February arrives, postseason looms – Northern edition

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February, the month of non-stop tournament action and hardware galore, is upon us.

Girls’ hockey’s regular season ends this weekend, which is when the swimming postseason begins. Basketball, hockey, skiing and track’s postseasons aren’t far behind.

Here’s a glimpse at where things stand as Punxsutawney Phil takes centerstage.

Boys’ basketball

Greely’s boys’ basketball team earned a big dose of revenge, made a big-time statement and strengthened its hold on the top spot in the Western Class B Heal Points standings last week.

The Rangers went to nemesis Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday, having lost their last five meetings with the Capers, who also eliminated them from the postseason three years running. This time, however, it was all Greely and not just because Cape Elizabeth senior standout Theo Bowe, the top scorer in the Western Maine Conference, missed the game with illness. Behind the energy, skill and will of senior Sam Johnston, the Rangers jumped out 22-8 after one quarter and 33-18 at the half en route to a stunningly easy 68-50 triumph. Johnston led the way with 24 points.

We had a game plan against them, whether Bowe was here or not,” said Johnston. “Coach let us know at game time (that Bowe was out). We had the same mentality and it worked for us.We came out hot. We did well. As soon as that buzzer rang, I was pumped. I’ve lost five in a row to them, so I had to beat them. We’ve had crushing losses to them in the playoffs. I didn’t want to lose again. It might have been my last chance.”

I thought the kids came with a lot of energy,” added Greely coach Ken Marks. “I was afraid they’d lose the energy when they heard Theo wasn’t playing. It’s still Cape at Cape and it’s nice to win here. It’s been a long time since we beat them. It’s a bucket-load of (Heal Points). We played hard from beginning to end. The starters played well when they were on the floor. I was pleased overall. We did a good job getting the ball inside their zone. Sam was sick at our place. The whole second half, he struggled. He wasn’t going to let that happen here.”

The Rangers then survived host Falmouth (49-48) Friday and defeated visiting Lake Region (56-31) Saturday to improve to 13-1. Against the Yachtsmen, senior Tanner Storey had a dozen points, junior Nick Clark 11 and Johnston 10. Versus the Lakers, Johnston led the way with 19.

Greely was at Fryeburg Tuesday, hosts dangerous Yarmouth Friday, then closes the regular season next week at home versus Gray-New Gloucester and at Lake Region.

“We want to keep the No. 1 spot,” said Johnston. “We don’t want to have any bad losses. We want to keep everyone’s intensity. If we do that, we have a good chance to win every night.”

Yarmouth is up to fourth in Western B with an 11-3 mark after extending its win streak to six last week by virtue of a thrilling 63-58 overtime win at Falmouth and a 54-52 home victory over York.

Against the Yachtsmen, the Clippers were up 27-20 at halftime and 44-35 heading for the fourth, but they couldn’t hold an eight-point lead with just over three minutes to go. A 3-pointer from Falmouth junior Matt Kingry put the hosts on top and after a Yarmouth turnover, the Yachtsmen added two foul shots, but sharpshooting Clippers junior Josh Britten saved the day with a 3-ball in the waning seconds, which forced OT. Yarmouth outscored Falmouth, 8-3, in the extra session and snuck out of town with the win, thanks in large part to Britten’s 35 point tour de force. Senior Matt Murphy added 12 points. Against the Wildcats, Britten had 21 points and junior Chris Knaub 10 as the Clippers held on for another win.

Yarmouth was home with Freeport Tuesday, goes to Greely Friday, hosts Cape Elizabeth next Tuesday and closes the regular season at Gray-New Gloucester Feb. 11.

Falmouth has slipped to 11th in Western B (where only nine teams make the playoffs). The Yachtsmen are trying to continue a 26-year postseason streak, but have to win some games and quick. After the bitter loss to Yarmouth (where junior Matt Packard had 23 points and classmate Jack Cooleen scored 14 points and grabbed 18 boards), Falmouth fell to 6-7 Friday with another agonizing defeat, 49-48, to visiting Greely. Packard again led the way with 27 points.

The Yachtsmen were at Poland Tuesday and York Wednesday, host Lake Region Friday and York Wednesday of next week, then close at Cape Elizabeth Feb. 11.

