Sun, Sep 21, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

A grand night for Veroneau, Flyers

Sports

A grand night for Veroneau, Flyers

PORTLAND—On Jan. 3, 2008, an seventh grader named Martha Veroneau watched as her older sister, Margaret, eclipsed the 1,000 career point barrier in Waynflete's 55-33 win over Fryeburg.

Tuesday evening, Martha joined her.

Veroneau became the fourth female Flyer to reach the milestone as she helped Waynflete earn its second straight emphatic victory to start the 2012-13 season, 65-33, over visiting Traip Academy.

Veroneau got to 1,000 with a foul shot early in the second period and wound up with a team-high 11 points, pacing a balanced attack.

"It was really exciting," said Veroneau. "I knew coming in that 10 points was doable. It was such a great experience."

First goal reached

Waynflete made a spirited run to the Western C Final a year ago and ended up 14-8 after a 43-36 loss to Hall-Dale. With almost everyone returning along with some key additions, the Flyers are highly touted this winter.

They raced to a 38-8 halftime lead en route to a 59-32 victory over Old Orchard Beach in the opener Friday. In that one, Veroneau had 19 first half points, but didn't score again, which left her 10 points shy of 1,000 entering Tuesday.

Traip, a semifinalist last winter, eked out a 51-50 home win over Sacopee in its opener Friday.

Last year, Waynflete lost twice to the Rangers, 45-30 in Kittery and 44-25 at home.

This time, however, the Flyers seized control quickly and it wasn't long before the only remaining drama centered on just when Veroneau would get to 1,000.

After frenetic back-and-forth action which didn't result in any points, Waynflete took the lead for good with 6:19 to play in the opening stanza when Veroneau banked home a shot.

That opened the floodgates and in just a little over three minute's time, the Flyers would stretch their advantage to 20-0.

After a steal from senior Rhiannan Jackson, sophomore Julianna Harwood made a layup, junior Leigh Fernandez made a layup after a steal, Veroneau did the same and on an inbounds play, senior Catherine Veroneau fed Jackson for a layup to make it 10-0, forcing a Traip timeout.

It didn't stem the tide.

Jackson and Martha Veroneau made layups after steals, Veroneau and Harwood converted layups and with 3:06 left in the first, freshman Anne Veroneau got in on the fun, scoring on a leaner to make it 20 unanswered.

The Rangers finally broke the ice with 2:14 remaining when sophomore Elora McCuddy hit a jump shot, but Martha Veroneau made a free throw (bringing her within a point of 1,000 before missing the second attempt) and Catherine Veroneau, who missed much of the past two seasons with two separate knee injuries, drained a 3.

"I'm pretty close to 100 percent," said Veroneau. "It feels really good to be back. Everyone's so supportive. It's a fun team to be on. My goal is to stay on the floor and continue playing. We've worked so hard for this. We played a competitive summer season and a competitive preseason. That's really benefited us. Everyone's very invested in our success."

Traip junior Kendra Kagiliery made a 3 in the final minute, but the Flyers had a commanding 24-5 lead after forcing 11 Rangers' turnovers in the first eight minutes.

Martha Veroneau would achieve her milestone in the second quarter, but she stretched the drama a few additional minutes.

First, Fernandez buried a 3-ball and Harwood scored on a third effort putback to make it 29-5.

Then, with 4:46 left in the half, it happened.

Veroneau drove to the basket, missed her shot, but was fouled.

Like Margaret Veroneau did nearly five years ago, Martha Veroneau made history on a free throw, sinking her first attempt.

At 5:54 p.m., Veroneau was mobbed by her teammates as play was stopped to recognize the feat. A standing room only crowd (which also included her cross country coach, Ziggy Gillespie, and lacrosse coach, Cathie Connors) shared their approval and in a nice gesture, Traip gave Veroneau flowers.

Veroneau joins her sister, Morgan Woodhouse (Class of 2010) and Lisa Lightbody (Class of 1998), along with boys Glenn Kurtz (85), James Witham (97), Ian Bossie (2002) and Lance Callender (2006) on Waynflete's 1,000 point list.

"I remember Margaret did it with a free throw, so I carried on that tradition," said Veroneau. "To have my name up on that banner with Morgan and Margaret and those other athletes is so great. So many people came out today. I couldn't have accomplished this without everybody that's been here. I saw all my siblings here. Margaret came back. (Brothers) Andrew and Joe were here. My Mom. A lot of the school. It's such a great community. It was fun to bring the ball over to my sister who has her name up there too. I watched her do it and had that goal. It's such a great feeling."

In typical fashion, Veroneau deflected praise and paid tribute to the many people who helped her reach the milestone.

"My name's up there, but it's the teams I've been on the past four years," Veroneau said. "It's (coach) Brandon (Salway), it's my family. It's everybody who helped me get to this point. Margaret talked about crossing off zeroes. I crossed them off too."

