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February, title time arrive

Sports

February, title time arrive

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-York boys' basketball, Cape Elizabeth-Gray-New Gloucester girls' basketball, Scarborough-Thornton Academy boys' hockey and Scarborough-Falmouth girls' hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

The end game of the winter sports season is near.

While the regular season continues in basketball and hockey, championship time is right around the corner in track, swimming, skiing and wrestling.

Here's a look at what happened last week and a glimpse at what's to come:

Boys' basketball

South Portland's boys' basketball team continues to do special things. Four days after a palpitating double-overtime win at Bonny Eagle, the Red Riots pulled away to beat visiting Cheverus, 67-44, Friday and earned a huge 53-38 win at defending Class A state champion Deering Tuesday to improve to 13-2 and ascend to the top of the Heal Points standings.

Against the Stags, the Red Riots got pushed as a nine-point halftime lead was cut to five early in the third period. South Portland only led by eight with just over seven minutes to play, but Tanner Hyland made two foul shots, Calvin Carr hit a 3 and after a Cheverus free throw, Conner MacVane and Jack Tolan both made two foul shots for a 54-38 lead. After the Stags hit a 3, Jaren Muller made consecutive layups, then hit a jumper and Hyland made consecutive baskets to put it away. Muller finished with 19 points and Hyland added 16.

Against the Rams, the Red Riots avenged a painful overtime loss from earlier in the season behind 22 points from Hyland.

South Portland plays at Noble Friday, hosts Portland in its home finale Tuesday and closes the regular season Feb. 8 at Cheverus.

Scarborough has won four straight and improved to 10-5 (good for sixth in the Heals) after recent wins over host Sanford (70-55) and Massabesic (81-45). At the Spartans, Brendan Hall and Sam Terry both had 16 points. Dillon Russo scored 18 points and Terry added 14 versus the Mustangs. The Red Storm hosts Bonny Eagle in a game critical for Heal Points placement Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story), welcomes Thornton Academy Tuesday and closes at Kennebunk Feb. 8.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth fell at home to powerhouse York Friday, 65-47 (Eddie Galvin had a team-high 11 points).

"We were close for a half, but it's a 32-minute game," Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray said. "(York) comes out and nails you in the first period or they nail you in the third. They nailed us in the third and it was over."

The Capers bounced back Saturday with a 56-29 home win over Gray-New Gloucester (Henry Babcock led the way with 15 points) and improved to 11-4 with an 80-75 win at Wells Tuesday. Chris Robicheaw went off for 25 points in that one, while Galvin and Babcock both added 18. Cape Elizabeth (third behind Falmouth and York in the Heals) has a brutal closing stretch as it plays at York Friday, hosts defending Class B state champion Yarmouth Tuesday and finishes at Greely Feb. 8.

"It's Falmouth and York and everyone else has to fight for every win," Ray said. "I don't look at the (Heal Points standings). It doesn't mean anything until the final game is played."

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School was 0-11 and 14th in the Heals at press time after losses at Old Orchard Beach (77-18) and Islesboro (38-28). The Lions were at North Yarmouth Academy and close Friday at Richmond.

Girls' basketball

On the girls' side, Cape Elizabeth earned another inspirational road win last weekend. Back on Jan. 3, the Capers turned their season around and sparked a win streak with a stunning overtime upset victory at Waynflete. Saturday, Cape Elizabeth (which lost, 52-35, at York the night before) went to 10-win Gray-New Gloucester, a team which beat the Capers, 45-42, Dec. 15 in Cape Elizabeth. 

After holding the Patriots scoreless for 6 minutes, 33 seconds to start the game, but allowing them to rally in the second quarter to tie the game at halftime, Cape Elizabeth pitched a 4 minute, 43 second shutout to start the third period and this time, the offense responded, scoring the first eight points of the second half to take control. The Capers then ended all doubt with a dominant fourth quarter and went on to a much-needed 45-28 victory. Cape Elizabeth got 17 points from senior captain Kisa Tabery, a huge third period from freshman Montana Braxton, a great effort on the glass against a taller team and forced 22 turnovers.

