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Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

Scarborough features many championship caliber teams this winter, as it seemingly does every season. The boys' basketball team is coming off its best campaign in years and while it's reloading, it remains formidable. The girls' squad welcomes a new coach and expects to contend. Boys' hockey is still stinging over last year's regional final ouster and looks to go all the way this time. The girls' team fell a goal shy of a championship last season. This time, the Red Storm has its sights set on winning it all. Both track teams feature an abundance of talented athletes. Both swim teams should be very strong. Skiing has good athletes. Wrestling is a program on the rise.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Tony DiBiase (second year, 13-7 overall record)

2012-13 record: 13-7 (Lost, 48-32, to Bonny Eagle in Western A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Matt Hartl (Senior), Dan LeClair (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Jan. 3 TA, Jan. 7 @ SP, Jan. 17 BONNY EAGLE, Jan. 21 @ Portland, Jan. 24 DEERING, Jan. 28 @ Cheverus, Feb. 1 SP, Feb. 4 @ TA

COACH’S COMMENT: “We want to keep moving forward and build on last year. We lost most of last year's group and at least 95 percent of our scoring. It's a process. I think we have some good young players and other kids who are coming along. We'll keep last year's style of play. We don't have much size. We'll pass and be up tempo and try to hit 3s. We'll try to get better and peak at the end. The tournament's our goal.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A year ago, Scarborough lived and died behind the 3-point line, produced the second most efficient offense in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association and posted its best record since joining Class A and its first playoff win in any class since 1986. The program then graduated just about everybody who contributed. While the Red Storm has a lot of holes to fill, there is reason to believe that it can make February noise again. For starters, for over three decades, DiBiase has gotten the most out of his charges. There isn't much returning, but Hartl, the point guard, and LeClair, a forward, have seen varsity time. Four newcomers will have a chance to make an immediate impact. Junior guard Sam Freeman is a scorer. Junior Milani Hicks had a solid preseason and can also fill the net. Classmate Nate Wessel, a forward, will look to make an impact inside. Sophomore Jason Gardiner, who stands 6-foot-6, is the rare big man in the program. He'll have a chance to make his presence felt. Scarborough's heavy lifting doesn't really occur until the new year, so it has a chance to win some early games and garner some confidence. This team will be a work in progress, but by the end of the year, the Red Storm will be dangerous. If it's won enough to qualify for the postseason, this could be the team that no one wants to play.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Mike Giordano (first year)

2012-13 record: 16-4 (Lost, 47-38, to eventual champion McAuley in Western A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mackenzie O'Brien (Senior), Bailey Adams (Junior), Ashley Briggs (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 10 PORTLAND, Dec. 23 GORHAM, Jan. 3 @ TA, Jan. 7 SP, Jan. 14 MCAULEY, Jan. 21 PORTLAND, Jan. 24 @ Deering, Jan. 28 CHEVERUS, Feb. 4 TA, Feb. 7 @ SP

COACH’S COMMENT: “We'll be really young, but the kids are great. They work hard. It's a huge adjustment for them. Four coaches in four years. They're doing all I ask and that's all I can ask. We lost four starters from last year. Our athleticism is a strength. We'll try to force tempo and create offense. We'll lean on Ashley and her experience to help us. We want to get to the Expo and then anything can happen.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough has been one of the best teams in the conference the past five seasons, but staying there this winter will be a challenge. The Red Storm welcomes its fourth coach in as many seasons in Giordano, who led South Portland for 17 seasons. Last year's league Coach of the Year inherits a program that doesn't have much back from a season ago, but there are some players who are eager to prove they can get the job done at the varsity level. The most notable returner is Briggs, who will be a captain. Briggs, a second-team SMAA all-star last winter after placing second in assists (4.6 per game) and sixth in steals (3.6), will be the focal point of the offense, but she won't be shy about setting up her teammates. Adams, another captain, will run the offense from her point guard spot. O'Brien is the other captain. She'll play both guard and forward. Sophomores Emma Hall and Regan Mars will also make an impact in the frontcourt. Freshman Brooke Malone has the ability to play both guard and forward and will quickly make a name for herself. Scarborough certainly has its work cut out in the weeks to come, but you can't write this team off. The Red Storm will struggle at times, but should show steady improvement. A playoff berth isn't out of the realm of possibility.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Norm Gagne (fifth year, 47-26-4 overall record)

