February's here, postseason nears

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(Ed. note: For the complete Falmouth-Greely girls’ hockey game story, please visit theforecaster.net)

The championship month of February has arrived. Over the next 29 days (it is a leap year, mind you), indoor track, swimming and skiing will bestow their hardware, with basketball and hockey winnowing down to a select few teams.

Before we get to that point, there’s plenty of recent action to plow through.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team survived another week without a blemish and sits in first place in the Western Class B Heal Points standings with a 14-0 mark after Friday’s 64-39 win at Poland. Senior Matt Packard had 17 points, while classmates Matt Kingry and Jeremy Lydick each added 13. The Yachtsmen were home against Lake Region Tuesday, go to Wells Friday and has its home finale Tuesday of next week versus York. Falmouth closes the regular season Feb. 10 at Yarmouth.

Those Clippers entered the week 12-2 and fourth in Western B after an 81-29 romp at Traip and a 69-40 home victory over Freeport Friday. Senior Josh Britten had 30 points against the Falcons. Yarmouth was at Greely Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for the game story), visits Poland Friday and closes at home next week versus Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.

Greely is 9-5 and sixth entering the Yarmouth game. The Rangers won at Gray-New Gloucester (53-40) and at home over Fryeburg (62-39) last week. Sophomore Michael McDevitt had 15 points against the Patriots and 21 versus the Raiders. Classmate Bailey Train scored 23 points in the win over Fryeburg. Greely hosted Yarmouth Tuesday, visits Lake Region Friday and hosts Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week before closing at Cape Elizabeth Feb. 10.

Freeport fell to 2-12 (16th in the Heals) after losses last week to visiting Poland (61-60) and at Yarmouth (69-40). Senior Mitch Loeman had 25 points against the Knights. Sophomore Chandler Birmingham led the Falcons against the Clippers with 15 points. Freeport hosted Fryeburg Tuesday, welcomes Traip Friday and closes the regular season next week at Poland and Old Orchard Beach.

North Yarmouth Academy is 3-11 and 12th in Western C (the top 11 teams make the playoffs) after recent losses at Hyde (55-38) and at home to A.R. Gould (43-38) and a 41-32 home win over Sacopee. Senior Asad Dahia had 20 points against the Phoenix and 11 against A.R. Gould. Monday, Dahia’s 19 points helped spark the win. The Panthers went to Buckfield Tuesday, host Waynflete Friday and close next week at Old Orchard Beach and Traip.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, all four local Western B teams would make the playoffs if they started today, but there’s plenty of work still to do.

Greely is in the best position, starting the week 11-3 and fifth in the Heals. The Rangers won at home over Gray-New Gloucester (53-44) and at Fryeburg (47-37). Freshman Ashley Storey had 20 points and junior Jaclyn Storey added 13 against the Patriots. Jaclyn Storey had 10 versus the Raiders. Greely was home with Yarmouth Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), welcomes Lake Region, goes to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week and wraps up the regular season at home versus Cape Elizabeth Feb. 10.

Falmouth is 8-6 and in the No. 8 spot after Friday’s 52-36 home win over Poland. Junior Anna Hickey had 14 points and senior Laney Evers 12. The Yachtsmen were at Lake Region Tuesday, welcome Wells Friday, go to York Feb. 7 and finish at home versus Yarmouth Feb. 10.

The Clippers have made great strides this winter and entered Tuesday’s game at Greely with a 6-8 mark after wins over visiting Traip (55-48) and Freeport (46-37). Senior standout Morgan Cahill had 22 points against the Rangers and 25 versus the Falcons and entered the week 25 points shy of the 1,000 career point mark. If she didn’t get it against Greely, she could get it Thursday when Yarmouth (10th in Western B) hosts Poland. The Clippers close the regular season next week at Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.

Freeport’s skid hit six games last week after losses at Poland (63-49) and Yarmouth (46-37). Sophomore Nina Davenport had 26 points in the loss to the Knights. Junior Leigh Wyman had a team-high 10 versus the Clippers. The Falcons (5-9 and 12th in Western B, where only 12 teams qualify) were at Fryeburg Tuesday, go to Traip Friday and finish at home next week versus Poland and Old Orchard Beach.

