “I’m very proud of them. Honestly, they’re kids. We expected they’d play hard. We have tough kids. We gave up easy points in the first half. We were tentative. That didn’t happen in the second half. I’d say the last six minutes of the second quarter, we had too many turnovers. We just took it at them in the second half.
“They have player after player after player and we only have so many players. We got tired. It’s a depth situation. Maybe they can get a kid from Sanford to move in next year for a kid who’s leaving this year. I just want a fair, level playing field. Everyone else in our league wants the same thing. It sounds like sour grapes, but it’s (unfair) when you have kids running out of gas and they have an all-star from Falmouth. It’s short-changing the public schools.”
Deering (8-1 and second in Western A) was home with Biddeford Tuesday, goes to Cheverus Friday and visits Scarborough Tuesday of next week.
Portland began the week 2-7 and in possession of the 11th spot in Western A, which would mean a playoff spot if the season ended now. The Bulldogs closed 2012 with a 72-40 loss at Gorham. They opened 2013 with a 34-32 home win over Biddeford, then fell at home to Windham, 55-43 (Brianna Holdren had 10 points). Portland was at Kennebunk Tuesday, hosts South Portland Friday and welcomes Thornton Academy Thursday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete was flying high entering the new year, but was upset at home by Cape Elizabeth Thursday, 49-45, in overtime (please see theforecaster.net for game story). Martha Veroneau led the Flyers with 14 points.
“We had too many turnovers,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway lamented. “We didn’t shoot well. We just didn’t play very well. I credit Cape for working hard and hustling, but we just didn’t have it. It’s disappointing. It’s the worst we’ve played in over a year. I felt like we had control of the game, but they battled. I think they wanted it more. I credit them for outworking us in spots. I don’t think we did a good job in any area. We missed easy shots. I think we shot 17 percent. You won’t beat many teams shooting like that. They did a good job with our press. I thought we lacked energy.”
Saturday, the Flyers (6-2) got back in the win column with a 53-39 triumph at Fryeburg (Veroneau had a game-high 30 points). After visiting Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, Waynflete hosts Kents Hill Monday and Yarmouth Tuesday.
Action is picking up on the ice as well.
The Cheverus boys began 2013 with wins at Yarmouth (3-0) and Thornton Academy (6-2) to improve to 6-1 (good for third behind Scarborough and Falmouth in the Western A Heals). The Stags visit Brunswick Wednesday.
Portland took a 3-2 record (and the No. 5 ranking) into Monday’s game at Marshwood/Traip. The Bulldogs host powerhouse Falmouth Thursday.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus fell to 2-7-1 (and seventh in the West Region) after losses last week to visiting Famouth (10-4) and at defending state champion Greely (12-0). The Stags host Brunswick Thursday and welcome Cape Elizabeth Monday.
Portland fell to 2-7-1 and eighth in the West after Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to Yarmouth. The Bulldogs play at Falmouth Wednesday and go to Gorham Tuesday of next week.
Cheverus and McAuley’s indoor track teams joined Biddeford, Gorham, Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook at a meet last Wednesday. The Stags boys were second to the Red Storm. Jake Dixon was named junior division MVP after winning the junior 55 (6.98 seconds) and the junior (23.85). The girls finished runner-up to the Red Riots. McAuley came in seventh.
Thursday, Deering and Portland competed with Bonny Eagle, Massabesic, Noble, Thornton Academy and Windham. The Rams boys were third behind the Golden Trojans and Knights, while the Bulldogs placed sixth. In the girls’ meet, Deering was also third, behind Thornton Academy and Bonny Eagle. Portland came in seventh.
Saturday, Cheverus and Portland join Biddeford, South Portland and Thornton Academy at USM at 8:30 a.m., McAuley battles Massabesic, Noble, Scarborough and Windham at noon and Deering runs, jumps and throws with Bonny Eagle, Gorham and Westbrook at 4 p.m.
In the pool, Cheverus, McAuley and Portland competed against each other and Gorham last weekend. In the boys’ meet, Cheverus beat Gorham, 69-24, and Portland, 69-25, while Portland beat Gorham, 53-36. The Stags got a new school record performance from the 200 free relay team members Trebor Lawton, Spencer Lindsley, Michael O’Donovan and Kevin Kane (1 minute, 33.49 seconds).
In the girls’ meet, Cheverus edged McAuley (89-78) and defeated Gorham (101-67) and Portland (113-51). The Stags got school records from diver Courtney Kane (160 points) and Tessa Lindsley in the 200 free (2:01.54). McAuley downed Gorham (101-69) and Portland (106-61). Portland also lost to Gorham, 93-76.
Portland is at Bonny Eagle Thursday. Friday, McAuley is at Cape Elizabeth and Cheverus is home with Greely.
Deering’s boys gave defending Class B champion Greely a scare before losing, 51-43. The girls beat the reigning champion Rangers, 50.5-43.5. Deering is home with Falmouth Friday.
Waynflete goes to Kennebunk Friday.
Portland’s Nordic team was fifth at the Telstar Relays Saturday. Ben Allen, Laura Frank, Jeremy Ravanelle and Sadie Sarvis combined for a time of 40 minutes, 7 seconds.
Waynflete opened its Western Maine Conference schedule with a skate race at Pineland. The boys got a 16th-place finish from Dylan Kingsbury (19:47). The girls were paced by Gemma Laurence (62nd, 31:19).
On the Alpine side, Cheverus took part in a six-team giant slalom meet last week. The Stags boys were sixth, while the girls did not score. Lizzie Fossett was 12th as an individual (with a two-run combined time of 1:26.26).
Portland’s wrestling team is now 3-5 after a 42-36 win over rival Deering last week, which dropped the Rams to 1-6.
The Bulldogs are back in action Wednesday, joining York at Marshwood.
Deering will host Massabesic and Wells on Jan. 16.
Despite the feverish efforts of volunteers to wipe away condensation from the floor, Friday night’s Deering at McAuley girls’ basketball showdown was suspended.
McAuley sophomore Victoria Lux swats the ball away from Deering senior Marissa MacMillan during the Lions’ 43-35 win. Play was resumed Saturday after Friday’s suspension.