Scarborough Red Storm Winter Sports Preview

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Senior Sophie Glidden, who will play for Saint Anselm next year, returns to lead Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team to what should be a very strong season this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Phil Conley (second year)

2016-17 record: 7-13 (Lost, 78-53, to South Portland in Class AA South semifinals)

Top returning players: Reece Lagerquist (Senior), Morgan Pratt (Senior), Jaquan Seme (Senior), Nick Fiorillo (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 12 @ Falmouth, Dec. 19 @ South Portland, Dec. 29 EDWARD LITTLE, Jan. 5 CHEVERUS, Jan. 9 @ Deering, Jan. 13 PORTLAND, Feb. 1 @ Windham, Feb. 6 THORNTON ACADEMY

Coach’s comment: “We’ve had a good preseason. It’s a great bunch of kids with great attitudes. We’ll see where that takes us. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off last year. We went 7-3 in our last 10 games. The guys saw a lot of minutes and are confident. I think we’ll have a very successful season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough lost its first 10 games a year ago and could have easily packed it in, but the Red Storm went 6-2 down the stretch to make the playoffs, then knocked off Bonny Eagle to reach the semifinals for the first time in three decades. Scarborough ultimately lost to South Portland, but the seeds for 2017-18 success have been planted and the Red Storm could be quite formidable in the weeks to come.

Fiorillo was an SMAA third-team all-star last season after averaging 14.8 points per game (good for ninth in the league). Standing 6-foot-6, Fiorillo will see time at guard or forward. Lagerquist (fourth in the league in blocks a year ago) also has size and along with Seme, is coming off a championship football season. Seme will be a shooting guard, while Pratt will run the point (he was 12th in the league with 2.9 assists per game last season). Several other players who are either new to the program or who saw limited time a year ago arrive to add depth. Junior Tyler Gobeil, a top-notch defender, will back up Pratt as point guard. Junior Alex Austin and sophomore Brian Austin, brothers who transferred from Cheverus, will also be in the backcourt. Junior Paul Kirk will play a key role at forward and senior Zoltan Panyi, the football quarterback, is new to basketball and will provide athleticism and be a tough matchup at forward.

While two-time regional champion South Portland remains the favorite in Class AA South, Scarborough believes it’s next on the list and has what it takes to dethrone the Red Riots. The tough times are over and the time is now for the Red Storm to show what they’re capable of. This group of kids knows how to win and Conley has now completely established his program. Look for Scarborough to post a winning record and to enjoy another deep playoff run, perhaps even longer than last year’s.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Mike Giordano (fifth year, 40-38 overall record)

2016-17 record: 16-4 (Lost, 43-27, to South Portland in Class AA South semifinals)

Top returning players: Sophie Glidden (Senior), Lindsey Kelley (Senior), Josie Couture (Junior), Madison Blanche (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 19 SOUTH PORTLAND, Dec. 22 @ Gorham, Jan. 5 @ Cheverus, Jan. 9 DEERING, Feb. 2 @ Portland, Feb. 6 @ Thornton Academy, Feb. 8 MGA

Coach’s comment: “I thought we’d be competitive last year, but not that good. This year, we won’t be able to sneak up on anyone. We had three sophomores play at the Expo last year and we’ll benefit from that experience. I like our balance. We’ll take teams’ best shots and see how we do.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough posted its best record in four years and extended its postseason streak to six after a terrific 16-win campaign in 2016-17. This year’s team has the potential to do even better and will be hot in pursuit of two-time defending state champion Gorham and this year’s preseason favorite, South Portland.

The Red Storm will be led by Glidden, who recently committed to playing at Stonehill College next year. A year ago, Glidden earned first-team league all-star honors and Scarborough’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year after averaging 14.6 points and 5.9 rebounds and leading the league in free throw shooting percentage.  As a captain, Glidden will be a force inside and outside. Blanche, who saw key minutes as a freshman, will be the point guard. Kelley can play guard or forward. Couture can score from the perimeter, but will spend plenty of time in the post as well. Sophomores Bella Dickinson (a guard) and Julia Freeman (a guard/forward) will both play bigger roles this season and are capable of putting the ball in the net.

The Red Storm should be one of the best defensive teams around, will be able to rebound the basketball and won’t have trouble scoring points. It all adds up to a squad that will be very tough for even the best teams in the state to match up with. If Scarborough remains hungry and healthy, it will play meaningful games in late-February and could advance even deeper than it did a year ago.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Jake Brown (first year)

2016-17 record: 11-8-1 (Lost, 4-3, in overtime, to Cheverus in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Brandon Wasser (Senior), Cal Berry (Junior), Patrick Clonan (Junior), Wyatt Plummer (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 LEWISTON, Dec. 13 FALMOUTH, Dec. 16 PORTLAND/DEERING, Dec. 22 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 30 @ Falmouth, Jan. 4 @ Cheverus, Jan. 6 @ Biddeford, Jan. 20 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 31 BIDDEFORD, Feb. 13 @ Greely, Feb. 21 CHEVERUS

