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Successful week of winter sports action

Sports

Successful week of winter sports action

(Note: For the complete Scarborough-Thornton Academy boys' basketball, Cape Elizabeth-Gray-New Gloucester girls' basketball and Scarborough-Capeflete girls' hockey game stories, with additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

Not everything went according to plan over the past week, but was there was plenty of excitement win or lose for local teams. With every game taking on added importance as the season progresses, here's a look at where things stand with less than a month remaining until the postseason fun commences.

Boys' basketball

Scarborough's boys' basketball team is quietly in contention again this winter, despite massive turnover on the roster.

The Red Storm downed visiting Marshwood, 77-62, Friday, then impressed with a 70-46 home victory over Thornton Academy Monday. Against the Hawks, Milani Hicks had 25 points, Matt Hartl added 19 and Nate Wessel finished with 13. Against the Golden Trojans, Wessel had a personal 8-0 run in a 63-second span during a 14-0 first period surge and Scarborough gradually pulled away behind 22 points from Sam Freeman, 20 points and 14 rebounds from Wessel and 11 points and seven assists from Hartl.

"I was finishing shots people were missing," Wessel said. "I give the credit to my teammates. It wasn't just me."

"I was struggling at the beginning of the year," Freeman said. "I hadn't gotten into a rhythm. I couldn't find my shot. I was on in warmups and tonight, I was on fire. It was a good night."

"It's a nice win because TA is a quality team," said Scarborough coach Tony DiBiase. "We play up-tempo and fast. The key is whether or not we make our shots. When we do, we're very competitive. We'll give up easy baskets, but that tempo gets us going."

The Red Storm (which sat 12th in the region at press time) hosted Bonny Eagle and its star, senior Dustin Cole, Thursday and plays at Portland and at home against Deering in a brutal sequence next week. 

"I like our chances," Wessel said. "Bonny Eagle will be a tough one. I'd like to avenge last year's (loss in the quarterfinals). I feel like we can put up a fight."

"We'll see what happens," DiBiase added. "We have some tough games coming up."

South Portland continues to make the most of its new-look roster and would be in the playoffs if they started today. Tuesday, the Red Riots evened their record at 5-5 with a 57-48 win at Biddeford behind 23 points from Jaren Muller. South Portland (now 11th in the Western A Heals) goes to Cheverus Friday and hosts Marshwood Monday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth won at Gray-New Gloucester last Thursday, 64-52 (behind ), but lost at home to Yarmouth Saturday, 67-55. Tuesday, the Capers improved to 8-3 and sixth in the Heals with a 52-37 win at Traip. Jack O'Rourke had 18 points, Eddie Galvin 17 and Quinn Hewitt 13 in the victory over the Patriots. Against the Clippers, Ethan Murphy had 16 points and Galvin 15. At Kittery, O'Rourke had 20 points. Cape Elizabeth plays at Kennebunk Friday.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School fell to 0-9 and 16th in the standings after two losses at North Haven (71-22 and 84-43) and another at home to Pine Tree Academy (53-40). The Lions were at Highview Christian Wednesday, play host to Islesboro Saturday and Forest Hills Monday and Sacopee Valley Wednesday of next week.

Girls' basketball

On the girls' side, South Portland has shown that it belongs in the discussion of top contenders in Western Class A. Last Friday, the Red Riots went to three-time defending state champion McAuley and with the Lions coming off their first loss in 57 games, they were expected to be cannon fodder, but instead, South Portland hung tough and actually led, 20-13, in the first half. McAuley came back, however, and managed to hold on for a 41-36 win. The Red Riots got 14 points and seven rebounds from Brianne Maloney and 11 points from Maddie Hasson, but were done in by 23 turnovers.

"Some of the turnovers we had at the end of the half were unforced," South Portland first-year coach Lynne Hasson lamented. "We made some bad passes and weren't catching the ball. That was unfortunate, because we had a pretty good thing going. Any night of the week, I think we can compete with the top teams. We have good kids. I'm proud of them. I can't remember the last time I was this proud of a group of girls."

