Let the postseason fun begin-Portland edition

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Portland’s Manny Yugu shoots a 3-pointer over Cheverus’ Matt Duchaine during the Bulldogs’ 67-45 victory Friday. Yugu had a game-high 23 points.

Maine Girls’ Academy sophomore Serena Mower and Deering sophomore Aviyonna Kim go after a loose ball during the Lions’ 36-28 win Saturday.

Portland/Deering’s Caroline Lerch carries the puck during the squad’s 6-2 home win over Biddeford last week.

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

The regular season is winding down in basketball and hockey and the postseason is set to begin in the other sports.

There will be a lot of drama in store and plenty of hardware handed out in the weeks to come.

Here’s a glimpse at the week that was and a look ahead:

Boys’ basketball

The basketball regular season culminates Thursday and Portland’s boys’ squad will again be the top seed in Class AA North.

The Bulldogs improved to 15-1 with wins last week at Bonny Eagle (64-27) and at home over Cheverus (67-45). Against the Scots. Simon Chadbourne had 12 points, Pedro Fonseca added 11 and Trey Bellew and Manny Yugu both finished with 10. In the win over the Stags, on Portland’s Senior Night, Yugu went off for 23 points, including 20 in the first half, and Bellew added 11.

“Senior Night means so much, to see how we’ve come together year after year,” Yugu said. “Playing in front of family and friends means more than anything. This is a great program.”

“It’s tough to see (the seniors) go, but they played well,” said Bulldogs coach Joe Russo. “Sometimes when you play guys who don’t play a lot, the game gets tight, but these guys kept the lead and shared the ball.”

Portland closed with games at South Portland (see theforecaster.net for game story) Tuesday and Deering Thursday.

Deering was 7-9 and sixth in Class AA North following wins over visiting Thornton Academy (46-42) and host Noble (81-35) and a 59-51 loss at Massasbesic. Darryl Germain had 18 points and Ben Onek added 14 against the Golden Trojans. Germain had a team-high 22 points in the win over the Knights. In the setback, Germain had 15 points, while Caleb Delano and Blaize Vail added 12 apiece. The Rams hosted Cheverus Tuesday and close at home versus Portland Thursday.

Cheverus was seventh in the region at 6-9 at press time after a 71-21 home win over Noble and a 67-45 loss at Portland. Owen Burke and Matt Duchaine had 11 points apiece in the victory. Against the Bulldogs, Duchaine led the way with 12 points.

“We still have goals and just because we lost tonight doesn’t mean we’ll stop focusing on that,” Stags coach Ryan Soucie said. “We have a ton of Heal Points on the board.”

Cheverus hosted Oxford Hills in a makeup game Monday, went to Deering Tuesday and closes at home versus two-time defending Class AA South champion South Portland Thursday.

In Class C South, Waynflete extended its win streak to 11 and improved to 14-3 and second behind Hall-Dale in the Heals after beating visiting Sacopee Valley (108-42), Old Orchard Beach (89-56) and A.R. Gould (77-44) last week. Against the Hawks, Diraige Dahia led the way with 24 points, John Veroneau added 15, Finn Scott finished with 14, Askar Houssein had 11 and Ilyas Abdi 10. In the win over the Seagulls, Dahia had 22 points, Houssein added 19, Christian Brooks had 16 and Dominick Campbell finished with 10. Against A.R. Gould, Musaid Mohammed led the way with 19 points, while Dahia added 16, Alex Saade 13 and Scott 11. The Flyers close at home versus North Yarmouth Academy Thursday.

The postseason begins next week with preliminary round games, as well as quarterfinals for Class AA South and North. Those games will all be held on the home courts of the higher seeds.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Portland and Cheverus are on track to host Class AA North quarterfinal round games next week when the postseason begins.

The Bulldogs were second to Oxford Hills in the Heals at 11-5 following wins over visiting Bonny Eagle (56-49) and host Noble (59-37) and a home loss to Scarborough (42-35). In the win over the Scots, Gemima Motema had 21 points and Davina Kabantu added 11. Motema went off for 26 points against the Knights and Shayla Eubanks added 13. In the loss, Portland rallied from a 14-point deficit to pull even, but couldn’t grab the lead and ultimately fell short, despite 11 points from Kabantu.