Coach’s comment: “We lost 15 kids from last year. We know that is a huge challenge coming in. We lost all six defensmen from last year’s team, so early on we are focusing on good defensive structure and then working from that. We have last year’s starting goalie back, so we are hoping we can build from there. Being so young, we are hoping to improve every day. I have been impressed with the effort of the kids so far this season and I think you will see a team that improves as they learn the systems and the structure we like to play. ”

The Forecaster’s forecast: A new era begins in Scarborough as Brown, a seven-year assistant to Norm Gagne and former defenseman for Lewiston High School, takes over the Red Storm in the midst of a youth movement. The season ahead will feature its share of challenges due to a daunting schedule, but by February, expect Scarborough to be a very formidable foe yet again.

Having a steady, experienced goalie can cover up a lot of growing pains and Wasser will be called upon, especially early, to keep the team in games. The defensive unit is completely new, as all of last year’s defensemen, including Travis Roy Award finalist Eric Murray, have departed. Sophomore Ethan Jasa is a promising newcomer. The offense will be dangerous in time. Berry and Plummer (3 goals, 5 assists in 2016-17) are top returners. Clonan (1 goal, 3 assists) also has experience. Junior Luke Levesque, sophomore Cam Budway and freshmen Zach Chaisson and Nate Cusson look to step in and produce.

The Red Storm’s schedule won’t provide many breathers, but this program is used to winning. By the end of the season, this group figures to jell and be solid all over the ice. Scarborough likely won’t have the best record or the top seed in a tough region, but no one will want to square off against the Red Storm with their season on the line.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Caitlin Jordan (first year)

2016-17 results: 14-5-1 (Lost, 3-1, to Falmouth in South Region Final)

Top returning players: Lucy Bogdanovich (Senior), Logan Bruns (Senior), Ivy DiBiase (Senior), Ellie Smith (Senior), Lauren Topchik (Senior), Courtney Brochu (Junior), Taylor Veilleux (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 13 ST. DOM’S, Dec. 27 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 8 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 12 FALMOUTH, Jan. 15 @ Falmouth, Jan. 22 @ Cape Elizabeth, Feb. 2 CHEVERUS

Coach’s comment: “We have an experienced team with eight seniors, all of whom make up our top lines. We have two brand new goaltenders who have been learning their role at an incredibly fast rate. We hope to have a well balanced season with our dominating experience out front, while our goaltenders get comfortable between the pipes.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough looks to remain a premier girls’ hockey program this winter. The Red Storm welcome a new coach in Jordan, who previously coached at North Yarmouth Academy, Portland High School, the University of New England and with the Portland Lady Junior Pirates. She inherits a squad which split its first four games, beating Biddeford (7-0) and Gorham (9-2) and losing to Greely (5-1) and Cheverus (7-2). Scarborough figures to be in the hunt all winter.

The offense will be paced by Brochu, a first-team all-star a year ago, Bogdanovich, a second-team all-star, Bruns, DiBiase, Smith, Topchik and Veilleux. Freshman Paige Spooner is a newcomer to watch. In addition to scoring, Brochu and Smith are top defenders. They’re joined by freshman Kathleen Murphy. Sophomores Grace Carriero and Barrett Reed will each see time in goal.

While there will be a learning curve, the Red Storm have the potential to do great things. By February, Scarborough will be in position to do damage and will be a team that no one wants to face.

INDOOR TRACK

Boys’ coach: Derek Veilleux (14th year, seven state championships)

Girls’ coach: Ron Kelly (22nd year, 10 state championships)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) Class A state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Drew Gardner (Senior), Erik Larkin (Senior), Anthony Clavettte (Junior), Noah Drapeau (Junior), Brian Farino (Junior), Jarret Flaker (Sophomore), Ben Hatch (Sophomore)

(Girls) Gaby Panagakos (Senior), Samantha Saraceno (Senior), Bethany Sholl (Senior), Ryanne Cox (Sophomore), Anna Gardner (Sophomore), Emily Labbe (Sophomore), Madison Marinko (Sophomore)

Coach Veilleux’s comment: “We have the largest team in school history. It’s a young team with just nine seniors. We’ll be a work in progress throughout the season with our goal of performing our best in the championship season. Our goal is to win the state championship in February. If we stay healthy and progress, we have confidence we can reach our goals.”

Coach Kelly’s comment: “We have good numbers back. Relays, sprints, hurdles, jumps and distance will be our strength.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: While graduation took its toll, both Scarborough indoor track teams are again in line to do great things.