2012-13 record: 19-2 (Lost, 4-3, to Falmouth in Western A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Cam Brochu (Senior), Eric Grantz (Senior), Jake Gross (Senior), Cam Loiselle (Senior), Ian Morris (Senior), Matt Henderson (Junior), Sean McGovern (Junior), Matt Caron (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 7 ST. DOM'S, Dec. 9 FALMOUTH, Dec. 11 @ TA, Dec. 14 LEWISTON, Dec. 23 @ St. Dom's, Jan. 4 @ Biddeford, Jan. 6 CHEVERUS, Jan. 20 @ Lewiston, Feb. 6 @ Cheverus, Feb. 8 @ Bangor, Feb. 15 BIDDEFORD, Feb. 17 TA, Feb. 20 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We start out with the most of the top teams in the league and with a young group, it will depend on how we do in the month of December. I feel that our team is ready for the challenge ahead. There's a lot of parity this year and anyone could beat anyone on a given night.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The schedule makers certainly didn't do the Red Storm any favors this winter, as Scarborough opens with home games versus perennial power St. Dom's and defending Class A champion Falmouth, a trip to this year's favorite, Thornton Academy, then a home test versus reigning Eastern A champion Lewiston. Clearly, the Red Storm will have to quickly get up to speed and while graduation losses hurt the program, there is still an abundance of talented kids on the roster. This season, the offense will be paced by proven commodities Brochu, Caron, Gross (a second-team all-state selection in 2012-13), Henderson, Loiselle (an honorable mention all-stater last winter) and McGovern. They'll be bolstered by newcomers like seniors Sam Dedian and Chris Flaherty, juniors Kai Dunn and Sam Nygren, sophomores Jack Callahan and Cam Nigro and freshman Thomas Marshall. Defensively, Grantz, Loiselle and Morris have the most experience. They'll be joined by juniors Braeden Kane and Kevin Smith and sophomores Colin Hayward and Sean McDonald. Senior Alex Cherry and junior Ben Bragg will see time in goal, trying to replace all-star Dalton Finley. It might take a little while for this team to hit its stride and the early challenges won't help, but eventually, Scarborough will be very strong. The Red Storm has been a playoff fixture for 20 years running. This season, it won't be the favorite, or likely earn the top seed, but by late February and early March, Scarborough will be a handful for anyone to have to match up with.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Caitlin Cashman (fifth year, 56-18-4 overall record)

2012-13 results: 18-2-1 (Lost, 1-0, in OT, to Greely in state final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Devan Kane (Senior), Brenna Kent (Senior), Riley McKeown (Senior), Rachael Wallace (Senior), Alyssa Hulst (Junior), Kristen Murray (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 30 LEWISTON, Jan. 11 @ Leavitt/EL, Jan. 15 GREELY, Jan. 18 @ Falmouth, Jan. 20 @ Lewiston, Jan. 29 @ Greely

COACH'S COMMENT: “We're putting team first and stressing hard work, to not only better ourselves (individually), but our teammates as well. We'll work toward becoming disciplined in our systems and playing smart, yet aggressive hockey in order to gain control and possess in each zone. Our ultimate goal is to make it back to states and we're putting in the hard work now is in order to make that a reality.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough fell agonizingly shy of a coveted championship last winter, dropping an overtime heartbreaker to repeat champion Greely. Still stinging from that wound, the Red Storm enters 2013-14 driven and full of confidence that it can get back to the Colisee and finish the job. Scarborough certainly has some very talented pieces in place. Every champion needs a standout goalie and the Red Storm possesses a special one in Kane, Scarborough's reigning Winter Female Athlete of the Year, who was a first-team all-star a year ago. She'll keep her team in every game and make the clutch saves necessary in the biggest games. Kane will be aided by veteran defensemen Kent and McKeown, along with freshman Lily Nygren. The offense could be potent. Returning are the prolific Hulst and talented Wallace, both first-team all-stars last year. They're joined by Murray, who is coming off a solid field hockey season, scoring a goal in the state final. Murray was an honorable mention all-star last winter. A trio of freshmen, Meghan Doak, Lizzie Gross and Sami Shoebottom, will also be heard from. The Red Storm has impressed early, handling York, Falmouth and Leavitt/Edward Little by a composite 12-2 margin. There are plenty of tests on the schedule and Scarborough will face some adversity in the weeks to come, but this group has come too far to stumble this winter. The Red Storm has to be viewed as the West Region favorite and if it manages to return to the state final, the guess here is that this group will take that final step.

