Postseason fun underway
The postseason is now underway in every sport but boys' hockey. While basketball (see accompanying story) will get the lion's share of attention, there's been plenty else to hail, with a lot more on the docket.
Here's a glimpse:
The hotly contested indoor track postseason began last weekend with the Southwestern Maine Activities Association and Western Maine Conference championship meets at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.
Scarborough's powerhouse boys' squad posted 192 points and easily outdistanced the field, beating runner-up Thornton Academy by 73. South Portland (114) came in third.
The Red Storm got wins from Open Division Performer of the Meet Colin Jones in the 600 (1 minute, 17.09 seconds), Griffin Madden in the junior 55 hurdles (8.31 seconds) and open 55 hurdles (8.84), Sam Rusak in the junior high jump (5 feet, 10 inches), Edward James in the pole vault (12-0), Hugh McSorley in the senior shot put (49-00.25) and their junior 800 (Matthew Blaisdell, Tim Carion, Elliot Youth and Madden, 1:40.88), senior 800 (Austin Doody, Maxwell Ornstein, Cameron Langlois and Jerry Kenney, 1:34.35), 3,200 (Lucas Foerster, Will Fowler, Alex Karam, Sam Webber, 8:48.40) and sprint medley (Sam Ware, Jones, Chris Dionne, Alex Karam, 3:50.89) relays.
"We showed our balance, depth and quality," said Scarborough coach Derek Veilleux. "We were strong in all three divisions, which gave us the edge over the rest of the league. This has been a surprising year. After losing so much quality, I knew we could be a very good team, but so far they had exceeded my expectations. We had 23 athletes score at least one point. This was our fifth undefeated regular season and conference championship in a row. We are a young team, so this bodes well for the future."
The Red Riots got wins from Jacob Maloney in the junior 800 (2:09.28), Daniel Guiliani in the junior shot put (44-10.75), Ben Michaud in the senior triple jump (42-4.75) and Duncan Preston in the senior long jump (21-6.5). In fact, South Portland excelled across the board in the jumps, as Michael Cuesta was second (20-3.5) and Michaud third (20-3.5) behind Preston in the long (all three Red Riots broke the existing meet record) and Preston runner-up (41-11.75) and Cuesta third (41-11.25) behind Michaud (who set a meet record) in the triple.
"Our long and triple jumpers had a great day," said South Portland coach David Kahill. "They are a unique group and such a talented trio of jumpers from one school doesn't come along very often."
In the girls' meet, Scarborough was second to Thornton Academy (102.5-135), while South Portland (79) was fourth.
The Red Storm got wins from Aly Atherton in the junior 400 (1:02.78), Sydney Rusak in the junior 55 hurdles (9.16) and its junior 800 relay team (1:55.15). Runners-up included Atherton in the junior 200 (28.61), Emma Koukos in the junior 800 (2:32.39) and Cailley Ledue in the pole vault (9-0).
The Red Riots got a win from Callie O'Brien in the junior 55 (7.83). Runners-up included O'Brien in the junior high jump (5-0), Shannon Conley in the 800 (2:28.64) and mile (5:22.70) and the 3,200 relay squad (10:17.42).
At the WMC meet, Cape Elizabeth's boys came in third with 65 points (Falmouth won with 130), while the Capers were fifth in the girls' meet with 45 points (Falmouth prevailed with 136).
Cape Elizabeth's boys' 3,200 relay team (Will Britton, Kyle Kennedy, Mitch Morris and Liam Simpson) won that event in 8:36.20. Simpson was runner-up in both the mile (4:30.53) and two-mile (9:47.27). Harry Queeney came in second in the junior high jump (5-6).
On the girls' side, Hailey Petsinger won the 800 (2:30.51). The Capers were also runners-up in the 3,200 relay, as Eva Brydson, Hayley Doss, Samantha Feenstra and Petsinger had a time of 10:10.41.
Scarborough and South Portland will look for Class A glory at the state meet Monday, back in Gorham.
"We've put ourselves in a position to contend for the state title," Veilleux said. "We are a well balanced team with the opportunity to score in several events. The relays will be key events as we are ranked first in both headed into the meet. I expect a tight competition with Cheverus, Deering and South Portland."
