Showdown season upon us; Big games galore the theme-Southern edition

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

If there was ever a week to be a high school sports fan, this would be the week.

Last week wasn’t too shabby either.

There have been or will be seismic battles on the hardwood and ice and those games will go a long way toward determining who will make the playoffs and how high teams will be seeded.

Here’s an overview of all the winter sports action:

Girls’ basketball

South Portland’s girls’ basketball team is stealing headlines.

The Red Riots enjoyed a 71-13 romp at Noble Friday (Maddie Hasson had 19 points and Meghan Graff added 17), then improved to 9-2 and second behind Gorham in the Class AA South Heal Points standings after a 57-45 home win over nemesis McAuley Tuesday. Freshman Katie Whitmore had nine points in the first quarter to help South Portland open up a 16-5 lead, Hasson had a transcendent game (22 points, 16 rebounds) and sophomore Meghan Graff (17 points) helped the Red Riots beat the Lions for the first time since Feb. 1, 2008, snapping an 11-game losing skid to the state’s flagship program.

I felt so overjoyed,” Whitmore said. “I just felt so determined and I really wanted to beat them.”

“We’ve been building up to this game for a long time,” said Graff. “I never doubted we could beat them. I thought we were fully capable.”

“I’m really excited,” Hasson said. “The past four years, we’ve come really close against McAuley. (Thornton Academy) has been the team to beat them, but I felt like we were the next team right there. We lost every time, but we knew tonight we could get over the hump and we did.”

“These kids believe they can beat anyone,” Red Riots coach Lynne Hasson added. “I’m so proud and happy for them, especially for the seniors. It could have been their last opportunity (to beat McAuley). I think it’s a turning point. Now they don’t just believe, they know that if they play well then they can win. They know they can battle with anyone and contend and be in the mix with the top teams.”

The Red Riots were at Portland Thursday, visit defending regional champion Thornton Academy Saturday and play host to Falmouth Monday.

“We’ve got huge games down the road and we want to be at our best in February,” Lynne Hasson said.

Scarborough lost consecutive games in overtime, 46-45, to visiting Lewiston and 60-57 at Cheverus, to fall to 4-6 and sixth in Class AA South. Emma Hall forced OT against the Blue Devils, but the Red Storm lost in the waning seconds despite 11 points from Sophie Glidden. In the loss to the Stags, Jamie Sargent forced the extra session with a late 3, but again, Scarborough fell agonizingly short despite 14 points from both Glidden and Sargent. The Red Storm hosted Westbrook Thursday, welcome Noble Saturday and play host to Bonny Eagle Monday.

In Class A South, Cape Elizabeth won at Poland, 46-37, and lost at home to Lake Region, 49-35, last week, then, Tuesday, lost at home, 76-51, to York to fall to 3-8 and 11th. In the victory, Maddie Bowe had 20 points. Montana Braxton had 13 points and Bowe added 11 against the Lakers. In the loss to the Wildcats, Bowe had 31 points, but it wasn’t enough. The Capers go to Kennebunk Friday and visit Freeport Monday.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School was 5-5 and eighth after a 44-29 home loss to Valley and a 64-21 setback at Waynflete. The Lions were home with Highview Christian Thursday, go to Valley Friday and play at Forest Hills Monday.

Boys’ basketball

Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class B state champion boys’ basketball team extended its win streak to seven games last Thursday with a 67-41 home victory over Poland, then met its match with a 52-34 loss at Lake Region Saturday. Tuesday, the Capers improved to 8-3 and fourth in Class A South with a 68-51 win at York. Finn Bowe had 13 points, Quinn Hewitt 12 and Marcus Donnelly 11 in the victory over the Knights. Against the Lakers, Bowe and Hewitt both had seven points. At the Wildcats, Donnelly had 22 points to lead the way. Cape Elizabeth hosts Kennebunk Friday and welcomes Freeport Monday.

