February arrives, regular season nears its end-Portland edition

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Portland’s Pedro Fonseca goes up for two points during the Bulldogs’ 68-64 win over Thornton Academy last week.

Maine Girls’ Academy’s Serena Mower drives on Deering’s Delaney Haines during the Lions’ 43-40 come-from-behind victory Friday.

Portland/Deering goalie Sam Segal denies Cheverus’ Ryan McSorley during the Stags’ 5-3 win last week.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-South Portland and Portland-Thornton Academy boys’ basketball, Cheverus-South Portland and Deering-Maine Girls’ Academy girls’ basketball and Cheverus-Portland/Deering boys’ hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The winter sports regular season is winding down and there’s a lot of excitement on the horizon.

It’s never too early to see where teams stand in their playoff/tournament quests.

Here’s a glimpse at what happened last week and what’s to come:

Boys’ basketball

Portland’s defending Class AA champion boys’ basketball team has worked its way back to the top of the Heal Points standings after home victories last week over Thornton Academy (68-64) and Windham (96-48).

Against the Golden Trojans, the Bulldogs trailed much of the way, but stayed in the game thanks to key minutes from several reserves, took the lead for good on a basket from Clay Hardy and hit free throws down the stretch to prevail. Terion Moss had a team-high 16 points and Griffin Foley and Manny Yugu both added 15.

“We came out of the gate slow,” Yugu said. “Everyone on the bench can play. They kept us in the game.” 

“It’s about being mentally tough down the stretch and executing the offense and hitting our free throws,” Hardy said.

“It’s a game we were folding, but we didn’t break and I like how we came through,” added Bulldogs coach Joe Russo. “We’re good enough to have a great year, but we’re not good enough to win a state championship. Yet.” 

In the win over the Eagles, Portland only led by one points, 19-18, after one period, but  a 24-5 run in the second blew it open. The Bulldogs never let up in the third quarter and wound up doubling up Windham behind 24 points from Moss and 12 points from reserve Simon Chadbourne. Portland (13-1) was at Massabesic Tuesday, visits Deering Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story), hosts South Portland in a state game rematch Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), then closes the regular season at home versus Cheverus Thursday.

Deering suffered a 66-53 loss at Oxford Hills last Tuesday, then improved to 10-4 and third in Class AA North with a 57-44 home win over Cheverus Friday. Machar Nguany had 19 points and Raffaele Salamone added 10 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to the Vikings. Against the Stags, the Rams only led by six, 26-20, at halftime, but gradually pulled away in the second half and triumphed behind 14 points apiece from Salamone and Manny Chikuta and 10 more from Jean Claude Butera. Deering went to Bonny Eagle Tuesday, hosts Portland Friday, welcomes Scarborough Tuesday of next week, then closes at South Portland next Thursday.

Cheverus got its biggest win to date last Monday, holding off host South Portland, 60-55, as Jack Casale had 25 points, including 10 fourth quarter free throws, and Jesse Matthews added 24. 

“It’s our marquee win of the season,” Matthews said. “It feels really good.”

“We knew we had to take their hay-makers,” said Casale. “We knew they’d go on runs and we had to hold our own.”

“We put the ball in the basket tonight,” Stags coach Ryan Soucie added. “We got to the bonus and we hit our free throws down the stretch. That was the difference.”

Cheverus then downed visiting Lewiston, 70-59, Wednesday, behind 27 points (including 18 of 18 foul shooting) and 12 rebounds from Casale and 13 points from Matt Duchaine, then fell to 10-4 and fourth in Class AA North Friday after a 57-44 loss at Deering. Casale led the way with 21 points. The Stags were at Thornton Academy Tuesday, host South Portland Friday, welcome Gorham Tuesday of next week and close at Portland next Thursday.

Defending Class C South champion Waynflete snapped a three-game skid last Wednesday, handling visiting St. Dom’s, 67-30. Yai Deng had 14 points and Jack Meahl added 13. Friday, the Flyers fell to 9-5 after a 48-46 home loss to Poland (Alex Saade had a team-high 11 points). Waynflete (ninth in the Heals) hosted Old Orchard Beach Tuesday and welcomes Gray-New Gloucester Friday. Next week, the Flyers close with games at Traip Academy and Sacopee Valley. 

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Maine Girls’ Academy continued to play its share of high drama contests last week. After dropping a 47-45 heartbreaker at Massabesic (despite 13 points from Serena Mower), the Lions hosted rival Deering Friday and the game ran the gamut of emotions. MGA welcomed back Emily Weisser from a knee injury and took a 12-9 lead after one quarter, but the Lions only managed two points in the second period to trail, 22-14, at halftime. In the third quarter, Weisser reinjured her knee and MGA fell behind by 16 points, but it would roar back. Madison Legassey’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 34-25 entering the fourth quarter. There, the Lions completed the comeback and drew even on Maddy Beaulieu’s free throw. The game was tied late, when Legassey hit a 3-pointer from the corner, and MGA held on for an inspirational 43-40 triumph.