Cape Elizabeth goes to Bates College in Lewiston Monday to compete in the Class B state meet.
Cape Elizabeth's girls' swim team had no peer at last weekend's North Division Southwesterns. The Capers posted 290 points to hold off rival Greely by 11. South Portland (75) came in sixth and Scarborough (40) was ninth.
Cape Elizabeth was led by Sydney Wight, who won the 100 freestyle in 55.23 seconds, and Sadie Stiles, champion of the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 9.67 seconds. The Capers also won the medley relay (Taylor Herrera, Stiles, Wight and Caroline Herriman, 1:53.12) and the 200 free relay (1:47.94). Wight was also runner-up in the 100 butterfly (59.01). Third-place finishers included Stiles in the 200 individual medley (2:27.51), Herriman in the 50 free (25.46) and the breaststroke (1:12.20), Michaela Pinette in diving (240.25 points) and the 400 free relay (4:08.44).
The Red Riots were led by diver Dima Karakitakova, who was fourth with 232 points. Laurine German was seventh in diving (186.40) and Lydia McMullan placed eighth (143.40).
The Red Storm's top finisher was Aleeza Barkas, fourth in the 200 free (2:09.14) and fifth in the 100 free (59.25).
In the boys' meet, won by Cheverus with 362.5 points, Scarborough was a solid third with 172, Cape Elizabeth (159) came in fourth and South Portland (107) was seventh.
Cape Elizabeth's girls' team will look to add a Class B state title to last year's Class A crown Monday at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The Class B boys' meet is Tuesday in Brunswick.
Scarborough and South Portland's girls will take part in the Class A championships Saturday in Orono. The Class A boys' state meet is Monday in Orono.
The Western Maine Conference Alpine and Nordic championships were held over the past week and Cape Elizabeth performed well.
The downhill saw the Capers come in fourth on the girls' side (Greely was tops) and seventh in the boys' competition (won by Falmouth).
The girls were led by Sophie Hewitt, who was seventh in the giant slalom (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 48.72 seconds) and eighth in the slalom (1:47.75). Caroline Paclat also had a top 10 finish (placing eighth in the GS, 1:49.92).
The boys' top finisher was Jon Fiutak (11th in GS, 1:45.90). Luke Dvorozniak placed 13th in the slalom, 1:46.28, and 17th in the GS, 1:50.90.
In cross country, Cape Elizabeth's girls were sixth and the boys were seventh (Yarmouth won both genders).
The girls were paced by Dana Hatton, who came in seventh in the skate (19 minutes, 12.5 seconds) and eighth in the classical (20:57.4).
On the boys' side, Julian Pelzer was eighth in the skate (16:16.7) and 18th in the classical (18:19.1).
The Nordic state championships begin Tuesday of next week. Alpine is held at the end of the month.
Scarborough's wrestling team placed 12th at the Western Class A regionals Saturday in Sanford. Soriya Yong lost in the 106-pound consolation finals.
The Class A state meet is Saturday in South Berwick.
The top-ranked Scarborough girls' team was just two wins from a highly-coveted championship at press time.
The Red Storm, ranked first in the West Region after a perfect 18-0 regular season, had no trouble with No. 4 Capeflete in Saturday's semifinals, 11-1.
That came after Capeflete won a playoff game for the first time, blanking visiting No. 5-seeded York, 4-0, in the quarterfinals last Thursday.
It took all of 2 minutes, 40 seconds to get the only goal it would need, as Allison Mills scored.
"It was nice to score first," said Mills. "I got a really nice pass and just put it through (the goalie's) legs."
Capeflete then opened it up in the second period, as Julia Ginder and Hannah Bosworth both lit the lamp. While the Capeflete penalty kill and goalie Lily Jordan were holding the Wildcats at bay, Capeflete ended all doubt when Mills skated in for her second goal with 8:19 remaining and the result was a 4-0 triumph.
"It's totally awesome," said Ginder, a captain. "We've been looking forward to this for ages. We were confident. We just tried to do what we do best, just play."
"I think it validates what the team's been feeling since day one," said Capeflete coach Bob Mills. "Especially with some freshmen coming in who were pretty good hockey players, we knew we'd be a pretty good team."