Freeport dropped to 0-14 and 16th in the region after losses last week at North Yarmouth Academy (61-45) and to visiting Lake Region (49-38). The Falcons were paced by 12 points apiece from junior Josh Weirich and freshman Chandler Birmingham versus the Panthers and 13 from junior Mitch Loeman against the Lakers. Freeport was at Yarmouth Tuesday, hosts Traip Friday and goes to Poland next Tuesday before closing at home versus Wells Feb. 11.

In Western C, NYA was 5-8 and 17th at the start of the week (only 10 teams make the playoffs). The Panthers beat visiting Freeport, 61-45, last Tuesday (senior Andrew Esancy went off for 28 points), but lost at home to Waynflete Friday, 40-27 (despite junior Asad Dahia’s 10). NYA went to Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, visits A.R. Gould Thursday, hosts Sacopee Saturday, then closes at Traip and Poland next week.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Greely is the only team that would be in the playoffs if they started today.

The Rangers were 11-3 and fifth in the Western B Heals as of Tuesday morning. Greely won last week at Cape Elizabeth (32-29) and Falmouth (41-34). The Rangers stayed unbeaten against the Capers this century thanks to nine points from senior Sara Warnock and eight from junior Jackie Storey.

I think my team’s getting better, then we got out and we struggle and have turnovers,” said Rangers coach Billy Goodman. “Then, they look like really good players. We’re just really inconsistent. In the end, I’ll take the experience playing a close game, but I’d like us to play better. We’re finding a way to win every game. I have to look at the positives.”

Sophomore Hayley Munson had 15 points and Warnock 12 versus the Yachtsmen.

Greely dropped a 46-42 decision at Lake Region Tuesday despite 13 points from each from senior Megan Coale and junior Caroline Hamilton. The Rangers hosted Fryeburg Tuesday and welcome Yarmouth Friday. They close the regular season next week at Gray-New Gloucester and at home versus Lake Region.

Falmouth’s 10-year postseason streak is in jeopardy. The Yachtsmen found themselves 10th in Western B (where only nine teams make the playoff cut) with a 7-6 mark at the start of the week after going 1-2 last week. Falmouth downed visiting Yarmouth, 44-31 (behind 13 points from Jess DiPhillippo and 10 from junior Ashleigh Burton), but lost at home to Greely, 41-34 (sophomore Anna Hickey had 11 points) and Wells, 35-25 (despite 11 points from junior Jackie Doyle). The Yachtsmen hosted Poland Tuesday and defending Class B champion York Wednesday, visit Lake Region Friday, then close at York and Cape Elizabeth next week.

Freeport appeared to be making strides with a four-game win streak, but the Falcons have lost three in a row to fall back to 11th with a 4-10 mark. Last week, Freeport dropped a 46-39 home decision to NYA (despite 10 points from senior Erin Hall), then fell, 63-36, at Lake Region (junior Morgan Brown led the team with nine points). The Falcons were at Yarmouth Tuesday, visit Traip Friday, then close next week at home versus Poland and at Wells.

Yarmouth’s skid hit 13 last week with losses at Falmouth (44-31) and York (75-28). Freshman standout Olivia Smith had 20 points against the Yachtsmen and 12 versus the Wildcats. The Clippers (1-13 and 17th in the region) hosted Freeport Tuesday, go to Greely Friday and close next week at Cape Elizabeth and home versus Gray-New Gloucester.

In Western C, NYA started the week 7-7 and 14th in the Heals (four spots out of the final playoff berth). The Panthers sandwiched wins at Freeport (46-39) and Hebron (41-30) around a 69-49 setback at Waynflete. Against the Falcons, senior Blair Haggett had 15 points and junior Morgan Scully added 14. In the win at Hebron, Scully had 15 points and junior Eliza Gendron added 10. At the Flyers, Gendron had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but NYA had no answer for Waynflete’s sharpshooting.

“We knew (Waynflete) could shoot 3s,” said Panthers coach Liz Smith. “The first time we played them, they made six in the first quarter. We tried to contest everything and not let Martha (Veroneau) get the ball, but it’s not easy. We got it within 11, but missed a few opportunities. We had a little trouble against their press. We lost two varsity players to injury Tuesday. We’re down to seven. We had to adjust to that.”

NYA was home versus Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, hosts Sacopee Saturday, then closes next week at home versus Traip and Poland.

“It’s going well,” Smith said. “If we win all those games, we could get in.”

Boys’ hockey

While Greely’s boys’ hockey team has experienced plenty of excitement in recent days (please see story), Yarmouth is in a battle to make the Western Class B playoffs.

