New year brings high hopes to Forecaster Country

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth, Scarborough-Biddeford and South Portland-Deering boys’ basketball and Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth and South Portland-Deering girls’ basketball 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

South Portland’s boys’ basketball team has reached the top of the Western Class A Heal Points standings and just gave its coach a milestone victory.

The Red Riots improved 8-2 after coming from behind for a stirring 64-58 win at Deering, handling visiting Massabesic 88-68 and prevailing at Scarborough, 60-54. Against the Rams, South Portland was down, 45-34, in the third period, but closed the game on a 21-4 run. A Jaren Muller layup (from Kam Harper) with 1:58 to go put the Red Riots ahead to stay. South Portland then hit key free throws down the stretch to hold on. Jack Fiorini had 19 points off the bench, Jordin Jackson added 14 points and Muller finished with 10.

“It was a lot of persistence,” said Harper. “We know we’re a good team. We had to keep going at them and we knew we’d break the barrier.”

“Jaren’s a big force for us and Jack can step up as well,” Jackson said. “I come off the bench and try to make the most of it and help the team as much as I can.”

“It was ugly basically the whole game,” Muller said. “It was all about who was going to make a run at the right time and we did. We had to be confident no matter what. We win together.”

“First of all, I thought both teams played extremely hard, but the character my kids showed late, down 11, to come back and beat a very good team, tells me a lot about this group,” added Red Riots coach Phil Conley. “Each and every game, these guys come ready and I couldn’t be happier.”

Muller had 26 points and Jackson added 19 against the Mustangs. In the win over the Red Storm, in which South Portland rallied from a halftime deficit, Fiorini and Ruay Bol both had 12 points, while Muller added 11. That victory gave Conley his 100th win (against 49 losses) in his eighth season.

South Portland returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Biddeford.

Scarborough was 6-4 and ninth in Western A at press time. After an 80-47 home win over Biddeford last week, the Red Storm lost at Thornton Academy (80-74) and at home to South Portland (60-54). In the win, Nate Wessel went off for 30 points, while Milani Hicks added 18.

“I felt it today going through warmups,” Wessel said. “I felt I had a mismatch inside and thought I might as well use it. I’m used to playing inside. It was natural for me. It’s just a mentality. I take pride in my play down low.”

“Our pressure hurt them,” DiBiase said. “No matter who we play, we play a lot better at home for some reason.”

Against the Golden Trojans, Hicks scored 32 points. Hicks had 20 points and Wessel 15 against the Red Riots. Scarborough was at Marshwood Thursday and hosts Windham Saturday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth suffered its second loss in three games last Tuesday, 51-46, at Lake Region (despite 15 points from Quinn Hewitt), but bounced back in a big way Saturday with a 50-45 home victory over Falmouth and made it two in a row Tuesday with a 73-37 win at Wells.

Against the Yachtsmen, the Capers jumped out to a 16-6 lead, but the visitors hung tough and Cape Elizabeth couldn’t pull away. Falmouth was within three, 45-42, in the final minute when the Capers turned to the heroics of Justin Guerette, who three times kept the ball for his team by securing offensive rebounds. Guerette was also credited for a basket on a putback that left those on hand in confusion and added three free throws for a little breathing room and Cape Elizabeth held on. Eddie Galvin had 17 points, Guerette added 15.

“Falmouth will win a lot of games down the road, so it’s a big win, worth a lot of (Heal) Points,” said Galvin. “It’s very big for our confidence.”

“It was important to get over our slump, especially against a team the caliber of Falmouth,” Guerette said.

“Falmouth never goes away,” added Capers coach Jim Ray. “They have players who can knock down shots. It was nice to bounce back after the tough one at Lake Region. We shot better tonight.”

