February fun underway
(Ed. Note: For the complete Scarborough-Bonny Eagle and South Portland-Portland boys' basketball and South Portland-Deering girls' basketball game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The winter sports postseason commenced last weekend with the SMAA indoor track championship meet and wrestling's regionals. Girls' hockey's playoffs are underway, basketball's regular season ends Friday, with boys' hockey soon to follow. The WMC indoor track, Southwestern swim and WMC ski championship meets are this weekend. Here's a look at what happened last week and what's to come:
Scarborough and South Portland were both very impressive at the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track championship meet Saturday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.
The Red Storm boys tallied 200 points to win the crown by 35 over Cheverus. The Red Riots (76) tied Noble for fourth. Scarborough event winners included Hugh McSorley in the junior shot put (44 feet, 8 inches), Robert Hall in the mile (4 minutes, 40.10 seconds) and two-mile (10:11.08), Maxim Doiron in the senior 55 hurdles (9.13 seconds), Alec James in the pole vault (12-6) and its 3,200 relay (8:20.97). South Portland was paced by Duncan Preston, who won the senior long jump (20-0.5) and senior triple jump (39-8).
In the girls' competition, won by Thornton Academy with 159.5 points, South Portland came in third (101.5) and Scarborough (99) was fourth. The Red Riots got wins from Lauren Magnuson in the junior 55 (7.6) and the junior 400 (1:02.52). The Red Storm featured event winners Sarah Rinaldi in the junior high jump (5 feet), Avery Pietras in the senior 200 (27.12) and its junior (1:55.28) and senior (1:51.86) relays.
Scarborough and South Portland will vie for Class A state honors Feb. 18 at USM.
Cape Elizabeth wrapped up its regular season with a WMC meet at USM. The Capers boys were fourth and girls seventh in an eight-team meet. Cape Elizabeth's boys got wins from Deven Roberts in the senior high jump (5-8) and Liam Simpson in the mile (4:36.91). Laura MacKay was runner-up in the girls' senior 55 (7.86).
The WMC championship meet is Friday at USM. The Class B state championship meet is Monday, Feb. 18, at Bates College in Lewiston.
Scarborough took part in the Western A wrestling regional Saturday and came in 11th with 16 points (Marshwood was first with 237.5). Bryan Profit was Scarborough's top individual, reaching the consolation final at 160 pounds.
The Red Storm competes in the Class A state meet Saturday in Augusta.
Scarborough's girls' hockey team locked up the top seed in the West Region with a 16-1-1 record after closing with wins at Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete (3-0) and Cheverus (10-1). Alyssa Hulst had two goals versus the Capers and four against the Stags. The Red Storm will host either No. 4 Biddeford (10-7-1) or fifth-seeded Cheverus (5-12-1) in the semifinals Friday at 9:10 p.m., at USM. Scarborough beat both teams twice in the regular season, downing the Tigers, 5-0 and 4-1, and the Stags, 10-1 and 10-1.
The regional final is Wednesday of next week at the Portland Ice Arena. The state game is Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete just missed out on the playoff fun, finishing sixth (less than two Heal Points behind Cheverus) in the West at 4-11-3 after losing at home to Scarborough (3-0) and at York (5-0). Lily Jordan capped her stellar season with 30 saves against the Wildcats.
South Portland's boys' basketball team is about to go somewhere it hasn't been in nearly two decades, into the tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Red Riots continued their second half of the season dominance with recent wins at Noble (85-63) and at home over nemesis Portland (52-42) to improve to 15-2 and take control of the top spot in Western Class A. Tanner Hyland erupted for 38 points against the Knights.
In the win over the Bulldogs, just South Portland's second in the last 11 meetings, the Red Riots never trailed and opened a healthy halftime lead behind sensational play from their big man, as well as Hyland, who wasn't his usual lights-out-shooting self, but instead demonstrated dazzling passing skills. Portland, as expected, rallied, and drew within a single point late in the third period. The Bulldogs could never get over the hump, however, and South Portland matched its fast start with a strong finish, holding Portland to just five fourth quarter points and Hyland, senior Conner MacVane and sophomore Jaren Muller all hit big shots as the Red Riots went on to a 52-42 victory. Muller led all scorers with 14 points, Hyland added 12 points and 12 assists and MacVane had 10 points.
