South Portland Red Riots Winter Athletes of the Year

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2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

TOMMY ELLIS, Senior-Hockey

* Travis Roy Award semifinalist

* Senior All-Star

* SP Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year

While Tommy Ellis hasn’t gotten the notoriety that goes to goal scorers, his performance for the South Portland boys’ hockey team didn’t go unnoticed by those who know and appreciate good hockey.

Ellis has been one of the finest defensemen around in helping the Red Riots rise to prominence and this year, hold their own against a brutal schedule.

Ellis was so good on the ice (and equally admirable off the ice), that he was selected as one of the 10 best seniors in Class A.

His ability to lead his team and be a top-notch player is worthy of praise and we’re happy to do that, naming Tommy Ellis South Portland’s 2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Ellis grew up in South Portland and started skating at the age of two. He’s been a hockey aficionado most of his life and spent four years with the Red Riots playing defense.

South Portland averaged 12 wins in his four seasons. In Ellis’ sophomore year, the Red Riots won a playoff game for just the second time ever. His junior season, they made it to the semifinals for the first time.

That success earned South Portland the right to play a Tier I schedule this winter and while South Portland didn’t win as many games as it’s been accustomed to the past few seasons, the team always played hard, thanks in part to the leadership of Ellis.

Highlights included an assist in a win at eventual Class B champion York, a goal in a victory over Edward Little, a goal and two assists in a win over Portland and a goal in a second victory over Portland.

Ellis made his mark mostly on the defensive end of the ice, making life miserable for opposing scorers, helping Dominic Desjardins cement his status as one of the league’s better goalies. The Red Riots pitched four shutouts, including holding potent Western B power Greely scoreless.

Ellis wound up a semifinalist for the Travis Roy Award, given to the top senior player in Class A.

He’s now turned his attention to lacrosse. A member of National Honor Society and Interact, Ellis wants to play football (his fall sport) in college. He’s interested in studying geology.

He certainly was the rock of this program. Tommy Ellis, South Portland’s 2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, made his presence felt as one of the finest hockey players around.

Coach Joe Robinson’s comment: “What has made Tommy successful is his attitude, hard work, discipline, and commitment to whatever he is pursuing. His work ethic on the ice and in the classroom demonstrates what type of individual he is. There is also no sense of entitlement with Tommy. His level of maturity allows him to have the understanding that nothing in life is given to you. He truly knows that a person has to work hard for their achievements even with the understanding that in the end he may not achieve all that he has set out to do. Over his four year varsity career he has without a doubt logged the most hours during our games. He has been our leader for the past three years and in my opinion, he is the best defensive defenseman in the league and the best all-around player I have had the pleasure to coach in my nine years at the varsity level. He will truly be missed.”

2009-10 winner: Zach Horton (Hockey)

2008-09 winner: Keegan Hyland (Basketball)

2007-08 winner: Nick Wright (Basketball)

2006-07 winner: Coleman Findlay (Basketball)

2005-2006 winner: Tim Clark (Hockey)

2004-2005 winner: Andrew Cousins (Basketball)

2003-2004 winner: Max Ludwig (Indoor track)

2002-2003 winner: Ethan Gato (Indoor track)

2001-2002 winner: Jesse Ludwig (Indoor track)

2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

ABBY HASSON, Senior-Basketball

* SMAA All-Star, first team

* SMAA Senior All-Star

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

It’s a wonder what good health can do.

After missing half her junior season with a stress fracture in her back, Abby Hasson was healthy as a senior and the South Portland girls’ basketball team was the beneficiary.

Hasson had a standout campaign, helping the always-competitive Red Riots make it back to the tournament and was recognized as one of the finest players in the conference and state.

For persevering through difficult times, closing her high school career with aplomb and for leading her team back to the postseason, Abby Hasson gets The Forecaster’s nod as South Portland’s 2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Hasson grew up in South Portland, the daughter of former players and coaches (her mother, Lynne, is a longtime Red Riots’ assistant).

She played a supporting role early in her high school career and didn’t truly appreciate how much the game meant to her until she had to sit much of her junior season. That ordeal had such an impact on her that she wrote her college essay about how much she truly loves basketball.

Her coaches and teammates certainly loved having her back at 100 percent this winter. Hasson helped the Red Riots to 11 wins and they were competitive with every team throughout the season.

Highlights included 19 points in a season-opening victory over Biddeford, 14 against Massabesic, 16 versus Marshwood, 17 against Noble, 20 in a win over defending champion and nemesis Scarborough, a then-career-high 26 versus Thornton Academy, a career high 31 against Portland, 11 in an upset of Gorham, 15 against Westbrook, 18 versus Bonny Eagle and 14 in the regular season finale, a loss to Cheverus.

Hasson wound up eighth in the Southern Maine Activities Association in scoring (14.4 points per game), was tops in rebounds (11.1) and ninth in field goal percentage.

South Portland was eliminated by eventual state champion McAuley in the quarterfinals, a game which saw Hasson bow out with seven points.

Hasson, who has also played golf and lacrosse and competed in track during her high school years, is weighing her college options. She wants to continue playing at the next level and will study secondary education.

It was a treat seeing what she could do at 100 percent this year. Abby Hasson, South Portland’s 2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, left no doubt that she’s a great talent.

Coach Mike Giordano’s comment: “Abby was the backbone of our team this year. We could count on her at both ends of the floor. After a injury-riddled junior year, she came up big for us. I was so happy for her success. I think her best basketball could be ahead of her. She’s what you want a senior captain to be for you. She’s such a leader on and off the floor. She can finish inside and is great from the line.”

2009-10 winner: Danielle DiBiase (Basketball)

2008-09 winner: Brianna Hawkins (Basketball)

2007-08 winner: Curry Girr (Diving)

2006-07 winner: Kelsey Flaherty (Basketball)

2005-2006 winner: Christina Aceto (Basketball)

2004-2005 winner: Whitney Morrow (Basketball)

2003-2004 winner: Courtney Albin (Indoor track)

2002-2003 winner: Abby Lesneski (Basketball)

2001-2002 winner: Abby Lesneski (Basketball)

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