Tuesday, the Red Riots improved to 8-3 and seventh in Western A with a 57-24 home win over Biddeford, behind 10 points from MacKenzie Bowring. South Portland is at Cheverus Friday and goes to Marshwood for a holiday matinee Monday.

"There's such parity," Hasson said. "There's all kinds of (Heal Points) out there. If we bring this type of intensity over the next eight games, we'll be looking good."

Scarborough, after a 5-2 start, has hit a rough patch and its skid hit four games with a 49-44 loss at Marshwood last Friday and a 59-30 home loss to McAuley Tuesday. Against the Hawks, Brooke Malone had 15 points. In the loss to the Lions, Jamie Sargent had a team-high seven points. The Red Storm (5-6 and 11th in Western A) was at Bonny Eagle Thursday and hosts Portland Tuesday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth dropped a 51-49 heartbreak to visiting Gray-New Gloucester last Thursday. The Capers led almost the whole way, fell behind in the final minute and still had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Kate Miklavic's 3-point shot was just off target. Cape Elizabeth got 14 points from Hannah Sawyer, 13 points in a terrific all-around effort from Montana Braxton and 10 points and clutch play throughout from Mary Perkins, but it wasn't enough.

"(Gray) hit shots, so kudos to them," said Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella. "They stepped up and hit a lot of big shots. They made plays when they needed to. We had a chance. When it gets close, anything can happen."

The Capers got back on track Saturday with a 41-30 win at Yarmouth, thanks to a 16-2 fourth quarter differential. Maddie Bowe had a team-high 12 points. Cape Elizabeth improved to 7-4 Tuesday with a 53-33 home win over Traip. Bowe led the way with 14 points, while Braxton had 11 and Emma O'Rourke 10. The Capers (ninth in the Heals) welcome Kennebunk Friday.

"It's so easy to get caught up in looking at Heal Points and where teams are, but we're just halfway through and anything can happen," Casterella said. "This is how the whole season has been. We don't have a soft stretch in our schedule. It never gets easier. I think that's good. If we win enough games to get in the tournament, we'll have been tested 18 times."

In Western D, GPCS sat 3-6 and 14th in the standings despite a three-game winning streak: 45-38 at Hebron and 48-43 and 45-39 at North Haven before losing at home to Pine Tree Academy, 58-18. Clarissa Jones had 30 points against Hebron, 25 versus North Haven and 21 more (in addition to 18 rebounds) in the second victory over North Haven. The Lions were at Highview Christian Wednesday, play host to Islesboro Saturday, Forest Hills Monday and Sacopee Valley Wednesday of next week.

Boys' hockey

Scarborough's boys' hockey team began the week atop the Western A Heals with a 7-1-1 record after Saturday's 3-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth as Cam Brochu had a pair of goals. The Red Storm return to action Monday at Lewiston.

South Portland fell to 3-3 and eighth in the standings after a 6-1 loss at Marshwood/Traip Saturday. The Red Riots were home with Westbrook Thursday, welcome Mt. Ararat Saturday and play host to Bonny Eagle Monday.

If the Western B playoffs began today, Cape Elizabeth would be on the outside looking in. The Capers were 1-6-1 and eighth in the Heals (only seven teams make the playoffs) after a 3-0 home win over Noble and a 3-0 loss at Scarborough. After hosting Portland/Deering Thursday, Cape Elizabeth hosts Kennebunk Saturday and visits Gorham Monday.

Girls' hockey

On the girls' side, Scarborough is firmly in control of the West Region Heals and barring a complete unraveling, will be the top seed for the playoffs.

Last Wednesday, the Red Storm faced its first dose of adversity, falling behind unheralded Capeflete, 2-0, midway through the second period, before roaring to life and scoring the final five goals of the game to stay undefeated with a 5-2 triumph. Freshman Sami Shoebottom had three goals, while classmate Lizzy Gross added a pair.

"I thought we could pull through because I know the team that we are," Shoebottom said. "We knew we were the better team and we just had to show it. It took us awhile to get going."

