Stretch run begins for local teams
(Ed. Note: For the complete Scarborough-Portland and South Portland-Cheverus boys' basketball, South Portland-Cheverus girls' basketball and Capeflete-Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG and Scarborough Greely girls' hockey game stories, see theforecaster.net)
The championship month of February is right around the corner and local teams are starting to play with urgency as they seek to improve their playoff standing.
Here's a glimpse at the week gone by and what's on tap:
South Portland's boys' basketball team remains one of the very best in Western Class A. The Red Riots improved to 11-2 and third in the Heal Points standings after downing visiting Cheverus (61-50) and host Marshwood (68-65). Against the Stags, a superb first quarter (9 points, 8 rebounds) from Ruay Bol helped open up a lead which eventually reached 25-9, but the Stags came back and took a lead in the third period. A three-point play from Jaren Muller gave South Portland the lead for good, 39-38, after three quarters and the Red Riots pulled away in the fourth period behind 10 points from Jack Fiorini and went on to the victory.
"The team did what we had to do and we got the win," said Bol.
"We kind of lost focus in the second quarter," Fiorini said. "We weren't looking at what we needed to do to finish. Coach told us we needed to step it up and that it was our game to win. That's what we did. Even when we were down, we had a good feeling. We felt like we always had the advantage. That helped us come back and pull it out."
"It's a great character builder, this game," added Red Riots coach Phil Conley. "I thought our pressure defense really jump-started us in both halves when we made runs. That's a credit to the kids' hustle and desire. (Cheverus) went up by two or three points, but our kids dug deep. They continue to show me that they're not going to quit. That's the sign of a great team to not get down on themselves and come back."
Muller had 20 points and Fiorini added 18 against the Hawks. South Portland is home against Windham Friday and goes to Gorham Tuesday.
Scarborough fell at Bonny Eagle Friday, 68-50, then lost at home to undefeated, defending Class A champion Portland in a thriller Tuesday, 78-71, to drop to 7-7 and eighth in Western A. Against the Scots, Milani Hicks had 22 points. In the loss to the Bulldogs, Nate Wessel had 24 points, Jake Gardner added 21 and Sam Freeman had 15, but despite a valiant effort, the Red Storm fell just short.
"My kids competed hard," said Scarborough coach Tony DiBiase. "I thought we gave them all they wanted. I was happy with that. We competed well, which is what I wanted to do."
The Red Storm go to Deering Friday and host Cheverus Tuesday.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth extended its win streak to six Friday with a 64-43 home win over Kennebunk. Quinn Hewitt had 13 points, Finn Bowe added 11 and Jack O'Rourke ended up with 10. The Capers (10-2 and third in the standings) are at York Friday, visit Greely Saturday and go to Poland Tuesday.
In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School was 3-7 and 16th (12 teams make the playoffs) after a 73-7 win at Highview Christian and a 79-43 home loss to Forest Hills. After hosting Sacopee Valley Monday, the Lions welcome Temple Academy Wednesday.
On the girls' side, Cape Elizabeth has found its form and produced a signature victory Monday. First, the Capers won at Kennebunk Friday, 49-32, behind Montana Braxton's 13 points. Cape Elizabeth then shocked visiting Lake Region, 46-45, behind 16 points from Maddie Bowe and a dozen from Braxton. That win elevated the 8-4 Capers to 10th in the Western Class B Heals. Cape Elizabeth hosts York Friday, welcomes Greely Saturday and plays host to Poland Tuesday.
In Western A, South Portland improved to 10-3 and fifth after downing visiting Cheverus (61-45) and visiting Marshwood (68-50). The win over the Stags came on "Strike Out Cancer Night," as the Red Riots raised awareness of the disease which recently took the lives of Paul Black, the father of senior center Holly Black, and Martha Sauter, the mother of junior forward/center Meaghan Doyle. After a poignant pregame ceremony, Black fittingly scored the game's first basket and South Portland raced to a 20-2 lead and never looked back. Cheverus did get as close as seven points, 38-31, in the third period, but the Red Riots, who have had trouble closing out games this winter, didn't let it slip away. Black posted 14 points and 12 rebounds, registering a double-double on a most emotional night. Maddie Hasson also posted a double-double (14 points, 11 boards), Abby Cavallaro added 11 points and Doyle finished with six points and six rebounds before leaving the game with an injury.
"It was definitely a hard game for both Meaghan and me because we wished our parents were here with us, but I know my Dad was here," Black said.
"We knew it was a big night for (Holly and Meaghan)," Hasson said. "It was about remembering what great people their parents were. They've played incredible. It was incredible to watch. After everything that's happened, they came in with a special purpose and you could see that tonight."
