February, championship time arrive-Southern edition

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(For the complete South Portland-Portland boys’ basketball, Scarborough-Portland/Deering boys’ hockey and Scarborough-Greely girls’ hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The month of February means champions will be crowned in abundance.

Forecaster Country features potential champions in every winter sport, meaning the next few weeks will be memorable.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class B state champion boys’ basketball team extended its win streak to six games with a 37-25 home victory over Biddeford last Friday behind eight points from Matt Graham. Tuesday, the Capers fell to 13-4 and third in Class A South after a 44-42 home loss to Falmouth on Senior Night, despite 22 points from Finn Bowe and 12 from Marcus Donnelly. Cape Elizabeth closed its regular season at Fryeburg Academy Thursday.

In Class AA South, South Portland fell to 9-8 and fourth after recent losses to visiting Cheverus (66-53) and Portland (68-38). Against the Stags, Jack Fiorini had 19 points and Matt Pelletier added 15. In the loss to the Bulldogs, the Red Riots fell behind, 18-5, early and never made a serious run. Fiorini had a team-high 11 points.

“(Portland’s) really good,” South Portland coach Kevin Millington said. “Their guard play was really good. It was a tough matchup for us. They’re almost impossible to defend when they make 3s because they’re so quick and strong. Having to guard them in a man situation was tough. The good part is we did play hard. We were more concerned with fighting from beginning to end than the score.”

The Red Riots closed the regular season Thursday at Deering. They will likely meet Sanford in the quarterfinals of the tournament next week.

“We’re in a much better place than people think we are,” said Millington. “The kids are really focused in practice. We’ve been focused on Sanford for a couple weeks. We think we have as good a chance as anyone to come out of the South and that hasn’t changed.”

Scarborough fell to 5-12 and sixth in Class AA South after a 75-47 home win over Noble and losses at Massabesic (81-39) and at home to Deering (81-58). Nick Fiorillo had 19 points, Jake Gardner 13, Emmett Peoples 11 and Reece Lagerquist 10 in the victory. Against the Mustangs, Morgan Pratt led the way with 11 points. Peoples had 19, Lagerquist 12 and Pratt 11 in the loss to the Rams. The Red Storm finished with a home game versus Bonny Eagle Thursday. They will likely face Massabesic next week in the quarterfinals.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School fell to 5-12 and 11th (only nine teams make the playoffs) after Monday’s 56-40 home loss to Seacoast Christian. The Lions closed at Highview Christian Academy Wednesday.

The tournament begins Thursday of next week.

Girls’ basketball 

There was plenty of excitement last week on the girls’ side as well.

South Portland saw its 12-game win streak end with a 51-45 setback at Deering Friday despite 19 points from Meghan Graff and 15 from Maddie Hasson. Tuesday, the Red Riots bounced back and improved to 14-3 and second in Class AA South behind Gorham with a 67-25 home win over Bonny Eagle on Senior Night. Hasson had 19 points and Graff added 15. 

“We had a slow first half, but we took care of a few things at halftime and Meghan kind of took charge out there,” said Red Riots coach Lynne Hasson. “She and Maddie got us going. We can depend on our defense. We got our offense going. The Deering loss didn’t shake our confidence.”

South Portland closed at Westbrook Thursday.

“We can be (the two seed),” Lynne Hasson said. “We locked like a lock for two, but Scarborough beat TA and Portland won, so it will come right down to the wire. I feel like we’ve constantly improved all season and we’re reaching our potential. We’re confident and we know what we have to do. I think we’re ready.”

Scarborough beat visiting Noble (67-19) and Thornton Academy (44-36) last week, then fell to 7-10 and fifth in Class AA South with a 38-26 loss at Deering Tuesday. Brooke Malone had 14 points, Jamie Sargent added 11 and Jordyn Cowan had 10 against the Knights. In the win over the defending regional champion Golden Trojans, Malone and Sophie Glidden both scored 14 points. Against the Rams, Glidden led the way with 12 points. The Red Storm closed at Bonny Eagle Thursday. They will play in a quarterfinal round playoff game next week.

