Many thrills this winter
No matter your sport, the winter of 2013-14 delivered.
Scarborough's girls' hockey team finally got over the hump and did so in emphatic, undefeated fashion. Cape Elizabeth's co-op squad with Waynflete enjoyed its best season to date. On the boys' side, Scarborough got back to the regional final, South Portland made the most of its small numbers and Cape Elizabeth was also a playoff team.
On the hardwood, the Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough boys and the Scarborough and South Portland girls' took part in the postseason, with the Red Riots enjoying an especially satisfying season.
Scarborough's boys winning another indoor track title highlighted championship week, as there was plenty of excellence in the pool and on the trails and slopes as well.
Here's one last look back at a winter that wouldn't end and for sports fans, that was OK by us.
Cape Elizabeth Capers girls' Alpine skiing, Class B
Scarborough Red Storm girls' hockey
Scarborough Red Storm boys' indoor track, Class A
Sydney Wight, Cape Elizabeth, girls' 200 freestyle, Class B
Michael Pino, Scarborough, boys' shot put, Class A
Jacob Terry, Scarborough, boys' two-mile, Class A
Michael Cuesta, South Portland, boys' triple jump, Class A
Duncan Preston, South Portland, boys' long jump, Class A
Michael's top five stories
5) Best season yet for Capeflete
The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete co-op girls' hockey team came into the 2013-14 season with no pedigree, coming off a four-win campaign the year before. After starting 0-3, Capeflete appeared bound to play out the string once more, but this group came to life, upset Falmouth and never looked back. Capeflete, behind some talented veterans, including eventual first-team all-star Kathryn Clark and goalie Lily Jordan, and an infusion of talented newcomers, wound up posting a program-first winning record (10-8), then won a postseason game for the first time, downing York, 4-0, in the quarterfinals. The fun ended with a one-sided loss to eventual champion Scarborough in the semifinals, but the program is now on the map and isn't going anywhere. Look for Capeflete to be just as strong in 2014-15.
4) SP girls turn heads
South Portland's girls' basketball team welcomed a new coach this winter in longtime assistant Lynne Hasson and after a 3-2 start, saw everything come together. The Red Riots closed the regular season on a 12-1 surge, a run that included wins at Scarborough (and former coach Mike Giordano), Gorham (in overtime) and Portland (avenging an earlier loss) and home victories over playoff teams Deering, Windham and a palpitating come-from-behind triumph over Cheverus. South Portland's good fortune ran out in the tournament with a quarterfinal round loss to Cheverus, but the Red Riots made their mark and with some great young talent, will be right in the thick of things next season.
3) Small numbers, no problem for SP hockey
Going from two wins to a dozen this winter would be reason enough to hail the South Portland boys' hockey team, but the way the Red Riots navigated their season was truly admirable. By February, South Portland suited up just nine players and two goalies, roughly half the manpower of the opposition. Still, the Red Riots gave their all every day, managed to post a winning record for the first time since 2010 and went on to win a Western A preliminary round playoff game before losing to eventual champion Falmouth in the quarterfinals. Commitment from the coaching staff and a devoted group of players proved that anything is possible.
2) Seeing red at track state meet
The Class A boys' indoor track and field state field featured many memorable performances, but Scarborough and South Portland stole the show. The Red Storm came in first (for the fourth year in a row), while the Red Riots tied Cheverus for second place, their best finish in 12 years. Scarborough's 800 relay team (Austin Doody, Cameron Langlois, Jerry Kenney and Max Ornstein) didn't just win a state title, they qualified for Nationals in the process. The 3,200 relay team (Lucas Foerster, Will Fowler, Jacob Terry and Alex Karam) came in first, as did Terry in the two-mile and Michael Pino in the shot put. South Portland, meanwhile, put on a jumping clinic, as Duncan Preston won the long jump and Michael Cuesta took the triple jump. Cuesta came in third in the long jump (Ben Michaud was second), while Preston was runner-up in the triple jump (and Michaud placed third). The Red Riots also won the Sportsmanship Award.
1) Scarborough girls' hockey wins 'em all
Scarborough's girls' hockey team had experienced its share of heartbreaking losses in recent postseasons, including last year, when the Red Storm lost in overtime of the state final to Greely. This season, Scarborough's mission was simple, win it all, and this time around, the Red Storm wouldn't be denied. Scarborough was rarely tested during an 18-0 regular season, then had its way with Capeflete and Falmouth en route to a return trip to states. There, Scarborough was pushed for 45 minutes by Lewiston, but it managed to complete the job with a 3-1 victory. An electric core of young scorers combined with the wizardry of senior goalie Devan Kane was too much for the rest of the state to overcome and the Red Storm won't be satisfied with just one piece of hardware.