INDOOR TRACK

BOYS' COACH: Derek Veilleux (10th year, four state championships)

GIRLS' COACH: Ron Kelly (18th year, nine state championships)

2012-13 results:

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

(GIRLS) 9th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Austin Doody (Senior), Will Fowler (Senior), Alex Karam (Senior), Cameron Langlois (Senior), Mike Pino (Senior), Jacob Bloom (Junior), Edward James (Junior), Colin Jones (Junior), Jerry Kenney (Junior), Hugh McSorley (Junior), Griffin Madden (Sophomore), Colin Tardiff (Sophomore), Elliot Youth (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Natalie Foster (Senior), Cailley Ledue (Senior), Jenna Douglas (Junior), Katherine Kirk (Junior), Sarah Rinaldi (Junior)

TOP FOES: Biddeford, Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Deering, SP, TA

COACH VEILLEUX’S COMMENT: “We'll have a different look and feel this year after graduating some top-notch athletes. The team's had an influx of freshmen which is great for the program. We're focused on getting better every day. The kids have worked hard in practice and are willing to put in the extra work necessary. We know there are several talented teams this year, so winning a fourth straight won't be easy. It would be special for the seniors to win again, but we'll need to stay healthy to have a shot. This season will be a chance for some athletes to make a name for themselves and keep the great tradition of Scarborough track and field alive.”

COACH KELLY’S COMMENT: “We're still in the rebuilding mode. We have a young team. We'll be strong in the 800 and 3,200 relays, the pole vault, hurdles, high jump, 400 and 200.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough's indoor track teams will once again feature an abundance of promise this winter.

The boys have had no peer the past three seasons, but another title won't come easily. This year's squad is led by returning state meet scorers Langlois (part of a state champion 800 relay team), Tardiff (fourth in the mile, sixth in the two-mile), McSorley (fifth in the shot put), Fowler (3,200 relay) and Karam (3,200 relay). Fowler, Karam and Tardiff lead the distance contingent this winter. They're joined by Bloom, Jones and junior Jacob Terry. In the sprints, look for Langlois, Doody and Kenney to make noise, with help from new senior Max Ornstein and junior Sam Ware. Langlois and Madden are top hurdlers. On the field side, McSorley and Pino are throwers of note. Madden, Youth and freshman Sam Rusak will vie for points in the jumps. James is the top pole vaulter. The Red Storm have some holes to fill, but this program has set the bar high and will make another run at the top. Don't bet against it.

On the girls' side, after a breathtaking eight-year run at the top of Class A, Scarborough finally took a step back last winter. This year's team should remain competitive, although a return to the top isn't likely. Returning scorers include Kirk from a champion 800 relay team and Rinaldi (who was third in the high jump). Kirk will be a top sprinter. Sophomores Aly Atherton and Kayla Griffis and freshmen Edie Christian and Caroline Goodwin will be heard from as well. In the distance, Douglas, sophomores Emma Koukos and Laura Volan and freshmen Grace Bailer and Marisa Carbone look to score. Ledue and new junior Mina Puig will be top vaulters. Atherton and Foster join Rinaldi in the jumps.

SWIMMING

COACH: Eric French (fourth year)

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 14th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Andrew Chase (Senior), Caleb Delisle (Senior), Nate Erickson (Junior), Nolan Gelinas (Junior), Nate Howard (Junior), Kyle Ankermann (Sophomore), Josh Caiazzo (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Aleeza Barkas (Senior), Hallie O'Donnell (Senior), Brooke Hallett (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Cheverus, Deering, McAuley, Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have some returning swimmers and several newcomers. We're a young team due to a large graduating class and we're looking for some swimmers to step up to the challenge. I feel this team will continue to be successful at meets this year because we have a very dedicated and determined group. The strong team leadership and work ethic is already apparent, in the pool and dry land training. I'm excited to see where this group will take us.”

