Showdowns, milestone win highlight memorable week

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As the winter season passes the midway point, there’s been ample excitement on the court, ice, mats, track, trails and in the pool.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

While the undefeated Deering Rams and the defending regional champion Cheverus’ boys’ basketball teams squared off Friday night, Portland was producing longtime coach Joe Russo’s 300th win with the program.

The Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit for a 61-57 win at South Portland behind 16 points from senior Mike Herrick and 13 from sophomore Jayvon Pitts-Young.

Portland was coming off a 59-20 victory at Kennebunk (senior Pete Angelo led the Bulldogs with 11 points). Portland (8-2 and third in the Western Class A Heal Points standings at the start of the week) hosts Thornton Academy Thursday, visits Cheverus Monday and Westbrook Tuesday.

Back to the Rams and the Stags. Friday night, Deering came to Keegan Gymnasium, a site where it hadn’t won in six years, with a 9-0 record, the most recent a 61-48 home victory over Biddeford (senior Jon Amabile had 19 points, junior Labson Abwoch added 13 points and 16 rebounds).

Cheverus was reeling, having lost handily at Scarborough (the Stags’ first ever loss to the Red Storm), 58-43, last Tuesday (senior Louie DiStasio had 20 points). It was Cheverus’ second loss in three games.

Friday, it appeared the Stags were bound for another defeat when they fell behind Deering, 5-0, in the opening seconds and 18-7 after the first period. Then, up 20-7 early in the second, everything went wrong for the Rams, who committed eight turnovers and watched as Cheverus embarked on a 15-0 run to take a 22-20 lead into the break. DiStasio picked up his third foul in the second period, but longtime Stags’ coach Bob Brown left him on the floor and he hit some key shots to spearhead the run.

“Coach Brown looked over at me and said he didn’t want to take me out,” DiStasio said. “He told me to play smart. I wouldn’t help him sitting next to him. I know he likes me, but he doesn’t like me that much.”

“Louie’s playing,” Brown said. “If he had four fouls he’d play. I have a hard time seeing a great player wasting time on the bench. Every minute he plays, it’s a bonus. He’s good enough to play with fouls and say I’m not going to get anymore.”

Cheverus put the game away in the second half, at one point stretching its run to 27-4 and its lead to 34-24 before going on to a 49-40 victory to improve to 8-2.

DiStasio led the way with 16 points, senior Cam Olson added 15 and even overcame a nasty head injury late in the contest, senior Shawn Grover finished with 13 points and junior Michael Flaherty put forth a superb all-around effort.

“We definitely needed this,” said Olson. “We have a lot to work on obviously. This helps with the process going toward playoffs. Deering’s not easy to beat. They’re going to go far.”

“Tuesday night was a wakeup call for us,” Flaherty said. “Scarborough was a team we should have beaten. We came out flat and didn’t have any energy. We got down tonight and our fans brought us back. We made a couple plays and they picked up for us and we took it from there.”

The Stags (second in the Western A Heals) are idle until hosting Windham Friday. They host Portland Monday and go to Massabesic Tuesday.

“We’re going to be a contender,” said Flaherty. “As long as we do our thing and everyone does their role, we’ll be all set.”

“It’s not an easy stretch at all,” added Brown. “I’m really pleased at the progress we’ve made.”

Deering (which got 17 points from Amabile, but only four in the final three quarters) fell to 9-1 with the loss.

“We turned the ball over,” lamented Rams coach Dan LeGage. “That’s the game right there. You can’t give them extra opportunities and that’s what we did. We were just careless with the ball. We came out strong and shot the ball well, but they’re tough here. They did a good job defensively in the second quarter. It was hard to get into any sort of flow since we weren’t taking care of the basketball.”

Deering (still first, barely, in the Western A Heals) had another tough test Monday afternoon at Scarborough (see theforecaster.net for the game story). The Rams host Westbrook Friday and go to Windham Tuesday of next week.

“This was a good learning experience for us,” said LeGage. “We’ll work harder. There’s still a lot of season. This would have been nice, but what it does for us is reveal what we need to work on.”