"The girls were all freaking out, so I told them that this was a good reality check," said Scarborough coach Caitlin Cashman. "It's good for us to know what it feels like to be down. It keeps it in perspective and brings us down a couple notches. They responded the way I hoped."

After Saturday's game at Leavitt/Edward Little was postponed (no makeup date had been announced by press time), Scarborough improved to 12-0 Monday with an 8-0 home win over Gorham/Bonny Eagle. Shoebottom again had a hat trick while Gross added a pair of goals and standout Alyssa Hulst returned the lineup and scored once, as did Kristen Murray and Maddy Rand.

The Red Storm hosted Greely Wednesday night in a chance to avenge last year's 1-0 overtime loss in the state final (see theforecaster.net for game story), has a tough test at Falmouth Saturday and goes to Lewiston Monday.

"Our schedule is good," Cashman said. "In years past, we had a weaker schedule at the end and it's harder to get fired up for the playoffs. Now we have Leavitt, Falmouth and Greely. (Last year's) a huge drive for the girls. We know how it feels to lose. We've been there. We're using that to motivate us. I'm hoping we can take that last step. Finally."

Capeflete got goals from Kathryn Clark and Hannah Bosworth and 35 saves from goalie Lily Jordan in its loss to Scarborough and other than a stretch late in the second period, performed well.

"When we went up, 2-0, that's when our emotions got a little too elevated," Capeflete coach Bob Mills lamented. "We talked about playing with focus, but keeping our emotions in check. That's a learning experience for us."

Capeflete then lost at Falmouth, 8-2, before bouncing back Saturday to beat visiting York, 6-1, behind four goals from Clark. Capeflete (5-6 and fourth in the West) has already eclipsed last year's win total. It plays at York Saturday.

"I really like where the team is right now," Mills said. "We continue to improve. The girls feel more confident. Probably more than we ever have before. Playoffs are definitely the goal."

Indoor track

Cape Elizabeth's indoor track season finally got under way last weekend at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. The Capers joined seven other teams and both teams came in third.

The boys got wins from from Trevor Ewald in the senior 55 (7.13 seconds), Liam Simpson in the mile (4 minutes, 43.87 seconds), Mitch Morris in the two-mile (10:14.22), Deven Roberts in the senior 55 hurdles (8.84) and the senior high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and the 3,200 relay (8:57.10).

On the girls' side, Hannah Newhall won the triple jump (31-10.75) and the 3,200 relay squad was also tops (11:04.70).

Scarborough and South Portland had last weekend off. The SMAA regular schedule resumes Saturday when South Portland competes against Cheverus, Portland, Biddeford and Thornton Academy, while Scarborough meets Massabesic, McAuley, Noble and Windham.

Swimming

Cape Elizabeth's defending Class A girls' swim champion beat South Portland last weekend, 144-37. The Capers boys also beat the Red Riots, 107-62.

Scarborough's boys lost to defending Class A champion Cheverus, 94-68, while the girls lost to the Stags, 102-68.

Cape Elizabeth hosts Scarborough Friday, while South Portland welcomes Westbrook.

Skiing

Scarborough's girls were first and its boys came in second in a six-team SMAA Alpine slalom ski meet last week. The girls were paced by individual winner Abby Mills, who had a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 42.63 seconds. The boys were led by Matthew McAlary, who was fifth (1:45.52).

Cape Elizabeth began its Alpine season with a slalom meet at Shawnee Peak. The girls beat Yarmouth, Freeport and Fryeburg, as Emma Dvorozniak (1:41.30), Sophie Hewitt (1:43.26) and Emma Landes (1:43.28) finished in the top three spots. The boys were third behind Freeport and Yarmouth. Jon Fiutak (eighth, 1:59.40) was the top individual.

Cape Elizabeth's boys and girls were both fourth in a seven-team Nordic skate meet at Pineland last week. Dana Hatton (sixth, 17 minutes, 18 seconds) paced the girls. Julian Pelzer (ninth, 14:41) was the top boy.

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