Farewell to a triumph-filled 2017-Northern edition

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Greely’s boys’ basketball team celebrated its first state championship in nearly two decades in March.

Falmouth’s baseball team repeated as Class A South champion in June.

Yarmouth’s juggernaut girls’ soccer team left everyone in its wake this fall, roaring to a repeat Class B state title with a perfect record.

Local high school sports athletes made memories again in 2017.

Whether the season was winter, spring or fall, triumph was the theme and there were countless breathtaking moments.

With another winter season underway and a new year upon us, here’s one final look back at the thrills that made up a special year.

January

When 2016 gave way to 2017, Greely’s boys’ basketball team was undefeated, while Falmouth and Yarmouth were also formidable and North Yarmouth Academy was emerging as a contender.

On the girls’ side, Greely was again a powerhouse, Yarmouth was enjoying its best season in over a decade and Falmouth, Freeport and NYA were all in contention.

On the ice, Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth’s boys’ hockey teams were turning heads, while the Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth/Freeport girls’ squads were playoff-bound.

Skiing, swimming and track teams and individuals made their mark as they geared up for the postseason.

February

February vacation week brought the first championships of the year.

Skiing produced the greatest success, as Falmouth’s boys’ Alpine team (Class A) and both Maine Coast Waldorf Nordic squads (Class C) took home championships. Greely’s Axel Lindsay (Class A boys’ Alpine slalom), MCW’s Olivia Skillings (Class C girls’ Nordic classical and freestyle), Yarmouth’s John Lane (Class B boys’ Nordic freestyle) and Yarmouth’s Grace Cowles (Class B girls’ Nordic freestyle) were individual champions.

Falmouth’s Connor Perron was the top local performer at the swim state meet, winning Class A boys’ titles in both the 200 and 500 freestyle.

In track, Greely’s girls’ squad ascended to the top spot for the first time in nine years. Falmouth’s Malaika Pasch (Class A girls’ mile), Yarmouth’s Abby Hamilton (Class B girls’ two-mile) and Yarmouth’s Luke Laverdiere (Class B boys’ mile and two-mile) won individual crowns.

On the ice, the Yarmouth-Freeport girls lost to Edward Little/Leavitt in the North Division quarterfinals. Greely downed EL/Leavitt in the semifinals, but lost to St. Dom’s in the regional final. In the South, Falmouth defeated York and Scarborough to get to the state final, but there, the Yachtsmen had no answers for St. Dom’s in a 10-2 loss.

On the boys’ side, Falmouth earned the top seed for the Class A South playoffs. In Class B South, Greely defeated Kennebunk in the quarterfinals, while defending regional champion Yarmouth sprung an upset of Cape Elizabeth.

In the basketball tournament, NYA’s girls were defeated by Old Orchard Beach in the Class C South preliminary round, Freeport was ousted by eventual state champion Gray-New Gloucester and Yarmouth lost to Lake Region in the Class B South quarterfinals, while Falmouth was eliminated by York in the Class A South quarterfinals. Top-ranked Greely defeated Leavitt and Marshwood to get to the Class A South Final, but there, the Rangers were upset by Brunswick.

On the boys’ side, in Class C South, NYA upset Hall-Dale to reach the semifinals for the first time in over a decade, where the Panthers lost to top-ranked Winthrop. In Class B South, top-ranked Yarmouth had no trouble with Gray-New Gloucester or Oak Hill, but the Clippers were upset by Wells in the regional final. In Class A South, Falmouth and Greely squared off in the final after the Yachtsmen defeated Biddeford and Cape Elizabeth and the Rangers ousted Kennebunk and York. Greely then proved too much for Falmouth to win a regional title for the first this century.

March

March dawned with some exciting boys’ hockey playoff action. In Class B South, Yarmouth was eliminated by York in the semifinals, but in the same round, Greely upset top-ranked Gardiner. The Rangers then took York to overtime in the regional final before dropping a heartbreaker.

In Class A South, Falmouth earned a bye into the semifinals, where the Yachtsmen sent Portland/Deering packing. Falmouth then edged Cheverus to reach the state final, but there, the Yachtsmen were no match for Lewiston, falling, 6-2.

Greely’s boys’ basketball team capped its perfect season with a 59-43 win over Messalonskee in the Class A Final to win its first championship since 1998.

April and May

Even though the weather was far from accommodating, the short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.

Falmouth’s baseball team rolled through their first 15 contests before losing its regular season finale, while Freeport, Greely, NYA and Yarmouth also qualified for the playoffs.

Greely and Yarmouth’s softball teams were among the best in Class B South and Falmouth joined Maine Girls’ Academy to make up a co-op squad which also made it to the postseason.

Boys’ lacrosse featured Falmouth leading the way, with Yarmouth also a contender.

On the girls’ side, Yarmouth appeared unbeatable, while Falmouth was its usual dominant self and Freeport was playoff-bound.

Area track stars geared up for the state meet.

The tennis story featured excellence from several teams, most notably the ever-unbeatable Falmouth girls.

June

The spring championship season began with Greely’s girls winning a Class B outdoor track state title for the first time since 2005. Morgan Selby won the 300 hurdles and Katherine Leggat-Barr was first in the two-mile. Falmouth’s Adelaide Cooke (Class A girls’ discus) and Yarmouth’s Laverdiere (Class B boys’ 800, mile and two-mile) and Tahj Garvey (Class B boys’ 400) also won individual crowns.

A week later, Falmouth’s girls tennis team won a phenomenal 10th successive state title, winning Class A, and extending the program’s win streak to 157 matches. The Falmouth boys joined them at the pinnacle and Greely’s girls took home Class B honors. Yarmouth’s boys got to the Class B state match.