In Western C, NYA is 8-6 and 10th in the Heals (the top 12 make the tournament). The Panthers have now won four straight, downing visiting Hyde (37-18), Greater Portland Christian School (45-43), Hebron (46-24) and Sacopee (40-25). Senior Morgan Scully had 17 points against the Phoenix. Scully had 18, sophomore Charlotte Esancy added 17 and sophomore Chloe Leishman delivered the winning foul shots versus the Lions. Esancy had 16 against Hebron and Scully scored 16 versus the Hawks. NYA was home with Buckfield Tuesday, visits Waynflete Friday, hosts Old Orchard Beach next Tuesday and closes at home versus Traip Feb. 10.

Girls’ hockey

Family Ice Center in Falmouth was the site of a big-time local girls’ hockey showdown between Falmouth and Greely Monday night.

The host Yachtsmen entered with a chip on their shoulder after suffering their first loss Saturday, 5-3, to visiting Brunswick. Senior standout Megan Fortier was shut out in that loss.

The Rangers were coming off a 4-3 home loss to Leavitt (they erased a 3-0 deficit before the Hornets scored in the final minute).

Monday, after a scoreless first period, the Rangers broke the scoring ice with 8:46 left in the second when junior Freyja Victory’s shot from the point was tipped home by senior Shannon Donovan. Any momentum Greely had disappeared immediately, however, as 32 seconds later, Falmouth sophomore Lucy Meyer skated in and wristed home a shot from the left circle to make it 1-1.

With 9:59 remaining in the final stanza, Falmouth, playing short-handed, took the lead for good. After junior Gabby St. Angelo’s shot was saved by Seymour, junior Abby Payson was in the right place to bang it home and it was 2-1.

“The great thing about having Megan is that people focus on her and they forget we have other girls who can put the puck in the net,” Yachtsmen coach Rob Carrier said. “They’ve been overshadowed, but they keep plugging away. They work really hard on positioning and being opportunistic.”

The Yachtsmen got some breathing room with 8:37 left when Fortier scored, assisted by Meyer.

“Lucy broke up a breakout pass by Greely, gave it to me in the middle and I had no one pressuring me,” Fortier said.

With 4:23 left, Fortier slammed the door on the 4-1 win with an unassisted tally.

“I finally finished a rush,” Fortier said. “I deked to the right and backhanded it over her shoulder.”

“The difference in the third period was that the girls really wanted to get back on track before the playoffs,” Carrier said.

Greely had a 28-21 advantage in shots on goal, but wasn’t able to finish its opportunities.

“We had a really strong 30 minutes,” said Rangers coach Nate Guerin. “It was nice to see. We came out really flat in the third and didn’t do a lot of the things we’re used to doing. The better third period won.”

Falmouth sophomore goalie Kirsten Mazur made 27 saves.

“Kirsten’s been pretty solid all year,” said Carrier. “She had the opportunity to watch Jen Greene last year and learn from her. She carried that into this year. We haven’t missed a beat in the goalkeeping department.”

Greely (12-4 and second to Brunswick in the East Region Heals) hosted York Wednesday and pays a visit to Portland Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

“Our goal for the regular season was to get home ice for the first round,” Guerin said. “Playoffs is a whole new season. We have a great goalie. We have great lines. It comes down to intensity and focus.”

Falmouth (which finished 17-1 and has wrapped up the top spot in the West Region) won’t take the ice again until Feb. 10 for the semifinal round, which it will host.

“We’ve all worked hard and knew what we had to do (to win),” Fortier said. “No games are easy. We know we can beat anyone. That’s reassuring going into the playoffs.”

“The girls are really focused right now,” Carrier said. “We’ve only lost one game, but we’ve had a lot of one-goal games.”

