It seems like every winter, local basketball players up the ante in regards to drama and triumph and the 2011-12 season was no different as local schools produced their share of highlights throughout.
Here’s one man’s opinion on the best stories in our coverage area this season.
Let’s take a detour to the college game for starters. The Southern Maine Community College Seawolves’ women’s team welcomed a new coach this year in Kendra Reichert and she had the magic touch early, leading SMCC to 11 straight wins. Things got more challenging in the 2012 portion of the schedule, but the Seawolves still ended up with a winning record and are poised for more success next winter.
South Portland’s girls have reached the tournament every year since 2001 and the Red Riots kept the run going this season. South Portland went 7-11 in the regular season and got to the preliminary round before being ousted by Thornton Academy.
While the Scarborough boys had an up-and-down season, which ultimately fell just shy of the Expo with a preliminary round loss to Biddeford, the Red Storm did make history on Jan. 10 when it beat two-time defending regional champion Cheverus for the first time. Scarborough did it emphatically, 58-43, as one of its 10 wins for the season.
South Portland’s boys stumbled late in the regular season and had to win a preliminary round contest against Westbrook simply to make it to the quarterfinals. There, the Red Riots weren’t given much of a chance against No. 2 Portland, a team which beat South Portland twice in the regular year. The game was held on the Bulldogs’ homecourt and Portland led much of the way, but the Red Riots roared to life in the second half and held off three potential game-tying or game-winning shots in the final seconds to prevail, 39-37. South Portland hung tough with Bonny Eagle in the semis, but ultimately lost, 54-39, as its season ended at 12-9.
Coming off a 6-12 campaign, the Scarborough girls were expected to improve, but no one imagined just how special a season the Red Storm would produce. Under new coach Tom Maines, a boys’ coaching legend, Scarborough gained confidence early and the wins kept on coming. The Red Storm captured its first 11 games, lost at home to defending champion McAuley, then won its final six to go 17-1 and earn the No. 2 seed for the tournament. Then, the fun really began. Scarborough faced double digit deficits against both Cheverus and Marshwood in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds respectively and on both occasions rallied in the final moments for stunning wins. The run finally ended with a loss to eventual champion McAuley in the regional final, but it’s safe to say the Red Storm was the most exciting and accomplished team in the coverage area. Scarborough is poised for even more success next season.
Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team had numerous reasons to exult this winter, as it won 19 times. Several of those victories, like this tournament triumph over Marshwood, came in dramatic fashion.
Junior Henry Babcock helped the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team reach the tournament.
Jordan Muller and the South Portland boys made a stirring run to the Western A semifinals.
Emily Bard and the Southern Maine Community College women’s team enjoyed a spectacular start to their 2011-12 season.