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Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

The juggernaut that is the Scarborough athletic program boasts several championship-caliber teams this winter. Boys' basketball welcomes a new coach, one with a rich legacy of success. That group is hoping to make it to the Expo and beyond this season. The girls' squad is coming off a surprisingly superb campaign and the Red Storm is seeking to build on that success. Boys' hockey is on the short list of title favorites. The girls' team should battle to the end as well. Both track teams are defending multiple state titles and are looking to add more hardware. Both swim squads feature an abundance of talent and skiing, while still a nascent program, has some athletes to watch. No information was provided for the wrestling team.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Tony DiBiase (first year)

2011-12 Record: 10-9 (Lost, 65-59, to Biddeford in Western Class A preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Brendan Hall (Senior), Kevin Manning (Senior), Dillon Russo (Senior), Sam Terry (Senior), John Wheeler (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 21 (H) PORTLAND, Jan. 2 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 4 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 8 @ Cheverus, Jan. 15 @Deering, Jan. 25 @ Sanford, Feb. 1 (H) BONNYEAGLE, Feb. 5 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY

COACHS COMMENT: “I have great kids. They're working hard. We're very athletic. I think we have a group of kids who like to compete. We're lacking size. Other than that, we handle the ball well. If we can rebound as a group, we'll be OK. We want to get better by tournament time. Hopefully we'll do well. We'll play a fast style.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Scarborough has been a middle-of-the-pack contender for several years and has what it takes to make it to the Expo this season under DiBiase, one of the state's legendary coaches, who has long enjoyed success, at Machias, Gorham, Portland, South Portland and Gray-New Gloucester. DiBiase returns to the SMAA and will rely on a strong core of seniors to lead the Red Storm to victory. Russo (Scarborough's Fall Male Athlete of the Year) was an honorable mention all-star a year ago after averaging 7.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game and making 20 3-pointers. He and Manning (25 3-pointers a year ago) are top shooting guards. Hall (another honorable mention all-star, after finishing seventh in the league with 3.2 assists and placing 19th in steals with 1.7 per contest) is the lead point guard. Wheeler (the lacrosse standout) will also direct the offense. Terry can play guard or forward. After that, there are a lot of question marks that several new players will have to answer. Scarborough doesn't have a lot of size, but does feature athletes who have enjoyed success in other sports. DiBiase will make this team tournament tough as the season goes on. The Red Storm would love to avoid the preliminary round, which hasn't been kind, but such a high finish might be a stretch. Regardless, Scarborough could be one of the feel-good stories of the 2012-13 season when all is said and done.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Ron Cote (first year)

2011-12 Record: 19-2 (Lost, 61-43, to eventual champion McAuley in Western Class A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Courtney Alofs (Senior), Taylor Leborgne (Senior), Marisa O'Toole (Senior), Maria Philbrick (Senior), Mary Redmond (Senior), Ashley Briggs (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec.7 @ Gorham, Jan. 4 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 8 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 15 (H) DEERING, Jan. 18 @ McAuley, Jan. 25 (H) SANFORD, Feb. 5 @ ThorntonAcademy

