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Top teams square off as crunch time arrives

Sports

Top teams square off as crunch time arrives

Call it showdown season.

Several of the top teams in the area have been, or will be, squaring off against top rivals as we've passed the midway point of the 2012-13 winter sports season.

Here's a glimpse at what's occurred and what's to come:

Boys' basketball

Cape Elizabeth's always competitive boys' basketball team continues to quietly put together a tremendous season. The Capers have moved up to second behind undefeated Falmouth in the Western Class B Heal Points standings with a 9-2 record after winning at defending Class B state champion Yarmouth (59-50) and holding off visiting Fryeburg in overtime, 63-58. Against the Clippers, Chris Robicheaw had 20 points. Robicheaw added 15 against the Raiders, while Henry Babcock led the way with 16 points. Cape Elizabeth, which lost at home to Falmouth in the opener, gets another crack at the Yachtsmen Friday night in Falmouth. The Capers are then off a week for finals before hosting York Jan. 25.

In Western A, South Portland lost for just the second time this season last Friday night at top-ranked and undefeated Portland, 63-47, despite 12 points from Tanner Hyland (see theforecaster.net for game story).

"They came out and shot the ball very well and we dug a hole," Red Riots coach Phil Conley said. "They shot the ball well. We didn't execute offensively in the halfcourt in the first half. We had to play catchup. It was uncharacteristic of us on the block tonight. We missed some easy putbacks. My kids never gave up. They played as hard as we could. We just came up short. Portland's a very good team. We'll make corrections and hopefully next time (Feb. 5), we'll come out on top."

South Portland got back in the win column Tuesday, 64-48, over visiting Marshwood to improve to 9-2. Jack Tolan led the way with 15 points. The Red Riots (fifth in the Western A Heals) play at Gorham Friday and have a showdown/playoff rematch at Bonny Eagle Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Scarborough is up to sixth in the Heals with a 6-5 mark. Last Friday, the Red Storm handled host Noble, 80-61 (Sam Terry had 20 points, Brendan Hall added 17 and Kevin Manning had 15). Tuesday, Scarborough gave host and defending Class A champion Deering a scare before falling, 54-50 (despite 14 points from Terry). The Red Storm hosts Biddeford Friday and welcomes Kennebunk Monday.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School is 0-8 and 14th after a pair of losses at North Haven (82-30 and 92-22). The Lions return to action Monday at Traip.

Girls' basketball

On the girls' side, Cape Elizabeth's win streak hit five with recent triumphs over over visiting Yarmouth (63-35) and at Fryeburg (42-31). Kisa Tabery had 13 points and Montana Braxton added 10 versus the Clippers. In the win over the Raiders, Braxton and Kate Miklavic both had a dozen points. The Capers (6-5 and sixth in Western B) look to make it six in a row Friday when Falmouth pays a visit.

In Western A, Scarborough bounced back from its first loss with a 58-30 triumph at Noble last Friday (Sam Sparda had 13 points and Courtney Alofs and Mary Redmond each added 12). Tuesday, the Red Storm fell to 9-2 and third in the Heals after a hard-fought 48-41 home loss to Deering (Ashley Briggs had a team-high 18 points). Scarborough has a showdown at two-time defending Class A champion McAuley, which is riding a 37-game win streak, Friday in a rematch of last year's regional final (see theforecaster.net for game story). Monday, the Red Storm goes to Kennebunk.

South Portland's successful campaign rolled on with recent wins at Portland (55-41) and Marshwood (54-32). The Red Riots couldn't shake the Bulldogs for three quarters, leading just 40-38, but senior standout Danica Gleason got hot in the fourth, scoring seven of her game-high 15 points, and South Portland pulled away (see theforecaster.net for game story).

"We just dug down and knew we had to step it up in the fourth quarter," said Gleason. "They were sagging off me a little bit, not letting me drive, so I took the opportunity to shoot."

"I told (the girls) there were eight minutes left and it was anyone's game," said longtime Red Riots coach Mike Giordano. "Who wanted it the most and who did the little things the most would come out with a win. It's a crosstown rival. (Portland's) struggling with its record, but they're athletic and dangerous. I'd seen them a couple times. I knew they possessed a bit of danger. I knew if they had a good shooting night they could beat us."

In the win over the Hawks, Gleason had 14 points, Hope Owen 11 and Bri Maloney 10.

South Portland (9-2 and fifth in Western A) hosts Gorham Friday and welcomes Bonny Eagle Monday. The Red Riots also have home games remaining against Cheverus, McAuley and Noble and close at Deering and McAuley.

"We have our cracks at the top four (teams)," Giordano said. "We play McAuley twice, Cheverus and we play Deering again. Some of our younger kids will have more experience behind them. We'll see how we do the second time around. We're getting better in the halfcourt. We transition well. Our defense has been consistent. We're second in points, third in the league in defense. If we keep that up, we'll be in every game."

In Western D, GPCS won at North Haven Friday, 45-36, and again Saturday, 53-40, to improve to 7-1, which allows the Lions to cling to the ninth and final playoff spot in the region. GPCS goes to Traip Monday.