"It's a really big win," said Muller. "Beating Portland the way we did feels good."
"It means a lot," Hyland said. "We wanted to come out with a win. I'm not surprised. I knew going in we had a good shot. We started slow, but we've jelled and we played really well tonight. Everyone played their role and came together. It was fun. We were really energized. We kept the lead."
"The kids really played well tonight, on both ends of the floor," added South Portland coach Phil Conley. "We had something extra tonight against a very good team. I'm very pleased with this win. I thought what won it for us tonight was our defense and rebounding on both ends."
The Red Riots are scheduled to close at Cheverus Friday at 8 p.m., but at press time, there was a chance that game was going to be moved up to Thursday due to the impending snowstorm. South Portland will then likely be the top seed for the playoffs, something which last happened in 1993-94.
"There's pressure on us either way," Hyland said. "The top two seeds are supposed to be in the Western Maine Final. We'll go one game at a time. We don't care who we play at this point. We can beat anyone. Going into the playoffs, we have momentum. We have the ingredients. We have to keep coming together. We're getting closer to where we need to be, but we're not there yet. Hopefully, that will come soon."
"The kids know they have to bring their 'A' game," Conley added.
Scarborough continues to prove it can play with anyone in the region. Last Friday, at home versus Bonny Eagle, the Red Storm, behind sizzling 3-point shooting, led most of the way, including by nine early in the fourth quarter, but the Scots rallied and even went ahead late. A basket from Brendan Hall forced overtime and there, despite ample chances, Scarborough fell a point short, 59-58. Kevin Manning had 16 points and Sam Terry 15.
"We had a lot of good opportunities down the stretch," lamented Red Storm first-year coach Tony DiBiase. "We had them on the ropes, but couldn't put them away. For the most part this year, the games we've lost have been one possession games to top teams."
Scarborough bounced back Tuesday with a 43-40 come-from-behind win over visiting Thornton Academy. Manning had 12 points, Hall 11 and John Wheeler eight. That victory elevated the Red Storm's record to 11-6 and locked it into the No. 6 seed for the tournament. Scarborough closed at Kennebunk Thursday. A win would allow the Red Storm to equal the 2007-08 squad for the program's best record since moving up to Class A.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth appears locked into the three seed behind Falmouth and York. The Capers dropped a tough 49-44 decision at the Wildcats Friday (Chris Robicheaw had 12 points, Peter Pfister 10), but bounced back Tuesday in its home finale, edging defending Class B state champion Yarmouth, 48-44 (Eddie Galvin had 14 points, Robicheaw 11 and Henry Babcock 10). Cape Elizabeth (12-5) was scheduled to close at Greely Friday, although that game could also have been moved.
In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School finished 0-14 and 14th in the standings after losing at North Yarmouth Academy (78-16), Richmond (72-28) and at home to Seacoast Christian (63-28).
The tournament begins with the preliminary round Tuesday and Wednesday. The Western A quarterfinals are Feb. 15 and 16 at the Portland Exposition Building. The Western B quarterfinals are Feb. 16, also at the Expo.
On the girls' side, Cape Elizabeth's dramatic season produced a couple more twists in recent days. Friday, the Capers hosted powerhouse York and fell behind by 19 points entering the fourth quarter, but Hannah Sawyer (21 points) fueled an epic comeback which tied the score. After a Cape Elizabeth halfcourt prayer went in-and-out at the horn, the game went to overtime, where the Capers' upset hopes were finally dashed, 59-51.
"It was one of the most fun games I've ever been a part of," said Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella. "It was awesome! It was a great, great comeback. Hannah Sawyer can shoot. She knocked down five 3s, four in the second half. My girls showed so much resilience. It was just amazing to see and be a part of. I think that game will go far in the confidence department. At least I hope it will."
Tuesday, the Capers handled host Yarmouth, 66-38, behind 13 points from Emma O'Rourke and 11 from Kisa Tabery, to improve to 9-8 (eighth in the Western B Heals). Cape Elizabeth was scheduled to host Greely in the regular season finale Friday (the game may have been moved up to Thursday). The Capers were seeking their first winning season since 1995-96 and hope to host a preliminary round playoff game for the first time since 1999-2000.
In Western A, Scarborough and South Portland are on a quarterfinal round collision course.