COACHS COMMENT: “The kids have a lot to learn. It's a work in progress. I'm trying to put my system in in a short amount of time. We're improving every day. The girls have been super. Very receptive. They had a tremendous year last year. We have speed, quickness and athleticism. We'll have to make things happen and we'll put pressure on offensively and defensively. Every year our goal is to make it to the tournament and to improve. We need to be good in February.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Last year's Red Storm stole headlines in a memorable campaign in its one and only season under coach Tom Maines. Scarborough improved to from six wins the year before to 19, several of which were of the improbable variety. The Red Storm somehow rallied to shock both Cheverus and Marshwood in the regional tournament before finally meeting its match in the regional final. Maines didn't return this winter, so Scarborough turned to another coach who has enjoyed great success, Cote, best remembered for his many years at Biddeford. The Red Storm only graduated post player Carly Rogers, so it should once again make a run at the top spot. The top returners are second-team all-star Philbrick (fifth in the league in assists, 3.4 per game, and eighth in steals, 3.1, a year ago), Redmond (12.4 points, 3.4 steals, 26 made 3-pointers, honorable mention all-star) and Briggs, who was named the league's Rookie of the Year and was an honorable mention (averaging 10.7 points and 2.8 assists). Those guards will seek to pace an offense that was the most productive in the league last winter. Leborgne (3.2 steals a game last season), sophomore Bailey Adams and and new senior Grace Farnkoff are also in the mix. O'Toole and junior MacKenzie O'Brien can play guard or forward. The front line features Alofs (13th in rebounds last winter, 7.2 a game), sophomores Kaitlin Prince and Sam Sparda and freshman Emma Hall. Last year, everyone contributed and Scarborough's athleticism and tenacity wore down the opposition. This time around, the recipe will have to be similar as the Red Storm don't have the size to match up with teams like McAuley, Cheverus and Deering. Cote will put his stamp on this group and make sure it stays near the top of the heap. Matching last year's mark will be tough, but when the playoffs roll around, Scarborough will once again be on the short list of teams to beat.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Norm Gagne (fourth year, 28-26-4)

2011-12 Record: 13-5-2 (Lost, 5-3, to Falmouth in Western Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ryan Bailer (Senior), Dalton Finley (Senior), Trevor Murray(Senior), Noah Nygryn (Senior), Damian Ramsdell (Senior), Jack Rousselle (Senior), Eric Grantz (Junior), Jake Gross (Junior), Cam Loiselle (Junior), Garrett McDonald (Junior), Ian Morris (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 8 (H) LEWISTON, Dec. 12 @ St. Dom's, Dec. 15 @ York, Dec. 17 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 29 (H) GORHAM, Jan. 16 @ Biddeford, Jan. 21 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 26 @ Gorham, Jan. 28 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, Feb. 9 @ Falmouth, Feb. 18 (H) BIDDEFORD

COACHS COMMENT: “We're returning a veteran team and with what we accomplished last year, we as a team would like to take it a step or two further this year. Going to the Western Maine Final is certainly a goal we as a team would like to achieve.

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: This might be the year Scarborough makes the jump to the regional or even the state final. The Red Storm has a lot of talent back and that group is bolstered by several solid newcomers. The offense features an abundance of weapons, led by All-State selections Rousselle (a first-team league all-star) and Loiselle (a second-team SMAA all-star). McDonald (an honorable mention in 2011-12) is also on the top line. Gross, Scarborough's top scorer as a freshman, who battled injury much of last year, Murray and Ramsdell will do their share of tickling the twine. The defense is solid as well with Bailer (a second-team all-star a year ago) and Nygryn, joined by Grantz, who shifts over from the forward spot and senior Nick Bagley, who returns to the Red Storm after a year of junior hockey, leading the way in front of Finley, another second-teamer, in goal. He'll be spelled at times this year by junior Alex Cherry and sophomore Ben Bragg. Junior Cam Brochu and sophomores Matt Henderson, Sean McGovern and Bradley Rockey add depth. There isn't an overwhelming power like a Biddeford or Thornton Academy of recent seasons, so Scarborough has a chance to be the best team in the region. Gagne has been waiting for a team like this. The Red Storm figures to win a lot of games and have a lot of fun this winter.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Caitlin Cashman (fourth year, 38-16-3)

2011-12 Results: 14-4-1 (Lost, 2-1, to York inWest Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sarah Martens (Senior), Devan Kane (Junior), Alyssa Hulst (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 22 (H) GREELY, Jan. 5 @ York, Jan. 9 @ Leavitt/EL, Jan. 26 (H) FALMOUTH

