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(Ed. Note: Watch for a recap of the rest of the winter sports season next week)
Entering the 2010-11 boys’ and girls’ basketball season, consensus held that it wasn’t going to be anything special, that the quality of play would be down and that there weren’t that many talented players in our midst.
In reality, the season which just ended proved to be one for the memory banks.
Greely and Yarmouth’s boys’ teams made it to the tournament, where the top-seeded Rangers and fourth-ranked Clippers both rolled to easy quarterfinal round wins. They squared off in the semis, where Yarmouth sprung the upset. The Clippers’ quest for a first state final since 1973 was denied by Cape Elizabeth in the Western B Final.
On the girls’ side, North Yarmouth Academy got to the preliminary round, where it lost to St. Dom’s. That left Greely as the lone tournament team. After another win over Mountain Valley in the quarterfinals, the Rangers again ran in to nemesis York in the semifinals and was ousted.
Before basketball recedes into the background, at least somewhat, here’s a look back at the five top stories of the 2010-11 campaign.
5) Greely boys earn top seed
The Greely boys entered the year as the favorite and lived up to billing, losing only to Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth at home en route to a 16-2 regular season. Led by senior scorer Sam Johnston and a dynamic inside tandem of senior Tanner Storey and freshman Michael McDevitt, the Rangers imposed their will on most foes. Greely earned the top seed for the tournament and had its way with No. 8 Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals, but another postseason ended in disappointment with a loss to Yarmouth in the semis.
4) NYA girls finish regular season strong
The NYA girls were 4-6 after a loss at Hyde on Jan. 19, but the Panthers would finish strong, winning six of eight to earn the 10th and final Western Class C playoff spot. NYA would be ousted by No. 7 St. Dom’s in the preliminary round, but wound up 10-9, its best mark since 2003-04.
3) Greely girls ousted again by York
Greely’s girls’ team has followed a pretty simple script that past three seasons. First, the Rangers post a strong regular season record (14-4 this winter). Then, they meet and defeat Mountain Valley in the tournament (Greely held off the Falcons, 42-39, in the quarterfinals). Finally, the Rangers run in to York and the season ends. This time around, Greely had a strong first period against the undefeated and defending state champion Wildcats, but struggled the rest of the way in a 46-15 defeat. The Rangers wound up 15-5, their third straight season with at least that many wins.
2) Falmouth’s playoff appearance run ends
The last time the Falmouth boys fell short of the postseason, 1984, Ronald Reagan was still in his first term in the White House and the Baltimore Orioles were the defending World Series champions. A year after winning it all, the Yachtsmen, who had been decimated by graduation, played hard against a tough schedule, but couldn’t find a way to keep its playoff streak alive. The season was on the line in the finale, at eventual regional champion Cape Elizabeth, Feb. 11, but Falmouth suffered a 53-44 defeat and wound up 8-10. The Falmouth girls hadn’t missed the postseason this century, but they too wound up just short, going 9-9. Look for both squads to rebound next winter.
1) Yarmouth boys reach regional final
Yarmouth’s boys made their share of history this winter. The Clippers not only won in Cumberland for the first time in memory, they also swept Falmouth and enjoyed a huge victory at Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth’s 14-4 regular season record marked the fifth straight year the Clippers have posted a winning campaign. Then, there was the tournament. First, fourth-ranked Yarmouth had its way with No. 5 Mountain Valley, pulling away to an easy 77-52 victory behind senior Luke Pierce and juniors Josh Britten and Sam Torres. Then, the Clippers earned their first semifinal round win since 1974, shocking top-ranked Greely, 54-42. Dreams of a first trip to the state game since 1973 were denied by No. 2 Cape Elizabeth, 61-47, in the regional final as the Capers led from start to finish, but there’s no denying that Yarmouth’s efforts were something to behold this winter.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @foresports
Yarmouth senior Luke Pierce’s heroics helped the Clippers make it to the regional final for the first time since 1974.
The defense of junior Jack Cooleen helped the Falmouth boys stay in contention this winter, but the defending Class B champions fell just short of a playoff berth.