THE FORECASTERSFORECAST: Both Scarborough teams are poised to be in the hunt all winter.

The boys' lost standout and reigning Winter Male Athlete of the Year Jerry Gravel, but have several strong returners who will carry the team a long way. Chase (50 free) and Delisle (backstroke) are senior leaders. Erickson (diving), Gelinas (distance freestyle) and Howard (butterfly, individual medley) also have experience, while Ankermann (backstroke, freestyle) and Caiazzo (backstroke) look to play bigger roles as sophomores. Freshmen Thomas Erickson (diving) and Anton Jasa (fly, breaststroke) should make a quick impact. The Red Storm will face many tests during the season, but should hold its own and will be in line for another top finish in February.

On the girls' side, Barkas (distance freestyle) and O'Donnell (sprint freestyle) are the veterans. Hallett (IM, fly) will have a strong season as well. Freshmen Tara Ahluwalia (breaststroke and freestyle) and Edie Frederick (fly, breaststroke) are potential stars of the future. Scarborough will steadily improve in the weeks to come and should have several swimmers made noise at the championship meets.

SKIING

COACHES: Kurt Jepson and David Mills (second year)

2012-13 RESULTS:

COMBINED

(BOYS) 7th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class A state meet

ALPINE

(BOYS) 6th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 8th @ Class A state meet

NORDIC

(BOYS) 10th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class A state meet

SKIERS TO WATCH:

(BOYS) Matt McAlary (Senior), Andrew Mills (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Abby Mills (Senior), Megan Thibault (Senior), Ema Crovo (Sophomore), Sara Hassler (Sophomore)

COACH MILLS' COMMENT: “We're looking to repeat as SMAA champions.”

COACH JEPSON'S COMMENT: "Although still a developing program, we'll look have a more consistent top scoring presence in SMAA/WMC meets this season."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The small Scarborough ski program turned some heads a year ago, as both the boys' and girls' Alpine squads proved to be the best in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association. This winter, the Red Storm will be heard from again.

The boys are led by the veteran McAlary. Mills will also be heard from. Look for big things from both of them in the weeks to come.

On the girls' side, Mills, Scarborough's Fall Female Athlete of the Year, is back and looking for even higher finishes than last winter, when she was seventh in the giant slalom and 10th in the slalom. Thibault also has experience, while Crovo and Hassler look to make a name for themselves. This is a team that could be a force at the conference and at the state levels.

On the Nordic side, sophomore Cam Jepson is the top returner. He was a consistent top 15 conference scorer in both the classic and freestyle as a freshman. Sophomore Juliet Karam leads the girls. The Red Storm will only get better as the season progresses.

WRESTLING

2012-13 results: No score @ Class A state meet (11th @ regionals)

TOP RETURNERS: Taylor Wood (Senior), Andy Blanchard (Sophomore)

COACH'S COMMENT: “We have a lot of new wrestlers this year. Really good numbers. I have kids looking to join every day. We hope to do better than last year. We'll be competitive with all but the really top teams. Next year could be even better. I'm excited.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Scarborough could be in for a memorable and perhaps history-making season this winter. The top returner is Wood, who is vying to become the program's first female champion. She competes in the 113-pound weight class. Blanchard (160) could also be a factor at the state level. Sophomores Mike Libby (152) and John Stolz (145) also return. Several newcomers, including sophomore Austin Northgraves (138) and freshmen Aren Dickman (182) and Charles Kinney (132), will provide depth and lead the program forward. The Red Storm will certainly turn heads as the season progresses and could make some noise come February.

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

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Matt Hartl is a top returner for the Red Storm.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Dan LeClair can hit shots from anywhere.

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Junior captain Bailey Adams returns for the Red Storm and will run the offense.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Eric Grantz is a top returning defenseman for the Red Storm.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Jake Gross will be a top scorer for Scarborough in the weeks to come.

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Alyssa Hulst could be the best girls' hockey player in the state when all is said and done.

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Senior forward Rachael Wallace will help make the Scarborough offense go this season.

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Senior Devan Kane was Scarborough's Winter Female Athlete of the Year a year ago and returns to backstop the Red Storm deep into the playoffs.