New year arrives triumphantly for city teams

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(Ed. Note: For the complete versions of the Waynflete-Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball and Cheverus-Sanford, Deering-McAuley and McAuley-Windham girls’ basketball game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

If the rest of 2012 is anything like the first week, local sports fans are in for a non-stop treat.

There was drama galore a week ago and plenty of big games to come.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

The defending Western A champion Cheverus boys’ basketball team saw its regular season win streak end at 24 last Tuesday at Bonny Eagle. In a rematch of last year’s regional final, the Stags were up, 17-10, at halftime, but down the stretch, the Scots consistently got to the line and made their free throws while Cheverus went ice cold and Bonny Eagle prevailed, 46-39. Senior Louie DiStasio had 15 points and classmate Cam Olson 14 to pace the Stags.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Cheverus coach Bob Brown. “Bonny Eagle’s a very good team, they’re very well coached. They have two of the best players in the league. I thought we played great defense early on, holding them to 10 points in the first half. We played good defense until the fourth quarter. Offensively, we stunk.

“Sometimes a team needs a wakeup call and hopefully that’s what we got. At some point we were going to lose because we’re a team that has to play well all the time and that’s pretty tough for high school kids to do all the time. We’ll find out about the character of the guys. We’ll find out if we have leadership with the captains and the seniors. This is not all bad. I’ve got good kids and they will respond. That much I know.”

Sure enough, the Stags responded with a vengeance Friday, dominating visiting Sanford, 77-52, behind DiStasio’s 23 points. Cheverus (7-1 and second in the Western Class A Heal Points standings at the start of the week) hosted Scarborough Tuesday and have a huge showdown with unbeaten Deering Friday.

Speaking of the Rams, Deering improved to 8-0 with wins last week over visiting Kennebunk (73-25) and at South Portland (40-29). Senior Jon Amabile had 24 points and junior Labson Abwoch 19 against the Rams. In the win over the Red Riots, Abwoch and Amabile each had 11 points. The top-ranked Rams were home with Biddeford Tuesday, then go to Cheverus Friday.

Portland is now 6-2 and fourth in the region after wins last week over visiting Biddeford (61-52) and Windham (73-38). Sophomore Justin Zukowski had 14 points, senior Pete Donato 11 against the Tigers. In the win over the Eagles, Zukowski had a team-high 13. The Bulldogs hosted Kennebunk Tuesday and go to South Portland Friday.

In Western C, Waynflete continues to dazzle and last week, enjoyed one of the biggest wins in recent program history. After starting 5-0, the Flyers faced a big test last Wednesday when reigning Western B champion Cape Elizabeth came to town. 

Waynflete’s defense smothered the Capers and tremendous ball movement and unselfishness on offense led to numerous easy hoops as the Flyers dominated from start to finish. They jumped out to a 24-11 lead at halftime and closed the game with a 9-4 run and defeated the Capers, 52-36.

The Flyers, who were led by 19 points from sophomore Serge Nyirikamba and 10 from junior Jack Cutler, are now 6-0 and dropped Cape Elizabeth to 4-3.

“It’s certainly a statement win,” said Cutler. “We’ve never beaten Cape. We knew they’d be tough, but we took care of business. It’s certainly a big win, especially on our floor.”

“We just moved the ball on offense and broke their press,” said Nyirikamba. “Once we did that, we got a lot of easy baskets. We came in confident and knew we had to rebound and move the ball. We did so and got the win.”

“It’s a big win for us,” added Waynflete coach Rich Henry. “Primarily because of the quality of their program and the respect we have for them. Some of the guys live in Cape Elizabeth, as do I. It’s nice to not get shellacked and have to keep my head down walking through town. This was big. We weren’t looking past anyone, but we were thinking about this game as a big test for us. Cape’s going to be in the middle of things, so hopefully this win will be a gift that keeps on giving.”