Hockey

On the ice, Scarborough's boys were a close second to Falmouth in the Western A Heals at press time after improving to 8-1 Saturday with a 2-0 home win over Brunswick. Nick Bagley and Jake Gross had the goals, while Dalton Finley had the shutout in goal. Wednesday's game at Biddeford was postponed by bad weather and made up Thursday. The Red Storm goes to two-time defending Class A state champion Thornton Academy Monday.

South Portland was 0-7 and 14th in Western A after home losses to Lake Region (4-0) and Noble (10-2). The Red Riots' game at Noble Wednesday was postponed due to bad weather (no makeup date was available at press time). They visit Portland Monday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth is fourth at 3-5-1 after a 6-3 win at York Saturday. The Capers were home with Cheverus Thursday, welcome Camden Hills Saturday and go to Leavitt Monday.

On the girls' side, Scarborough remains atop the West Region Heals with a 10-1-1 record. The Red Storm bounced back from its lone loss with a 2-1 overtime victory over Leavitt/EL (Raechel Wallace had the winner) and a 2-0 triumph over Brunswick (behind goals from Alyssa Hulst and Sarah Martens). Scarborough hosts Portland Saturday and goes to Gorham Monday.

Cape Elizabeth's skid hit four with recent losses to St. Dom's (2-1), Biddeford (6-0) and Cheverus (7-5). The Capers (3-6-3 and clinging to the fifth and final playoff spot in the region) had Wednesday's home game against Gorham postponed (no makeup date announced), welcome Falmouth Saturday and Biddeford Monday.

Indoor track

On the track, South Portland's girls were first in a five-team meet last weekend. Multiple event winners included Lauren Magnuson in the junior 55 (7.81 seconds) and the junior 400 (1 minute, 5.97 seconds) and Nyajock Pan in the 800 (2:34.95) and the mile (5:29.1). Laurine German took the junior 55 hurdles (9.54). Emma Russell won the junior high jump (4 feet, 10 inches). Erin Bogdanovich was first in the senior 400 (1:05.36). Clara Ellis won the senior triple jump (32-11). The junior (1:54.46) and senior (1:53.73) relay teams also came in first.

The Red Riots came in second to Cheverus in the boys' meet. Gavin Damian-Loring was first in the junior 800 (2:19.83). Jonathan Bagley won the senior 800 (2:15.55) and the open 600 (1:25.12). Benjamin Michaud was the winner of the senior triple jump (39.4-5). Matthew Stearns took the pole vault (9 feet).

Scarborough swept a five-team meet. The girls were paced by wins from Katherine Kirk in the junior 200 (28.53) and junior 400 (1:04.47), Sarah Rinaldi in the junior 55 hurdles (9.52), open 55 hurdles (9.8) and junior high jump (5-2), Morgan Rodway in the senior 55 (7.78), Avery Pietras in the senior 200 (27.7), Paige Greely in the senior high jump (4-6), Jess Meader in the open 600 (1:37.98), Cailley Ladue in the pole vault (9 feet) and the junior (1:55.77) and senior (1:53.03) relays.

The boys got victories from Connor Doherty in the junior 800 (2:17.34), Maxim Doiron in the junior 55 hurdles (8.89), Griffin Madden in the junior high jump (5-2) and open 55 hurdles (9.4), Hugh McSorley in the junior shot put (43-5.5), Ryan Jamison in the senior 400 (54.42), Will Fowler in the senior 800 (2:09.28), Cameron Langlois in the senior 55 hurdles (8.63), Edward James in the senior high jump (5 feet), Michael Pino in the senior shot put (42-3), Alec James in the open 600 (1:20.06) and the pole vault (12-8) Robert Hall in the two-mile (9:50.05) and their junior (1:42.44), senior (1:35.53) and sprint (4:07.9) relays.

Scarborough and South Portland compete against Noble and Thornton Academy Saturday.

In WMC action, both Cape Elizabeth teams were third at an eight-team meet. The boys got a win from Liam Simpson in the mile (4:43.22). The Capers face Freeport, Gray-New Gloucester, Greely, Lake Region, St. Dom's, Yarmouth and York Friday.

Swimming

In the pool, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland competed with each other and Windham last Friday. In the boys' meet, the Capers tied the Eagles (66-66) and lost to the Red Riots (94-73). South Portland downed Windham (103-94).

Cape Elizabeth's girls handled McAuley, 117-56, while the South Portland girls edged Windham, 88-78.

Scarborough's boys won at Westbrook, 110-69, while the girls triumphed, 106-62.

Cape Elizabeth was home with defending Class B champion Greely Thursday, while Scarborough hosts South Portland Friday.

Skiing

Cape Elizabeth's boys' Nordic ski team was sixth at the Hornet Classic last weekend. Julian Pelzer was seventh individually (16 minutes, 20.3 seconds). The girls also came in sixth. Dana Hatton was third (20:41.3).

Scarborough's Alpine teams joined four others at an SMAA slalom race at Shawnee Peak last week and both Red Storm squads came in second. Abby Mills was third on the girls' side (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 47.1 seconds). Kevin Dryzga led the boys' squad with a ninth-place showing (1:56.78).

Wrestling

Scarborough's wrestling team lost 75-6 to Noble in its last match, last Wednesday. The 0-8 Red Storm hosted Sanford Wednesday and will take part in the Southern Maine Classic at Biddeford Saturday.

The wrestling postseason is only a couple weeks out. The regionals are Feb. 2 and states are Feb. 9.

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