In Class A South, Cape Elizabeth continued its late season surge with a 55-30 win at Biddeford and a 47-33 victory at Falmouth. Carter Harvey had 21 points and Maddie Bowe added 17 versus the Tigers. Against the Yachtsmen, Harvey went off for 25 points. The Capers (7-10 and ninth in the Heals, nine teams make the playoffs) closed at home versus Fryeburg Academy Thursday and likely needed a win to qualify for the tournament.

In Class D South, GPCS was 6-11 and in the eighth and final playoff spot after Monday’s 44-41 home win over Seacoast Christian. The Lions closed at Highview Christian Wednesday.

The tournament begins Wednesday of next week.

Boys’ hockey

The biggest news from hockey last week came from Troubh Ice Arena in Portland where legendary Scarborough coach Norm Gagne picked up the latest in a series of milestone victories.

The Red Storm, who blanked visiting Thornton Academy, 3-0, last Wednesday, behind goals from Cam Nigro, Justin Perry and Cam Smith, gave Gagne his 700th career victory with a 6-1 win over Portland/Deering. Matt Caron scored twice and Nigro, Perry, Jack Callahan and Mason Parks all had one goal.

Gagne started coaching hockey in Gardiner in 1974 and in 13 years with the Tigers, he won three state titles. Gagne’s next stop was Waterville, where he won three championships in 18 seasons, with the last coming in 2001. After spending a year at Gorham, he took Lewiston to the state final in three straight seasons, but lost each time. After assisting Jay Mazur for a year, the Scarborough head coaching job opened in 2010 and Gagne took over. He guided the Red Storm to their first Class A championship last winter. Gagne’s 700 wins are second all-time nationally.

“I can’t even imagine when he first started and I can’t imagine getting to 100 wins,” Caron said. “Getting to 700 seems like such a big number. He’s taught us to take it one game at a time. Each game, he has a different game plan and we stick to that. He gives hands down the best speeches we’ve heard and that gets us going.”

“It’s wild to imagine,” Gagne said, of his milestone. “I never thought I’d come this far or coach this long. What gives me the energy and enthusiasm is my coaching spirit. My passion for the game. I still get fired up.

“The constant is being able to find the kids I know have what I call the ‘inner game’ and the will to win. In the past, I’ve had kids who struggled in the classroom and I had to make them show me they could pass. I’ve had kids from the 80s and 90s tell me I was a key guy who kept them in school. I teach more than hockey. It’s a tool to teach life skills.”

Scarborough (12-0-1 and first in Class A South) went to Cape Elizabeth Thursday, visits Lewiston Saturday and hosts Lewiston in a makeup game Monday.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Gagne said. “We don’t want to become complacent. We have to respect each opponent and come out and work hard. We know everyone is out to knock us off. We have to make sure they don’t.”

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team was 4-8-1 and 10th in Class A South entering Thursday’s home game vs. Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon. Last week’s lone game resulted in a 3-2 win at Marshwood. Lake Region pays a visit Saturday. Wednesday brings a trip to Massabesic.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth fell to 4-7-2 and sixth after losses last week to visiting Kennebunk (4-2) and host Camden Hills (3-0). After hosting Scarborough Thursday, the Capers visit Maranacook Saturday and play host to Portland/Deering Thursday of next week. 

Girls’ hockey

The girls’ hockey playoffs are underway.

Scarborough finished a superb 16-1-1 season with an 8-3 loss at Greely and a 6-0 win at Biddeford last week. In the setback, Lucy Bogdanovich provided an early lead and Sami Shoebottom scored twice, but the Red Storm surrendered five goals to Courtney Sullivan and dropped from the undefeated ranks.

“Today was just an off-day,” said Scarborough coach Caitlin D’Amour. “We’re a family. Everyone had to step up and it didn’t work out in our favor.”

The Red Storm earned the top seed in the South region and will host either York or Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in the semifinals Friday at 7:45 p.m.

Scarborough beat the Wildcats, 3-0 and 4-1 at home during the regular season and won three of four prior playoff meetings between the schools, with a 3-1 triumph in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

Scarborough also swept Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP, 2-0 at home and 5-3 on the road, and won both prior playoff encounters, with an 11-1 semifinal round romp two years ago the most recent.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland earned the No. 5 seed in the South Region with a 6-12 mark after losing at Portland/Deering (4-2) and beating host Gorham/Bonny Eagle (4-2). Wednesday brought a quarterfinal round test at No. 4 York (9-9). Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP beat the Wildcats twice this year, 5-2 at home and 4-2 away. Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP beat York in last year’s quarterfinal round, 4-0, in the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting.