“It’s so amazing,” Beaulieu said. “We’re so pumped up. I can’t even describe this feeling. We played our hardest and when we tied it up, we felt like we had it.”

“Sometimes we get frazzled, but when we play together as a team and keep our heads up, it’s a lot easier,” said Legassey, who had a team-high 12 points. 

“It’s a great win,” added Lions coach Billy Goodman. “I don’t know how my girls did it. It’s amazing what they’re doing. Every victory for us is like winning a state championship. We’ll enjoy this.”

MGA (6-8 and fourth in the Class AA South Heal Points standings) went to Scarborough Tuesday, plays at Sanford Friday, hosts Portland on Senior Night Tuesday of next week, then closes the regular season at Cheverus next Thursday.

Deering’s skid hit three with gutwrenching losses last week to visiting Oxford Hills (38-35) and at MGA (43-40). Against the Vikings, the Rams gave the ball away late in a tie game, then saw the visitors win on a shot at the horn. Victoria Garrand had a team-high 11 points. Garrand had 13 points against the Lions, but Deering again suffered a painful defeat.

“Give credit to (MGA), they played hard,” said Deering coach Mike Murphy. “We threw the ball all over the lot and the lead evaporated.”

The Rams (8-6 and fourth in Class AA North) hosted Bonny Eagle Tuesday, go to South Portland Friday, visit Scarborough Tuesday of next week and close at home versus Portland next Thursday. 

Cheverus went 1-2 last week and fell to 9-4 and third in AA North. After losing, 43-41, at Lewiston, the Stags held off visiting Thornton Academy, 50-43, in overtime, then lost at South Portland, 51-44. Abby Cavallaro had a team-high 12 points in the loss to the Blue Devils. Against the Golden Trojans, Kaylin Malmquist hit a late 3 to force overtime. Cavallaro and Emme Poulin shared top scoring honors with 10 apiece. Less than 24 hours later, in the loss to the Red Riots, Cheverus trailed by 10, rallied to lead late by a point on a long 3-pointer from Poulin, but surrendered the final eight points and lost, despite 13 points from Cavallaro.

“Defensively, we played hard and we rebounded fairly well,” said Cheverus coach Steve Huntington. “The fatigue may have been more from an offensive standpoint. We saw that at the end when we threw the ball away and couldn’t get a good shot.”

The Stags hosted Massabesic Tuesday and welcome South Portland in a rematch Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). After going to Scarborough Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story), Cheverus visits defending Class AA champion Tuesday, then closes the regular season at home versus MGA next Thursday.

Portland fell to 0-14 and eighth after losses last week at Thornton Academy (57-42) and Windham (62-56). Taylor Sargent had 15 points in the loss to the Golden Trojans. Reagan Brown scored 19 points and Nettie Walsh added 15 against the Eagles. The Bulldogs sought their first victory when they hosted Noble Tuesday. They welcome Massabesic Friday, then close with games next week at MGA and Deering.

In Class C South, Waynflete’s win streak hit five last week with a 37-28 home triumph over St. Dom’s. Lydia Giguere scored 13 points and Annika Brooks added 11. Saturday, the Flyers fell to 8-6 and seventh in the Heals after a 41-28 loss to Poland. Brooks had a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds). Waynflete hosted Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, goes to defending Class B South champion Gray-New Gloucester Friday, welcomes Traip Academy Tuesday of next week, then closes the regular season next Thursday at Sacopee Valley.

Hockey

Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team extended its win streak to five with victories last week over Portland/Deering (5-3) and Cape Elizabeth (5-4, in overtime). In the first win, Luke Church, Sean Walsh and Walsh again scored in a 61-second span for a 3-0 first period lead. Ryan McSorley added a second period goal and Jesse Pierce scored in the third as the Stags held on to prevail.

“I’ve played these guys for four years and this game always means a little more,” McSorley said. “A lot of the guys are from Portland and it’s always a special game.” 

“We had to carry the play and play smart,” said Cheverus coach Dan Lucas. “We have to play as a unit.”

Against the Capers, the Stags fell behind, 3-0, out of the gates and after Mike Hatch got a goal back, Cape Elizabeth took a 4-1 lead to the first intermission. In the second period, Walsh and Colby Anton scored to make it a one-goal game and with 9:37 remaining, Walsh tied the score. Then, 1:41 into OT, Pierce set up David Woodford for the dramatic game-winner.

“We’ve preached ‘stick on the ice’ all year,” Woodford said. “Jesse’s probably our best playmaker. He made a great pass and I just had to be there.”

