New year, same old success for local athletes
(Ed. Note: For the complete Deering-Gorham and Waynflete-Wells boys' basketball, Cheverus-McAuley, McAuley-Windham girls' basketball and Capeflete-Yarmouth/Freeport girls' hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The calendar has flipped to 2014 and the winter sports season is about to turn very serious, very quickly, as believe it or not, the postseason in some sports is a mere month away.
Here's a look at where local teams and athletes stand as the first full week of the new year commences.
Waynflete's boys' basketball team, a regional finalist last year, hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, but if the Flyers continue to dazzle, that will soon change.
Waynflete opened the 2014 portion of its schedule Saturday afternoon by humbling visiting Wells, 64-36. The Flyers raced to a 23-4 lead after eight minutes, pushed that advantage to 37-16 at halftime, then ended all doubt in the third period with a 19-5 run. Waynflete then ensured that Warriors senior Jake Moody wouldn't celebrate his 1,000th career point in its building, holding him one point shy. Serge Nyirikamba led all scorers with 22 points, Harry Baker-Connick added 11 to go with six steals and five assists and the Flyers improved to 6-0.
"We hadn't played in a week," said Baker-Connick. "We had a couple shoot-arounds which helped. We were excited to get back on the court, especially at home. We moved the ball well and finished. It was a good start."
"This was fantastic," Nyirikamba said. "It was nice to play in a loud gym."
"I thought we played really well," added Waynflete coach Rich Henry. "There was a little hype associated with this game. I suspected that they'd have trouble against our press. Our 1-3-1 trap worked well."
After going to Western B power Yarmouth Tuesday, the Flyers (third at press time in the Western Class C Heal Points standings) visit A.R. Gould Thursday, return home Saturday to do battle with North Yarmouth Academy, then host Lake Region Tuesday of next week.
"These kids, and this has been a trademark of the teams I have, they like playing for each other," Henry said. "We try to not get too high or too low and that's a testament to these kids. I hope we can be as good as last year. We're younger, but the younger kids are really stepping up, which is great to see."
In Western A, even though it lost to Falmouth in a non-countable holiday tournament game, Portland boasted an undefeated record as the new year began. The Bulldogs closed 2013 with a 55-46 home win over Cheverus (Steve Alex and Matt Talbot both had 12 points). Portland (7-0 and third behind Bonny Eagle and Falmouth in the Heals) was supposed to host Sanford Monday, but poor weather moved that game to Jan. 23. The Bulldogs went to Westbrook Tuesday, go to Marshwood Thursday, play host to Biddeford Friday and have a showdown at Bonny Eagle (the game will be played at St. Joseph's College) Tuesday of next week.
Cheverus fell to 4-2 and fourth in the region with the loss to Portland (Austin Boudreau had 15 points in defeat). The Stags' game at Noble Monday was postponed by poor weather. After welcoming Gorham Tuesday, Cheverus goes to Sanford Friday, plays at Thornton Academy Saturday and welcomes Westbrook Tuesday of next week.
Deering was busy over the holiday break, beating Gorham in a countable game at the Expo, 77-51, eking out an 81-71 overtime victory at South Portland, then improved to 6-2 with a 71-52 home win over Marshwood Saturday.
Against those other Rams, Ahmed Ali had a career-high 30 points.
"My teammates just found me in open spots and I finished," Ali said. "It was all them. They were feeding me and my shot was falling. I like the big stage. I always play well here."
"Ali's an awesome shooter," Wing said. "He didn't just shoot the ball well. He passed the ball, he rebounded, he ran the floor well. He's a tough matchup. Wins like this bring cohesiveness. Guys were cheering for each other on the bench and it was a pleasure to be around. It's a long season and when you have guys you like, who work hard, it makes it a lot of fun."
Ali had 18 points, Chhorda Chhorn 16, Patrick Lobor 15 and Liam Densmore 12 in the overtime win over the Red Riots. Against the Hawks, Ali and Lobor both had 18 points.
Deering (fifth in Western A) hosted Windham Tuesday, welcomes Massabesic Friday and goes to Gorham Tuesday of next week.
On the girls' side, McAuley continues to steal headlines as last week, its best player reached a personal milestone while the Lions fended off a challenge from a fierce rival to extend their three-year win streak to 56 games.
