New year brings high hopes to Forecaster Country

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball, Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth and Greely-Fryeburg Academy girls’ basketball and Falmouth-Yarmouth/Freeport girls’ hockey game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The new year has arrived and it won’t be long until we’re talking about the month of February and championships for winter athletes.

There was a fair amount of action over the holiday break and trends are beginning to emerge.

Here’s a glimpse at where things look in the first week of the new year.

Boys’ basketball

Yarmouth’s boys’ basketball was still perfect (barely) are press time. Last Tuesday, the Clippers somehow rose off the deck and erased an 18-point halftime deficit before beating visiting rival Falmouth in overtime, 69-62, snapping a four-game skid against the Yachtsmen in the process. Adam LaBrie had 23 points, including some huge baskets and free throws late, Cody Cook added 16 points, Musseit M’Bareck had 13 and Cote Sawyer finished with 10. Saturday, Yarmouth rode a second half surge to a 65-51 win at Gray-New Gloucester, behind 21 points from Jordan Brown, 14 from Cook and 10 from LaBrie. The Clippers (7-0 and second to Morse in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) are now in the midst of a grueling stretch. Yarmouth had a showdown at reigning Western C champion Waynflete Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), hosts revenge-minded Cape Elizabeth Saturday and goes to Falmouth for a rematch Tuesday of next week.

Greely sat eighth at 4-3 after avenging last year’s agonizing playoff defeat with a 69-57 home victory over Poland and winning at Fryeburg Academy, 52-44. Against the Knights, Matt McDevitt went off for 27 points. In the win at the Raiders, Ryan Twichell had 24 points and Jordan Bagshaw helped spark a late rally with a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth period en route to an eight-point effort. The Rangers hosted Kennebunk Tuesday, welcome York Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play host to Falmouth Saturday.

Freeport was 0-7 and 15th after a 67-44 loss at Kennebunk Saturday. Jack Davenport led the Falcons with 18 points. Freeport was at Poland Tuesday, welcomes Lake Region Thursday, goes to Traip Saturday and hosts Old Orchard Beach Wednesday of next week.

In Western A, Falmouth suffered two tough losses at top rivals last week: 69-62 at Yarmouth in overtime and 50-45 at Cape Elizabeth. Jack Simonds had 23 points and Colin Coyne added 21 against the Clippers. In the loss to the Capers, Simonds went off for 27 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough.

“It’s a work in progress,” Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said. “I keep saying we’ll be better in the long run for it. We still have two-thirds of the season to get better. We’ve lost to good teams. We don’t like to lose, but I’ll keep it in perspective.”

The Yachtsmen (ninth in Western A) were at York Tuesday, host Fryeburg Academy Thursday, visit Greely Saturday and have a rematch with visiting Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.

“It’s a tough league,” Halligan said. “You have to come ready to play every night. There are no easy games.”

In Western D, North Yarmouth Academy extended its win streak to three and improved to 4-3 and 10th with a 61-51 home win over Sacopee Valley Saturday. Jake Malcom led the way with 23 points, while Eoin Anderson added 18. The Panthers were home against Richmond Tuesday, visit Seacoast Christian Thursday, welcome Waynflete Saturday and go to Hyde Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Greely is living up to preseason form. After dropping its opener to Gray-New Gloucester, the Rangers have won six in a row, capped by a 39-31 home win over Fryeburg Academy Friday night. Greely was without head coach Joel Rogers, who was sick, but assistant coach Diana Manduca got a tremendous defensive effort from her charges, as they held the Raiders scoreless for the whole second quarter. The win didn’t come easily, however, as Fryeburg Academy hung around throughout, but the Rangers held on, 39-31, behind 14 points from Ashley Storey and 11 from Moira Train.

“We knew we could do it,” Train said.” If we lose focus, that’s when we start to fall apart. When we focus on taking care of the ball, we’re fine.”

“When we knew Coach wouldn’t be here, we wanted to win it for him,” Storey said. “Diana was pumped about it. We knew we had to step up and play like we usually play. Diana made the point that coaches never play on the floor. It’s all the players. We had to do the work.”

“I found out (I was coaching) at about 2-o-clock this afternoon,” added Manduca, a one-time star player at Deering High and Colby College. “I was a little nervous, but the players know what they’re doing. We have a really good core. They played their game, but they did give me a little scare at the end.”