On the diamond, the Falmouth/MGA co-op softball squad lost to Noble in the Class A South preliminary round. In Class B South, Yarmouth eliminated Greely in the quarterfinals, then lost by a run at Wells in the semifinals.

Baseball’s playoffs began with NYA losing to Greenville in the Class D South quarterfinals, Freeport falling to Spruce Mountain in the Class B South preliminary round and after Greely ousted Gray-New Gloucester in the preliminary round, the Rangers were beaten by Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals. That left Falmouth and Yarmouth and both schools would make memorable runs to the state finals.

The Yachtsmen, ranked first in Class A South, beat Scarborough, Portland and Cheverus to return to the state game and they got within two outs of winning it before Bangor rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory.

The Clippers, meanwhile, were an afterthought in the minds of most entering the playoffs as the No. 9 seed in Class B South. Yarmouth then put together a run for the ages, downing Leavitt in the preliminary round before upsetting top-ranked Carrabec/Madison and eliminating higher-seeded Cape Elizabeth and York to reach the state final. There, the Clippers blanked defending champion Old Town, 3-0, to win Class B for the first time.

Falmouth and Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse teams also had strong seasons, but ultimately couldn’t solve Cape Elizabeth. The Yachtsmen, the defending Class B champion, dropped a one-goal heartbreaker to the Capers in the regional final. Despite being a heavy underdog in the Class B Final, the Clippers hung tough for awhile, but were also defeated by Cape Elizabeth, 16-7.

Yarmouth’s girls won their first 15 games and appeared destined for a Class B title, but the Clippers were stunned by Kennebunk in the state game, 5-4. The Rams had previously defeated Falmouth in the regional final. Freeport was ousted by Morse 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.

September

Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf and volleyball excitement.

On the gridiron, Falmouth showed great promise out of the gates, while Greely soon rolled into form.

On the pitch, Yarmouth’s boys once again emerged as the team to beat, while Falmouth, Freeport and Greely won their share of games as well.

Yarmouth’s girls were simply unstoppable, crushing all comers, while Falmouth, Freeport and Greely were contenders as well.

Freeport’s field hockey team got off to its best start in years, Yarmouth had the looks of a team capable of going deep in the playoffs and Falmouth, Greely and NYA were also in contention.

Falmouth, Greely, NYA and Yarmouth’s volleyball teams were among the best in the state.

Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come.

October

Several local golf teams qualified for the state match. Falmouth finished fourth in Class A. Freeport made it to states for the first time in program history and came in sixth in Class B. Yarmouth was seventh in Class B and NYA placed sixth in Class C.

Falmouth’s boys’ cross country team won yet another Class A state title and Yarmouth was tops in Class B. Falmouth’s Sofia Matson won the Class A girls’ individual crown, Freeport’s Lily Horne was the Class B girls’ winner, MCW’s Olivia Reynolds won the Class C girls’ crown and Yarmouth’s Luke Laverdiere won the Class B boys’ title.

All four local volleyball teams made the playoffs. NYA lost to Narraguagus in the Class C quarterfinals, Greely fell to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B semifinals and after rallying to stun Yarmouth in a five-set thriller in the other Class B semifinal, Falmouth lost in straight sets to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B state match.

The field hockey playoffs saw NYA lose to Dirigo in the Class C South quarterfinals, Falmouth fall at Scarborough in the Class A South quarterfinals, Freeport lose to Lake Region and Greely fall against Poland in the Class B South quarterfinals and after Yarmouth won its quarterfinal, over Leavitt, the Clippers were eliminated by Poland in the semifinals.

The soccer playoffs saw Falmouth’s girls lose to Windham in the Class A preliminary round, Greely beat Freeport in the Class B South quarterfinals, then lose to Cape Elizabeth in the semifinal round. Yarmouth, the defending state champion and undefeated top seed, found the going tough, but survived Wells and York to reach the Class B South Final.

On the boys’ side, Falmouth beat Deering in the Class A South quarterfinals, then lost to Gorham in the semifinals. Greely beat Wells in the Class B South preliminary round, then was ousted by Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals. Freeport also lost in the quarterfinals, to the undefeated Clippers of Yarmouth, who then defeated Lincoln Academy in the semifinals to reach the regional final yet again.

Football’s playoffs began with Yarmouth losing to Leavitt in the Class C South quarterfinals, Greely beating Biddeford and Falmouth toppling Westbrook in the Class B South quarterfinals.

November

The soccer drama continued into November, where Yarmouth left no doubt it was soccer Titletown.

The Clippers girls held off Cape Elizabeth to win the regional title, then set records for goals and margin of victory in a 9-0 win over Presque Isle in the Class B state final, winning the team’s second straight title.

The Yarmouth boys got past York in their regional final, then got a scare from Winslow in the state game, but prevailed, 2-1, to win Class B for the fourth year in a row.

Falmouth and Greely took part in the Class B South semifinals, where the Rangers lost at Marshwood and the Yachtsmen sprung an upset at Kennebunk. Falmouth then went to Marshwood for the regional final and despite a valiant effort, fell just short in an instant classic, 31-28.

December

Winter has returned (with a vengeance) and the fun begins again.

In boys’ basketball, Greely has picked up where it left off, extending its win streak to 26 games at press time. Falmouth, Freeport, NYA and Yarmouth will all be in contention as well.

On the girls’ side, there’s a lot of buzz around Freeport and Greely. Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth hope to save their best for the new year.

On the ice, Falmouth’s boys are undefeated in the early going, and along with Greely and Yarmouth, will be a force to be reckoned with. Greely’s girls could be a threat to dethrone St. Dom’s.

Swimming and track have provided their share of promising moments and skiing is about to get underway.

Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2018 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.

Happy New Year everyone!

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

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.