The winter sports season begins its frenzied postseason this weekend when one local swim team takes part in the Southwesterns and area wrestlers compete in the Western A regional meet at Noble High School.
Basketball and hockey teams still have some work to do as their regular seasons near a close. Skiing and track are gearing up for February as well.
Here’s a look at the week that was and what’s to come.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ basketball: Deering bounces back
While Cheverus beat back another top contender and Portland ran into a buzz-saw from Westbrook (please see stories, page 11), the Deering boys’ basketball team rebounded from home losses to Cheverus and Portland with a pair of victories.
Last Tuesday, the Rams defeated visiting Massabesic 72-56 behind 22 points from senior Khadar Abbas. Friday, Deering improved to 10-4 with a 61-52 triumph at Biddeford. Junior Ian Nono had 18 points and Abbas added 16.
The Rams (tied for fifth with Portland in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings) hosted Marshwood Tuesday (too late for this edition), play at Portland Friday, then wrap up the regular season next week with a home game versus South Portland Feb. 4 and a trip to Cheverus Feb. 6.
In Western Class C, Waynflete helped its playoff chances immensely last week with two wins in three games. Last Tuesday, the Flyers went to Hyde and came away with a 63-54 triumph. Junior John Malia continued his stellar play with 26 points. After losing 69-49 at Western B contender Yarmouth Friday night (despite 13 points apiece from senior Hassan Jeylani and sophomore Joe Veroneau), Waynflete improved to 4-10 Saturday after a 48-43 victory at Old Orchard Beach. Malia led the way with 22 points.
The Flyers (12th in the latest Western Class C Heal Points standings, the top 14 qualify for the postseason) was at St. Dom’s Tuesday (too late for this edition) and hosts Sacopee Friday. Waynflete closes the regular year next week with a trip to Lake Region Tuesday and a home game versus Hyde Feb. 6.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ basketball: Waynflete goes OT for big win
On the girls’ side, Waynflete has the top spot in Western C Heals all to itself after a four victories last week. The Flyers defeated visiting Traip 54-39 last Tuesday (behind senior Mariam Qazi’s 14 points) and host Hyde 52-22 Wednesday (as senior Annie Cutler went off for 20).
Friday, Waynflete played host to Yarmouth, a Western B contender desperately needing a win to secure a playoff spot.
The Clippers led 14-12 after one period. Seven points from junior standout Morgan Woodhouse kept the Flyers close. Waynflete rode an 11-0 run to go up 22-14, but Yarmouth scored the final eight points of the half, making it 22-22 at the break.
The Clippers went ahead four separate times and each time the Flyers tied the game in the third. Yarmouth was able to take a 35-32 lead into the fourth on a long-distance prayer of a 3 at the horn.
With 6:22 to play, Yarmouth went up 39-34, but Waynflete answered, going on an 11-2 run. Cutler heated up, scoring six points, the final two on a jumper to give the Flyers a 45-41 lead with just 1:56 to play.
The Clippers pulled within two on a rebound layup from freshman Morgan Cahill with 53.8 seconds to play, but it appeared the hosts would hold on down the stretch. After Cutler missed the front end of a one-and-one with 9.9 seconds to go, Yarmouth appeared to throw the ball away, but the officials allowed the Clippers to keep possession. They raced down-court and Cahill made a layup as time expired to force overtime.
The extra session was all Waynflete. Qazi put the Flyers ahead to stay with a 3-ball. Senior Zoe Sobel and Woodhouse both added a pair of insurance free throws and Waynflete held on to win, 52-45.
“(Yarmouth’s) big and a little different than some of the teams we’ve played,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “Annie heated up. Sometimes it’s as simple as coming down and making shots. That energy helps you on defense. Basketball’s a game of spurts. We had some good spurts at the right time. We hit key foul shots at the end which we continued to do.”
The Flyers were led by unheralded senior Nina Russem’s 14 points. Qazi had 13 and Woodhouse 11.
Saturday, Waynflete improved to 12-2 with a 41-21 home win over Old Orchard Beach. Qazi had 20 points (thanks in large part to a half dozen 3-pointers).
Waynflete went to St. Dom’s Tuesday (too late for this edition). It closes its season with three home games: Friday versus Sacopee, Feb. 4 against three-time defending Western B champion Lake Region and Feb. 6 against Hyde.
In Western A, Deering remains the gold standard and doesn’t appear bound for a defeat anytime soon. The Rams made it 14 in a row Friday with a 59-40 home win over Portland.
Deering broke open a tight game with a 20-2 run in the second period and rolled behind 18 points from sophomore Kayla Burchill and 14 from junior Claire Ramonas.
The Rams, first in the Heals, went to Massabesic Tuesday (too late for this edition). They visit Marshwood Thursday, then close the regular year at home against South Portland Tuesday and Cheverus Feb. 6.
The Bulldogs got 17 points from senior Nyachuol Biliew in their loss to Deering. Monday, Portland hoped to take a major step toward its first postseason berth since 2005, but the Bulldogs lost 58-47 to visiting South Portland to fall to 6-9.
Portland received 23 points from Biliew, but had an abundance of turnovers and missed shots which allowed the Red Riots to build a lead of as much as 20.
The Bulldogs (11th in the Heals, the top 11 qualify) host Scarborough Wednesday, go to Cheverus Friday, then close the regular year at McAuley Feb. 6.