Greely (fifth in the Western B Heals) was at Kennebunk Tuesday, visits York Thursday, goes to Falmouth Saturday and plays host to Freeport Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth fell to 1-5 and 13th after a 59-34 setback at Gray-New Gloucester Saturday. Freshman Sara D’Appolonia led the way with 16 points. The Clippers were home against Waynflete Tuesday, go to Traip Academy Thursday, welcome Cape Elizabeth Saturday and play host to Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

Freeport was 0-7 and 15th at press time after a 46-34 loss at Kennebunk Saturday. Regan Lynch had a team-high eight points. The Falcons were home with Poland Tuesday, visit Lake Region Thursday, welcome Traip Saturday and go to Greely Tuesday of next week.

In Western A, Falmouth started the new year on a high note with a 63-31 home win over Cape Elizabeth Saturday. The Yachtsmen forced 19 first half turnovers, got 13 points apiece from Jess Burton and Abby Ryan and 12 more from Ally Hickey as they improved to 4-2.

“We’ve had two weeks off and we put in a new defense,” said Falmouth coach Mari Warner. “We went from being a fast team at the beginning of the year to a slow team, so we’ve drilled the girls on transition defense and transition points. It was good for us. I was pleased with the intensity we had going into the game and throughout.”

The Yachtsmen (sixth in Western A) were home with York Tuesday, visit Fryeburg Academy Thursday, host Greely Saturday and play at Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.

“We can still play better on defense,” Ryan said. “We’re hustling, going for loose balls and finding open shots. I think it’s going to be a really great year and I think we have a lot to look forward to.”

“I’m excited,” Hickey said. “We all get along on and off the court. We’ve really improved from last year. I think we’ll continue this and hopefully go far.”

In Western D, NYA was 1-5 and 16th after 43-23 loss at Sacopee Valley Saturday. Hannah Carr had 14 points. The Panthers were at Hebron Wednesday, go to Seacoast Christian Thursday, visit Waynflete Saturday and host Hyde Tuesday of next week.

Boys’ hockey

On the ice, Falmouth remains unstoppable as the two-time defending Class A champions made it eight in a row with recent victories over Greely in the Dudley Cup (6-0), at Bangor (3-0) and at Thornton Academy (8-0). Jake Grade had three goals and Isac Nordstrom two against the Rangers. The Yachtsmen (who have outscored the opposition, 58-3, and are now first in the Western A Heals) host Scarborough Saturday in a rematch of the past two Western A Finals. Next Wednesday brings a trip to Lewiston.

In Western B, Yarmouth got in the win column Saturday with a 5-3 home win over Greely. After hosting York Wednesday, the Clippers (1-5 and 10th in Western B) are at Leavitt Saturday.

Greely fell to 1-6 and seventh after losses to Falmouth and Yarmouth and at York (6-0). The Rangers are home with St. Dom’s Thursday and visit Cape Elizabeth Saturday.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, the Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester co-op team got a signature victory last week when it went to a Falmouth squad it had lost to in all eight prior encounters since the Maine Principals’ Association began sanctioning the sport. After losing to the Yachtsmen earlier this season, 6-1, in Yarmouth, Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG got off to a quick start when Michelle Robichaud scored on a rebound.

“It was extremely important (to score first) because last time they brought it to us right away,” said Robichaud. “We knew we had to get that first goal in order to win.”

After killing a Falmouth 5-on-3 advantage, the visitors struck again when Keeley Arnold scored on a rebound. A third goal from standout Katie Clemmer and a stellar effort in net from goalie Hannah Williams allowed Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG to go on to a 3-0 triumph.

“It was pretty nervewracking,” Williams said. “I was on my game today. We talked a lot about rebounds and I focused on (not allowing those) today.”

“This really boosts our confidence,” Clemmer said. “(A lot of top teams are) on the same level. We proved today we deserve to be there too.”

“Our stats show that we score early, but we seem to let up in the second and third periods,” Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG coach Jeff Haley added. “Today, we maintained it the whole game. Last year, we had the luxury of an easier schedule. Now, we learn how to regroup and the girls have done a great job. That’s the leadership we have. We talk about character and leadership.”

Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG fell to 5-5 and fourth in the East Region Heal Points standings after a 1-0 home loss to Edward Little/Leavitt Friday. After going to Biddeford Tuesday, Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG is at Mt. Ararat Saturday.

Greely began the week third at 8-2 after a 12-1 home win over Mt. Ararat and a 1-0 home loss to Edward Little/Leavitt. The Rangers went to Capeflete Wednesday, go to Edward Little/Leavitt Saturday and visit Mt. Ararat Wednesday of next week.

Falmouth’s loss to Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG was followed by a 7-0 victory at Portland/Deering which left the Yachtsmen 7-2 and first in the West Region. Sarah Hutcheon and Abi Lebel both had two goals in the victory. Falmouth was at defending state champion Scarborough Tuesday, hosts Portland/Deering Saturday and has a big test at powerhouse Lewiston Wednesday of next week.