In Western C, Waynflete won its eighth in a row last Tuesday, 54-41, at Old Orchard Beach, as junior Paul Runyambo led the way with 15 points. Friday, the Flyers finally stumbled, falling to 8-1 after a 50-48 home loss to Hyde on a basket at the buzzer (Runyambo finished with 12 points). Waynflete (third in the Heals) hosts Western B contender Yarmouth Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for the game story) and goes to Traip Friday.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Deering continued its resurgence last week with a pair of wins, their seventh and eighth out of their past nine outings. The Rams bounced back from last weekend’s tough overtime loss to McAuley with a 55-28 triumph at Biddeford and an impressive 53-38 decision over visiting Cheverus. Senior Ella Ramonas had 16 points, junior Marissa MacMillan had 12 and classmate Chelsea Saucier added 10 in the win over the Tigers. Against the Stags, Deering raced to a 10-0 lead behind two 3-pointers from Ramonas. Cheverus rallied to go on top, 22-21, but the Rams outscored the Stags, 23-10, in the second half. Ramonas finished with 20 points, MacMillan 18 and senior Emily Cole 11.

Deering (8-3 and fourth in the Western A Heals) welcomed undefeated, top-ranked Scarborough Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), goes to Westbrook Friday and hosts dangerous Windham Tuesday of next week.

The loss was Cheverus’ second in a row. Last Tuesday, the Stags hosted Scarborough and got off to a good start, up 10-8, after one quarter, but over the middle periods, the Red Storm outscored Cheverus, 30-13, and went on to a 48-36 win. Sophomore Georgia Ford was superb off the bench for the Stags (who were done in by 30 turnovers), scoring 12 points, four rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots.

“They knocked down shots and we didn’t,” Stags coach Richie Ashley said. “They played hard and played well and came in waves. They deserve the credit. It’s not like we weren’t prepared or didn’t know what was going on. We just didn’t make enough shots. We shot 24 percent. I could count 12 point blank layups we missed.”

At Deering, Cheverus was paced by eight points from junior Victoria Nappi. The Stags (7-3 and fifth in the Heals) go to Windham Friday, host Portland Saturday and Massabesic Tuesday.

“We’ll get better,” Ashley said. “We’ll have good practices, clear our heads and realize it’s not life and death. It’s a basketball game.”

Defending Class A champion McAuley is still unbeaten, even though the wins haven’t come easily of late for the Lions. Last Tuesday, McAuley downed visiting Massabesic, 51-26, as sophomore Allie Clement had 16 points, senior Alexa Coulombe finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Victoria Lux added 13 points.

Friday, the Lions got taken to the wire by visiting Thornton Academy, but managed to hold on for a 41-36 win and improve to 10-0 behind 16 points from sophomore Olivia Smith, 11 from Coulombe and 10 from Clement.

“We need to stop having bad first halves,” said McAuley coach Billy Goodman. “We missed so many easy shots (against Thornton Academy).”

McAuley (second to Scarborough in the Heals), goes to the Red Storm for a showdown Friday night. Tuesday, McAuley plays host to always dangerous Sanford.

Portland fell to 1-10 and 15th in the Heals after losses to visiting Kennebunk (50-47) and host South Portland (49-30). Seniors Samantha Dobson and Angie Reali each had 10 points against the Rams. Reali also led the way against the Red Riots with nine points. The Bulldogs go to Thornton Academy Friday and host Westbrook Tuesday.

In Western C, Waynflete is struggling without junior standout Martha Veroneau, who is sidelined for a couple weeks with a severe ankle sprain. Last Tuesday, the Flyers and visiting Old Orchard Beach produced a memorable finish. Leading 35-32 with just seconds to go, Waynflete couldn’t ice the game at the foul stripe and the Seagulls tied the score on a 3-ball with 8.4 seconds left. The Flyers clung to a 41-40 lead as time wound down in OT, but Old Orchard Beach stole the win, scoring on a putback at the horn to prevail, 42-41. Junior Catherine Veroneau had 15 points and sophomore Leigh Fernandez added 12. Friday, Waynflete bounced back and improved to 5-4 with a 56-14 home romp over Hyde behind 18 from Veroneau, 12 from junior Rhiannan Jackson and 10 from promising freshman Julianna Harwood.

The Flyers (sixth in Western C) go to Yarmouth Wednesday and host Traip Friday.

Hockey

On the ice, Cheverus’ boys are still 3-2 and ninth in the Western A Heals after last week’s scheduled home game against Brunswick was postponed by snow. The Stags are at Portland Saturday.

Speaking of the Bulldogs, they took an 0-8 mark and the No. 15 ranking into Monday’s game at Edward Little. Portland dropped a 7-3 decision at defending Class B champion York last Wednesday. Mike Fuller, Luigi Grimaldi and Zach Luce all scored. The Bulldogs are at Scarborough Thursday, then host Cheverus Saturday.

The Cheverus girls have won two straight to improve to 6-6 and fourth in the West Region. The Stags were 4-1 victors at Biddeford last Wednesday and handled visiting Gorham, 9-3, Saturday. Katie Roy scored four times against the Tigers. She added three goals against the Rams and Sarah LaQuerre finished with two. Cheverus is at Portland Saturday and visits St. Dom’s Monday.