Speaking of the Lions, they’ve awakened the echoes in recent days. McAuley edged host South Portland 51-45 Friday, then downed visiting Bonny Eagle 48-35 to improve to 8-6. At the Red Riots, freshman Sadie Dipierro erupted for a team-high 14 points. Against the Scots, sophomore Rebecca Knight scored 20.
The Lions, now sixth in the Heals and riding a three-game win streak, visit Thornton Academy Wednesday, have a home rematch with South Portland Friday, then close the regular year at Biddeford Tuesday and at home with Portland Feb. 6.
Cheverus continued its roller-coaster season Friday with a stunningly decisive 64-17 loss at Scarborough. The Stags, playing without key contributors junior Theresa Hendrix and senior Jamie Lowery, were down 18-4 after one period and 37-9 at the half.
Cheverus, 7-8 and ninth in the Heals, hosted Westbrook Tuesday (too late for this edition), welcome Portland Friday and close the regular season Feb. 6 at Deering.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ hockey: Portland’s unbeaten streak ends
On the ice, the Portland boys’ unbeaten streak ended at four Monday after a 5-4 home loss to Bonny Eagle. The Bulldogs had a great chance to tie in the final minute on the power play. They pulled the goalie, but couldn’t manage the equalizer as they fell to 5-6-1 on the year. Portland (ninth in Western A) plays at Bonny Eagle Saturday.
Cheverus had a weekend it would just as soon forget. Friday, the Stags went to St. Dom’s and fell 10-1. Saturday brought an even more decisive setback, 12-0 at Falmouth, leaving Cheverus 2-7-1 this season. The Stags, 14th in Western A, were at Gorham Tuesday (too late for this edition), host Falmouth Thursday and welcome Scarborough Saturday.
Deering’s quest for a first victory was finally realized. After the Rams lost 6-5 Thursday to Yarmouth on a power play goal with one second left, they got over the hump Monday with a 4-2 win at Massabesic. Senior Chris Quattrucci had a pair of goals as Deering, 17th in the Heals, improved to 1-9.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ hockey: Cheverus’ win streak halted
On the girls’ side, Cheverus blanked visiting St. Dom’s 6-0 Saturday for its fifth consecutive win. Sophomore Grace Fitzpatrick had three goals. The Stags’ run came to an end Monday night at the Colisee with a 1-1 tie with Lewiston. Junior Maggie Grindatti had the Cheverus goal.
“It’s always tough to play here at the Colisee,” Stags’ coach J.P. Lavoie said. “They
have a very good team, and it’s great to have a chance to see them. We
know we have a long way to go if we plan on seeing them again down the
road, but this was a good chance to see what we might be up against
Cheverus, 12-1-1 and second behind Biddeford in the West Region Heals, played at York Tuesday (too late for this edition), visits Biddeford Wednesday, hosts Falmouth Saturday and York Monday to end the regular season.
Deering is 1-14-1 and eighth in the West Region Heals. The Rams finish their season Saturday at home against Scarborough.
Portland fell to 2-14-1 after Monday’s 4-0 loss at Falmouth. The Bulldogs, seventh in the Heals, close their year Saturday at Gorham.
On the track, Deering’s boys scored 112 points and defeated Thornton Academy (44.5) and Windham (32.5). Portland (51 points) was second to Scarborough (101). Cheverus competed with Biddeford and Westbrook. It’s result wasn’t available at press time.
On the girls’ side, Deering earned an impressive win, scoring 111.5 points to beat Thornton Academy (95), Windham (56.5) and McAuley (27). Rams’ senior Brooke Durgin was named Senior Division Athlete of the Meet after winning the 200 (29.50 seconds). Cheverus (66 points) was second to Biddeford (96) and downed Westbrook (32). Portland had 36.5 points and was third behind Scarborough (116.5) and Noble (36).
This Saturday, in the regular season finale, Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland face each other and South Portland at 8:30 a.m. The Cheverus, Deering, Portland and South Portland boys’ do battle at 3:30 p.m.
In the pool, McAuley beat both Portland (157-19) and Westbrook Friday (157-57), while Deering swept Windham Saturday, with the boys triumphing 120-45 and the girls squeaking out an 86-84 decision. Cheverus defeated Portland 87-65 in the boys’ meet and 74-29 on the girls’ side.
Local divers sparkled at a recent invitational in Falmouth. Deering’s Brian McRae won the boys’ 11-dive with a score of 312.15. Cheverus’ Mark Beahm was first in the boys’ 6-dive with 89.90 points. Portland’s Samantha Dow took first in the girls’ 6-dive with 78.70 points.
The Bulldogs will take part in the south division Southwesterns this weekend in Westbrook. The boys compete Friday and the girls go Saturday.
Cheverus welcomes Scarborough Friday. Deering hosts Westbrook Friday and visits Falmouth Saturday.
Waynflete’s Nordic ski teams took part in a classic meet last Monday against several conference foes. The boys placed fifth, while the girls didn’t score. Friday, Waynflete returns to action at Yarmouth in another classic meet.
Local cheering teams took part in the regionals Saturday in Augusta. The top six teams from each region qualified for states Feb. 7 in Bangor. In Western A, Deering just missed the cut, finishing seventh with 123.8 points. Portland finished 12th with 91.9. Biddeford came in first with 155.2 points.
In Western B, McAuley placed ninth of 10 teams with a score of 86.4. Wells was first with 135.8.
Sun Journal staff writer Justin Pelletier contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org