The regional finals are Wednesday of next week in Lewiston and the state final is Saturday, Feb. 13 in Lewiston.

Indoor track

At last week’s “Last Chance” qualifying meet, Scarborough’s Gaby Panagakos won the girls’ 400 (1 minute, 0.73 seconds), Bethany Sholl won the girls’ two-mile (12:07.40), Edie Christian took the girls’ pole vault (8 feet, 6 inches), Griffin Madden won the boys’ 55 hurdles (7.80 seconds) Andrew Sholl took the boys’ 800 (2:00.35), Luke Grover won the boys’ mile (4:53.22) and Sam Rusak took the boys’ pole vault (15-0) and South Portland’s Noah Blake took the boys’ 55 (6.84) and the boys’ long jump (19-9.25), Callie O’Brien won the girls’ 55 hurdles (9.02), Lingdong Bol won the girls’ high jump (5-2), and the Red Riots’ girls’ 4×800 relay team was first in 13:20.42.

Cape Elizabeth competed in its final league meet last weekend. The boys were second and girls tied for third in an eight-team competition. The boys’ junior 800 relay team was first in 1:44.74. Luc Houle won the junior shot put (36-2.5). Harry Queeney took the senior high jump (5-4). Jared Duperre was first in the open two-mile (11:01.46). In the girls’ meet, Kristen Penley won the girls’ junior high jump (4-8). Katie Oberholtzer took the senior high jump (4-10). Liv Palma was first in the open 800 (2:37.90).

The Western Maine Conference championship meet is Friday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. The Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet will be held Saturday at USM.

The Class B state meet is Saturday, Feb. 13 at Bates College in Lewiston. The Class A state meet will be held at USM, Monday, Feb. 15.

Swimming

The swimming regular season wrapped up Friday.

South Portland’s boys beat Deering, 113-41, while the Red Riots girls lost to the Rams, 91-89.

Scarborough’s girls lost to Cheverus, 95-73, and the boys lost to the Stags, 111-59.

Cape Elizabeth’s girls beat McAuley, 126-41.

The Southwesterns will be held this weekend in Cape Elizabeth. The boys swim Friday and the girls Saturday.

Skiing

Scarborough’s boys were second and the girls fourth at a five-team Alpine giant slalom meet last week at Shawnee Peak. The boys were paced by Andrew Mills, who was third individually with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 7.23 seconds. On the girls’ side, Sarah Hassler placed fourth (1:08.14).

Cape Elizabeth’s boys were first and the girls second to Greely at a five-team slalom meet Monday. The boys were led by Devon Lathrop, the individual champion, who finished in 45.0 seconds. The top girls’ finisher was Emma Dvorozniak (fourth, 49.96).

At the skate portion of the Western Maine Conference Alpine meet Tuesday in Fryeburg, Cape Elizabeth’s boys came in sixth and the girls didn’t score as a team. The boys were paced by Calvin Barber, who was 25th in 16:27.3. 

Wrestling

Scarborough’s wrestling team capped its regular season last week with a 48-29 loss to Bonny Eagle, a 67-9 loss to Biddeford, a 56-21 loss to Marshwood and a 66-12 loss to Westbrook.

The regional meet is Saturday at Marshwood High School in South Berwick.

The Class A state meet is Saturday, Feb. 13 at Noble High School in North Berwick.

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

Sidebar Elements


Scarborough boys’ hockey Norm Gagne shouts to his charges during Saturday’s 6-1 win at Portland/Deering. That was no mere run-of-mill victory, it was Gagne’s 700th, the second all-time in the United States.

South Portland’s Ruay Bol goes up for a shot during the Red Riots’ 68-38 home loss to Portland Tuesday night.

Scarborough sophomore Sophie Glidden goes up for a shot during last week’s 67-19 home win over Noble.

Cape Elizabeth’s Annika Demeter races to a second-place finish in the junior 55 hurdles at last weekend’s regular season-ending league indoor track meet.

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