By Michael Hoffer
With the arrival of a new month, local athletes and their fans can start dreaming of championships.
The frenzied month of February will feature countless highlights and the postseason is underway as local skiers and wrestlers have already gotten a jump.
Swimming and track get their turn this weekend with the Southwesterns.
Basketball is wrapping up its regular season and just about every local squad will be in the playoffs.
Girls’ hockey has dropped the puck on its first MPA-sanctioned postseason. The boys’ regular season is nearing its conclusion as well.
Here’s a snapshot:
SUBHEAD-Boys’ basketball: Capers upset
While South Portland was facing Cheverus and Deering (please see accompanying story, this page), Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough were having a tough go of it.
After extending their win streak to 11 games with a stirring and hard-fought 73-70 win at Falmouth Friday night (behind 31 points from senior standout Alex Bowe), the Capers were upset 63-59, in overtime, Tuesday night at home by Yarmouth. Cape Elizabeth fell to 14-3 despite 12 points apiece from Bowe and senior Johnny Messina.
Cape Elizabeth (third behind Greely and Falmouth in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) closes the regular season Friday night at home with a showdown against Greely.
In Western A, Scarborough appears destined for the No. 9 seed and a third preliminary round showdown with Biddeford in four seasons. The Red Storm romped 64-41 at Kennebunk last Friday (as junior Conor Sullivan had 19 points), but they fell to 8-9 Wednesday with a 48-37 loss at Biddeford.
Scarborough closes the regular season Friday at home versus Thornton Academy.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ basketball: Red Riots give Deering a scare
On the girls’ side, Scarborough has solidified its claim as Deering’s biggest threat in Western Class A (please see story, page 13).
South Portland is also hoping to make noise in the tournament. The Red Riots are playing well down the stretch and will have a home preliminary round game next week.
Last Thursday, South Portland went to Kennebunk for a makeup game and won 57-37 behind 18 points from junior Danielle McCusker. Friday, the Red Riots avenged a loss from the week prior with a 41-37 overtime triumph at rival McAuley. South Portland couldn’t hold a seven-point fourth quarter lead, but pulled it out in the extra session. Senior Brianna Hawkins had 20 points. Tuesday, the Red Riots visited unbeaten, top-ranked and defending state champion Deering and led in the third period before the Rams finally came to life to win 46-35. McCusker had almost half her team’s points (17) in the loss.
South Portland (now 10-7 and sixth in the Western A Heals) hosts Gorham in the regular season finale Friday.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth kept its faint playoff hopes alive Tuesday with a 40-30 win at Yarmouth, giving the Capers a season sweep of the Clippers. Cape Elizabeth, coming off a 51-44 home loss to Falmouth, got 10 points from junior Morgan Pillsbury.
The Capers (7-10 and 13th in the latest Heals) are at Greely Friday. An upset win could propel them into the top 10 to qualify for the postseason.
SUBHEAD-Hockey: Scarborough faces brutal closing stretch
On the ice, while Scarborough beat Cape Elizabeth in the opening round of the girls’ tournament and the Cape Elizabeth boys were winning the Fix Cup (please see stories, page 13), Scarborough and South Portland’s boys’ teams are jockeying for playoff positioning.
The Red Storm have won two straight, the latest an 11-1 home romp over Cheverus Saturday (as senior Jake Rutt scored five times) to improve to 7-5 (good for ninth in the latest Western A Heals).
Scarborough doesn’t have an easy game the rest of the way. After visiting Falmouth Thursday (too late for this edition), the Red Storm play host to St. Dom’s Saturday and the Yachtsmen in a makeup game Monday at 3 p.m. Two games with two-time defending Class A champion Biddeford, sandwiched around a game at Portland, bring a curtain down on the regular season schedule.
South Portland is 11-2-1 and fifth in the latest Heals. The Red Riots won 4-2 at Marshwood Friday, downed host Lake Region/Fryeburg 5-1 Saturday as they avenged last year’s playoff loss, then defeated host Noble 4-2 Wednesday. Against the Hawks, sophomore Josh Cobb scored twice and senior Nick Fornwalt had three assists. Sophomore Connor Igo made 12 saves in net. Against the Ice Cats, Fornwalt had a hat trick and freshman goalie Dominic Desjardins made 12 stops. In the win over the Knights,
South Portland is home with Westbrook Saturday and visits Massabesic Wednesday.
The indoor track regular season came to an end last weekend.
At USM Friday, Cape Elizabeth competed with Fryeburg, Greely, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, North Yarmouth and Poland. The Capers were fourth in the girls’ meet and fifth on the boys’ side. Greely won both.
In the girls’ meet, Rachel Nichols was named junior division MVP after winning the 800 (2 minutes, 22.29 seconds). Marita Stressenger took the two-mile (11 minutes, 41.42 seconds), Emma Hockmuth captured the pole vault (8 feet, 9 inches) and the Capers also won the 3,200 relay (12:14.85).
At the Portland Expo Saturday, Scarborough beat Gorham, Westbrook and Windham in both boys’ and girls’ action. Emilia Scheemaker was named the girls’ junior division athlete of the meet after winning the 45 hurdles (6.90 seconds) and the 300 (42.10).
South Portland’s boys were runner-up to Deering and beat Cheverus and Portland. The Red Riots girls were third behind Deering and Cheverus and defeated Portland and McAuley. Freshman Maraka Soule was named girls’ junior division athlete of the meet for taking the 45 hurdles (7.6).
The Western Maine Conference championships (at USM) and the SMAA championships (at the Expo) will be held Saturday.
The north division Southwestern swimming and diving championships, featuring Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland, along with powerhouses Cheverus, Falmouth, Greely and defending Class B champion McAuley, will be held this weekend at Davan Pool in Westbrook.
The boys compete Friday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The girls start Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Cape Elizabeth has a great shot in the girls’ meet, while Scarborough is one of the favorites on the boys’ side.
The Western Maine Conference held its Alpine championships Monday at Shawnee Peak. Cape Elizabeth’s boys were eighth in the slalom, giant slalom and overall. The girls finished seventh in the slalom, seventh in the GS and seventh overall.
Individually, for the boys, sophomore Jack Barber was ninth in the GS (1 minute, 42.73 seconds) and 13th in the slalom (1:45.93).
On the girls’ side, senior Anna Vallely finished fifth in the slalom (1:52.06) and 18th in the GS (1:51.88).
Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth took part in the Western A wrestling regionals Saturday at Noble High School. The Red Storm tied Marshwood for ninth with 39 points. The Capers were 13th of the 14 scoring teams with 26 points.
Cape Elizabeth senior standout Nate Lavallee won the 285-pound title, pinning Deering’s Tyler Debardino in 2 minutes, 13 seconds.
Scarborough’s Glen Googins pinned Bonny Eagle’s Troy Severance in 3:53 to win the consolation round’s 145-pound class. Brian Smiley reached the consolation final at 135-pounds and was pinned by Sanford’s Zachary Clarke in 4 minutes, 44 seconds.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com