“I have to keep reminding myself that these are 15-, 16-, 17-year-old girls,” Bulldogs coach Gerry Corcoran said. “We need other players to step up. We can’t just depend on a couple shooters.”

Portland was at South Portland Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and closes the regular season at Deering Thursday.

Cheverus began the week 10-6 and fourth in the standings after sandwiching wins at Noble (45-43) and Maine Girls’ Academy (43-23) around a 62-27 setback at Oxford Hills. Against the Knights, Emme Poulin had 26 points and Michaela Jordan added 13. In the loss, Abby Cavallaro led the way with nine points. In the win over the Lions, Meg Kelly had a game-high 16 points. The Stags were home with Deering Tuesday and close at home versus South Portland Thursday.

Deering was 7-9 and sixth in the region at press time following wins at Thornton Academy (35-31) and at home over Noble (47-37) and a 36-28 home loss to MGA. Delaney Haines had 28 points against the Knights and a team-high 11 points against the Lions, but in that one, the Rams didn’t score in the first quarter and had a mere five points at halftime.

“There were plenty of possessions, but not many scores,” lamented Deering coach Mike Murphy, following the loss to MGA. “We scored two hoops in the first half and only trailed by five. It’s just disappointing on so many levels.”

The Rams were at Cheverus Tuesday and close at home versus Portland Thursday.

In Class AA South, MGA was 13-3 and fourth after going 3-1 last week, beating visiting Thornton Academy (44-34), visiting Massabesic (48-43) and host Deering (36-28) and falling at home to Cheverus (43-23). Against the Golden Trojans, Catherine Reid had 15 points and Jill Joyce added a dozen.

“We’ve working on playing for 32 minutes,” Reid said. “We kept our composure pretty well and knocked down foul shots for the most part.”

“It was nervewracking, but we always find a way to get it done,” Joyce said. “Thornton’s a great team that’s very athletic. We did our best to try and slow down their offense.”

“My girls are trying their hardest,” MGA coach Billy Goodman added. “We’re a young team. There will be good, bad and ugly. We go through tough stretches, then we wake up.”

Reid led the way against the Mustangs with 18 points and Katie Fitzpatrick added 10. In the loss, Fitzpatrick and Reid each had six points. Fitzpatrick had a double-double (10 points, 15 rebounds) in the victory over the Rams.

“I go in there knowing I’m not the tallest, but it’s just effort,” Fitzpatrick said.

“You can’t coach the effort (Katie) brings every time,” said Goodman. “She’s a winner. I’m lucky to coach her.”

The Lions were at Marshwood Tuesday and close at Scarborough Thursday.

Waynflete began the week 5-11 and 12th in Class C South (14 teams make the playoffs) following a 47-33 win at Sacopee Valley and losses at Hebron Academy (42-38) and Old Orchard Beach (54-26). Lydia Giguere led the way with 22 points and Anna Wildes added 10 in the victory. Giguere had a team-high 10 points against the Seagulls. The Flyers were at St. Dom’s Tuesday and close at home versus NYA Thursday.

The postseason begins next week with preliminary round games, as well as quarterfinals for Class AA South and North. Those games will all be held on the home courts of the higher seeds.

Boys’ hockey

Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team is atop the Class A South Heal Points standings after extending its win streak to seven last week by downing host Marshwood (10-2) and visiting Massabesic (5-0). The victory at the Hawks gave Stags coach Dan Lucas his 100th victory with the program (see story). Justin Ray scored twice against the Mustangs. Cheverus (10-2-1) went to Falmouth Tuesday, hosted the Yachtsmen Thursday and visit Biddeford Saturday.

Portland/Deering snapped a two-game skid with a 4-2 home win over Windham/Westbrook Thursday. Joe Herboldsheimer, Cam King, Walter Lewandowski and Donnie Tocci all had goals. Portland/Deering (6-6-2 and fifth in Class A South) went to Bangor Tuesday and hosts St. Dom’s Thursday.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op squad was 8-7 and sixth in Class A South after a 9-1 home loss to Cape Elizabeth and a 3-0 setback at Thornton Academy. The team is back in action Saturday at home versus Windham/Westbrook.