In the win over the Warriors, Galvin led the way with 20 points, Jack O’Rourke finished with 15 and Marcus Donnelly added 13. Cape Elizabeth (6-2 and eighth in Western B) was home against Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, has a chance to avenge an earlier loss when it plays at Yarmouth Saturday (game time has been changed to 4 p.m.) and plays host to Traip Academy Tuesday.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School was 2-5 and 15th after Monday’s 51-42 home loss to Pine Tree Academy. The Lions go to Sacopee Valley Friday and visit A.R. Gould Tuesday.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, South Portland was 7-2 and fifth in the Western A Heals at press time after a stunning 59-52 overtime loss at Deering and wins at Massabesic (63-33) and at home over Scarborough (60-52). Against the Rams, the Red Riots were up, 34-14, at halftime, but let the lead slip away. South Portland then rallied from a five-point deficit to force overtime, but scored just one point in the extra session. The Red Riots were led by 13 points from Maddie Hasson, while Abby Cavallaro added 12 and Lydia Henderson finished with 10.

“I’m disappointed,” said South Portland coach Lynne Hasson. “We had them on the ropes in the first half, but we couldn’t finish them. We had a horrible second half. We had some bad turnovers in overtime. I know my kids wanted it, but we didn’t match their intensity. We got outshustled, outworked and outmuscled. We didn’t match their physical play. We got a lead and when things started to swing the other way, the girls panicked and played not to lose. We need to figure out how to keep playing.”

In the win over the Red Storm, Hasson had 15 points, Meaghan Doyle 14 and Megan Graff 13. The Red Riots host four-time defending Class A champion McAuley in a huge showdown Friday night (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visit Biddeford Tuesday.

Scarborough fell to 4-5 and 12th after losses at Biddeford (42-36), at home to Thornton Academy (44-29) and at South Portland (60-52). Ashley Briggs had 13 points at the Tigers. She had 19 against the Golden Trojans and 11 in the loss to the Red Riots, while Sophie Glidden led the team with a dozen. The Red Storm hosted Marshwood Thursday and goes to McAuley Tuesday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth was 5-2 and 11th in the Heals after a 63-31 loss at Falmouth and a 54-37 victory over visiting Wells. Against the Yachtsmen, the Capers were playing without guards Montana Braxton and Kate Breed and the result was 19 first half turnovers. Hannah Sawyer had 13 points to lead the team.

“Unfortunately, I thought in the first half that we shot ourselves in the foot,” Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella said. “We got the rebound, then turned the ball over and they got easy shots. I thought we had a game plan. We knew what we needed to do. We just made some unfortunate passes. They were all over us. I knew they’d press all the time. It’s tough when you don’t have your number one and number two ballhandlers.”

In the victory, Sawyer had 20 points, while Braxton added 12. The Capers were at undefeated Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, host Yarmouth Saturday and go to Traip Academy Tuesday.

In Western D, GPCS was 1-5 and 14th after a 61-18 home loss to Pine Tree Academy. After going to Sacopee Valley Friday, the Lions are at Highview Christian Thursday of next week.

Hockey

On the ice, Scarborough’s boys’ team was fourth in Western Class A with a 5-3-1 record at press time following a 3-1 win at Edward Little, a 4-3 home loss to Portland/Deering and a 1-1 tie at Biddeford. In the victory, Jack Callahan scored twice. Sean McGovern had the goal in the tie. The Red Storm have a showdown at top-ranked, defending state champion Falmouth Saturday and go to Gorham Wednesday of next week.

South Portland sat seventh at 4-3 after a 2-0 home win over Lake Region Saturday. Andrew Whipple scored twice. The Red Riots were at Brunswick Thursday, host Westbrook Saturday and visit Mt. Ararat Thursday of next week.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth took a 3-4 record into Thursday’s game at Portland/Deering. The 3-4 Capers then welcome rival Greely Saturday.

On the girls’ side, defending state champion Scarborough improved to 8-2 and first in the West Region after a 3-2 home win over Cheverus and a 2-1 “home” win over Falmouth, in a game played in Auburn. Against the Stags, Kristen Murray, Lily Nygren and Lauren Topchik had the goals. Sami Shoebottom and Lucy Bogdanovich scored in the win over the Yachtsmen. The Red Storm host York Saturday and welcome Portland/Deering Thursday of next week.

