By Michael Hoffer
The winter sports season begins its frenzied postseason this weekend when two local swim teams take part in the Southwesterns.
Basketball and hockey teams still have some work to do as their regular seasons near a close.
Skiing and track are gearing up for February as well.
Here’s a look at the week that was and what’s to come.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ basketball: Big win for NYA
While Falmouth was battling Greely in a Western B showdown (please see accompanying story, page 13), North Yarmouth Academy helped its playoff cause with a big win over a top rival in Western C action Saturday night.
The Panthers, who had won 39-32 at Buckfield last Wednesday behind 18 points from sophomore Andrew Esancy, hosted arch-rival St. Dom’s, a team that beat them 51-30 on Dec. 22 in Auburn.
This time NYA carried the day, getting 18 points from senior Andrew Gendron in a 33-25 victory.
“It’s been a big rivalry over the years,” Gendron said. “It feels good to get a win. Defensive intensity was a difference. We really locked down. We’ve made huge strides since the start of the year. We’re definitely coming together.”
“These guys beat us by 21 last time,” added NYA’s first-year coach Mike Dutton. “I think we’re getting a clue mentally. That’s what we need to, have the team concept or we can’t compete. We don’t have enough athleticism and skill. Hopefully the team concept has taken hold. The newer kids know their role. That’s the key.”
The Panthers fell to 6-8 Monday with a 61-24 loss at Hyde. Gendron had 11 points. NYA, now 11th in the Western C Heal Points standings, hosted Gould Wednesday (too late for this edition), visits Western B contender Yarmouth Friday and closes the regular season with home games against Traip Tuesday and Gray-New Gloucester Feb. 6.
In Western B, Yarmouth improved to 10-4 with wins over visiting Waynflete (69-49) and at Gray-New Gloucester (73-36) last weekend. Against the Flyers, senior standout Johnny Murphy scored 20 points and junior Evan Henry added 15. Murphy lit up the Patriots for 28 points.
The Clippers, sixth in the Western B Heals, were at York Tuesday (too late for this edition), host NYA Friday, visit defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and close the regular season at home against Freeport Feb. 5.
Speaking of the Falcons, they’re still hoping to qualify for the playoffs. Freeport is 11th in the latest Western B Heals. Only the top 10 reach the postseason.
The Falcons held off visiting York 54-49 Friday behind 30 points from senior Jon Klages. Saturday, they fell to 3-11 with a 44-25 loss at Greely.
Freeport hosted Cape Elizabeth Tuesday (too late for this edition), go to Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, host Poland Tuesday then end the season at Yarmouth. The Falcons likely need to upset the Capers or Clippers to reach the playoffs.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ basketball: Yarmouth on the ropes
On the girls’ side, Falmouth and Greely did battle Tuesday (please see stories, page 13).
The three other local teams face an uphill climb to make the playoffs.
Yarmouth’s season was at a crossroads last weekend when the Clippers faced Waynflete and Gray-New Gloucester, needing a big win or two to help the cause.
At the Flyers, the top team in Western C, the Clippers led 14-12 after one period. Waynflete rode an 11-0 run to go up 22-14, but Yarmouth scored the final eight points of the half, making it 22-22 at the break.
The Clippers went ahead four separate times and each time the Flyers tied the game in the third. Yarmouth was able to take a 35-32 lead into the fourth on a long-distance prayer of a 3-pointer from senior Michelle Moylan at the horn.
With 6:22 to play, Yarmouth went up 39-34, but Waynflete answered, going on an 11-2 run to lead 45-41 with just 1:56 to play. The Clippers got within two on a rebound layup from freshman Morgan Cahill with 53.8 seconds to play, then, with time winding down, they raced downcourt and Cahill, who finished with a team-high 18 points, made a layup as the horn sounded to force overtime.
The extra session was all Waynflete, however, as Yarmouth didn’t score and lost 52-45.
Saturday the Clippers hosted the Patriots, their playoff nemesis from a year ago and a team they beat 37-35 in Gray Dec. 16. Nine first-quarter points from Moylan helped Yarmouth lead 11-10. Cahill erupted for eight in the second quarter and the Clippers had a 24-20 advantage at the half. A 10-0 run helped the Patriots lead 32-29 after three, but a layup from senior Catie Clarke put Yarmouth up 37-36 with 5:26 to play.
The Clippers wouldn’t score again and watched as Gray-New Gloucester closed the contest on an 11-0 run to win 47-37, dropping Yarmouth to 5-9. Simsarian led the Clippers with 10 points.
Yarmouth is now 12th in the Western B Heals. Only the top 10 teams qualify for the postseason. The Clippers hosted No. 1 and undefeated York Tuesday (too late for this edition), needing a win to keep their hopes afloat. Yarmouth goes to NYA Saturday, hosts Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and closes the regular year at Freeport Feb. 6.