“There’s no real rest for us,” Falmouth coach Rob Carrier said. “We have to keep plugging along and hope for the best.”

Indoor track

The Western Maine Conference indoor track season is underway and not surprisingly, local runners, jumpers and throwers excelled right out of the gate.

Powerhouses Falmouth and Greely competed against each other, as well as Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Fryeburg Academy, Hall-Dale, Traip Academy and York. The Yachtsmen won the boys’ meet, with the Rangers placing third and the Falcons fifth.

Falmouth got wins from Matt Polewaczyk in the junior 55 (6.97 seconds) and the junior 200 (24.16), Ben Rudnick in the junior 400 (58.40), Cole Anderson in the junior shot put (35 feet, 3.5 inches), Nigel Dunn in the senior 200 (24.18), Matt Edmonds in the senior shot put (42-11.5), Bryce Murdick in the mile (4 minutes, 44.57 seconds) and two-mile (10:04.47) and from its junior 4×200 (1:42.76) and senior 4×200 (1:35.94) relay teams.

Greely first-place finishers included Chris Perry in the senior 55 (6.97) and senior 400 (54.83), Ryan Morrison in the open 800 (2:03.56) and Ben Ray in the open pole vault (11-6).

Freeport’s top finisher was its runner-up 3,200 relay team (9:43.97).

In the girls’ meet, the Rangers won, while the Yachtsmen placed third and the Falcons came in sixth.

Greely got wins from Elizabeth Brown in the junior shot put (24-9.5), Samantha Pynchon in the senior high jump (4-8), Alyssa Coyne in the senior shot put (38-6.5) and the open pole vault (8 feet) and Izzy Evans in the open mile (5:40.48).

Falmouth’s first-place finishers included Sara Topalovic in the junior 400 (1:09.25), Danielle Casavant in the junior high jump (4-8), Emma England in the senior 55 (7.98) and senior 200 (28.55), Lydia Farmer in the open triple jump (31-7.5) and its senior 4×200 relay team (1:57.09). Freeport was led by Patricia Dupere, who was runner-up in the junior 55 hurdles (11.56), and Hannah Schnyder in the senior 400 (1:05.96).

NYA and Yarmouth joined Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, Lisbon, Poland, St. Dom’s and Wells.

In the boys’ meet, the Clippers were second to Poland, while the Panthers placed fifth.

Yarmouth got wins from Tucker Whitney in the junior 200 (25.46) and the junior high jump (5-4), Darren Shi in the open shot put (46-8.5), Sam Gerken in the open 800 (2:05.86), Luke Laverdiere in the open mile (4:39.06) and its 4×200 relay (1:41.77). NYA’s Matt Malcom won the open two-mile (10:57.85).

In the girls’ meet, the Panthers were runners-up to Lake Region, while the Clippers came in sixth.

NYA got wins from Muriel Adams in the senior shot put (29-10), Hannah Austin in the two-mile (12:05.15) and Linnea Hull in the open pole vault (7-7) and open triple jump (26-3). Yarmouth victors included Ambrosia Klenda in the senior 55 hurdles (11.72), Emma Egan in the senior high jump (5-2) and its senior 4×200 relay team (2:00.26).

Friday, in the early meet, Freeport, Greely and NYA compete against Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg Academy, Lake Region and Wells and in the later meet, Falmouth and Yarmouth go up against Gray-New Gloucester, Poland, Sacopee Valley, Traip Academy and York.

Swimming

Greely’s girls’ swim team defeated defending Class A champion Cheverus Friday, 115-55. The boys lost to the Stags in a battle of reigning champions, 92-51. The Rangers swim at Cape Elizabeth Friday.

Falmouth’s boys beat Deering, 109-52, while the girls lost to the Rams, 102-74. The Yachtsmen are home with Cheverus Thursday. Falmouth sophomore Connor Perron recently broke a 34-year-old Greely pool record with a time of 4 minutes, 57.05 seconds in the 500 freestyle.

Yarmouth hosted Kennebunk Tuesday and goes to Portland Friday.

Skiing

The Western Maine Conference Alpine ski season was scheduled to begin Monday at Shawnee Peak, but the first meet was postponed.

The first Nordic event was contested at last weekend’s Telstar Relay, where Merriconeag came in first, Freeport was third and Yarmouth placed fifth.

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

Sidebar Elements


Falmouth freshman Abi Lebel fires a shot at Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester senior goalie Hannah Williams during a showdown last week. Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG prevailed, 3-0.

Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester junior Keeley Arnold is congratulated by her teammates after scoring her team’s second goal against Falmouth in last week’s 3-0 victory.

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