COACH'S COMMENT: “We want to move forward as a team, play disciplined and with confidence in the systems and with each other. Working hard, being conditioned, battling hard for pucks, playing strong defensively and shooting will be key to our season.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: With no shortage of top athletes, Scarborough will be one of the last teams standing again this winter. The Red Storm has gotten off to a solid start, blanking Gorham (7-0), Lewiston (1-0), Falmouth (7-0) and York (3-0), as Kane (a first-team West Region all-star last winter) has been unbeatable in net and Hulst (a second-team all-star in 2011-12), Martens (Scarborough's Fall Female Athlete of the Year and a first-team all-star last season) and Kristen Murray have paced the potent offense. Freshman Madison O'Rielly will also do her share of scoring. Freshman Jenna Block is a defender to watch. Scarborough has enjoyed plenty of regular season success the past few seasons, but has been stymied in February. This time around, the Red Storm has the ingredients to keep the good times rolling in the playoffs and make a run at a championship. With a little bit of good fortune, this team could wind up being the last one standing.

INDOOR TRACK

BOYS'COACH: Derek Veilleux (ninth year)

GIRLS' COACH: Ron Kelly (17th year)

2011-12Results:

(BOYS) Class A state champions (second in a row)

(GIRLS) Class A state champions (eighth in a row)

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Jake Alofs (Senior), Ben Farino (Senior), Robby Hall (Senior), Alec James (Senior), Ryan Jamison (Senior), Merrick Madden (Senior), Jack Sullivan (Senior), Anthony Verzoni (Senior), Greg Viola (Senior), Eric Woodbury (Senior), Matt Aceto (Junior), Austin Doody (Junior), Alex Karam (Junior), Cameron Langlois (Junior), Mike Pino (Junior), Jacob Bloom (Sophomore), Will Fowler (Sophomore), Mike Granzier (Sophomore), Edward James (Sophomore), Jerry Kenney (Sophomore), Hugh McSorley (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Karli-An Gilbert (Senior), Meghan Lynch (Senior) Jessica Meader (Senior), Stephanie Ostrowski (Senior), Ali Pelczar (Senior), Avery Pietras (Senior), Marisa Agger (Junior), Natalie Foster (Junior), Paige Greeley (Junior), Morgan Rodway (Junior), Katherine Kirk (Sophomore), Miranda Panico (Sophomore), Sarah Rinaldi (Sophomore)

COACH VEILLEUXS COMMENT:We return a very experienced team that has won the last two Class A state titles. The team is motivated to compete at a top level this winter. This is their chance to add to the success of the program. The coaching staff is excited about the athletes we have. The talent and potential is at a high level. In addition to the experienced athletes, we have some newcomers who will contribute and make the team stronger. If we stay healthy and put in an honest effort each day, we are excited about how we will do as a team. Our goal this winter is to improve each day and compete at the highest level in the championship season.

COACH KELLYS COMMENT: “We had a perfect year last year. We're rebuilding this year after major graduation. We have a very young team. Relays, high jump, sprints and the 800 are our strong points.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: The Scarborough indoor track program has set the bar in recent years in Class A and there's no reason to think the Red Storm won't lead the way again this winter.

The boys have a lot back, led by pole vault champion Alec James and Doody, Jamison and Viola, members of a state champion 800 relay. This year's sprint contingent includes Alofs, Doody, Jamison, Kenney, Viola and sophomore Colin Jones. As always, Scarborough is strong in the distance events, thanks to Aceto, Bloom, Farino, Fowler, Hall, Karam, Sullivan and freshmen Andrew Scholl and Colin Tardiff. Langlois, Madden and junior Alex Parechanian are top hurdlers. On the field side, Granzier and Viola are jumpers to watch. Joining Alec James in the pole vault is Edward James. Top throwers include McSorley, Pino, Verzoni and Woodbury. Several SMAA foes hope to go toe-to-toe with the Red Storm in the regular season and others will aim to dethrone Scarborough at states, but if this group stays healthy and develops as hoped, it has a great shot at winning yet another crown.