The Red Storm will be the No. 4 seed. Scarborough improved to 14-3 and extended its win streak to five with recent victories at Bonny Eagle (57-50) and Thornton Academy (47-29). Ashley Briggs had 15 points and Maria Philbrick and Mary Redmond 12 each in the win over the Scots. Versus the Golden Trojans, Redmond went off for 21 points and Philbrick added 14. The Red Storm closed at home versus Kennebunk Thursday.
The Red Riots, meanwhile, romped at home over Noble last Friday, 76-33 (Hope Owen had 16 points, Brianne Maloney 13), then had an opportunity to steal one at Deering Monday. The Rams couldn't hit a shot in the first half, but South Portland only led 6-2 after one period and 11-10 at halftime. Deering turned it up in the second half and went on to a 33-21 victory, dropping the fifth-ranked Red Riots to 12-5 (Maddie Hasson had a team-high eight points).
"I thought we certainly played well enough defensively to win tonight," said Red Riots coach Mike Giordano. "We missed an opportunity. To (Deering's) credit, they played great defense in the halfcourt and we just couldn't get anything going on the offensive end. We didn't show composure to get good looks. They got good looks and made them. We were ahead at the half, 11-10, which is hard to believe. I'm sure it was hard to watch. It was difficult to coach. We hung in there defensively. We turned the ball over and they made their run. We'll see what we can learn from it."
South Portland was scheduled to finish at two-time defending Class A champion McAuley Friday.
In Western D, GPCS was 11-4 and fifth in the Heals at press time after winning at NYA (49-37), losing at Richmond (76-21) and beating host Islesboro (39-33) and visiting Seacoast Christian (41-30). Against NYA, Clarissa Jones had 20 points and Elaine Beech added 14. After playing at Waynflete Wednesday, the Lions closed at Acadia Christian Thursday.
The tournament begins with the preliminary round Tuesday and Wednesday. The Western A quarterfinals are Feb. 15 and 16 at the Portland Exposition Building. The Western B quarterfinals are Feb. 16, also at the Expo. The Western D quarterfinals are Feb. 18 and 19 in Augusta.
Scarborough's boys' hockey team extended its streak to 12 with a 5-0 home win over Cheverus Saturday. Five different players scored and Dalton Finley had another shutout in net. The Red Storm (13-1 and first in the Western A Heals) has a huge showdown at No. 2 Falmouth Saturday night.
South Portland got in the win column last weekend with home victories over Windham (6-1) and Westbrook (4-3). Andrew Whipple had a hat trick against the Eagles. Kyle Halverson had two goals and Conner Nadeau scored the winner against the Blue Blazes. The Red Riots (2-9 and 14th in Western A) were at Kennebunk Wednesday, host Gorham Saturday and go to Marshwood Monday.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth suffered a pair of tough 2-1 losses last week, at home to Gardiner (in overtime) and at Camden Hills. Brendan Negele had the goal against the Tigers. Jack Drinan scored in the loss to the Windjammers. The Capers (5-9-1 and clinging to the fifth and final playoff spot in the region) host defending Class B state champion Greely Thursday and go to Gardiner Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland's swim teams take part in the North Division Southwesterns Friday (boys) and Saturday (girls) in Westbrook.
Last week, the Capers boys lost to Deering (95-88) and the Red Storm handled Westbrook (120-52). Cape Elizabeth's girls beat Deering, 100-83, while Scarborough defeated Westbrook, 79-30, and McAuley, 79-72.
The Class A state meets are Feb. 18 (boys) and 19 (girls) at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.
Cape Elizabeth's boys won a slalom meet over Yarmouth, Freeport and Lake Region Monday at Shawnee Peak. Max Barber was the individual champion with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 27.24 seconds. The girls were third behind the Clippers and Falcons, but Emma Dvorozniak was the top finisher (1:39.36).
The Western Maine Conference Alpine ski championship meet was Thursday at Shawnee Peak. The Nordic championships started Wednesday with the skate race. The classic is Saturday.
Scarborough's boys were second and the girls third at a six-team SMAA slalom meet at Shawnee Peak last Friday. Abby Mills was runner-up in the girls' competition (1:10.0). The boys were paced by Kevin Dryzga (seventh, 1:07.25).
The state championships are the week of Feb. 18.