The Flyers improved to 7-0 and third in the Heals Friday with a 54-38 win at Fryeburg (junior Mohammed Suja had 18 points). Waynflete was at Old Orchard Beach Tuesday and hosts Hyde Thursday.

Girls’ basketball

The defending Class A state champion Lions of McAuley faced two stern tests last week and managed to pass both to stay unbeaten.

First, McAuley went to Windham to face dangerous senior Meghan Gribbin and the Eagles. It scored 24 of the game’s first 29 points, then, after the Eagles battled back to within seven in the fourth quarter, the Lions clamped down defensively and hit clutch free throws to prevail, 41-32. Freshman Victoria Lux had a breakout performance with 14 points (12 in the first half) and six rebounds and seniors Alexa Coulombe and Sadie DiPierro spearheaded a dominant defensive effort that held Gribbin to 14 points.

“My teammates really helped me,” Lux said. “I trust them. I wasn’t nervous out there. It was a team effort. Everybody played great on the court. It’s been fun and challenging. In the beginning, I was nervous, but now I feel like part of the team and I love everyone.”

“I think we definitely have space to improve, but I thought we kept it together as a team,” DiPierro said. “We hustled. We definitely need to learn from this, because I think we’ll have more games like this.”

“The first half was amazing,” added McAuley first-year coach Billy Goodman. “The defense was great. It starts with the defense.”

Next, the Lions traveled to Deering to reprise what’s been the state’s most breathtaking rivalry over the past year.

The Rams, who started 0-2 this winter, entered the game on a six-game win streak, capped by a 66-14 romp over Kennebunk three days prior (seniors Ella Ramonas and Emily Cole led the way with 12 and 11 points, respectively).

Friday, the Rams scored the game’s first seven points to set the tone, but the Lions rallied to tie things up, 12-12, at halftime. Deering took the lead late in the third period and clung to a 23-20 advantage late in regulation, but for the second year in a row, sophomore Allie Clement saved McAuley with a 3-pointer, forcing overtime in the process.

In the extra session, even though Coulombe fouled out, the Lions found a way to prevail. A bank shot from sophomore Olivia Smith, who gallantly gutted it out despite an ankle injury, put McAuley ahead to stay and Clement and Smith iced the victory with two late foul shots apiece as the Lions improved to 8-0 with a 30-25 win, dropping the valiant Rams to 6-3 in the process.

“Deering always gives us a really good game, gives us a run for our money, makes us work for everything we get,” said Clement, who led all scorers with 12 points. “It’s always a tough atmosphere, especially since it’s such a big gym with so many people coming to watch. It’s always going to be a good game here.”

“We prepared for a close game all week,” said Coulombe, who had nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks. “Every team gives us their best game. (Deering’s) still really good. I think it’s definitely a good thing for us. We’ve been waiting for a game like this.”

“I felt Deering had a great game plan and did a great job,” Goodman said. “I felt we were a little out of control. Only Alexa, Allie and Sadie were on the floor last year. You can’t buy the experience we got tonight. Hopefully we learned a lot from it. No one won a championship tonight, but we got a lot of experience against a good team. Credit to (Rams’ coach) Mike Murphy for getting his team ready. They were well prepared. All the credit to them. They did a great job.”

The Rams were led by 11 points from junior Marissa MacMillan and seven points and rebounds from Ramonas.

“We had one defensive breakdown all game and it was that 3,” Murphy lamented. “We had four kids in zone and one playing man-to-man and she wound up with two jump shots all alone off an inbounds play. I like where our kids are at. We started off and couldn’t defend a fire hydrant the first two games and we played these guys tooth-and-nail for 36 minutes. We didn’t back down. We played tough, we played hard. I’m proud. It didn’t happen for us, but some great things came out it.”

Deering (sixth in Western A) was at Biddeford Tuesday and has another huge home test Friday versus Cheverus.  The Rams host undefeated Scarborough Monday afternoon.