Saturday, Scarborough got three goals in the first period from Alyssa Hulst, who ended up with four, Lizzie Gross finished with a hat track and Sami Shoebottom added a pair of goals as the Red Storm ended Capeflete's season at 11-9.
Capeflete, which got a goal from Bosworth, had a lot to be proud of this winter.
"It was a tough loss, but nothing to be ashamed about losing to that team," said Coach Mills. "They are very good. I don't think anyone will beat them this year.
"This season was indeed special. More than doubling our win total from last season was a great accomplishment. We felt confident from the first day of practices that we could be a playoff caliber team and to get into the postseason and win a game was a big thrill for the players, coaches and families. The team, although small in numbers, was a tight knit group of girls who supported each other through wins and losses. They consistently demonstrated a desire to improve, compete aggressively and leave everything on the ice. They were a pleasure to coach.
Scarborough battled No. 2 Falmouth (14-5) in the West Region Final Wednesday. The Red Storm beat the Yachtsmen twice this year: 4-1 at home and 6-0 in Falmouth. If Scarborough makes it to the state game for the second year in a row, it will face either Leavitt/Edward Little (16-3) or Lewiston (14-4-1) Saturday evening at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Red Storm beat the visiting Red Hornets, 2-1, way back on Nov. 30 and won at Leavitt/EL Jan. 28, 5-1. Scarborough also swept the Blue Devils: 3-0 at home on Dec. 30, and 2-0 in Lewiston Jan. 20.
The boys' regular season is winding to a close.
In Western A, Scarborough was 11-3-1 and back in first in the Western A Heal Points standings after Tuesday's 3-0 home win over Cheverus. The Red Storm was coming off a 5-4 win at Cheverus and an 8-3 loss at Bangor. In the first victory over the Stags, Cam Brochu scored twice. Matt Henderson had two goals in the second win. Scarborough hosts Biddeford Saturday and Thornton Academy Monday, then wraps up the regular season Thursday at Falmouth, in a game which could determined the top seed in the region.
South Portland improved to 9-5 and eighth in Western A after a 3-2 win at Leavitt Saturday and a 9-0 home victory over Massabesic/OOB Monday. Dylan Farrell-Reny (who had the winner), Kyle Halverson and Chris Mitchell scored against the Hornets, while Andrew Whipple had four goals and Halverson two in the shutout. The Red Riots were home with Portland/Deering Thursday, go to Windham Saturday, host Noble/Wells Monday and close Thursday at home versus Marshwood/Traip.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth was fifth in the Heals at 6-9-1 at press time after a thrilling 5-4 home win over Yarmouth Saturday. After goalie Kevin Hare helped kill nearly a half-period's worth of penalties and allowed the Capers to escape the first period scoreless, Cape Elizabeth went up, 1-0, on a power play goal from Cole Caswell and ahead, 2-1, on Curtis Guimond's tally late in the second. After the Clippers tied the game early in the third, Jack Drinan erupted for three goals for a natural hat trick and a 5-2 lead, but Yarmouth roared back with two quick tallies. Hare had to save the day on a breakaway and the Capers, despite being outshot, 44-20, were able to hold on from there for a 5-4 decision.
"I got some looks and my teammates had some good shot-blocks," Hare (40 saves) said. "We do a lot of power play practice and we used all the reps we've done. They came in handy."
"In the locker room before the third period, I didn't think I'd played that great," Drinan said. "I wanted a goal. I went out there got one and had a chance to shoot and had another. Then I tipped one in."
"That was exhilarating," added Cape Elizabeth coach Matt Buotte. "We've been in a lot of one-goal games this year. The last minute of the game always seems to take an hour. At the beginning of the season, we found ways to lose those games. Tonight, we found a way to win. We have a lot of young guys and tonight, we used lessons we learned when we blew those other games."
The Capers host Gorham Saturday and close at Maranacook/Winthrop Wednesday.
"We want to finish as high as we can," said Buotte. "We're still chasing a top spot. It's very wide open. Anybody can beat anybody. It's going to be a great postseason if you're a hockey fan."
Off the ice, Cape Elizabeth's Hare was named the Western B Goalie of the Month for January by the league's coaches after going 4-2, stopping 92 percent of the shots he saw and posting a goals-against-average of 1.83.