Yarmouth still clings to playoff hopes after winning at Gorham, 9-5, Friday to improve to 6-10. Ariel Potter scored four times. The Clippers entered Wednesday’s game at Lewiston sixth in the East, where only five teams qualify for the postseason. A win against the Blue Devils or Saturday at Cheverus would help Yarmouth’s cause.

Boys’ hockey

On the boys’ side, Greely’s skid hit three games with a last second 3-2 loss at St. Dom’s last Wednesday, but Saturday, the Rangers bounced back and improved to 7-3-1 with an 8-1 romp at Leavitt. Seven different players tickled the twine, led by sophomore Ted Hart with a pair of goals. Greely (back in first place in the Western B Heals) returns home Thursday to face York. Gardiner pays a visit Saturday. The Rangers are at Camden Hills Wednesday.

Yarmouth continued its resurgence last week with a 7-1 triumph at Leavitt and a 6-3 home win over Gardiner. Against the Hornets, senior Alex Kurtz had five goals (four in the first period alone). In the win over the Tigers, the Clippers rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and got two goals and two assists from Kurtz. Yarmouth (sixth in Western B, but gaining on the field) was home against South Portland Wednesday, welcomes Maranacook Saturday and Kennebunk Wednesday of next week.

In Western A, Falmouth snapped a two-game winless streak Saturday with a 9-1 home romp over Marshwood. The Yachtsmen got two goals apiece from Ben Freeman, Kris Samaras, Mitch Tapley and Brandon Tuttle. Falmouth (6-3-1 and third behind Thornton Academy and Scarborough in the standings) was home with St. Dom’s Tuesday and welcomes Biddeford Saturday.

Indoor track

The penultimate meets of the indoor track regular season were held last weekend in Gorham.

Greely’s boys and girls both came in first in an eight-team meet. Freeport was fifth and NYA sixth on the boys’ side, while the Panthers came in fifth and the Falcons seven in the girls’ competition.

Individual winners for the Rangers boys’ squad included Weston Taylor in the junior 400 (58.97 seconds), James Ferrar in the junior shot put (43 feet, 9 inches), Nestor Taylor in the 800 (2 minutes, 1.74 seconds), Liam Campbell in the mile (4:43.82), Josh Nason in the pole vault (8-9), as well as the senior 800 (1:40.33) and 3,200 (9:00.03) relays. NYA got a victory from Jake Burns in the triple jump (35-6.75). Freeport winners included Victor Skorapa in the two-mile (11:56.54) and Taylor Saucier in the senior 400 (55.40).

In the girls’ meet, Greely got wins from Cameron Keefe in the junior 400 (1:08.08), Hannah Keisman in the junior 55 hurdles (9.58), Emily Saunders in the junior high jump (4-8) and triple jump (33-10.5), Molly Fitzpatrick in the senior 55 hurdles (9.62), Cassidy Storey in the junior shot put (33-8.25), Jessica Wilson in the 800 (2:36.17), Kirstin Sandreuter in the mile (5:12.80) and Abby Bonnevie in the pole vault (9-6). The Rangers also won the junior 800 (2:02.14) and 3,200 (10:37.4) relays. NYA’s top finishers were runners-up Jillian Bjorn-Caron in the junior 55 hurdles (10.20) and Meaghan O’Leary in the junior high jump (4-4). Freeport’s junior 800 relay team came in second (2:02.14).

Falmouth and Yarmouth competed against Gray-New Gloucester, Hyde, Poland, St. Dom’s, Traip and York. The Yachtsmen boys finished second for the first time this year, behind York. The Clippers were third. Falmouth did take the girls’ meet, with Yarmouth placing fourth.

The Yachtsmen girls took all three relays and had four individual winners: Madeline Roberts in the two-mile (11:58.60), Cassie Darrow in the 800 (2:35.50), Sarah Sparks in the senior 400 (1:05.43) and Meaghan Piasio in the junior high jump (4-4). The Clippers produced pole vault winner Megan Smith (7-6).

