New winter season begins with triumph in Forecaster Country

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(Ed Note: For the full Falmouth-Waynflete girls’ and Greely-Falmouth boys’ and girls’ basketball game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

The 2010-11 winter sports season has begun and there has already been plenty of excitement in our midst.

Here’s a glimpse as we near the holiday hiatus.

Boys’ basketball

Defending Class B state champion Falmouth and this year’s favorite, Greely, met in a highly anticipated and entertaining boys’ basketball showdown Saturday night in Cumberland.

The new-look Yachtsmen were 3-0 entering the contest after downing Gray-New Gloucester (48-30), Freeport (63-29) and Waynflete (42-23).

The Rangers were also 3-0 after downing Traip (59-48), Yarmouth (61-53) and Poland (65-40).

Saturday, Greely raced to a 13-5 lead, but Falmouth rallied and the game was nip-and-tuck until the Rangers got a little breathing in the second half. They hit foul shots down the stretch and held on to win, 45-36. Senior Sam Johnston led the way with 17 points, including nine of 10 foul shots.

“We played horrible, but it’s good to beat Falmouth,” Johnston said. “We haven’t beaten Falmouth in a long time. The veteran guys helped us through. We played hard. We made free throws and held together at the end. We made the right plays. Our team motto is, ‘family.’ We stick together. We got big plays from unexpected guys. Guys chipped in in different ways. We have to work on our shooting, rebounding, defense on certain areas and out-of-bounds plays.”

“We tried to get the ball inside and did so more successfully in the second half,” Greely coach Ken Marks added. “Defensively, we played OK at the end. Guys closed the middle. The kids who needed to be at the line at the end were. We didn’t handle the ball well. Falmouth played its zone well.

The Yachtsmen were led by eight points each from juniors Jack Cooleen and Matthew Packard.

“We’re experimenting at this time of year, seeing what works and what doesn’t work and which players work in different situations,” said Falmouth  coach Dave Halligan. “It was a loss, but it wasn’t a bad loss. It’s not a step backwards. Greely’s very good. We had our chances. We didn’t get breaks. That happens. I was pleased with the effort. We made some young mistakes. Those are frustrating at times. We had 25 turnovers. Most of them were unforced errors, but I think we’re on schedule. I like the guys we have and their attitudes and how they’re working hard. It won’t come easily.”

The Yachtsmen closed the 2010 portion of their schedule Tuesday at Lake Region.

Greely visited Freeport Tuesday and plays host to York Thursday.

“York’s a good test,” Johnston said. “Hopefully we can get a win. We have high expectations. We’re 4-0 and we want to stay in the ‘0s.’ We’d like to be 6-0.”

Yarmouth opened with a 56-43 win at Poland, lost at home to Greely (61-53), then downed visiting Fryeburg (84-46) and host Wells (66-57) to take a 3-1 mark into Tuesday’s showdown at Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers were led by junior Josh Britten’s 20 points and senior Luke Pierce’s 17 points and 10 boards against the Raiders. Britten had 26 points and Pierce 21 in the win over the Warriors.

Freeport dropped its first four, to Fryeburg (63-55), Falmouth (63-29), York (78-33) and Gray-New Gloucester (77-50). Junior Josh Weirich scored 11 points against the Wildcats. Senior Kyle Strozewski had 14 points and Weirich added 12 versus the Patriots. The Falcons were home with Greely in their 2010 finale Tuesday.

North Yarmouth Academy dropped its first three, to Waynflete (41-40), Traip (73-55) and Lake Region (63-52). Junior Asad Dahia scored 22 points and senior Andrew Esancy added 21 against the Rangers. In the loss to the Lakers, Esancy went off with 29 points. NYA was at Pine Tree Academy Monday.

Girls’ basketball

Greely’s girls’ basketball team lost several key players to graduation, but the Rangers haven’t missed a beat to date. Greely downed visiting Traip, 63-39, in its opener, then rolled, 44-16, at Yarmouth last Monday. In that one, the Rangers led 29-0 before the Clippers finally scored and it was 33-2 at halftime. Senior Chelsea Bridges scored 11 points and classmate Megan Coale added 10. After a 51-31 triumph at Poland (behind 15 points from junior Caroline Hamilton), Greely held off visiting Falmouth, 36-27, Saturday afternoon. The Rangers shot to a 19-9 halftime lead and held on down the stretch behind 13 points from sophomore Jacklyn Storey and 10 from senior Sara Warnock.

“We’re playing with intensity,” said Storey. “Coming out strong, finishing strong. We have confidence. We’re trying to earn respect.”

“It was an important win,” Warnock said. “It brings up our confidence a lot. We proved to ourselves and everyone else that we can really play. We knew we needed to pull out a win. We played defense and hustled back to make sure they didn’t get easy shots. We were patient with the ball. That’s a big thing for us.”

“It’s a brand new team, I needed to see what we could do under pressure,” Greely coach Billy Goodman added. “I told the kids it was a show-me game and they showed me something. They’re earning everything they get. I’m really enjoying coaching them. This is an experience you can’t buy.”

The Rangers hosted Freeport Tuesday and go to recent nemesis York, the defending Class B state champion, Thursday. The Wildcats eliminated Greely each of the past two years in the regional final.