Portland sits fifth in the West Region Heals with a 6-5 mark after Friday’s 8-0 loss at Scarborough. After visiting undefeated Falmouth Monday, the Bulldogs host Cheverus Saturday and welcome Scarborough next Monday.

Indoor track

The indoor track season continued last weekend at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Cheverus’ boys were second (behind Thornton Academy) and the girls were third in a five-team meet.

The boys got wins from Michael Cummings in the junior high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), Jacob Schott in the junior triple jump (37-8.5), Jackson McMann in the senior 55 (6.88 seconds) and the senior 200 (23.74), Brady Foshay in the senior 400 (54.86), Andrew Rose in the 600 (1 minute, 22.64) seconds, Adam Zieba in the senior 800 (2:11.42), James Campbell in the senior long jump (17-6.5), Joe Slattery in the senior triple jump (39-3), Michael Orne in the pole vault (10 feet) and the senior high jump (5-10) and the senior 800 (1:36.36) and open 1,600 (3:47.30) relay teams.

Girls’ victors included Kiera Murray in the junior 800 (2:32.85), Shannon Conley in the 600 (1:34.55), Fiona Hendry in the 800 (2:28.04) and the mile (5:15.0), Katie Shapiro in the senior shot put (32-11) and the open 1,600 relay (4:24.45).

Deering’s girls were second to South Portland and McAuley came in fourth in a five-team meet. The Deering boys came in third.

Female winners included Deering’s Katie Farrell in the junior 400 (1:07.08), Lizzy Fowler in the junior 800 (2:36.65) and junior high jump (4-6), Veronica Mitchell in the senior 55 hurdles (9.11) and Edie Pallozzi in the mile (5:29.68) and McAuley’s Elsa Curran in the 55 hurdles (9.97). 

Deering’s Matt Kimball won the boys’ senior 55 (6.9). Tony Sen won the senior 55 hurdles (8.16). Billy Farrell took the senior triple jump (38-6.25). Bryan White was first in the senior shot put (51-4).

Portland competed against Bonny Eagle, Noble and Scarborough. Both Bulldogs teams placed fourth (the Red Storm won both meets). Claire Kirby won the girls’ junior 55 hurdles (10.37).

This Saturday, Cheverus and Deering take part in a meet with Noble and Windham. McAuley and Portland compete against Bonny Eagle, Thornton Academy and Westbrook.

Swimming

Cheverus’ swim team ran into the Greely juggernaut Friday. The boys lost, 52-42, while the girls fell to the Rangers, 57-37. Results from Deering’s meet versus Scarborough and Portland’s meet at Kennebunk weren’t available.

Waynflete is back in action Friday at Biddeford. Also, Cheverus hosts Scarborough, Deering welcomes Westbrook and McAuley joins St. Dom’s at South Portland. Portland hosts Massabesic Saturday.

Skiing

Portland’s girls’ Nordic ski team was sixth at a classical meet at Black Mountain last Wednesday. Abby Popenoe was eighth individually (18 minutes, 33.4 seconds). The Portland boys were 13th and Deering placed 14th. Individually, Deering’s Kuba Chandler was 14th (15:55.6) and Portland’s Ben Allen came in 22nd (16:09.1).

Saturday, at the Leavitt Hornet Classic, Portland’s girls were sixth and the boys seventh. Waynflete’s girls came in 16th and the boys were 20th. Lizzy Landry led the Bulldogs girls this time with a 16th place finish (21:44.6). Jo Moore paced the Flyers (33rd, 23:26.7). Maddie Ostwald of Deering was 39th (23:51.3). On the boys’ side, Portland’s Ben Allen was runner-up individually (14:45.4). Deering’s Chandler was fifth (15:01.5). Waynflete was paced by Josiah Espy (eighth, 15:25.4).

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team dropped a 41-36 decision to Wells last Wednesday. The Bulldogs (4-4 on the year) hosted Kennebunk and Windham Monday and welcome Biddeford and Kennebunk Saturday.

Deering lost to Biddeford, 41-36, at Saturday’s Kennebunk Duals. The 0-5 Rams went to Noble (along with Westbrook) Monday and join Wells and Windham Wednesday.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cheverus senior Cam Olson cuts off the baseline and draws a charge against Deering senior Jon Amabile late in Friday night’s showdown. The Stags knocked the Rams from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 49-40 triumph.

Cheverus senior Louie DiStasio releases a jump shot over Deering senior Pat Green in Friday’s win. DiStasio led the Stags with 16 points.

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