"This is a huge one," Tabery said. "We really needed it. Gray has a really good record and they were high up in the playoff standings. We knew coming in this would be a really big win for us. We wanted to pull it out and we did."

"It was the same thing from the Waynflete game," said Casterella. "Going into the second half, I said, 'Guys, it's 18-18. We need to be the better team for the next half.' We were today. We got some easy baskets. The girls just locked down and were focused and determined. We have outside motivation. Things you hear. I shared some of that with them. (The girls) were ready to get a win. Thank God we won it. This was a huge win. Mostly because we finally beat a team ahead of us."

Tuesday, the Capers did it again, this time at home, holding off Wells, 48-39, behind 15 points from Emma O'Rourke and 14 from Marlo Dell'Aquila. Cape Elizabeth (8-7 and seventh in the Western B Heals) faces York again Friday, this time at home, goes to Yarmouth Tuesday and finishes the regular season at home Feb. 8 versus Greely. 

"We're getting pretty confident," Braxton said. "At the beginning, we were on a losing streak, but we're keeping composed during games. Kisa and Marlo are great captains. The rest of the season will be hard. No easy games."

"We've got a revolving door in the league," Casterella added. "You have a couple teams at the top. The rest of us are close. You can't go by record. You can just go by who beat whom. Nothing easy the rest of the way. I just want to make the tournament. Then, we want to get as high as we can. You can look at matchups all day long. There are a bunch of equal teams. It should be a very good tournament."

In Western A, Scarborough was 12-3 and fourth in the Heals after home wins over Sanford (52-42) and Massabesic (59-27). Against the Spartans, Ashley Briggs had a team-high 18 points. Mary Redmond led the way in the win over the Mustangs with 14 points. The Red Storm goes to Bonny Eagle Friday, visits Thornton Academy Tuesday and closes at home versus Kennebunk Feb. 8.

South Portland continues to play hard, even after the loss of senior standout Danica Gleason to a season-ending knee injury. Friday, the Red Riots battled visiting Cheverus but fell short, 43-33. Holly Black had a team-high 11 points. Tuesday, South Portland fell to 11-4 and fifth in the region after a 75-48 home loss to two-time defending Class A state champion McAuley (Brianne Maloney had a team-high 16 points). The Red Riots are hoping to stay in the top five to avoid a preliminary round playoff game. They host Noble Friday, go to Deering Monday and close at McAuley Feb. 8.

In Western D, GPCS is sixth in the Heals (the top nine teams make the playoffs) with a 9-3 mark following a 48-30 home win over Hebron Monday. After going to NYA Wednesday, the Lions visit Richmond Friday and Islesboro Saturday. GPCS closes the season next week with a home game versus Seacoast Christian and games at Waynflete and Acadia Christian.  

Hockey

On the ice, the Scarborough boys' team continues to set the bar in Western Class A. The Red Storm extended its win streak to 11 with wins at Gorham (6-1) and at home over Thornton Academy (4-3). Against the Rams, Cam Brochu had two goals. Scarborough raced to an early 4-0 lead over the two-time defending Class A champion Golden Trojans, thanks in large part to two Jack Rousselle goals, but Thornton Academy rallied late and made things interesting before the Red Storm held on.

"We try to come out hard every game," Rousselle said. "Sometimes we don't. It's good to set the tone early in the game. We dictated the play the first period-and-a-half."

"I'm going to be white-haired tomorrow," said Scarborough coach Norm Gagne. "It's a lesson learned. We have to buckle down and get better. I told the kids before that it's never over until it's over and that they have to stay within the moment."

The Red Storm (12-1 and first in the Western A Heals) hosts Cheverus Saturday.

South Portland fell to 0-9 and 14th in the standings after a 12-2 home loss to Cape Elizabeth last weekend (Kyle Halvorsen had both goals in the defeat). The Red Riots host Westbrook Saturday and visit Kennebunk Wednesday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth is in the fifth and final playoff spot with a 5-7-1 record following Saturday's 12-2 win over South Portland. Eli Breed, Timothy Corsello, Curtis Guimond and Charlie Laprade all had two goals. The Capers hosted Gardiner Thursday and go to top-ranked Camden Hills Saturday.