“There’s plenty of season left for sure,” Murphy said. “We hope we can finish these games. Hopefully you get the same type of effort every game. We showed we can go toe-to-toe with the best.”

McAuley (third in the Western A Heals) was home with Massabesic Tuesday and welcomes Thornton Academy Friday.

“We have to improve on patience on offense and handling pressure,” Goodman added. “We started in the second half and hopefully from here, we get better.”

Cheverus entered the week 7-1 and fourth in the Heals after wins last week over visiting Bonny Eagle, 46-40, and host Sanford, 31-19. Against the Scots, junior Brooke Flaherty led the way with 15 points. At the Redskins, the teams were tied at 2-2 after a difficult first period, but the Stags opened up a 14-5 lead at halftime and gradually pulled away behind 13 points from Flaherty and a superb defensive effort to avenge last year’s playoff loss.

“This win was definitely a little sweeter,” said Flaherty.

“This is a tough place to play,” added Cheverus coach Richie Ashley. “(Sanford’s) very well coached. They play hard. They play excellent man-to-man defense.”

The Stags hosted Scarborough Tuesday and go to Deering Friday.

“We have a big stretch ahead,” Flaherty said. “I’m loving it. We’re a family. We say it before every game and in timeouts and we mean it.”

“It doesn’t get easier,” Ashley added. “Since I’ve been coaching, this is the best overall the league’s been. There are eight teams that can beat you. You’ve got to come ready to play every single night.”

Portland got in the win column last Tuesday, 55-42, at Biddeford (senior Nyaliep Deng had 16 points, classmate Angie Reali 11). Friday, the Bulldogs fell to 1-8 with a 66-34 loss at Windham (Reali and senior Kristina Brown both had seven points). Portland (15th in Western A) was home with Kennebunk Tuesday and goes to South Portland Friday.

In Western C, Waynflete rallied its third straight win last Wednesday, 41-35, at Cape Elizabeth, as junior standout Martha Veroneau had 16 points and classmate Rhiannan Jackson added 11. Friday, the Flyers fell to 4-3 (and sixth in the Heals) after a 46-44 home loss to Fryeburg (despite Veroneau’s 15 points). Waynflete hosted Old Orchard Beach Tuesday and hosts Hyde Thursday.

Hockey

On the ice, Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team returned to action Thursday and despite two goals from Harry Ridge, dropped a 5-3 decision to Cape Elizabeth to fall to 3-2 and eighth in the Western A Heals. The Stags are home with Brunswick Thursday.

Portland is 0-7 (and 15th) after recent losses to Yarmouth (5-3) and Kennebunk (7-1). Mike Fuller had two goals and Ryan Jurgelevich one in the loss to the Clippers. The Bulldogs hope to earn their first win Wednesday at defending Class B state champion York.

On the girls’ side, despite a pair of losses, Portland has already eclipsed last year’s win total. Last Monday, the Bulldogs rolled at Gorham, 8-2. They lost to visiting York (7-1) and powerhouse Falmouth (8-4) to fall to 6-4 (and fourth in the West Region Heals). Portland goes to Scarborough Friday.

Cheverus is fifth in the West with a 4-6 mark. The Stags sandwiched losses to York (1-0) and Scarborough (5-0) around a 3-1 home win over Biddeford last week. Annie Delisio, Katie Roy and Staci Swallow scored in the win. Cheverus is at Biddeford Wednesday and hosts Gorham Saturday.

Indoor track

The indoor track season resumed last week.

Last Wednesday, city teams took part in a seven-team meet. The Cheverus boys were runner-up to Scarborough. Deering came in fourth and Portland was sixth.

Individually, Cheverus’ Jimmy Campbell won the senior 400 (53.24 seconds). Brady Foshay took the senior 800 (2 minutes, 5.37 seconds). Michael Orne was first in the senior high jump (5 feet, 8 inches). The Stags also won the 800 (1:36.35) and 3,200 (9:06.33) relays. Deering’s Richardo Delgado won the junior high jump (5-8), Anthony Miller took the senior 55 (6.73), Bryan White was first in the senior shot put (50 feet, 9.5 inches) and Tony Sen captured the senior 55 hurdles (8.18) and the senior long jump (18-11).