The Waynflete/Cape Elizabeth/South Portland co-op team was fourth in the West at 5-4 after Saturday’s 3-2 win at Biddeford. Kathryn Clark had two goals, including the winner. Capeflete hosted Greely Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), visited Portland/Deering Thursday and plays host to Cheverus Saturday.

Indoor track

The first indoor track weekend of the new year featured Scarborough and South Portland compete against Cheverus and McAuley. The Red Storm were first in both genders, while the Red Riots came in second.

In the boys’ meet, Scarborough got wins from Matthew Blaisdell in the junior 400 (57.03 seconds) and the junior triple jump (37 feet, 2.5 inches), Connor Langlois in the junior 55 hurdles (8.87) and open 55 hurdles (9.42), Sam Rusak in the junior high jump (5-10) and open pole vault (14 feet), Sebastian Osborne in the junior shot put (36-00.75), Jerry Kenney in the senior 400 (53.26), Jacob Bloom in the senior 800 (2 minutes, 5.45 seconds), Griffin Madden in the senior 55 hurdles (8.31), William Fowler in the open 600 (1:21.35), Colin Tardiff in the open mile (4:34.10) and its junior 4×200 (1:43.91). senior 4×200 (1:38.42) and open 1,600 sprint medley (3:59.76) relay teams.

South Portland victors included Steven Smith in the open two-mile (11:09.72), Daniel Guiliani in the senior shot put (53-11.5), Michael Cuesta in the senior long jump (20-11) and triple jump (44-7.25), Isaiah Anderson in the junior 55 (7.36) and junior long jump (16-7.5), Xander Keiter in the junior 800 (2:15.20),  and its open 4×800 relay team (12:59.04).

South Portland’s girls got wins from Callie O’Brien in the junior 55 (7.93), Juliana Selser in the junior 200 (28.94), Edita Isakovic in the senior 55 (8.35), Michelle Medici in the senior shot put (31-1.5), Toia Francis in the open 600 (1:48.77), Casey Loring in the open two-mile (12:29.81) and its junior 4×200 relay (1:57.08).

Scarborough’s first-place finishers included Gaby Panagakos in the junior 400 (1:06.36), Ellen Shaw in the junior 55 hurdles (9.25) and the junior high jump (5-0), Hannah St. Germain in the junior shot put (25-5.25), Kayla Griffis in the senior 200 (29.34) and senior 400 (1:05.75), Sydney Rusak in the open 55 hurdles (9.9), Kacey Foerster in the open pole vault (8-0), Laura Volan in the open mile (5:30.51), Sarah Rinaldi in the senior 55 hurdles (9.6), senior long jump (9-0)  and senior triple jump (32-8) and its open 3,200 (11:04.52) and open 1,600 sprint medley (4:49.42) relay teams.

In the Western Maine Conference, Cape Elizabeth took part in its first league meet last weekend against Falmouth, Freeport, Fryeburg Academy, Greely, Hall-Dale, Traip Academy and York. The boys came in sixth and the girls were seventh. The girls’ open 4×800 relay team came in first (11:01.46).

Friday, the Capers compete in the early meet against Freeport, Fryeburg Academy, Greely, Lake Region, NYA and Wells.

Swimming

Cape Elizabeth’s swim team returns to action Friday when it hosts Greely.

Scarborough’s boys swim team won its last meet, 125-39, over Westbrook. The Red Storm girls lost to the Blue Blazes, 90-80. Scarborough is at South Portland Friday.

The Red Riots boys lost to Thornton Academy in their last outing, 114-62, while the girls prevailed, 105-75.

Wrestling

Scarborough’s wrestling team finished 21st at last weekend’s Spartan Invitational in Sanford. The Red Storm (0-5) joined Kennebunk at Marshwood Wednesday and goes to Portland Wednesday of next week.

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

Sidebar Elements


Scarborough senior Nate Wessel goes up for two of his 30 points during the Red Storm’s 80-47 home win over Biddeford last week.

South Portland junior Jack Fiorini drives to the basket during the Red Riots’ dramatic 64-58 come-from-behind win at Deering last week.

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