"We had to put together a complete game," South Portland coach Lynne Hasson added. "Four quarters. Two halves. I didn't sense panic tonight. I was pleased."
Maddie Hasson had 22 points and Megan Graff finished with 15 in the win over the Hawks. The Red Riots go to Windham Friday and have a key home test versus Gorham Tuesday.
Scarborough was 7-6 and shot up to seventh after a 49-36 home win over Bonny Eagle and a 42-33 victory at Portland. Ashley Briggs had 13 points and Sam Sparda 10 in the victory. Against the Bulldogs, Briggs had 13 points and Brooke Malone added 12. The Red Storm host red-hot Deering Friday and visit Cheverus Tuesday.
In Western D, GPCS was 2-7 and 14th (11 teams make the playoffs) after a 59-41 win at Highview Christian and a 63-43 home loss to Forest Hills. The Lions go to Hebron Friday and host Temple Academy Wednesday.
On the ice, Scarborough's boys settled for a 1-1 tie at Gorham and beat host Cony/Monmouth (7-4) last week, then lost at Lewiston Monday, 3-2, to fall to 7-4-2, good for second behind two-time defending state champion Falmouth in the Western A Heals. In the tie, Sean McGovern had the goal. The Red Storm gave up three third period goals at the Blue Devils.
"We lost our composure a little bit when they scored that first goal," Scarborough coach Norm Gagne said. "I talk about pressure points and that was a pressure point. You could sit back and feel sorry for yourself or you can bounce back and try to answer."
Scarborough hosts Cape Elizabeth Saturday.
South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete was 7-4 and seventh (eight teams make the playoffs) after a a 5-4 overtime win at Mt. Ararat and a 2-1 triumph at Marshwood. Kyle Halvorsen had two goals, including the tying score, and Andrew Whipple had two goals, including the OT winner, against the Eagles. In the win over Marshwood, Whipple had an early goal and Chris Mitchell scored the winner in the final minute. The Red Riots go to Windham Saturday.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth was up to fourth at 7-4 after a 2-1 home win over Edward Little and a 2-0 victory at Yarmouth. Ben Ekedahl and Curtis Guimond had the goals against the Red Eddies. Jack Drinan and Alex Glidden had the goals against the Clippers, while Ross LeBlond had the shutout in net. The Capers are at Scarborough Saturday and visit Kennebunk Wednesday.
On the girls' side, defending state champion Scarborough remains first in the West Region with a 10-3-1 record. Last week, the Red Storm defeated visiting Portland/Deering (9-2) and lost a wild one at Greely (7-5). Monday, Scarborough settled for a 3-3 tie at Lewiston. Sami Shoebottom had four goals in the victory. She added three against the Rangers, but the Red Storm couldn't quite dig out of 4-0 and 5-1 holes.
"We tell the girls that every team is beatable," Scarborough coach Caitlin Cashman said. "A two-goal lead is the worst lead. We didn't play scared. We went at them. We had some good breaks, then we had some bad breaks too. I've coached now for six years and we've always been a third period team. It drives me crazy. We've changed our warmups a million times. You can't be a one period team."
In the tie, Shoebottom scored twice, including producing the equalizer late, and Kristen Murray also tickled the twine.
"We can stick with any team," Shoebottom said. "It doesn't matter if they're undefeated or whatever. It was intense and we fed off of our mojo and it paid off."
Scarborough hosts Capeflete Saturday, visits Falmouth Wednesday and closes the regular season at Cheverus Jan. 31.
Capeflete fell to 7-8 and fifth in the West after losses visiting Gorham/Bonny Eagle (4-3), visiting Yarmouth (6-1) and host Edward Little/Leavitt (4-0). Capeflete is at Scarborough Saturday, hosts York Wednesday and closes at home against Biddeford Jan. 31.
"Biddeford and York are big games for us, because we've already beaten them each once and if we beat them again, they won't pass us in the Heals," said Capeflete coach Bob Mills. "I'm feeling confident we'll be a playoff team and we'll be healthy. Anything can happen in the playoffs."
Indoor track league action resumed last weekend in both the Western Maine Conference and Southwestern Maine Activities Association in Gorham.
Scarborough's boys and girls defeated Deering, Marshwood and Windham.
The girls got wins from Samantha Saraceno in the junior 800 (2 minutes, 41.36 seconds), Ellen Shaw in the junior 55 hurdles (9.06 seconds) and junior high jump (5 feet, 2 inches), Sydney Rusak in the junior long jump (14-10) and open 55 hurdles (9.34), Hannah St. Germain in the junior shot put (25-10.25), Kayla Griffis in the senior 200 (28.9), Sarah Rinaldi in the senior high jump (5-1), senior triple jump (32-10) and senior long jump (14-9), Laura Volan in the open mile (5:29.16), Lucy Malia in the open two-mile (13:01.16) and their junior 4x200 (1:55.02) and the open 1,600 sprint medley (4:49.56) relay teams.