“We want to go as far as we can and against good teams, we can’t put ourselves in a hole like that, but teams know we won’t quit,” Lucas said.

Cheverus (7-3 and third in the Class A South Heal Points standings) plays a makeup game at defending Class B South champion Yarmouth Tuesday and hosts Brunswick in a makeup game Thursday.

Portland/Deering fell to 6-5 and fourth in Class A South after losses last week against Cheverus (5-3) and at Massabesic (8-6). Miki Silva, Dom Tocci and Donnie Tocci had the goals against the Stags.

“It took us awhile to settle down,” said Portland/Deering coach Jeff Beaney. “We’ve had some awful first periods lately. It’s a little frustrating.”

Dom Tocci and Mason Martell had two goals apiece in the loss to Massabesic. Portland/Deering visited Thornton Academy Monday, hosts Massabesic Thursday and welcomes Noble Saturday.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op squad was 4-7-1 and was clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in Class A South at press time after a 3-2 overtime home loss to Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon and a 4-1 home setback to Biddeford. After hosting Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, the team is idle until going to Marshwood Wednesday of next week.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus (which also includes players from Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach) won a pair of games last week to even its record at 8-8. After edging visiting Scarborough, 3-2, in overtime thriller, the Stags held off Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, 5-4. Sophie Pompeo had a pair of goals in the latter victory. Cheverus (fifth in the South Region Heals) hosts Gorham/Bonny Eagle Wednesday, then closes the regular season at home versus Falmouth Saturday.

Portland/Deering fell to 1-15 and eighth in the South (only six teams make the playoffs) after a 3-1 home loss to Biddeford and a 6-0 loss at Scarborough. After hosting Falmouth Monday, Portland/Deering closes at Gorham/Bonny Eagle Friday.

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP co-op squad was 8-8 and third in the South at press time after a 5-4 home win over Gorham/Bonny Eagle and a 5-4 home setback to Cheverus. After hosting Edward Little/Leavitt Tuesday, the team closes the regular season Saturday at home versus Biddeford. 

The girls’ hockey playoffs start Wednesday of next week with the quarterfinals on the ice of the higher seeds.

Indoor track

The postseason is here for indoor track, as the Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet will be held Saturday.

The regular season finale was held last Wednesday, as Cheverus, Deering and Portland joined South Portland.

The Rams won the boys’ meet, as the Stags placed third and the Bulldogs were fourth.

Deering got wins from Samacha Sam in the junior 55 (7.05 seconds) and junior 200 (24.99), Alec Troxell in the junior 800 (2 minutes, 15.36 seconds) and open mile (4:41.27), Jason Pichette in the junior high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), Chris Kombo in the junior triple jump (35-5.75), Luc Harrison in the senior 200 (24.56), Jack Lynch in the senior 400 (53.42) and open pole vault (10-0), Wilder Baldwin in the senior 800 (2:08.70) and open 600 (1:21.13), Ezra Chapola in the senior triple jump (42-5.75), Yahya Nure in the open two-mile (10:17.75) and the open 4×800 relay team (10:07.03).

Cheverus got a first-place performance from Thomas Gordon in the junior 400 (1:01.66).

Portland got a win from Dylan Bolduc in the senior high jump (5-8). 

South Portland took the girls’ meet, while Deering came in second, Cheverus placed third and Portland finished fourth.

The Rams got wins from Elizabeth Sevigny in the junior shot put (27-3), Annah Rossvall in the senior 200 (27.45) and senior triple jump (32-6.5) and Gaia Zampieri in the open 600 (1:36.35), Elizabeth Erbe in the open mile (5:47.08), Julia Lancia in the open two-mile (14:44.91), Darcy Lally in the open pole vault (8-0) and their open 4×400 (4:37.91) and open 4×800 (11:48.26) relay teams.

The Stags got victories from Emma Gallant in the junior 55 (7.64) and junior 200 (26.97), Rosie Train in the junior 400 (1:05.45), Evelyn Hanley in the junior 55 hurdles (9.70), Emma White in the junior high jump (4-6) and junior long jump (15-11.5), Hannah Abbott in the senior shot put (32-9.75) and their junior 4×200 (1:55.73) relay team.

The Bulldogs got wins from Lucy Medd in the junior 800 (2:47.61), Ella Altidor in the senior 55 (7.78) and Maggie Hosmer in the senior 800 (2:33.73).

Swimming

Cheverus’ swim team went to Yarmouth last Thursday and both teams prevailed. The boys won by a 74-50 margin, while the girls prevailed, 88-68.

The boys’ team got wins from Chase Cameron in the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 57.06 seconds), Shane Moore in the 200 individual medley (1:58.26), Phineas Underwood in the 50 free (24.28 seconds) and 100 free (54.01) and their medley (1:54.57) and 200 free (1:41.10) relay teams.

