Another year of high school sports action is in the rearview mirror, but the memories figure to linger for a long time.
Local athletes turned heads last winter winter, dazzled in the spring and enthralled in the autumn.
With a new year nearing, here’s one more look back to the thrills that made up 2011.
When 2010 gave way to 2011, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland’s boys’ basketball teams all had playoff aspirations.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland were making postseason pushes.
On the ice, the Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough boys and the Scarborough girls were turning heads.
Skiing, swimming, wrestling and track teams and individuals made a mark as they geared up for the postseason.
Scarborough wrestler Mike Cyr earned the first hardware of the new year, winning a Class A crown at 215 pounds.
The coronations continued during February vacation week.
In track, Scarborough won both the boys’ and girls’ Class A championships. Individually, Scarborough’s Nick Morris (800) and Orrin James (high jump) took boys’ titles. Scarborough’s Nicole Kirk (200) and Emilia Scheemaker (long jump, triple jump) were girls’ winners.
In the pool, Cape Elizabeth’s boys finished second in Class A to Bangor and had a pair of multiple individual champs. Marcus Cloutier took the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley and Evan Long won the 50 and 200 frees.
Cape Elizabeth’s Sam Barber won the slalom at the Class B Alpine state meet.
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
On the boys’ side, in Western A, Scarborough barely missed the playoffs but South Portland rode another strong season to a berth. The Red Riots’ title hopes were dashed with an upset loss to Portland in the quarterfinals. In Class B, Cape Elizabeth barely survived Wells’ upset bid in the quarterfinals, avenged a couple regular season losses to York in the semis, then outlasted Yarmouth in the regional final to earn a third trip to the state final in four seasons.
On the girls’ side, defending state champion Scarborough wasn’t able to get back to the postseason. Cape Elizabeth got to the Expo for the first time this century, but was the first victim of eventual Class B champion Leavitt (in the quarterfinal round). South Portland made the Western A quarterfinals, but was sent home by eventual state champ McAuley.
Hockey saw the Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland boys qualify for the postseason. On the girls’ side, Scarborough was the top seed in the West Region, but was upset in overtime by Biddeford in the semifinals.
Cape Elizabeth entered the Class B boys’ state championship game as a decided underdog to Camden Hills, but behind the brilliance of Theo Bowe, the Capers almost sprung the upset. Despite Bowe’s 36 points, Cape Elizabeth lost a close contest.
Both Scarborough and South Portland’s boys’ hockey teams were ousted in the Western A quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth got to the Western B semis, but lost to eventual state champion York.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland’s baseball teams all impressed.
Defending Class A champion South Portland’s softball squad appeared invincible, with Scarborough its top competitor. In Western B, Cape Elizabeth returned to playoff form.
Boys’ lacrosse featured Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough as title contenders, with South Portland not far behind.
On the girls’ side, Scarborough was gearing up for another title run, while Cape Elizabeth and South Portland also enjoyed strong campaigns.
Area track stars geared up for the postseason.
The tennis story featured excellence from Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.
On the 4th, Scarborough’s Nicole Kirk (100 and 200) and South Portland’s Adrian Reid (200) won Class A individual outdoor track titles.
On the 11th, both Scarborough tennis teams made state championship debuts, but both were defeated by Lewiston.
On the diamond, Cape Elizabeth’s title hopes were denied by Falmouth in an upset in the quarterfinal round. Scarborough was upset at home by South Portland in the quarterfinals. The Red Riots then were defeated in the semifinals by eventual Class A champion Cheverus.
Cape Elizabeth’s softball team was ousted by Oak Hill in the Western B quarterfinals. In Western A, as expected, Scarborough and South Portland advanced to a regional final showdown and to the surprise of many, it was the Red Storm springing the upset. Scarborough then won its third Class A championship in five seasons, blanking Messalonskee in the finale.
The top local boys’ lacrosse story was Scarborough, which won a repeat championship, holding off Lewiston in a closely contested Class A state final. Cape Elizabeth wasn’t able to repeat in Class B, losing to eventual champion Falmouth in the regional final. South Portland was ousted in overtime in the Western A quarterfinals.
On the girls’ side, Scarborough didn’t go undefeated this time, but managed to repeat as Class A champion after holding off Brunswick in the Class A state game, 13-11. Cape Elizabeth came so close to playing for the Class B championship, but lost to perennial power Waynflete by a goal in the regional final. South Portland’s best season in years ended with a painful loss to Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball. By mid-August, fall practice was underway.
Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, volleyball and golf excitement.
On the gridiron, South Portland dropped its opener, but soon came to life. Scarborough opened with a big win, then struggled with inconsistency. Cape Elizabeth was once again one of the premier teams in Western B.
On the pitch, all three boys’ teams impressed against tough schedules. The Cape Elizabeth girls, riding new addition Melanie Vangel, shot to the top of the Western A standings. Defending state champion Scarborough wasn’t far behind.
Scarborough’s field hockey team returned to prominence.
Scarborough’s volleyball team put together its best season to date.
Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come.
Golf held its state championship on the 10th. Scarborough capped a solid season by placing fourth in Class A. Cape Elizabeth finished eighth in Class B.
The Scarborough boys’ cross country team won another Class A crown on the 29th, thanks in large part to Nick Morris’ late heroics to win the individual title.
Scarborough once again earned the top seed in field hockey, but was stunned in the quarterfinals by Windham, in a game that had to go to sudden victory penalty corners to be decided.
The soccer playoffs saw South Portland’s boys once again have to go to Gorham for a tough quarterfinal and for the second straight season, the Red Riots’ run ended there. Cape Elizabeth also fell in the quarterfinals, to eventual state champion Windham. Scarborough once again made it to the regional final.
On the girls’ side, South Portland lost in the preliminary round, to Windham. Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough both earned high seeds and met in the semifinals after the Red Storm eliminated Cheverus and the Capers rallied to down Deering in the quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth had Scarborough on the ropes, but the Red Storm rallied and won in double overtime to advance to the regional final, at Gorham.
All three football teams made the playoffs. Scarborough lost at Cheverus in the quarterfinals. South Portland won its first playoff game since 2000, over Sanford in the quarterfinals. Cape Elizabeth also passed a quarterfinal round test, defeating Greely.
Soccer held its regional finals on the 2nd. The Scarborough boys became the next victim of the Windham Express, falling on a late goal. The Red Storm girls had better luck, scoring in the final minute to win at Gorham.
At the state game three days later, Scarborough’s repeat hopes were denied by a superb Bangor team, which took the Class A crown, 4-0.
Football then had center stage all to itself. In the semifinals of Western B, Cape Elizabeth went to powerhouse Mountain Valley and once again had its season end in the shadow of the mill. In Western A, South Portland played Thornton Academy tough to the very end, but a final play fell a yard short and the Red Riots were eliminated.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again.
In boys’ basketball, all three teams once again have impressed.
Cape Elizabeth entered the holiday break 4-2 after a 52-43 home win over Lake Region last Thursday. The Capers are back in action Wednesday at Waynflete.
Scarborough fell to 2-3 last week after dropping a tough 63-60 overtime decision at top contender Portland. The Red Storm is home Saturday against Biddeford and pays a visit to South Portland Tuesday.
Speaking of the Red Riots, they entered the break 4-1 after a 57-42 win at Kennebunk last Thursday. South Portland goes to Massabesic Friday.
On the girls’ side, Scarborough is off to the best start. The Red Storm won its first six, including a 50-38 home triumph over Portland and a victory at Biddeford Tuesday. Scarborough hosts South Portland Tuesday.
The Red Riots improved to 3-2 with a 38-25 win over Kennebunk last Thursday. South Portland played at Deering Wednesday and welcomes Massabesic Friday.
Cape Elizabeth entered the break 2-4 after falling, 50-18, at Lake Region. The Capers host Waynflete Wednesday.
On the ice, Scarborough’s boys beat Kennebunk in its 2011 finale, 3-2, to improve to 4-0-1. Thursday, the Red Storm go to South Portland.
The Red Riots improved to 2-3 with a 2-1 win at Gorham.
Cape Elizabeth’s 8-2 win over Leavitt last Thursday gave it a 2-0-2 mark at the break. The Capers host Cheverus Thursday of next week.
On the girls’ side, Scarborough is 6-2-1 entering a home game with undefeated Falmouth Friday. The Red Storm is at Cheverus Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth fell to 2-6 with a 6-4 loss at Portland last Thursday. The Capers host Biddeford Monday.
Swim and wrestling teams have provided positive glimpses and track and skiing are about to get underway in earnest.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2012 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!
Theo Bowe almost single-handedly led Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team to a Class B state title back in March, but the Capers fell just short against Camden Hills.
Scarborough’s girls’ lacrosse team celebrated another Class A championship in June.
Michael Salvatore and the South Portland football team enjoyed a special season this fall, reaching the semifinals for the first time in 11 years.