Portland-area teams seeking strong finishing kick
(Ed. Note: For full Cheverus-South Portland boys' and girls' basketball and Portland-Deering boys' basketball game stories, please see theforecaster.net/section/term/35)
The swimming postseason begins Friday, basketball's regular season ends a week later and it won't be long until state championships are bestowed in several sports.
With that in mind, here's where city teams stand as the winter sports season gets short:
While Cheverus, Deering and Portland all played pivotal games last weekend (see stories), the Waynflete boys' team is running out of time to make a playoff move.
The Flyers were 2-1 last week, and are now 5-8. But they now currently reside in the No. 12 spot in the Western Class C Heal Points standings, with the top 10 teams making the cut. In recent action, Waynflete defeated host Gould, 72-37, and rival North Yarmouth Academy, 42-34, (behind 11 points each from seniors John Malia and Bill Ngoal), but dropped a heartbreaking 63-54 overtime decision at Hyde (despite 16 from Malia and 15 from classmate Cecil Gardner). The Flyers are off until Friday when they host Hyde. Waynflete closes with games next week at Wells and at home versus Gould.
On the girls' side, Cheverus earned another huge win Friday night, 46-42, at South Portland. Freshmen forward Brooke Flaherty scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the second half and freshmen guard Mikayla Mayberry saved the day with a clutch steal and coast-to-coast layup with just 29 seconds left in the game to stretch what was a two-point lead into the final four-point advantage.
“We want to play an up-tempo style,” said Cheverus coach Richie Ashley. “We’re not as big as most teams, and against a well-coached, veteran team like South Portland, we have to play that way. We didn’t want them to be able to get settled and pound it down low. When we play fast it makes it easier for us to do that. If we play together and put the ball in the basket, that allows us to set up our press. I think we’re a pretty good team when we do that.”
The Stags (now a progam-best 10-3 and fifth in the Western A Heals) hosted Gorham Tuesday and welcome Marshwood Thursday. Cheverus closes at Sanford, then at home against McAuley and South Portland.
Deering's two-time defending Class A champions rolled, 59-30, at Westbrook, 74-38, at home over Portland and, 59-46, over visiting Marshwood last week to extend its win streak to 11 and improve to 12-2 (good for second in the Western A Heals behind undefeated Scarborough). The Rams got 15 points from junior Kayla Burchill and 12 from junior Aarika Viola against the Blue Blazes, 27 from Burchill versus the Bulldogs and 28 from Burchill in the win over the Hawks. Deering was at Windham Tuesday, visits McAuley Thursday, then ends its regular season next week with games at Portland and home versus McAuley.
The Lions are now 9-4 after winning, 47-22, over visiting Westbrook and, 49-30, at Kennebunk last weekend. Freshman Hannah Cooke had 16 points and senior Caitlin Cimino added 11 versus the Blue Blazes. McAuley (third in Western A) played at Massabesic Tuesday, hosts Deering Thursday and Gorham Saturday. The Lions close the regular season next week with visits to rivals Cheverus and Deering.
Portland's hopes are dwindling. The Bulldogs lost, 64-36, at home to Windham and, 74-38, at Deering last week to fall to 3-9 (12th in the region, but only the top nine make the playoffs). Portland hosted Sanford Tuesday, visits unbeaten Scarborough Thursday and hosts Biddeford Friday. Next week, the Bulldogs have games at South Portland home versus Deering and Bonny Eagle to close out.
In Western C, Waynflete is once again right in the thick of things. The Flyers rolled, 59-32, over visiting Hebron (senior Morgan Woodhouse had 19 points and 13 rebounds, junior Lydia Stegemann added 16 points and freshman Martha Veroneau finished with 13), 50-30, at Hyde and, 61-36, at NYA (Woodhouse had 22 points and 12 boards). Waynflete (third in a tightly bunched region) hosts Hyde Friday and Wells Tuesday before closing the regular season at home against Greater Portland Christian School on Feb. 5.
On the ice, Cheverus ended a nine-day break Monday with a game at Bonny Eagle. The Stags (5-4 and 11th in the Western A Heals) play at Sanford Wednesday, host Bonny Eagle Thursday and welcome red-hot Falmouth Saturday.
Deering lost, 3-0, at Gray-New Gloucester last Monday, but ended a two-game skid Saturday with a 9-3 win at Windham (the Rams' first victory since Dec. 23). Deering (4-3-3 and sixth in Western A) hosted Edward Little Monday, goes to Marshwood Thursday and visits Lake Region Saturday.
Portland is 5-6 and eighth in Western A after downing Lake Region, 8-3, and losing, 6-3, at South Portland last week. The Bulldogs go to Yarmouth Wednesday and host Kennebunk Saturday.
The top 16 teams qualify for the playoffs.
On the girls' side, Cheverus is closing in on a perfect regular season. Saturday, the Stags rolled past host Portland, 8-0, to improve to 15-0 (first in the West region). Cheverus plays at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday, hosts St. Dom's Thursday, then closes the year Saturday at Gorham.
Deering and Portland have work to do to make the playoffs (only the top five teams qualify).
The Rams won, 4-1, at Portland last Monday, then lost at Greely, 8-1, Friday. Deerng is now 3-10-2, but they're eighth in the Heals. Deering hosted Cape Elizabeth Monday and welcomes York in the finale Wednesday.
The Bulldogs have dropped six in a row, including recent losses to their city rivals. Portland is 5-8-1 and sixth in the West. The Bulldogs were home with Biddeford Monday, go to Scarborough Wednesday, host Yarmouth Thursday and close at Cape Elizabeth Saturday.
The girls' hockey postseason begins Feb. 3.
On the track at the Expo, Cheverus' boys defeated Westbrook and Biddeford to win their meet. Deering beat out Thornton Academy and Windham. Portland was third against Scarborough and Noble.
On the girls' side, Deering was second to Thornton Academy, but beat Windham and McAuley. Cheverus beat Westbrook, but placed second to Biddeford. Portland defeated Noble, but came in a distant second to Scarborough.
The regular season wraps up Saturday as the city teams all do battle. The SMAA championship meet is Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Expo. The Class A state meet is Monday, Feb. 15, at the University of Southern Maine.
In the pool Saturday night, Deering swept Portland. The Rams boys triumphed, 109-74, while the girls were victorious, 102-52. Portland's boys were coming off a 104-74 win over Biddeford, while the girls lost, 90-56, to the Tigers.
"The boys are coming along," said Portland coach Martha White. "We're 4-2. We have six individuals qualified for states so far. That's the most in several years. We have a diver qualified as well, so that's a first in who knows how long. On the girls' side, we have one qualifier so far. I expect we'll have at least another girl and a couple more boys."
Cheverus' boys downed Falmouth (147-61) and Hyde (147-72), while the girls lost 134-130 to the defending Class B champion Yachtsmen.
McAuley's won 134-123 at Biddeford and lost 164-123 to powerhouse Scarborough.
Friday (boys) and Saturday (girls), Cheverus, Deering and McAuley will compete in the north division Southwesterns in Westbrook. Portland competes in the south division the following weekend.
Deering's wrestling team competed against Bonny Eagle and Kennebunk Saturday, losing both matches: 69-6, to the Scots and, 48-15, to the Rams. Deering has a pair of regular season meets remaining, then will host the Western A regional meet on Feb. 6.
Eric Carson contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org