Last Monday, McAuley, the three-time defending Class A champion, welcomed Windham and all eyes were on senior standout Allie Clement, who entered the game needing three points for 1,000 for her career. After a slow start, Clement got a shot to drop with 15 seconds left in the first quarter to set off a celebration.
"I actually didn't think it would go in, then it did," Clement said. "Next thing I knew, I was on Victoria Lux's shoulders and I thought I'd fall and smash my head open. (My sister) Sarah hugged me for literally two minutes and I couldn't get her off me, but I was so happy. It was a relief. Honestly, I just wanted to get it over with. It was exciting and a cool thing to do, but I'm more about team accomplishments."
While McAuley doesn't have an official list of 1,000 point scorers, Clement is believed to be the program's fourth player to reach that stratosphere, joining Erin Brown, Sarah Marshall and Ashley Cimino.
"When you try to score, it just doesn't seem to happen," Lions coach Billy Goodman said. "She was ramped up and played great. She's all about the team. Before the game, she didn't want (the wait to get 1,000) to be long. It's a great individual accomplishment."
Of greater importance, the Lions dominated the Eagles from start to finish to win, 74-29, behind 20 points from Clement and 15 from Lux. Olivia Smith made her long awaited return from a knee injury and added six points.
"It was a pretty exciting, fun night," Clement said. "There was a lot going on. It's definitely a special group. We realized it won't come easily this year. People think we go out and just win, but it's much more than that. We want to be the best team we can be."
After dominating visiting Biddeford, 60-25, Friday (Smith had 16 points, Lux 14 and Clement 12), McAuley welcomed Cheverus Saturday. The latest chapter of the "Holy War" would be a scare for the home team, which trailed by five, 30-25, in the third period, but the Lions closed on a 22-9 run to win, 47-39, behind 22 points from Clement and 12 from Lux. It was McAuley's 20th win in 20 all-time meetings against Cheverus.
"It was definitely scary," said Clement. "We came together. We realized if we didn't get a hold of things, we might lose the game and none of us were willing to let that happen, especially to Cheverus."
"We struggled in the first half, then we found a way in the second half," Goodman said. "My top three players really struggled in the first half, then acted like champions in the second."
McAuley (8-0 and second in the Western A Heals) was at top-ranked Thornton Academy Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), hosts South Portland Friday and goes to Scarborough Tuesday of next week.
As for Cheverus, it was coming off a 62-60 loss at Portland (despite 25 points from Jess Willerson). Against the Lions, Willerson had 14 points and Laura Holman (who played at McAuley as a freshman and sophomore) added 13, but despite a valiant effort, it wasn't enough.
"We didn't back down," Stags coach Richie Ashley said. " (The effort's) a lot of consolation. I'm happy, the girls are happy, they played hard."
Cheverus (4-3 and sixth in Western A) was supposed to host Noble Monday, but that game was postponed . After going to Gorham Tuesday, the Stags host Noble Wednesday and Sanford Friday and visit Westbrook Tuesday of next week.
"We'll get better," Ashley said. "We'll be fine. We have a tough stretch. Mother Nature's not helping us."
Portland continues to turn heads, improving to 6-1 and fourth in the region after a come-from-behind 62-60 home win over Cheverus, as Cierra Burnham had 18 points. The Bulldogs' game at Sanford Monday was postponed. They hosted Westbrook Tuesday, welcome Biddeford Friday and go to Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week in a game which will be played at St. Joseph's College.
Deering began the week eighth at 4-4 after a 50-48 loss at South Portland and a 56-48 home victory over Marshwood. The Rams got 16 points from Amanda Brett in the setback and 19 from Brett and 15 from Mary Tadsse in the victory. Deering was at Windham Tuesday, goes to Massabesic Friday and hosts Gorham Tuesday of next week.
Defending Class C champion Waynflete returned to action Saturday at top Western B contender Wells and despite a strong effort, fell to 4-2 with a 60-52 loss. Helen Gray-Bauer had 21 points and Leigh Fernandez added 14. The Flyers (seventh in the Heals) hosted Yarmouth Tuesday, go to NYA Saturday and visit reigning Western B champion Lake Region Tuesday of next week.
Cheverus' boys' hockey team has risen to second in the Western A Heals after recent wins at Portland/Deeirng in the "City Cup," 8-0, and defending Class A champion Falmouth, 1-0. Conor Ryle had a hat trick and was named MVP versus Portland/Deering. In the win over the Yachtsmen, Nick Noyes had the lone goal, assisted by Ryle. The Stags (5-2 and second in the Western A Heals) were supposed to play at top-ranked Scarborough Monday, but poor travel conditions postponed that contest. Cheverus hosts Brunswick Saturday.