The boys lost superstar Sam Rusak, but return a state champion in Flaker, who will again be the distance runner everyone else will be chasing. Flaker will also take part in the hurdles. Hatch (third in the 55 last season), junior Nolan Lamontagne, new senior Nathan Gaspar, junior Parker Todd and sophomore Salvatore DeBenedetto are also sprinters to watch. Freshman Alexander Callahan will compete in the hurdles and Clavette will see some time there as well. In the distance races, look for Drapeau, Farino, Larkin, seniors Luke Grover and Charlie Piper, junior Harrison Osborne and sophomores Connor Coffin and Tristram Coffin to lead the way. On the field side, Gardner was seventh in the pole vault last season and hopes to move up. Sophomore Ian Gott is also on the rise in that event. Clavette (who tied for third in the high jump a year ago), Callahan, DeBenedetto, Hatch and sophomore Tommy Stratis are top jumpers. Junior Connor Oliver and sophomore Nathan Mars are throwers to watch. This squad has all the events covered and that likely means that come February, once again, a championship could ensue.

On the girls’ side, graduation also took away a lot of points, but the Red Storm are still well equipped to make a run at a repeat title. Labbe turned heads as a freshman, winning the 55 and placing runner-up in the 200, as well as the 55 hurdles. She’ll be in line to score a lot of points again. Panagakos (fourth in the 400 and seventh in the 55 last season) and new junior Molly Murnane, both soccer standouts, will also be top sprinters. Marinko (seventh in the 55 hurdles a year ago) and senior Laura Powell join Labbe in the hurdles. The distance events feature Sholl (the champion in the mile), Saraceno, Cox, senior Ellie Patten, juniors Sydney Bloom and Madison Diaz, sophomores Isabella Cook and Olivia Desjardins and freshman Lena Wood. On the field side, Gardiner was third in the pole vault last year. She’s joined by senior Kirsten Dennen and sophomore Alexia Smith. Marinko (sixth in the long jump last season) and sophomore Nina Greeley are top jumpers. It all adds up to a team that can cover events and score a lot of points. Scarborough will be a handful for conference foes and is poised to be one of the very best teams at the state meet once again.

SWIMMING

Coach: Eric French (eighth year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 5th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 15th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Kemal Durdag (Senior), Sam Greenberg (Senior), Sam Curtis (Junior)

(Girls) Jane Greenberg (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The swimmers have set some hefty goals this season. They want to finish stronger this year than any other year they’ve been a part of. The boys have been hanging in the top eight for the past few seasons and they have some young talent that will help. We’ll need all hands on deck. We return a core group of girls who helped produce a runner-up state meet team two years ago. With hard work and maybe a little luck, thewe’ll be in the running for a top five finish.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough’s swim program has reason for optimism as a new season begins.

The boys return a pair of individual state meet scorers: Curtis (eighth in last year’s individual medley) and Greenberg (eighth in the 100 freestyle). Curtis will also swim the breaststroke. Durdag is a top sprinter. Freshman Gavin McLeod (distance freestyle and butterfly) is a promising addition. Look for this group to be competitive throughout.

On the girls’ side, Greenberg returns after placing second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free. She’ll make a run at the top spot on the podium. Other returners of note include seniors Megan Caldwell (50 free and backstroke) and Hannah Griffin (backstroke, distance freestyle), juniors Mackenzie Charest (fly and IM), Christine Kusnirak (distance freestyle) and Emma MacDonald (distance freestyle) and freshman Morgan Porter (backstroke and distance freestyle). The Red Storm could bein line for a big move up the standings.

WRESTLING

Coach: Deron Sharp (third year)

2016-17 results: 9th @ Class A state meet

Top returners: Lincoln Andrews (Senior), Jeremy Sendrowski (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We look for constant improvement. We’re excited for the potential of the season with three returning state qualifiers, a host of wrestlers with experience and a large, tough, freshman class.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Scarborough program becomes more formidable by the year and the 2017-18 squad is poised to do big things.

The top returner is Sendrowski, who was runner-up at 145 pounds a year ago. He’ll look to follow up his state championship football season with a crown on the mat. Andrews (a runner-up at the heavyweight division) is another potential state champion. They’re joined by promising newcomers Sam Leishman and Anthony Purvis.

The Red Storm will hold their own against most foes during the regular season and their top individuals could really put the program on the map in February.

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

Senior Jaquan Seme hopes to score a lot of points for Scarborough’s boys’ basketball team, a squad which looks to dethrone South Portland this winter.

Senior Reece Lagerquist will be a top post presence for the Red Storm.

Morgan Pratt will be the Red Storm’s point guard.

Josie Couture is a key returning veteran for Scarborough’s girls’ team.

Sophomore Julia Freeman will see more minutes this winter and will play a bigger role.

Senior Brandon Wasser is back in goal for Scarborough’s always-competitive boys’ hockey team.

Sophomore Ben Hatch is a top sprinter for Scarborough’s always-tough boys’ indoor track team.

Junior Brian Farino is a top distance runner for the Red Storm.

Senior Jeremy Sendrowski is a top returner for Scarborough’s wrestling team. Sendrowski hopes to win a state title this winter.

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