On the boys’ side, Falmouth winners included Mike Wuhlbrecht in the junior 55 hurdles (7.42), Jacob Buhelt in the senior 55 (6.92) and the senior 400 (53.03), Reid Pryzant in the senior 55 hurdles (8.18)and the triple jump (38-2.75) and Thomas Edmonds in the mile (4:40.62). Yarmouth got first place showings from Chandler Smith in the junior 400 (55.14) and Thomas Robichaud in the pole vault (9-6).

The regular season concludes Friday as Falmouth and Greely join Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Poland, Traip and York at 4:30 p.m. Freeport, NYA and Yarmouth compete with Gray-New Gloucester, Hyde and Wells at 7:30 p.m. The Western Maine Conference championship meet is Feb. 10.

Swimming

In the pool, the Greely boys and girls enjoyed a very productive weekend. Friday, the Rangers swept South Portland (boys, 106-67; girls, 112-58) and Saturday, they did the same to Kennebunk (boys, 102-64; girls, 110-57).

The Yarmouth boys edged host Falmouth, 68-64. Scores from the girls’ meet weren’t available.

The Falmouth Diving Invitational was also held last weekend. Falmouth’s Nicola Mancini won the girls’ 11-dive crown with teammate Briana Esposito second. Greely’s Amanda Stewart came in sixth. On the boys’ side, Falmouth’s Ryan Conley was second. Greely’s Isaak Emery finished 13th.

The North Division Southwesterns will be held this weekend in Westbrook, with Falmouth and Greely taking part. The South Division takes its turn the following weekend in Cape Elizabeth where Yarmouth will compete.

Skiing

Local Nordic ski teams travelled to Black Mountain for the Sassi Invitational Saturday.

The Yarmouth boys came in first among 37 teams. NYA was second, Falmouth fourth, Merriconeag ninth, Freeport 19th and Greely 24th. Yarmouth’s Jack Elder came in fourth (14 minutes, 4.8 seconds). NYA’s Cam Regan was fifth (14:08.5). Falmouth’s Tim Follo came in eighth (14:19.4).

In the girls’ competition, Yarmouth was second to Caribou. Merriconeag came in fourth, Falmouth 11th, Freeport 12th, Greely 24th and NYA 25th. Merriconeag’s Zoe Chace-Donahue was fourth (17:28.7). Yarmouth’s Tara Humphries placed fifth (17:45.5). Freeport’s Elizabeth Martin came in 16th (19:24.4). The Yachtsmen were paced by Sarah Hemphill (38th, 20:43.4). Eva Bates led the Rangers (57th, 21:35.2). Isabella Munro was first for the Panthers (61st, 21:47.3).

On the Alpine side, Freeport joined Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg and Lake Region for a slalom race Monday at Shawnee Peak. The Falcons won the boys’ meet. Blake Enrico came in third individually (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 27.37 seconds). The girls were second to Fryeburg, but Elly Bengtsson was the top individual (1:26.88).

Greely hosted Falmouth, Gray-New Gloucester and Yarmouth for a giant slalom meet. The Yachtsmen easily won the boys’ meet, with the Clippers second and Rangers third. Falmouth’s Alex Gowen was first individually (54.88). Yarmouth’s Matthew Highland came in third (56.46). Greely was led by Sam Purlmutter (eighth, 57.67). In the girls’ race, Greely won, with Falmouth second and Yarmouth third. Falmouth’s Leika Scott was the top individual (54,71). Greely’s Elyse Dinan came in second (57.91). The Clippers featured Claudia Lockwood (third, 58.38).

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

Sidebar Elements


Yarmouth sophomore Nathaniel Shields-Auble skies over Freeport senior Spencer Bernier for a rebound as Clippers senior Sam Torres looks on during the Clippers’ 69-40 home win Friday night.

Falmouth senior Megan Fortier flips a shot past prone Greely senior goalie Emma Seymour for the final goal of Monday night’s 4-1 Yachtsmen victory.

Falmouth’s Cassie Darrow races toward a first place finish in the 800 Friday.

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