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Early results promising for winter teams

Sports

Early results promising for winter teams

(Note: For the complete Falmouth-Yarmouth, Falmouth-Greely and Greely-Yarmouth boys' basketball, Freeport-Cape Elizabeth, NYA-Waynflete and Greely-Yarmouth girls' basketball and Falmouth-Capeflete and Yarmouth/Freeport-Portland/Deering girls' hockey game stories, with additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The 2013-14 winter sports season is underway in earnest and local squads have already made their presence felt.

Boys' basketball

Greely's boys' basketball team has gotten off to the best start. The Rangers opened with wins over visiting Gray-New Gloucester (82-46), host Freeport (92-31), visiting Kennebunk (50-45), visiting Yarmouth (57-49), host Poland (67-44) and most impressively, visiting Falmouth (57-53, in an overtime instant classic).

Against the Patriots, Michael McDevitt had 31 points. McDevitt had 26 points and Connor Hanley 17 versus the Falcons. Bailey Train went off for 26 in the win over the Rams. Against the Clippers, McDevitt had 18 points, Hanley 13 and Train 12.

"I thought Yarmouth played great," said Rangers coach Travis Seaver. "They played tough, but our senior leadership showed tonight. We're doing positive things. You learn more from closer games. Every day we try to learn something. Tonight, we learned a lot. We'll take what we learned and hopefully roll with it."

McDevitt scored 22 points and Hanley added 17 against the Knights. Saturday, Greely hosted undefeated, defending Class B champion Falmouth and shocked everyone by taking a 16-point lead, only to see the Yachtsmen rally to go up by five late. Hanley then saved the day with a late 3 to force overtime.

"We have plenty of guys who can take that shot, but I was open," Hanley said. "It was my turn. It felt good."

Train hit an early 3 in OT and the Rangers never looked back, holding on behind 13 points apiece from Hanley and McDevitt, 11 from Train and 10 from Kyle Wood.

"We hadn't beaten them since me and Bay were freshmen," McDevitt said. "There's nothing better than an overtime game against Falmouth, our biggest rivals. It's what we play for. I think it shows a lot about our team. I think it shows we can battle with the best. A lot of people have Falmouth as the favorite. Anytime you have a chance to play a team that's that good, you want to give them your best shot and we did that."

"This is our biggest rivalry, so we really wanted to win," said Train. "It's our last game against them on our homecourt no matter what. We wanted to protect the house."

"It was a lot of fun," Seaver added. "That game makes coaching basketball a lot of fun. It's great for the program. It's great for the kids. It was nice to see the gym packed. This is what basketball's about."

Greely's next countable game isn't until Jan. 7, when it goes to Kennebunk.

Falmouth had won its first five games: 70-42 at York (behind 20 points from Thomas Coyne, 17 from Nick Burton and 15 from Jack Simonds), 84-65 over visiting Yarmouth (Coyne had 23 points in the third quarter alone and wound up with 37), 80-26 at Wells (Burton had 15 points, Simonds 13), 90-52 over visiting Poland (Simonds led the way with 23 points and Coyne had 18) and 79-54 over visiting Lake Region (Coyne finished with 31). In the loss at Greely, Simonds had 20 points and Coyne 18 (all after halftime), but it wasn't quite enough.

"We haven't been tested and that's a very good team out there," said longtime Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. "We couldn't do what we wanted to do. Once we did what we're capable of doing, it got better. We made youthful mistakes coming down the stretch, but I'm pleased we didn't quit. We fought to the end. Greely's a good, veteran team. They're one of the best teams. All their seniors stepped up tonight. We were passive. You have to have a steady diet of good competition to keep your edge."

Falmouth's next countable game is Jan. 3, when it hosts another rival, Cape Elizabeth.

"I never like to lose," Halligan said. "We'll learn from it and move on."

Yarmouth has had its share of tests as well. The Clippers opened with an emphatic 89-52 home win over Kennebunk, as David Murphy had a career-high 35 points.

"It's all because of my teammates," Murphy said. "My teammates did a great job moving the ball around and driving so I could have open shots. Kennebunk was a great defensive team. If it wasn't for my teammates, I wouldn't have been able to knock down open shots."

Yarmouth hung tough for a half at Falmouth, but lost, 84-65, despite 19 points from Murphy and 14 from Adam LaBrie. After handling host Poland, 75-47, the Clippers dropped a close 57-49 decision at Greely (despite 19 points from LaBrie). Saturday, Yarmouth got back in the win column, riding an early 10-0 surge to a 66-52 home win over Cape Elizabeth to improve to 3-2, as Murphy had 26 points, LaBrie 17 and Nate Shields-Auble 10 points and 11 rebounds.

"We definitely had a height advantage (tonight)," said Shields-Auble. "Our guards looked for us and we went inside-out."