Girls’ winners included Caroline Arpin in the IM (2:23.06), Tholia Hallett in the 100 butterfly (1:09.30), Abby Longstaff in the 100 free (58.22) and 100 backstroke (1:03.73) and the medley (2:02.41) and 400 free (4:11.30) relay teams. 

Deering’s girls edged Sanford, 86-84, while the Rams boys lost to the Spartans, 89-64. 

Girls’ winners included Claire Christopher in the IM (2:52.36) and 400 free (5:10.45), Nicole Whipkey in the 100 free (1:06.45), Bethany Rozzi in the backstroke (1:19.10), Bryn Sylvia in the breaststroke (1:30.11) and the 400 free relay team (4:48.54).

The boys’ team got wins from Owen McLaughlin in the 100 free (2:19.10) and the 100 fly (1:09.41), Jasper Sommer in the IM (2:38.58) and 100 backstroke (1:12.48) and their medley relay team (1:14.48). 

Portland’s boys won at Massabesic, 98-56, while the Bulldogs girls lost to the Mustangs, 98-67.

The boys got wins from Jack Martin in the 200 free (2:11.83), Mike Dipietro in the 50 free (27.12), Reed Foehl in the fly (1:05.18) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.60), Peter Gribizis in the 100 free (59.12), Alex Ramsay in the backstroke (1:13.40) and their medley (1:58.26), 200 free (1:46.25) and 400 free (3:52.22) relay teams.

Girls’ winners included Ava Giaquinto in the IM (2:40.05) and 500 free (6:12.14), Fiona Silva in the 50 free (28.55) and backstroke (1:13.64) and the medley (2:18.65) and 400 free (4:31.80) relay teams. 

Maine Girls’ Academy swam at Gorham Friday. No final score was available, but the Lions did get wins from Ana Neff-Jendrasko in the 500 free (5:39.56) and the backtroke (1:03.11) and their medley relay team (2:08.45).

Waynflete competed at Westbrook. No final score was available. The boys’ team got wins from PD Silk in the 200 free (2:13.20) and Caleb Levine in the IM (2:20.70). Girls’ winners included Molly McNutt in the fly (1:15.89) and Kiera MacWhinnie in the 100 free (59.31) and the backstroke (1:06.67).

This week, in the regular season finale, Deering goes to Bonny Eagle Wednesday and Friday, Cheverus visits Westbrook, MGA swims at South Portland, Portland visits Windham and Waynflete is at Greely.

Skiing

Cheverus’ Alpine ski team took part in a five-team SMAA/WMC slalom meet at Shawnee Peak last week. The boys finished second and the girls placed fourth. Annesley Black was first individually on the girls’ side with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 38.76 seconds. Schuyler Black paced the boys’ effort with a fourth-place showing (1:41.02). 

On the Nordic side, Waynflete took part in a four-team freestyle race at Libby Hill last week. The girls came in fourth and were led by Ellie Chidsey (10th in 23 minutes, 13 seconds). The boys didn’t score as a team. Willson Moore placed fourth as an individual (18:57). 

Saturday, local Nordic skiers traveled to Black Mountain to compete in the Sassi Memorial 5-kilometer classic. In the girls’ meet, Deering came in eighth and Waynflete was 16th. The Rams were led by Ewka Varney, who was fourth individually in 17 minutes, 49.9 seconds. Ellie Chidsey paced the Flyers with a 45th-place finish (21:13.7). Portland didn’t score as a team, but Elizabeth Thomas came in 42nd as an individual (20:59.4). Deering’s boys were ninth, while Portland came in 12th. The Rams were led by Caleb Niles (fifth, 15:02.4). The Bulldogs’ top finisher was Liam Niles (19th, 16:11.9). Cheverus didn’t score as a team, but got a 51st-place finish from Michael Manetti (17:42.8). Waynflete didn’t score as a team, but Nicholas Werner was 94th (20:22.2).

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team took an 8-9 record into Wednesday’s home meet against Deering. Last week, the Bulldogs beat Cheverus (40-18), Deering (41-15) and Massabesic (46-30) and lost to Marshwood (66-9). Portland hosts Biddeford and Windham in the regular season finale Saturday.

Deering fell to 2-12 after losses last week to Windham (42-24), Marshwood (60-15), Massabesic (48-18) and Portland (41-15). The Rams are at Portland Wednesday, then close the regular season Saturday at home versus Bonny Eagle, Kennebunk and Scarborough.

Cheverus fell to 3-10 after a 40-18 loss to Portland. After hosting Scarborough Wednesday, the Stags join Massabesic at Sanford for the finale Saturday.

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.