In Class AA South, South Portland had its six-game win streak snapped Friday by visiting Deering, 66-46. The Red Riots were within three points at the start of the fourth period, but had no answer for a Rams’ surge that put it away. Ansel Stilley had 10 points and Ruay Bol finished with nine points and 11 rebounds in defeat.

“Considering not one player really had a good game for us, we hung around,” first-year South Portland coach Kevin Millington said. “Sometimes in basketball, the timing of the run hurts you. They had a run at the right time. We’ve come a long way. It’s been hard for the kids because everything is new to them. It’s been hard for me because everything’s new. I’m seeing improvement.”

The Red Riots improved to 8-3 and fourth in the Heals after a 60-39 home win over Scarborough Tuesday. Jack Fiorini led the way with 14 points. Bol and Matt Pelletier added 12 apiece. South Portland welcomes Thornton Academy Saturday and goes to Falmouth for a playoff rematch Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Scarborough snapped a four-game slide with a 62-29 win at Lewiston Friday (Nick Fiorillo had 21 points and Emmett Peoples added 17), then fell to 3-8 and sixth in Class A South with Tuesday’s 60-39 loss at South Portland (Peoples had a team-high 13 points). The Red Storm went to Gorham Thursday and host Noble Saturday.

In Class D South, GPCS took a 4-7 record and the No. 9 ranking into Thursday’s home game against Highview Christian. The Lions were coming off a 69-35 home loss to Valley and a 79-30 loss at Waynflete. GPCS visits Valley Friday and goes to Forest Hills Monday.

Boys’ hockey

Scarborough’s boys’ hockey team was supposed to be rebuilding this winter, but instead extended its season-opening win streak to nine games with a 4-1 victory over visiting Gorham Saturday and a 2-1 win at rival Falmouth in a playoff rematch Tuesday. In the win over the Rams, Cam Nigro, Justin Perry, Skylar Pettingill and Cam Smith all had goals. Against the Yachtsmen, Nigro scored a short-handed goal in the second period and after Falmouth drew even, Matt Caron scored with 15 seconds left in the second. The Red Storm’s defense and goalie Ross LeBlond did the rest and Scarborough held on to improve to 9-0.

“We built off last year and got another victory, which is great,” said Nigro. “We tried to play like it was any other game. We just ignored the fans and what they were saying to us. The last 20 seconds took forever, but we take pride in our defense. Defense is our first priority.”

“We really had to step it up this game,” said Caron. “We were pumped up. We came out hard and ready. They came back at us. We pride ourselves on defense and build from that. That’s what we did today.”

“This was big,” added Red Storm coach Norm Gagne, who is now second all-time nationally with 697 career victories. “That was a really a good hockey game. Up and down, physical. Good chances. Good goaltending from both sides. I told the kids, I’m very proud of the way we came out. We’ve been coming out slow, but we came out and stepped up our game against a very good team.”

Scarborough (first in the Class A South Heal Points standings) hosts Lewiston Saturday.

South Portland’s co-op team with Freeport and Waynflete was 3-5-1 and eighth in Class A South after a 4-4 home tie against Marshwood and a 6-4 victory at Noble/Wells. In the win, Mitchell Adams, Tyler Goldberg, Owen Patrick, Caleb Rowland, Aidan Schifano and Ian Young all scored. South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete was home with Portland/Deering Thursday, hosts Noble/Wells Saturday and welcomes Massabesic Monday.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth dropped a 3-0 home decision to Cheverus, then improved to 4-4-2 with a 4-1 win at Brunswick. Against the Stags, the game was scoreless into the third period, as Capers goalie Grant Rusk made 31 saves, but ultimately, Cape Elizabeth went down to defeat.

“Grant played phenomenal,” Capers coach Matt Buotte said. “When you play top teams like this, you need your goalie to make saves to win. Grant made big saves all night. He kept us in it all night. Unfortunately, we couldn’t put one in. That was a phenomenal hockey game between teams with big ambitions and we pushed them right to the end. I don’t like moral victories, but to push a great team like Cheverus to the end, what more can I ask for?”