"We needed a big win," added Clippers coach Adam Smith. "Beating Cape, whenever you beat them, is a big win, especially when you've already lost to Falmouth and Greely. You're judged by how you do against those teams. We had to beat a top team before Christmas. Tonight, we got it. We didn't talk about this being a big game, but it really was. We had a really tough stretch and you have to find a win somewhere."

Yarmouth is back in action Jan. 3 at Gray-New Gloucester, visits Freeport the following night, then the schedule gets difficult again, including a visit to Cape Elizabeth Jan. 11 and rematches versus Falmouth and Greely.

"We have to do better on the boards," LaBrie said. "We're getting beat there. Rebounding helps us get going better on offense."

Freeport came into the week still seeking its first win. The Falcons lost at Poland (64-45), at home to Greely (92-31), at Fryeburg (57-39), at home to Cape Elizabeth (68-59), at York (75-62) and at home to Wells (74-51). Chandler Birmingham had 17 points against the Knights and 25 against the Wildcats. Matt Schultheis had nine versus the Rangers. Jack Davenport scored 16 against the Raiders and 18 against the Warriors. Brandon Qualls had 19 in the loss to the Capers. Freeport is at Kennebunk Jan. 3 and hosts Yarmouth the following night.

North Yarmouth Academy took a 2-2 mark into the break. The Panthers won their opener, 51-50, at Traip, as Chase Gendron had 18 points. After losses at home to Waynflete (66-42, despite 12 from Gendron) and at Old Orchard Beach (67-52, despite 14 apiece from Gendron and El Tayeb Dahia), NYA beat host A.R. Gould (76-42, behind 18 from Gendron). The Panthers go to Sacopee Valley Jan. 3 and host Pine Tree Academy the following day.

Girls' basketball

On the girls' side, Greely opened with a loss at Gray-New Gloucester, won four in a row, then lost at Falmouth to go into the break 4-2. Against the Patriots, a 54-31 setback, freshman Moira Train had nine points. Greely then downed visiting Freeport (55-46, Blaise Tardif had 25 points), host Kennebunk (50-25, behind 12 each from Tardif and Haley Felkel) and visiting Yarmouth, 51-28, as junior standout Ashley Storey made her return from shoulder surgery and scored 11 and Tardif added 13 as the Rangers beat the Clippers for the 16th straight time.

"It felt really good to be back," said Storey. "I was really excited."

"After our first game, we had a reality check," said Felkel. "It's a young team. Defense and pushing the ball is important. I feel like we're all fighting game after game."

Greely then downed visiting Poland (77-58, behind 18 from Storey, 14 from Jordynne Copp and 12 from Train), but lost at the Yachtsmen Saturday, 53-45, despite 14 from Storey. The Rangers are back in action Jan. 3 at Fryeburg.

"I think we'll be a team to be reckoned with in a league with a lot of good teams," said Greely coach Joel Rogers.

Falmouth took a 2-4 mark into the break. The Yachtsmen opened with a 57-45 home loss to York (Dayna Vasconcelos had eight points), then edged host Yarmouth, 38-35 (behind 10 points from Ally Hickey). After losses at home to Wells (46-38, despite 11 points from Hickey), at home to Poland (41-36) and at Lake Region (56-45, Jessica Burton had 13 points), Falmouth bounced back Saturday with a 53-45 home win over Greely, as Hickey had 19 and Vasconcelos added 15. The Yachtsmen are at Cape Elizabeth Jan. 3.

Freeport opened with losses at Poland (52-31) and Greely (55-46). Nina Davenport had 10 against the Knights and 27 versus the Rangers. The Falcons beat visiting Fryeburg, 42-37, behind 26 from Davenport, then lost at Cape Elizabeth, 48-36, despite 21 from Davenport.

"The team that got hotter shooting-wise prevailed," Freeport coach Jim Seavey said. "They shot the ball well in the second half and we couldn't put the ball in the ocean if we were sitting in a boat."

A 47-46 home loss to York dropped the Falcons to 1-4. Davenport had 29. Freeport goes to Wells Monday of next week and hosts Kennebunk Jan. 3.

"It's early, but it doesn't get easier," said Seavey. "It's a very strong league top to bottom. We have to come ready to play. We'll keep plugging away and working at playing fundamental basketball."

Yarmouth has been competitive under new coach Chris Strong. The Clippers won their opener, 57-25, at Kennebunk (behind 15 points apiece from Sean Cahill and Shannon Fallon), then lost at home to Falmouth (38-35) and Poland (46-44, Cory Langenbach had 12 points, Grace O'Donnell 11 and Abby Nielsen 10) and at Greely, 51-28, as Nielsen had 10 points.

"I felt we were competitive," Strong said. "Greely's a very good team. They're very balanced. They have experience. They have speed. We knew it would be a challenge, but I was proud of the girls and their fight until the end. It's been a learning experience, but I have good support."

