Regular season almost over, postseason upon us-Portland edition

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Deering’s Manny Chikuta drives on Portland’s Griffin Foley, left, and Manny Yugu during the Bulldogs’ 67-47 win Friday night.

Cheverus’ Brooke McElman blocks the shot of Scarborough’s Sophie Glidden during the Stags’ 55-37 loss Saturday.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Deering boys’ basketball and Cheverus-South Portland and Cheverus-Scarborough girls’ basketball game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The first postseason event is in the rear view mirror (see track story) and everyone else is preparing for their opportunity at February glory. 

Here’s a look at the week that was and what awaits city athletes and teams:

Boys’ basketball

Defending Class AA boys’ basketball champion Portland is rounding into the form that could produce a repeat title.

Last week, the Bulldogs extended their win streak to eight after downing host Massabesic (81-40) and Deering (67-47). Against the Mustangs, Pedro Fonseca had 17 points, while Clay Hardy and Terion Moss both added 16. In its 11th straight victory over the Rams, Portland led almost throughout, got five 3-pointers and a game-high 18 points from Griffin Foley, 15 points from Moss, 10 from Hardy and a solid effort from reserve Trey Bellew.

“I love playing (Deering),” Foley said. “We know all those guys. We always want to beat them.” 

“It’s fun to beat Deering,” Bellew said. “It’s a big rivalry. I think we get more fired up for them.”

“We have respect for (Deering), so we’re always ready,” Portland coach Joe Russo added. “We had a little lull, but they stayed in that zone, so we took the air out of the ball a little bit and we went on a run.”

The Bulldogs took a 15-1 mark and the top ranking in Class AA North into Monday’s home game versus South Portland in a rematch of last year’s state final (see theforecaster.net for game story). Portland closes the regular season at home versus Cheverus Wednesday.

Deering preceded its loss with a 51-35 win at Bonny Eagle behind 16 points from Machar Nguany and a dozen from Ben Onek. In the loss to Portland, the Rams got as close as four points in the second quarter, but fell further and further behind as the second half progressed. Jean Claude Butera had a team-high 11 points.

“Turnovers hurt us at crucial times,” Deering coach Todd Wing said. “It’s a game of momentum swings. We didn’t capitalize on those swings. Portland was on every loose ball and rebound. We didn’t match their intensity.”

The Rams (11-5 and third in Class AA North) hosted Scarborough Monday and closes at South Portland Thursday.

Cheverus began the week 10-6 and fourth in Class AA North following losses at Thornton Academy (62-53) and at home to South Portland (48-34) last week. Jack Casale had 17 points and Jesse Matthews 13 in the loss to the Golden Trojans. Against the Red Riots, Matthews had 12 points and Casale added 10. The Stags hosted Gorham Monday and close at Portland Wednesday.

Defending Class C South champion Waynflete snapped out of a skid which saw it lose four times in five outings with wins last week over visiting Old Orchard Beach (53-45) and Gray-New Gloucester (53-50). Jack Meahl had 14 points and Alex Saade added 11 against the Seagulls. Askar Houssein sank a late 3-pointer to beat the Patriots. Meahl and Yai Deng had 14 points apiece. The Flyers (11-5 and seventh in the Heals at press time) went to Traip Academy Tuesday and close at Sacopee Valley Thursday.

The basketball playoffs begin next week.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Portland was finally rewarded for playing hard by earning its first two wins last week. The Bulldogs lost their first 14 games, then downed visiting Noble (61-48) and Massabesic (49-38). Taylor Sargent had 17 points, while Kiera Eubanks and Shayla Eubanks added 10 points apiece against the Knights. In the win over the Mustangs, Sargent went off for 20 points. Portland entered the week 2-14 and eighth in the Class AA North Heal Points standings (only six teams qualify for the playoffs). The Bulldogs were at Maine Girls’ Academy Tuesday and close at Deering Thursday.

Cheverus fell to 10-6 and fourth in the region after losses at home to South Portland (64-40) and at Scarborough (55-37). Against the Red Riots, Abby Cavallaro and Emme Poulin each had eight points, but the Stags didn’t score for 12 minutes, 43 seconds and South Portland went on a 20-0 run in that span.

“It came down to being tough with the basketball,” Cheverus coach Steve Huntington said. “South Portland’s very aggressive. They body up on the perimeter and they move their feet well. It’s hard to get an angle. We didn’t get great shots and it all went downhill.”