Saturday, the Clippers dropped a 4-3 decision at Camden, despite goals from Joey King, Max Grimm and Marshall Brunelle. Red DeSmith made 23 saves. Yarmouth (8-5 and fourth in the Heals in Western B, where just four teams make the playoffs) go to Greely Thursday and York Monday.

In Western A, Falmouth is hitting its stride. The Yachtsmen have won four of five to improve to 5-4-2 (fifth in the Heals). Falmouth dropped a 3-1 decision at St. Dom’s last Wednesday, then downed visiting Portland, 6-0, Saturday. The Yachtsmen play at Scarborough Thursday, play host to Eastern A favorite Lewiston Saturday and go to Thornton Academy Wednesday of next week.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, Greely continues to be one of the most exciting teams around and is battling to earn a home playoff game. The Rangers dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to St. Dom’s last Wednesday (junior CeCi Hodgkins had both goals and junior goalie Emma Seymour made 35 saves), dominated visiting defending state champion Cheverus (6-0) the next day (senior Michaela Finnegan and junior Shannon Donovan both scored twice), then fell to 9-5-1 after a 6-5 loss at Leavitt Saturday. Greely (third behind St. Dom’s and Winslow in the East region Heals) hosted Leavitt Tuesday and Brunswick Wednesday before closing the regular season at Yarmouth Friday.

The Clippers are 4-11 and sixth in the East after splitting a pair of games last week. Yarmouth got five goals from Ariel Potter to help beat host Portland, 6-5. Saturday, the Clippers lost, 8-2, to visiting Lewiston (despite goals from Courtney Barker and Suzanne Driscoll). Yarmouth closes against visiting Greely Friday.

In the West, Falmouth holds on to the fourth and final playoff spot at the start of the week with a 7-9 mark after a 5-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete (Monica Aaskov, Jayde Bazinet, Lucy Meyer, Abby Payson and Gabby St. Angelo all scored) and a 2-1 loss at Cheverus (St. Angelo had the lone goal) last week. The Yachtsmen are home with Leavitt Thursday and close at home versus Gorham Saturday.

Track

The penultimate week of the indoor track season produced more triumph Friday at USM.

Falmouth, Greely, NYA and Yarmouth joined Gray-New Gloucester and Wells for a meet. The Yachtsmen boys won yet again, tallying 215.5 points. Greely (143) came in second, Yarmouth (79) fourth and NYA (51.5) fifth.

Individually, Yarmouth got wins from Nik Pelletier in the junior shot put (39 feet, 0.25 inches), Asa Arden in the long jump (19-6.25), Wes Crawford in the junior 400 (1 minute, 1.74 seconds) and Lucas Davis in the senior high jump (5-10). Davis was named the senior division MVP. Crawford the junior division MVP.

Falmouth’s winners included Andy Roukey in the junior high jump (5-2), Reid Pryzant in the senior 55 hurdles (8.49), Jacob Buhelt in the junior 55 (6.86) and the junior 200 (23.92), Will Wegener in the senior 55 (6.77) and the senior 200 (23.19), Thomas Edmonds in the mile (4:45.33) and Azad Jalali in the open 800 (2:10.18). The Yachtsmen won the senior (1:36.2) and open (9:34.6) relays.

Greely event winners were Michael Burgess in the senior shot put (51-7.5), Matt Davis in the pole vault (10-6), Ben Giffard in the triple jump (37-8.25), Sam Mason in the senior 400 (54.18) and Stefan Sandreuter in the two-mile (10:37.08). The Rangers also took the junior relay in 1:44.0.

NYA got a victory from Jake Burns in the junior 55 hurdles (8.94).

On the girls’ side, Greely stayed unbeaten with a 252.5 point performance. Falmouth (157.5) was runner-up. NYA (59.5) placed fourth and Yarmouth (28.5) was sixth.

The Rangers got victories from Cassidy Storey in the junior shot put (30-8), Kelsey Saunders in the junior high jump (4-6), Molly Fitzpatrick in the open long jump (15-5.5) and the junior 55 (8.06), Meaghan Crowley in the open triple jump (33-4), Kaley Sawyer in the junior 55 hurdles (9.85), Stella Keck in the senior 55 hurdles (10 seconds), Jessica Wilson in the open 800 (2:28.62), and their junior (1:57.03) and senior (1:55.52) relays.