On the girls' side, Scarborough has the inside track on the top seed in the West Region after recent home wins over Falmouth (5-1) and Biddeford (4-1). Against the Yachtsmen, the Red Storm fell behind early, but broke open a tight game with three third period goals, got 30 saves from goalie Devan Kane and two goals each from Sarah Martens and Rachael Wallace.

"The third period's always our period," Wallace said. "We did what we had to do to get it done."

"I feel like we start out slow, but the third period's always our period," said Kane. "Ever since I was a freshman. We have such a powerful offense."

"In the second and third, we came out better," added Scarborough coach Caitlin Cashman. "When we're down a man, there's a sense of urgency. We're more focused."

Scarborough (14-1-1 and first in the standings) was at Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete Thursday and closes the regular season Saturday at Cheverus.

"We have to keep our heads up," Kane said. "We tend to psyche ourselves out. If we go in thinking (playoffs) are just like a normal game, we'll go far. This team, I've never seen anything like it. We're strong and ready to win. We're sick and tired of losing in the first round."

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete fell at home to Portland Saturday, 7-5, its seventh straight loss, but got back on track Monday with a 5-3 home win over Gorham. Madeline Ciraldo had three goals in both games. The Capers (4-9-3 and sixth in the West Region, fractions of a point out of the last playoff spot) hosted Scarborough Thursday and close at York Saturday.

Indoor track

The Southwestern Maine Activities Association had a bye week last weekend. The indoor track championship meet is Saturday at USM in Gorham. 

Cape Elizabeth joined seven other teams for a Western Maine Conference meet. The girls tied Wells for fourth and the boys were also fourth. First place finishers included Erin Lyons in the girls' senior 400 (1 minute, 6.78 seconds), Robert MacKay in the boys' junior high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), Andrew Kelly in the boys' junior shot put (34-3), Kyle Kennedy in the boys' mile (4 minutes, 54.4 seconds) and Liam Simpson in the boys' two-mile (9:59.83).

The Capers finish the regular season Friday versus Falmouth, Freeport, Fryeburg, Greely, Lisbon, Traip and York. The WMC championship meet is Feb. 8 at USM.

The Class A state championship meet is Feb. 18 at USM. The Class B meet will be contested the same day at Bates College in Lewiston.

Swimming

In the pool, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland's boys took part in a tri-meet with Falmouth last Friday. The Capers won with 123 points. The Red Riots were third with 78. South Portland also swam against defending Class B champion Greely Tuesday and lost, 48-36. Scarborough beat Thornton Academy, 110-68.

On the girls' side, Cape Elizabeth handled Falmouth, 125-54, Scarborough lost by a point to Thornton Academy (92-91) and South Portland lost to McAuley (100-73) and Greely (61-33).

Friday, Scarborough faces Westbrook and Cape Elizabeth meets Deering.

The south division Southwesterns are Feb. 7 and 8 in Westbrook. The Class A state championship meet is Feb. 18 (boys) and 19 (girls) at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. 

Skiing

Cape Elizabeth took part in a four-team SMAA/WMC Alpine giant slalom meet Monday at Shawnee Peak. The boys were first as Max Barber was the top individual (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 2.52 seconds). The girls placed fourth and were led by Emma Dvorozniak (third, 1:11.07).

On the Nordic side, Cape Elizabeth took part in the Sassi Memorial last weekend. The girls came in 12th and the boys 15th. Individually, the fastest Caper girl was Dana Hatton (18th, 19:17.2). Julian Pelzer led the boys with a 41st-place finish (16:57.1). 

Wrestling

The wrestling regular season wrapped up last week. Scarborough finished with losses to Deering (39-22) and Westbrook (69-11). 

The regional championships are Saturday at Marshwood High School. The Class A state finals are Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center.

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