The Stags only trailed at Scarborough by one in the fourth quarter after 3s from Poulin and Cavallaro, but the Red Storm went on a 12-0 run and went on to the victory. Poulin had nine points while Alayna Briggs added eight.

“We didn’t give up,” Huntington said. “We were right there in a one-point game. Near the end, we had to press and foul.We need to start battling.” 

Cheverus had the daunting task of playing at defending Class AA champion Gorham Monday and closes at home versus MGA Thursday.

Deering snapped a three-game skid last Tuesday, downing visiting Bonny Eagle, 62-36, behind 14 points from Delaney Haines and 12 from Ashleigh Mathisen. Friday, the Rams fell to 9-7 and fifth in AA North after a 57-46 setback at South Portland. Haines had 18 points and Tasia Titherington added 14 in a losing effort. Deering was at Scarborough Monday and closes Thursday at home versus Portland.

In Class AA South, MGA lost at Scarborough (54-40), then held on for a 43-41 victory at Sanford to improve to 7-9 and fourth in the region. Jill Joyce had 11 points and Catherine Reid 10 in the setback. Against the Spartans, Reid led the way with 14 points and Serena Mower added 13. After hosting Portland Tuesday, the Lions finish at Cheverus Thursday.

In Class C South, Waynflete lost at home to Old Orchard Beach (37-36) and at defending Class B South champion Gray-New Gloucester (60-31) to fall to 8-8 and seventh in the region. Lydia Giguere had 15 points against the Seagulls and 12 versus the Patriots. The Flyers hoped to snap a three-game skid when they hosted Traip Academy Tuesday. Waynflete closes the regular season at Sacopee Valley Thursday.

The postseason begins next week.

Boys’ hockey

On the ice, Cheverus’ boys’ team continues to roll, extending its win streak to seven with victories at defending Class B South champion Yarmouth (3-2) and at home over Brunswick (5-1) last week. The Stags (9-3 and second to Falmouth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) visit Noble Wednesday and welcome defending Class A South champion Scarborough Saturday before having a showdown at Falmouth next Tuesday.

The Portland/Deering co-op team snapped a four-game skid by going 2-0-1 last week to improve to 8-5-1 and fourth in Class A South. After edging host Thornton Academy, 2-1, Portland/Deering settled for a 3-3 home tie with Massabesic, then downed visiting Noble, 5-2. Cam King had a pair of goals in the tie. Portland/Deering is home against Thornton Academy Thursday, then hosts Falmouth Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team was clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in Class A South after losing, 9-0, to visiting Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday to fall to 4-8-1. After going to Marshwood Wednesday, South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport hosts Windham Saturday.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, the Cheverus/Kennebunk/Old Orchard Beach co-op team finished the regular season 9-9 after handling visiting Gorham (12-2) and losing a close one to visiting Falmouth, 2-1. The Stags are the No. 4 seed in the South Region for the playoffs and hosted No. 5 York (9-9) in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats won both meetings this year, 4-1 and home and 1-0 at York.

If Cheverus advanced, it would go to No. 1 Falmouth (14-4) for the semifinals this weekend. In addition to their win in the season finale, Yachtsmen held on for a 6-5 home overtime victory over the Stags back in late November. 

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op also wound up 9-9 after falling at home to Edward Little/Leavitt, 1-0, and beating visiting Biddeford, 2-0. The squad wound third in the South Region and hosted No. 6 Gorham (6-12) in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

If it advanced, Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP would go to No. 2 Scarborough (13-4-1) for the semifinals this weekend. The Red Storm won both meetings this year, 2-1 in overtime on the road and 4-3 at home.

The regional final is Wednesday of next week in Portland and the state final is Saturday, Feb. 18 in Lewiston.

The Portland/Deering co-op squad finished 1-17 and eighth in the South Region (where only six teams qualify for the playoffs) after closing with losses to visiting Falmouth (10-3) and host Gorham (6-4).

Swimming

Cheverus’ swim teams again dominated in their weekend meet, sweeping Westbrook, as the boys prevailed, 115-49, and the girls won, 94-82.

The boys got wins from Phineas Underwood in the 100 freestyle (54.71 seconds) and 200 freestyle (1 minute, 59.76 seconds), Ben Tompkins in the 200 individual medley (2:13.14) and 500 free (5:21.77), Shane Moore in the 50 free (22.06) and 100 breaststroke (1:01.93), Raymond Le in the 100 butterfly (58.03), Chase Cameron in the 100 backstroke (1:01.74) and their medley (1:45.44), 200 freestyle (1:33.37) and 400 free relay (3:42.27) teams.