Portland/Deering followed up its loss to Cheverus with a 9-0 setback to host Thornton Academy to fall to 2-3-1 and sixth in Western A. Portland/Deering goes to Falmouth Saturday.
On the girls' side, Waynflete's co-op team with Cape Elizabeth was 4-4 and third in the West Region at press time after a 3-1 loss at Yarmouth/Freeport and a 4-0 victory at Winslow. Capeflete got a goal from Gretchen Stevens in the loss.
"We're still learning as a team how to win games," said Capeflete coach Bob Mills. "We played two periods out of three. Hopefully we'll go out and execute better next time. We really wanted to end their undefeated streak."
Capeflete hosts undefeated Scarborough Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), goes to Falmouth Thursday and welcomes York Saturday.
Cheverus was 5-4-1 and fifth at press time after a pair of wins over Portland/Deering (5-2 and 7-0), which fell to 0-9 and eighth in the process. In the first victory, for the "City Cup" on New Year's Night, Abby Biegel and Jill Hannigan both scored twice.
The Stags are home with Brunswick Thursday and visit Falmouth Saturday. Portland/Deering is back in action Thursday when it hosts Gorham/Bonny Eagle, then goes to Biddeford Saturday.
Deering's girls' indoor track team opened the new year by beating Cheverus, Scarborough, Bonny Eagle and Portland at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. The Rams got wins from Lili Kien in the junior 55 (8.21 seconds), high jump (4 feet, 6 inches) and long jump (14-5.25), Caitlin Lally in the junior 55 hurdles (9.75) and the junior triple jump (26-6), Edie Pallozzi in the mile (5 minutes, 24.99 seconds), Meghana Clere in the junior shot put (28-1.5), Alexis Elowitch in the shot put (30-5.25) and Rashad Zagon in the senior 55 hurdles (9.87) and senior high jump (5-0). Stags winners included Meredith Willard in the senior 55 (7.71) and senior 200 (27.84), Sarah Mount in the junior 200 (29.03) and junior 400 (1:03.43), Milena Opielowski in the senior long jump (14-2) and its junior 800 relay team (2:00.27). Madison Bolduc won the senior triple jump for the Bulldogs (30-1.75).
Deering's boys were second to Scarborough. Cheverus placed third and Portland was fifth. The Rams got wins from Hany Ramadan in the senior 400 (52.44), Giles Holmes in the senior long jump (18-3.75) and the senior triple jump (37.8.75). Stags victors included Kyle Dill in the junior shot put (35-11.5), Jake Dixon in the senior 55 (6.93) and senior 200 (23.48), Isaac Yeboah in the senior 55 hurdles (8.27) and senior 800 relay (1:35.08). The lone Bulldogs winner was Cooper Collins in the junior 55 (7.39).
McAuley was fifth behind South Portland, Gorham, Noble and Biddeford. Elsa Curran won the senior 55 in 9.75 seconds.
There is no league action scheduled for this Saturday.
Deering's swim team met Scarborough to end the 2013 calendar year. The boys lost, 106-73, while the girls were beaten, 89-76. The girls will go to McAuley Saturday. The boys are back in action Jan. 16 at Falmouth.
Cheverus' match versus South Portland last Friday was postponed. The Stags are home versus Scarborough Friday.
Portland is back in action Friday at home versus Bonny Eagle.
Waynflete swims against Kennebunk Friday.
The Nordic ski season got underway Saturday with the Telstar Relays, which saw Portland place third behind Yarmouth and Gould. The Bulldogs foursome of Lizzy Landry, Jeremy Ravenelle, Laura Frank and Ben Allen had a combined time of 43 minutes, 55 seconds, 13 second behind Gould and 38 behind the first-place Clippers. Waynflete's foursome of Marijke Rowse, Nick Boulos, Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig and Aidan Olney was 31st (53:21).
The most recent available results for the Portland wrestling team had the Bulldogs beating Bonny Eagle, 36-16, and losing to Windham, 42-34. Portland is home versus Kennebunk Wednesday and goes to Deering Wednesday of next week.
Speaking of the Rams, they go to Massabesic Wednesday and compete in the Skowhegan Invitational Saturday.