Eli Babcock, Jeb Boechenstein, Alex Glidden and Matt Riggle scored in the win. Cape Elizabeth (fourth in the Heals) is idle until Saturday, Jan. 23, when it hosts Greely.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, Scarborough continued to solidify its hold on the top spot in the West Region after extending its win streak to 13 games with a 2-1 victory at Cheverus and a 6-1 home win over Gorham/Bonny Eagle. Against the Stags, Madison O’Reilly produced an early lead, but Cheverus rallied to tie. Lauren Topchik scored the winner with 5:18 to go.

“We knew we had to get it done on that shift and I was in the right spot to knock it in there,” Topchik said.

“There have been a few times we’ve been tied or down going to the third period and we shared with the girls that they could come back,” said Scarborough coach Caitlin D’Amour. “We have enough skill and experience to come back. We told them to settle down and play 45 seconds at a time.”

The Red Storm (13-0-1) host defending state champion Lewiston Saturday.

“We have a lot of tough games coming up,” said D’Amour.

The Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete co-op team snapped a three-game skid and improved to 4-8 and fourth in the South Region with a 4-1 home win over Gorham/Bonny Eagle last Thursday. Kate Ginder had two goals, while Hannah Bosworth and Laura Baginski also scored. After hosting Biddeford Thursday, Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete goes to Edward Little/Leavitt Saturday and visits Falmouth Monday.

Indoor track

Western Maine Conference indoor track league action resumed last weekend. Cape Elizabeth’s boys were second to Greely, while the Capers girls placed fifth.

Liv Palma won the girls’ mile (5 minutes, 33.57 seconds). In the boys’ meet, Matthew Concannon was first in the junior 55 (7.18 seconds) and the junior 200 (24.99). Ethan Avantaggio won the junior 55 hurdles (9.91). Luc Houle was first in the junior shot put (38 feet, 5 inches). Cape Elizabeth’s junior 4×200 relay team (Hans Kremer, Avantaggio, Jack Glanville and Concannon) was first in 1:45.15.

Cape Elizabeth takes part in the early meet Friday against Freeport, Gray-New Gloucester, Greely, Lake Region, Lisbon and Yarmouth.

Scarborough and South Portland are back in SMAA league action Saturday. The teams compete against each other, as well as Bonny Eagle and Massabesic.

Swimming

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ swim team beat South Portland, 123-53, last weekend, while the Capers girls downed Falmouth in recent action, 125-60. Cape Elizabeth is home against Greely Friday.

South Portland’s girls beat McAuley, 115-57, in its last outing. The Red Riots go to Cheverus Friday.

Scarborough’s boys’ team beat Greely, 57-36, while the girls lost to the Rangers, 55-39. The Red Storm are next in action Jan. 22 at South Portland.

Skiing

Scarborough’s Alpine ski team began league play by sweeping three other teams in a giant slalom meet at Shawnee Peak Monday. Sarah Hassler was the top female (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 13.23 seconds). Andrew Mills (fifth, 1:13.63) paced the boys.

Wrestling

Scarborough’s wrestling team fell to 5-5 after a 64-11 loss to Sanford. After hosting Kennebunk, the Red Storm take part in the Southern Maine Invitational in Gardiner Monday.

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

Sidebar Elements


South Portland senior Maddie Hasson (33) and sophomore Meghan Graff are all smiles after the Red Riots’ 57-45 win over McAuley Tuesday night. South Portland beat the Lions for the first time in nearly eight years.

South Portland’s Ansel Stilley goes up for a shot during the Red Riots’ 66-46 home loss to undefeated Deering Friday.

Scarborough goalie Ross LeBlond makes a glove save on a Falmouth shot during the Red Storm’s 2-1 win Tuesday night.

Cape Elizabeth’s Niko Pappas heaves the shot put during last weekend’s league meet. Pappas was third in the senior division.

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