The Yachtsmen’s list of winners included junior division MVP Sarah Sparks int he junior 400 (1:05.41), Mary Catherine Kowalsky in the junior 200 (29.31), Kate Sparks in the senior shot put (35-10.75), Amy Webster in the pole vault (8-6), and their open relay team (11:31.94).

NYA got wins from Hannah Twombly, the senior division MVP, in the open mile (5:43.94) and two-mile (13:14.1).

Yarmouth’s lone event winner was Lindsey Purpura in the senior 400 (1:09.18).

Freeport met up with Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Hebron, Lake Region, Poland, Traip and York. The Falcons boys were fourth with 53 points (York won with 334). Harrison Stivers took the junior  200 (25.05) and the junior 400 (55.22). Taylor Saucier was first in the senior 400 (55.51). The girls had 5 points and placed seventh (York was first with 141).

Swimming

The south division swimming Southwesterns will be held this coming weekend in Cape Elizabeth. The boys begin Friday at 5 p.m. The girls start Saturday at 3 p.m. NYA and Yarmouth will take part.

Falmouth and Greely compete in the north division Southwesterns the following weekend.

Falmouth swam at Cape Elizabeth last weekend. The boys lost, 106-67 and the girls were defeated, 113-72. The defending Class B state champion Greely teams both won at Deering (boys 117-56, girls 107-63). Yarmouth’s girls dropped a 58-36 decision to Waynflete.

Skiing

Falmouth, Freeport, Greely, Merriconeag, NYA and Yarmouth’s Nordic ski teams took part at the Sassi Memorial Saturday at Black Mountain.

The Clippers won in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions. Yarmouth’s boys had 50 points to hold off NYA (71) and Falmouth (72). Freeport (148) came in ninth, Merriconeag (265) 12th and Greely (279) tied for 13th. Individually, Yarmouth’s Tommy Sullivan was second (15 minutes, 25.3 seconds). Falmouth’s Jackson Bloch came in third (15:32.4). Greely’s Connor Regan (fifth, 15:49.6), NYA’s Ian Moore (sixth, 15:53.1), Freeport’s Max Jennnings (21st, 16:35.2) and Merriconeag’s Jack Pierce (39th, 17:05.5) paced their teams.

On the girls’ side, the Clippers had 24 points. Merriconeag (108) placed sixth, Falmouth (123) seventh, Freeport (295) 15th and Greely (423) 20th. Individually, Yarmouth was led by Becca Bell (fourth, 18:21.6). Merriconeag’s top finisher was Zoe Chace-Donahue (eighth, 18:49.5). Falmouth was paced by Catherine Hebson (17th, 19:40). Freeport was led by Emily Martin (62nd, 21:38.9). Greely featured top finisher Audrey Parolin (67th, 21:49.3).

Monday brought Alpine competition at Shawnee Peak.

In a slalom meet, Freeport’s boys defeated Lake Region, Gray-New Gloucester and Fryeburg as Ryan Collet came in first with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 22.33 seconds. The girls were also first as Elly Bengtsson was the top individual (1:28.76).

In a giant slalom meet, the Falmouth boys held off Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth and Greely in that order. The Yachtsmen were paced by Francesco Montanari (second, 1:03.87). The Clippers were led by Drew Grout (third, 1:03.92). The Rangers’ top finisher was Richard Judge (19th, 1:19.42). In the girls’ competition, Greely came in first, Yarmouth second and Falmouth third. The Rangers featured individual champion Madeleine Whittier (1:14.44). The Yachtsmen were led by Leika Scott (third, 1:05.85). The Clippers were paced by Claudia Lockwood (sixth, 1:08.11).

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Sidebar Elements


Greely junior goalie Emma Seymour dives to make one of her 35 saves against Leavitt last week. The Rangers are in the thick of the East region playoff hunt.

Last weekend’s girls’ junior 55 race featured (from left) Greely’s Robyn Estes, Falmouth’s Mary Kowalski and Greely’s Brennah Martin, Molly Fitzpatrick and Sarah Ingraham. Fitzpatrick won the race in 8.06 seconds. Ingraham placed third, Kowalsky was fifth and Martin finished sixth.

Yarmouth’s Conner Lajoie swims the butterfly leg of the 200 yard IM during last week’s meet against Waynflete, NYA and South Portland.

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