Girls’ first-place finishers included Abby Longstaff in the 50 free (25.62) and the backstroke (1:01.85), Nina Greenwood in diving (215.05 points), Lauren Girard in the 100 free (1:03.47), Caroline Arpin in the 500 free (5:54.12) and breaststroke (1:15.82),  and the medley (2:01.32) and 400 free (4:08.92) relay teams.

Deering swept Bonny Eagle, as the boys prevailed, 66-50, and the girls won, 90-68.

Boys’ winners included Owen McLaughlin in the 200 free (2:05.63), Jasper Sommer in the IM (2:29.04), Owen Callahan in the 50 free (25.86) and fly (1:18.14) and the medley relay team (2:03.77).

Girls’ first-place finishers included Claire Christopher in the 100 free (1:03.97) and 200 free (2:16.82), Bethany Rozzi in the 50 free (30.70), Gabriella Bekoka in the fly (1:20.55), Nicole Whipkey in the 500 free (6:10.09) and their medley (2:11.88) and 200 free (2:05.04) relay teams.

Maine Girls’ Academy was beaten by South Portland, 101-74. The Lions got wins from Ana Neff-Jendrasko in the IM (2:29.90), Lillie Donovan in the fly (1:25.59),  and their medley (2:27.21), 200 free (2:14.76) and 400 free (4:50.89) relay teams.

Portland swept its meet at Windham, as the boys prevailed, 106-53, while the girls won, 93-62.

The boys got wins from Reed Foehl in the IM (2:30.56) and breaststroke (1:17.94), Ben Salomon in the 50 free (28.56), Jack Martin in the fly (1:13.84) and backstroke (1:15.33), Peter Gribizis in the 100 free (1:05.18), Joshua Ying in the 400 free (4:59.81) and the medley (2:27.74), 200 free (1:54.46) and 400 free (4:28.17) relay teams.

Girls’ first-place finishers included Corry Hemond in the 200 free (2:36.62), Ava Giaquinto in the IM (2:56.65) and 500 free (5:27.79), Reegan Leslie in the 50 free (29.99), Katie Lederer in the fly (1:44.13), Phoebe O’Rourke in the 100 free (1:13.85), Fiona Silva in the backstroke (1:21.71) and their medley (2:27.74), 200 free (2:17.60) and 400 free (5:01.51) relay teams.

Waynflete’s boys edged Greely, 46-44, while the girls lost to the Rangers, 50-38.

Boys’ winners included Caleb Levine in the 100 free (55.76) and 200 free (2:01.18), PD Silk in the IM (2:20.15) and backstroke (59.30) and Tim Clifford in the 50 free (25.45) and breaststroke (1:15.92).

The girls got wins from Kiera MacWhinnie in the 200 free (2:15.02) and fly (1:08.74), Lily Fanburg in the IM (2:52.09), Molly McNutt in the backstroke (1:11.78) and the 200 free relay team (2:03.68). 

Skiing

City Nordic skiers took part in a nine-team WMC/SMAA classical race last Wednesday at Stark’s Hill.

Deering’s girls placed third (Maine Coast Waldorf was first) and Waynflete was seventh. Individually, Deering’s Ewka Varney was third in 18 minutes, 39 seconds. The Flyers were paced by Ellie Chidsey (24th overall, 21st for scoring purposes, in 22:01.5). Portland didn’t score as a team, but Elizabeth Thomas posted the 21st-best individual time (21:18.3). 

In the boys’ race, won by Maine Coast Waldorf, Portland placed fifth and Waynflete was eighth. The Flyers had the runner-up individual in Willson Moore (14:49.1). The Bulldogs were paced by Liam Niles (11th, 17:10.4). Deering didn’t score as team, but Caleb Niles was fourth individually in 15:42.5.

On the Alpine side, in a recent SMAA slalom meet, Cheverus’ boys were fourth and the girls didn’t score as a team. Schuyler Black won the boys’ meet with a two-run combined time of 53.98 seconds. Annesley Black was the top female (57.23).

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team finished the regular season with a record of 10-10 after beating Deering (57-12) and Windham (48-30) and losing to Biddeford (42-26).

Deering wound up 2-16 after losses to Portland (57-12), Scarborough (36-24), Kennebunk (42-24) and Bonny Eagle (48-15).

Cheverus finished 4-14 after beating Scarborough (36-27) and losing to Sanford (66-18).

The Class A South regional meet is Saturday at Massabesic High School in Waterboro.

The Class A state meet is Saturday, Feb. 18 in Camden.

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

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.