Girls’ hockey

The Cheverus/Kennebunk co-op team earned the top seed in the South Region for the girls’ hockey playoffs. Cheverus/Kennebunk culminated a 17-1 regular season with decisive wins at Gorham (10-2) and Scarborough (8-0). Cheverus/Kennebunk earned a quarterfinal round bye and will host either Scarborough (8-9-1) or Biddeford (10-7-1) in the semifinals Friday or Saturday.

Portland/Deering also earned a bye after posting a program-best 13-5 record. Portland/Deering finished with a 9-1 loss at two-time defending state champion St. Dom’s and a 6-2 home victory over Biddeford. In the win, Emily Demers scored three goals, while Inez Braceras, Maddy Danse and Caroline Lerch all had one.

“Last year at this time, we were sobbing because the season was over,” said Braceras. “This is the first time we’ve made it to playoffs in my high school hockey career. I had no idea we’d be this good. It’s so fun. It’s an amazing feeling to win.”

“For the program, it’s huge,” first-year coach Tom Clifford said. “As coaches, we gave the girls a blueprint and they took it. All year long they’ve been spectacular supporting each other.”

Portland/Deering will host either Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland (9-8-1) or Falmouth (6-11-1) in the semifinals Friday or Saturday.

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team wound up third in the region despite going 1-1-1 in the final week, beating host Biddeford (3-1), falling at home to Falmouth (6-5) and tying host Yarmouth/Freeport (4-4).

Looking ahead, the regional final will be held Wednesday, Feb. 14 in Lewiston.

The state final is Saturday, Feb. 17 in Lewiston.

Indoor track

The regular season is over in indoor track and the SMAA championship meet will be held Saturday in Gorham.

The Class B state meet will be contested Saturday, Feb. 17 at Bates College in Lewiston.

The Class A state meet is Monday, Feb. 19, in Gorham.

Swimming

Cheverus split its regular season-ending swim meet against Scarborough last week. The Stags boys prevailed, 97-68, while the girls lost, 99-71.

The Portland boys defeated Sanford, 104.5,-59.5.

Maine Girls’ Academy lost to Yarmouth, 95-44.

The Southwestern meets will be held this weekend in Cape Elizabeth.

The Class A boys’ state meet is Saturday, Feb. 17 in Orono. The Class A girls’ state meet is Monday, Feb. 19 in Orono. That same day, the Class B girls’ state meet will be contested at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The Class B boys’ state meet is Tuesday, Feb. 20 in Brunswick.

Skiing

Cheverus’ Annesley Black won an Alpine slalom meet last week at Shawnee Peak with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 53.26 seconds. The Stags were second as a team to Kennebunk.

Friday, Black won a slalom meet with a two-run combined time of 1:47.19. Cheverus placed fourth as a team. The boys were also fourth and were led by Liam Allen (fifth, 2:01.38).

On the Nordic side, Portland’s Liam Niles won a classical race at Stark’s Hill last week with a time of 14 minutes, 00.7 seconds. Portland came in fifth as a team, Deering was seventh and Waynflete finished ninth (Maine Coast Waldorf was first). The Rams were led by Peter Jordan (third, 14:03.1). The Flyers’ top finisher was Nicholas Werner (20th, 16:10.5).

In the girls’ meet, won by Yarmouth, Deering came in fifth and Waynflete was seventh. Sierra Aponte-Clarke paced the Rams with a seventh-place individual showing (17:05.5). The Flyers were led by Clara Sandberg (22nd, 19:38.6).

The SMAA Alpine and WMC Alpine and Nordic championships are being held this week.

The state meets begin Monday, Feb. 19.

Wrestling

The wrestling regular season has concluded.

The Portland/South Portland co-op squad finished 11-8 after beating Cheverus (51-18), Bonny Eagle (46-30) and Kennebunk (42-33) and losing to Noble (42-34).

Cheverus posted a 6-13 mark, finishing with losses to Portland/South Portland (51-18), Marshwood (51-15) and Sanford (40-21) and a win over Bonny Eagle (33-27).

Deering went 1-14, concluding with losses to Scarborough (63-9), Windham (41-34), Westbrook/Gorham (39-27) and Scarborough again (52-21).

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

The state meet is Saturday, Feb. 17 in Sanford.

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.