“We’ll make the trip to York,” Goodman said. “We have nothing to lose. We’ll find out where we stand.”

Falmouth’s setback was its first of the year. The Yachtsmen, under new coach, Mari Warner, beat Gray-New Gloucester (41-28), Freeport (61-31) and Waynflete (42-41) before losing at Greely. Against the Falcons, junior Jenna Serunian had 17 points and 17 rebounds and classmate Laney Evers added 12 points. At the Flyers, Falmouth was down six points, 41-35, with just over a minute to play, but junior Jackie Doyle and senior Jess DiPhillippo made layups after steals and with 13 seconds to go, after another steal, Doyle banked home a 3. The Yachtsmen dodged a bullet at the end when Waynflete senior Lydia Stegemann hit the rim on a shot from the lane. DiPhillippo led the way with 13 points, while Serunian added 11.

In the loss to Greely, Serunian had nine points.

“We went backwards tonight,” Warner said, after the setback. “We came out like deer in the headlights. We didn’t get our hands on the ball. We failed to run an offense. We didn’t have composure or patience to set screens.”

Falmouth ended the 2010 portion of its schedule Wednesday at home versus Lake Reigon.

Yarmouth, which edged Poland, 48-47, in its opener, has lost three straight, 44-16 to visiting Greely, 53-27 at Fryeburg and 57-30 at home to Wells. Freshman Sean Cahill had 14 points against the Warriors. The Clippers hosted Cape Elizabeth Wednesday.

Freeport is seeking its first victory. The Falcons dropped their opener, 40-37, in overtime, to visiting Fryeburg, then lost to Falmouth (61-31), York (62-14) and Gray-New Gloucester (47-21). Senior Erin Hall had 11 points against the Yachtsmen. Junior Morgan Brown led the team with six points against the Wildcats and added five points versus the Patriots. Freeport closed its 2010 schedule at Greely Tuesday.

North Yarmouth Academy was 1-3 at the start of the week. After losing at home to Waynflete in the opener, 65-49, the Panthers got in the win column with a 43-38 home triumph over Hebron. Senior Blair Haggett had 12 points. Senior Eliza Gendron added 11 points and freshman Charlotte Esancy had nine. NYA lost last week to Traip (61-43) and Lake Region (61-41). Haggett had 15 points, junior Morgan Scully 13 and Gendron 11 versus the Lakers. The Panthers were home versus Pine Tree Academy Monday.

Boys’ hockey

Greely’s boys’ hockey squad looks like world-beaters in the early going. The Rangers, who opened with a 5-2 home victory over Cape Elizabeth, rolled visiting Gardiner last Thursday, 11-1, then made an emphatic statement with a 6-2 victory at rival York, the defending regional champion, Saturday. Senior Justin Murphy had four goals versus the Tigers, while junior Nestor Taylor added three. Against the Wildcats, sophomore Erik Rost led the way with two goals. Greely was at Westbrook Tuesday and plays host to Leavitt Thursday.

Yarmouth has been up and down. The Clippers opened with a 9-1 win at Westbrook, then lost, 7-0, at South Portland, before bouncing back with a 6-4 home victory over Camden Saturday. Senior Joey King had two goals and junior Alex Kurtz added three assists. Yarmouth was at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday.

Falmouth beat host South Portland, 5-3, in the opener, then couldn’t hold a late three-goal lead in a 4-4 home tie against Brewer Saturday. The Yachtsmen were at Biddeford Wednesday.

Girls’ hockey

Greely’s girls’ hockey team has shaken off a slow start to become one of the top teams in the state. Last week, the Rangers downed visiting Yarmouth (5-1) and Biddeford (4-1) to improve to 4-2. Greely hosts Falmouth Thursday and Leavitt Monday.

Falmouth is now 1-5 after a 3-0 home loss to Scarborough Thursday. The Yachtsmen visit Greely Thursday and go to Lewiston Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth dropped its first seven games, but got in the win column Saturday with a 4-3 (overtime) victory over visiting Leavitt/Edward Little. Junior Suzanne Driscoll scored her second goal of the game at the end of regulation and freshman Ariel Potter delivered the winner late in OT. The Clippers are idle until Jan.7, when they host defending state champion Cheverus.

Track

Greely and NYA’s indoor track and field teams participated in the Bowdoin Relays Saturday. The Rangers girls came in second to Mt. Ararat, while the Panthers were sixth. Greely’s boys placed sixth.

The regular season begins the first weekend of the New Year.

Swimming

Greely’s defending Class B state champion swim teams got off to a hot start Friday by sweeping Westbrook. The boys won, 108-30. The girls were victorious, 110-50.

Falmouth opened by sweeping Westbrook (boys, 88-44, girls, 106-64), then took part in a four-team meet with NYA, Portland and Waynflete last Thursday. The boys were second behind Portland. The girls were second to Waynflete.

NYA’s boys came in third at that meet. The girls placed fourth.

Results for Yarmouth’s opening meet with Bonny Eagle weren’t available at press time.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Sidebar Elements


Falmouth’s Michael Lafond drives around a Waynflete defender during the Yachtsmen’s 42-23 victory Thursday.

Yarmouth freshman Max Watson brings the puck down ice as South Portland senior Zachary Griffin attempts to poke it away from behind Thursday. The Clippers suffered a 7-0 loss at the Red Riots.

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