On the girls' side, Scarborough has had no peer for almost a decade. The Red Storm looks to win another title and despite the loss of a lot of points to graduation, can't be overlooked. Top returners include Meader, Pietras and Rodway (part of a state champion and record-setting 800 relay last season) and Agger, Gilbert and Kirk (part of a runner-up 3,200 relay squad). This year's sprint contingent features Meader, Panico, Pelczar, Pietras and Rodway. Distance is in good hands behind Agger, Gilbert, Kirk, Koukos, Lynch and freshmen Emma Smith and Laura Volan. Rinaldi paces the hurdlers. On the field side, Foster, Greeley and Rinaldi are top jumpers and Ostrowski and Pelczar hope to score in the pole vault. Scarborough hopes to develop some throwers and if it does, will cover all the events, a recipe for more greatness. The Red Storm hasn't been toppled in nearly 10 years. Until someone ends its reign, it's the team to beat.

SWIMMING

COACH: Eric French (third year)

2011-12 Results:

(BOYS) 9th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 18th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Tito Alas (Senior), Paul Babirak (Senior), Patrick Rogers (Senior), Karsten Schelasin (Senior), Nate Howard (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Mia Ahluwalia (Senior), Jess Cote (Senior), Aleeza Barkas (Junior)

COACHS COMMENT: “We have better numbers than last year. The team is very young. Boys and girls. With Jerry Gravel back on the team and with other freshmen with potential, I think we'll have a shot at top three at Southwesterns and top five at states. It depends on how the freshmen produce. The girls have some talent. We have a lot of new swimmers, but we'll be in the mix.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Scarborough's team is bigger and better this winter.

The boys opened with a bang, edging defending Class B state champion Greely, 48-46, behind senior Jerry Gravel (who last competed in high school as a freshman), who set a pool and school record in the backstroke. He could produce in virtually any discipline this season and will be among the best swimmers in the state. Alas is the top returner. He was Class A's fifth-best diver last winter and hopes to move up even further this time around. Babirak (breaststroke), Howard (freestyle, butterfly), Rogers (breaststroke) and Schelasin (sprint freestyle and breaststroke) also have experience and provide depth for a squad which should be very strong all season long and be at its best in the big February meets.

On the girls' side, the Red Storm lost to defending Class B champion Greely, 57-37, in the opener, but should get better as the winter progresses. Ahluwalia (backstroke), Barkas (distance freestyle) and Cote (breaststroke) are the top returners. They're joined by senior Lucy Iselborn, who swims the 200 free and backstroke and could make a big impact. A lot of of freshmen will have a chance to jump right in and play key roles. Look for Scarborough to improve on last year's finish.

SKIING

COACH: David Mills (second year)

2011-12 RESULTS:

ALPINE

(BOYS) 11th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class A state meet

NORDIC

(BOYS) No score @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Kevin Drzgra, Jack Goodwin, Matt McAlary

(GIRLS) Abigail Mills, Rori Sutowski

COACH'S COMMENT: “Last year, the girls won the SMAA championship in both the slalom and GS. We hope to repeat. The boys placed in the top three. They want to get to the top. We have many new freshmen this year.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough's ski program remains small, but is growing.

The boys are paced by McAlary, who came in 39th in the slalom last year. Drzgra and Goodwin add depth. Mills is a potential standout. She was fourth in the slalom and seventh in the giant slalom last winter. Sutowski is another returner of note. Both Red Storm teams will be among the top in the conference and some individuals will likely be heard from in February.

Photo: File photo

Sophomore Alyssa Hulst is a wizard with the puck and will score plenty of goals this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior forward Trevor Murray will look to share some key goals this winter.

Photo: File photo

Senior point guard Brendan Hall was an honorable mention all-star last season.

Photo: File photo

Junior goalie Devan Kane hopes to lead the Red Storm to a championship.