The Falcons are 2-12 and 14th in the Heals after losses to host York (60-36) and visiting Greely (66-36) last weekend. Senior Kristen Poulin had 12 points for Freeport against the Wildcats. Senior Kari Oransky led the team with 13 versus the Rangers.
The Falcons played at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday (too late for this edition), host Gray-New Gloucester Friday, visit Poland Wednesday, then close at home versus Yarmouth.
In Western C, NYA was clinging to the 15th and final playoff berth at press time. The Panthers are 5-9 after sandwiching losses to visiting Buckfield (67-62) and host St. Dom’s (57-29) around a 66-56 home win over Hyde. Senior Kate Merrill had 19 points in the loss to the Bucks. Sophomore Blair Haggett exploded for 30 points in the win over the Phoenix. Against the Saints, Haggett had 10.
NYA was at Gould Wednesday (too late for this edition), host Yarmouth Saturday and Traip Tuesday, then close at Gray-New Gloucester Feb. 5.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ hockey: Yarmouth earns dramatic win
On the ice, the Falmouth boys lost in the semifinals of the Fix Cup Monday (please see story, page 13). Greely won 5-4 in overtime over Thornton, thanks to senior Jesse Shavel’s game-winning goal. Thornton Academy to advance to the finals against Cape Elizabeth.
The Rangers improved to 11-1 in league play Saturday with a 2-1 victory at two-time defending Class A state champion Biddeford. Senior Kevin Hart had the game-winner for Greely, which is first in the Western Class B Heal Points standings. The Rangers host Leavitt Thursday and Camden Saturday.
Yarmouth is sixth in the standings. The Clippers are 3-6-2 after a dramatic 6-5 win at Deering last Thursday and a 5-5 tie at Camden Saturday.
In the win, Yarmouth rallied from three goals down and took the lead for the first time on senior Jake Gallagher’s power play goal with one second to play. The Clippers couldn’t hold a 5-3 lead at Camden and settled for the deadlock.
Yarmouth is at Noble Thursday and visits Cape Elizabeth Saturday.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ hockey: Falmouth heats up
On the girls’ side, Falmouth beat visiting Brunswick 3-1 Saturday and downed visiting Portland 4-0 Monday to improve to 9-4-3. The Yachtsmen are fifth in the latest West Region Heals. They close the regular season with games at Cheverus Saturday and Greely Monday.
The Rangers are now 9-3-2 and second to Lewiston in the East Region. Greely defeated host Waterville 3-1 Saturday in a non-MPA contest. The Rangers were at Lewiston Tuesday (too late for this edition), host Winslow Thursday, go to York Saturday then close the regular year at home with Falmouth Monday.
Yarmouth is 4-11-1 after losing 7-0 at Winslow Saturday. The Clippers are sixth in the East Region. They hosted Brunswick Wednesday (too late for this edition) and close the regular season at Leavitt Saturday.
Greely’s girls’ indoor track team got a measure of revenge on Falmouth Friday at USM. One week after the Yachtsmen beat them, the Rangers bounced back with a victory, scoring 211.5 points to Falmouth’s 184. NYA was fourth with 37.5 points, Freeport placed fifth with 28 and Yarmouth was sixth with 20. Greely senior Hillary Cederna was named senior division MVP after winning the 200, 400 and long jump.
In boys’ action, Falmouth’s 180 points were five better than Greely. Yarmouth (93) placed third. NYA (58) came in fifth and Freeport (24) was sixth. Rangers’ sophomore Sam Mason won junior division MVP honors after winning the 55 and 400. Yachtsmen junior Kellen MacDonald won senior division MVP after taking the 400.
The regular season concludes Friday at USM. Greely and NYA join Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region and Poland at 4:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., Falmouth, Freeport and Yarmouth run, jump and throw along with Traip, Wells and York.
In the pool, NYA and Yarmouth split a meet last Thursday. The Panthers won in boys’ action, 76-68, while the Clippers took the girls’ meet, 94-64. Greely’s girls beat Sanford 92-77 Friday. Falmouth’s result at Cape Elizabeth wasn’t available.
Falmouth hosted a diving invitational Saturday. NYA’s Sarah Kaminow was runner-up in the girls’ 11-dive with 291.55 points. Falmouth’s Evelyn Perry placed fourth (273.50).
The south division southwesterns will be held Friday and Saturday in Cape Elizabeth. North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth join 10 other schools in competition. Falmouth and Greely take part in the north southwesterns the following weekend. The Yachtsmen swim and dive at South Portland Friday. The Rangers host Portland Tuesday.
The Yarmouth ski juggernaut marches on. Friday, the Clippers met Freeport, Fryeburg, Lake Region and Scarborough and both teams came in first (with the girls tying the Lakers). Monday, both Yarmouth teams bested Freeport, Greely, Lake Region and Mountain Valley.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com