Yarmouth fell to 1-4 with a 41-28 loss at Cape Elizabeth Saturday (O'Donnell had seven points). The Clippers are back in action Jan. 3 at Gray-New Gloucester.

NYA is 1-3 at press time. The Panthers opened with a 66-27 home loss to Traip (Charlotte Esancy had 14 points), then lost at defending Class C champion Waynflete, 78-26, despite 16 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks and three steals from Esancy.

"Charlotte is handling the ball and trying to score," said Panthers coach Liz Smith. "If she had someone to get her the ball, she'd be even better. She's not even in shape yet."

After falling at home to Old Orchard Beach, 69-25 (Esancy had 10 points), the Panthers got in the win column with a 61-38 home victory over Hebron (Esancy led the way with 21).

NYA is back in action Jan. 3 at home versus Sacopee Valley. The Panthers host Pine Tree Academy the following day.

Boys' hockey

Falmouth's defending Class A state champion boys' hockey team has been up-and-down in the early going. The Yachtsmen beat host Cape Elizabeth, 10-2, in the opener, behind a hat trick from Isaac Nordstrom. After a a 2-0 loss at Scarborough, Falmouth downed visiting St. Dom's, 3-1. A 7-2 loss at Messalonskee followed, but Falmouth bounced back Thursday to down visiting Thornton Academy, 4-1. Brandon Peters scored twice. The Yachtsmen are home with Biddeford Thursday and play a countable Dudley Cup game at Greely.

Speaking of the defending Class B champion Rangers, they lost, 5-1, at Kennebunk in the opener, settled for a 4-4 home tie versus Cape Elizabeth, then got in the win column, 4-2, at Maranacook. Reid Howland had the winning goal. Greely is back in action Jan. 1 at home versus Falmouth.

Yarmouth dropped its opener, 5-3, at Gorham (despite Isaak Dearden's two goals), then rallied for a 5-4 overtime win over visiting Brunswick (Dearden tied the game late in the regulation and David Clemmer had the winner) and blanked visiting Gardiner, 4-0 (as Dearden scored twice during a four-goal third period surge). The Clippers were at Kennebunk Monday and return to action Jan. 4 at York.

Girls' hockey

On the girls' side, the Yarmouth/Freeport co-op team has been the feel-good story of the season, already eclipsing last year's win total. Yarmouth/Freeport improved to 7-0 with a 4-0 win at Winslow last Wednesday (Emily Johnson had two goals).

"It's really awesome," Johnson said. "I'm never been on a team that's done so well."

"The chemistry and leadership we have right now is where we hoped it would be and it's only getting better," said coach Jeff Haley. "The returning players have continued to make progress and we have freshmen who have learned the ropes and are stepping in and contributing."

Yarmouth/Freeport hosted Capeflete Monday and goes to Leavitt/Edward Little Saturday.

Two-time defending Greely suffered its lone loss of the season to Yarmouth/Freeport, 3-2, but bounced back and improved to 4-1 with a 4-1 win at York. Maura Perry and Danita Storey both had two goals. The Rangers is home with Winslow Monday and welcomes Falmouth in the Dudley Cup New Year's day.

Falmouth lost its first two games, 4-1 at Scarborough and 6-5 at Capeflete, before beating host Brunswick (5-0), Portland/Deering (9-0) and York (5-1). Evie Clement had two goals against the Dragons. The Yachtsmen play their first home game Saturday versus Gorham/Bonny Eagle, then go to Greely New Year's Day.

"We'll be a good team come February," said Falmouth coach Rob Carrier. "The journey it will take to get there will be a little rough, but hopefully it pays dividends at the end.”

Swimming

Greely's powerhouse boys' swim team opened with wins over visiting South Portland (61-33) and host Scarborough (90-83). The Rangers are back in action Jan. 3 at Kennebunk.

The girls' team is 3-0, beating visiting South Portland (63-25), host Scarborough (110-58) and host McAuley (89-23). Greely is at Kennebunk Jan. 3.

Falmouth's boys lost at home to South Portland (85-78) and fell at Falmouth (99-80). The Yachtsmen are home with Greely on Jan. 9

Falmouth's girls beat visiting South Portland (114-54) and host Scarborough (115-60). The Yachtsmen go to McAuley Jan. 3.

Yarmouth's boys won, 108-52, at Bonny Eagle in its opener, then lost, 103-62, to visiting Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers go to Windham Jan. 4.

The girls opened with a 94-59 win at Bonny Eagle, then lost at home to Cape Elizabeth, 103-58. Yarmouth is at Windham Jan. 4.

Indoor track

The indoor track regular season begins Jan. 3.

Skiing

The Alpine and Nordic ski seasons begin after the new year.

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