On the girls’ side, Deering came in third, Cheverus fourth, McAuley fifth and Portland sixth.

Individual winners included Cheverus’ Fiona Hendry in the 600 (1:38.79), Shannon Conley in the junior 800 (2:26.88) and the two-mile (11:51.82), Katie Shapiro in the senior shot put (34-1), Milena Opielowski in the junior long jump (14-6.75) and the Stags’ 3,200 relay team (10:14.76), along with Deering’s Casey Girsch in the junior 55 hurdles (9.64) and the open 55 hurdles (10 seconds) and Veronica Mitchell in the senior 800 (2:38.81) and senior 55 hurdles (9.33).

Saturday, Cheverus takes on Massabesic, Thornton Academy, Westbrook and Windham, Deering and McAuley compete against Biddeford, Gorham and South Portland and Portland faces Bonny Eagle, Noble and Scarborough.

Swimming

In the pool, Cheverus and Deering squared off Friday night. The Stags took the boys’ meet, 110-55. On the girls’ side, the Rams prevailed, 102-60.

McAuley went to Cape Elizabeth and lost to the Capers, 126-55.

Waynflete and Portland (along with Hyde) met Friday. The Bulldogs won the boys’ meet, 102-41 and the Flyers were tops on the girls’ side, 88-60. Waynflete also downed Hyde, 71-50 in the boys’ meet and 97-33 on the girls’ side.

Deering goes to Scarborough Thursday, Cheverus swims at Greely Friday and Portland visits Kennebunk Saturday.

Skiing

While snow continues to be lacking, the first Alpine ski race of the season was held Friday at Shawnee Peak. In the giant slalom, Cheverus’ boys were fourth out of six scoring teams, while the girls came in sixth. Individually, Ryan Hoffman placed fourth (with a two-run combined time of 40.73 seconds). Maddie Woods was eighth for the girls (45.76). Deering and Portland individuals also took part. Portland’s Max Semba was fourth in the girls’ race (43.79). Deering’s Kevin Goldberg came in sixth in the boys’ competition (41.37).

Waynflete’s Nordic team is scheduled to open its season versus Yarmouth in a Classic race Wednesday at Twin Brook in Cumberland.

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team lost at home to Westbrook, 54-21, last Wednesday. The Bulldogs took part in the Redskin Invitational last weekend in Sanford, where they placed 12th. Nate Porter reached the consolation final at 285 pounds but lost to York’s Alex Mercurio, 6-3. Portland squares off against Marshwood and Wells Wednesday and hosts Kennebunk and Windham Monday.

As for Deering, it took part in the Nokomis Tournament in Newport Saturday and came in 10th. Connor Darling made it to the consolation final at 170 pounds, but lost, 5-1, to Dirigo’s Nelson Pepin. Teammate Zack Bushey also made it to the consolation final at 152, but lost at 1:52 to Dirigo’s D.J. Webber. The Rams host Scarborough Wednesday and take part in the Kennebunk Duals Saturday. Monday, Deering matches up with Noble and Westbrook.

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

Cheverus freshman goalie Allie Spinney sprawls to make a save during Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Scarborough.

Sidebar Elements


McAuley sophomore Allie Clement drives on Deering junior Chelsea Saucier during the teams’ showdown Friday night. For the scond year in a row, a late Clement 3-pointer forced overtime, where the Lions prevailed, 30-25, to stay unbeaten.

Portland senior Kylie Dalbec looks to center the puck as Falmouth senior Megan Fortier skates after her during Saturday’s contest. The Bulldogs couldn’t upset the undefeated Yachtsmen, falling, 8-4.

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