The two other Veroneaus on the team were impressed by their sister's feat.

"It was amazing," said Catherine. "She's an amazing player. Beyond her 1,000 points, which is an incredible feat, she makes other players look better as well. We're competitive with each other, but supportive. My defense has benefited from her offense and her offense has benefited from my defense. It's worked well. "

"Seeing (Martha) do it is inspiring and made me set goals for myself too," said Anne.

Salway said that Veroneau's effort Tuesday was typical.

"Martha's done it the right way," said Salway. "Tonight was a good reflection of how she plays. Everybody in the gym wanted her to shoot, but she's just as happy passing off. Winning games is more important to her than scoring points. She's really proud of the accomplishment, but she wants to win more than anything. It's her ticker, I think. It's heart. She's intelligent. She's grown up around the game. She has a desire and a passion for the game and for winning. It shows for everyone who watches her. I've been fortunate to coach her for four years."

The rest of the game was anticlimactic, but the Flyers kept the pressure on.

After Kagiliery hit a second 3, Waynflete closed the half on a 9-0 run to take a 40-8 lead behind a runner from Harwood, a layup from Jackson, a layup after a steal by Fernandez and a 3 from Anne Veroneau.

"It's been really fun so far," said Veroneau. "Having (Martha and Catherine on the team) has helped my transition. Playing with Martha in the driveway in the summer has helped me work on my game. Seeing Catherine's strength through her injuries has been inspiring. I want to go in and follow in everyone's footsteps. A lot of people will have to step up next year. I hope to be one of them."

The second half was even as Salway substituted liberally. Early in the third quarter, Flyers sophomore Helen Gray-Bauer put on a show with three straight layups.

Late in the third period, play was stopped for a half hour when a Traip player suffered a head and neck injury and had to be boarded and removed from the gym by medical personnel.

When play resumed, the Flyers continued to apply pressure and took a 54-23 lead to the final quarter.

There, Waynflete extended their advantage to 37 on a layup after a steal from junior Emily Wasserman, a layup from sophomore Dana Peirce and another layup from Jackson. Traip drew no closer than 32 the rest of the way and the Flyers put the finishing touches on a very impressive 65-33 triumph.

"I really like the way we're looking so far," said Martha Veroneau. "We have a great coach in Brandon and a lot of people with experience from last year."

Demonstrating its depth, Waynflete had 10 different players score.

Martha Veroneau led the way with 11 points, while Fernandez (six steals) and Jackson (nine rebounds, six steals) each had 10. Harwood (who feasted on the glass to the tune of 16 rebounds, seven offensive) added eight points, Gray-Bauer, Peirce and Wasserman all had six off the bench, Anne Veroneau finished with four (along with six rebounds, five of the offensive variety), Catherine Veroneau had three and junior Louise Lyall one.

"Points-wise, we know it can be four people one night and four different people the next," said Salway. "I like how we're playing with confidence. Nobody's afraid to shoot."

While Waynflete won with ease, after committing 21 turnovers nd missing a lot of open looks, its coach found plenty of room for improvement.

"We want to play up-tempo, but that was a little more up-tempo than even we wanted," Salway said. "We need to do a better job of finishing. We had a lot of open layups that we missed. It's early. The key is to keep improving. The ultimate goal is to get better every day and every week. We're getting there. I'm encouraged. "

Traip got a game-high 15 points from the sharp-shooting Kagiliery. Junior Alli Barrett added eight points, freshman Jessica MacNeill had five, McCuddy three and junior LoRee Thomas two.

Big test

After a pair of easy wins, Waynflete will face what is likely to be the most formidable foe on its regular season schedule Thursday when it travels to Naples to meet defending Western Class B champion Lake Region (2-0).

Last year, the Flyers hosted the Lakers and lost in a close call, 45-36.

"We know we'll have to play a lot better Thursday," said Salway. "We go there feeling pretty confident, but at the same time, we know they're the defending Western B champions and that we'll have to play really well at a tough place to play. We're looking forward to playing in a tough environment against a good team."

Waynflete hopes to keep getting better. While Tuesday night belonged to Martha Veroneau, the Flyers' ultimate goal is to hoist a first-ever Class C Gold Ball in early March.

"We have a lot more goals for this season," said Veroneau, moments before enjoying a slice of celebratory cake. "Hopefully we'll move on and keep aspiring to our other goals."

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

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete sophomore Julianna Harwood goes to the basket for two of her eight points. Harwood was unstoppable on the glass, grabbing 16 rebounds.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete sophomore Helen Gray-Bauer goes one-one-one with a Traip defender. Gray-Bauer had six second half points.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

After reaching 1,000 points, Martha Veroneau receives flowers from Traip players.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

After sinking a free throw to reach the 1,000 point mark, Martha Veroneau receives the ball from coach Brandon Salway.