First-place finishers for the boys included Ben Batoosingh in the junior 55 (7.31) and the junior 400 (59.31), Matthew Blaisdell in the junior 200 (25.4) and junior triple jump (37-3), Shamus Malia in the junior 800 (2:12.57), Connor Langlois in the junior 55 hurdles (8.64) and the open 55 hurdles (8.79), Sam Rusak in the junior high jump (6-0), open pole vault (13-6) and junior long jump (18-2.5), Sebastian Osborne in the junior shot put (40-1), Jerry Kenney in the senior 200 (23.63), Colin James in the senior 400 (53.99), Griffin Madden in the senior 55 hurdles (8.08), Edward Jones in the senior high jump (5-8), Michael Granzier in the senior triple jump (40-6), Hugh McSorley in the senior shot put (47-1), Colin Tardiff in the open 600 (1:20.74) and the junior 4x200 (1:42.91) and open 1,600 sprint medley (3:58.97) relays.
South Portland swept Gorham and Biddeford.
The boys got wins from Maxwell Holmes in the junior 55 (7.32), Zachary Dyer in the junior 400 (58.15) and junior 55 hurdles (9.78), Nathan Begonia in the junior long jump (17-3.5), Michael Cuesta in the senior 200 (24.55), the open pole vault (11-6) and the senior triple jump (43-11), Daniel Guiliani in the senior shot put (55-7.5), Jacob Maloney in the open 600 (1:28.41) and senior 800 (2:15.39), Henry Curran in the senior high jump (5-2), and the 4x200 relay (1:44.15).
First-place girls included Juliana Selser in the junior 400 (1:02.1), Callie O'Brien in the junior 55 hurdles (9.36), Lingdong Bol in the junior high jump (4-10), Sophie Cummings in the junior long jump (13-2.75), open 55 hurdles (9.85) and the junior triple jump (29-5.25), Lauren Magnuson in the senior 55 (7.89) and senior 200 (27.7), Brittany Upton in the senior 400 (1:11.25), Casey Loring in the open 600 (1:37.17) and senior 800 (2:36.59), Serena McKenzie in the open two-mile (11:53.99), Edita Isokovic in the senior 55 hurdles (10.37) and the senior high jump (4-8), Michelle Medici in the senior shot put (31-0), and the junior 4x200 (1:58.76), open 4x800 (12:26.99) and the open 1,600 spring medley (4:49.97) relay teams.
Cape Elizabeth's boys were third and the girls fourth in a nine-team meet.
In the boys' meet, winners included Matthew Concannon in the junior 200 (25.6), Mitchell Morris in the open 800 (2:09.01) and the open mile (4:31.85) and Luc Houle in the junior shot put (33-2).
Eva Brydson won the girls' senior 400 (1:05.44).
Friday, in the early WMC meet, Cape Elizabeth faces Falmouth, Freeport, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, St. Dom's, Traip and York.
Saturday, Scarborough faces Noble and Portland, while South Portland faces Thornton Academy, Westbrook and Windham.
In the pool, Cape Elizabeth's girls' swim team beat Falmouth, 109.5-67.5. The boys lost to the Yachtsmen, 90-74. The Capers go to Deering Friday.
Scarborough's boys handled Sanford, 108-62. The girls prevailed, 93-77. The girls face McAuley Friday. The boys are back in action Jan. 30, at Greely.
South Portland's girls handled McAuley last week, 123-57. The Red Riots host Greely Friday.
Cape Elizabeth's Nordic ski team took part in a classical race last Wednesday at Starks Hill. The boys came in third, while the girls were sixth. The boys were paced by Daniel Menz, who was 10th in 19 minutes, 52.7 seconds. The fastest Capers girl was Rhoen Fiutak (12th, 24:44.6).
On the Alpine side, in a WMC giant slalom meet at Shawnee Peak Monday, Cape Elizabeth girls tied Fryeburg Academy for second behind Yarmouth. The Capers' top individual was Caroline Paclat (who had a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 4.30 seconds). The boys didn't score as a team, but Jon Fiutak had the ninth-best time (1:07.62).
Scarborough's boys were first and the girls second at an SMAA GS meet at Shawnee Peak. The boys got a third-place from Nathaniel Gehrke (1:06.34). Andrew Mills was fourth (1:08.08). The fastest girl was Olivia Stanton (sixth, 1:17.60).
Scarborough's wrestling team dropped a close 40-36 decision to Portland and downed Deering, 48-34. The 1-10 Red Storm competes at Westbrook Saturday.
Sun Journal staff writer Mike Kraft contributed to this story.