South Portland Red Riots Winter Athletes of the Year

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Malone

Graff

Male:

NOAH MALONE, Senior-Basketball

* SMAA All-Conference, first-team 

* SMAA Senior All-Star

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

* Captain

* Team MVP

Malone was a steady leader for an injury-plagued South Portland squad which enjoyed another deep playoff run.

Malone was more into baseball and football at a young age, but by high school, basketball became his focus.

“I’ve always loved (basketball),” Malone said. “I was the worst one of my friends until sophomore year, but I always had fun with it.”

Malone played on the junior varsity team as a freshman and sophomore, then started as a junior, averaging 10.7 points per game and helping the Red Riots reach the Class AA state final, where they lost to Portland for the second year in a row.

This winter, Malone blossomed into one of the league’s premier talents, averaging 18.1 points (fifth-best in the conference), 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. His contributions were critical as seniors Liam Coyne and Riley Hasson, as well as several other players, were sidelined at various times by injury.

Malone’s highlights included 26 points in a season-opening win over Cheverus, 17 points in a loss to eventual repeat Class A champion Greely, 18 points in a win over Massabesic, 21 points in a victory over Deering, 18 points in a win over Windham, 24 points and eight rebounds in a loss to Portland, 18 points in a second win over Deering, 26 points in a loss to Thornton Academy, 22 points in a victory over Noble, 26 points and seven rebounds in a win over Bonny Eagle, a season-high 31 points in an overtime loss to eventual state champion Edward Little and 17 points and 10 rebounds in a second loss to Portland.

In the tournament, Malone had 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals in a quarterfinal round win over Massabesic, 10 points and eight boards in a semifinal round victory over Thornton Academy and a team-high 16 points in a regional final loss to Scarborough.

“I wish the season had ended differently,” said Malone. “I hate losing more than anything. I’m proud we went as far as we did with the circumstances.”

Malone also plays AAU ball, referees for younger kids and helps out at a summer camp. He wants to play basketball in college.

Based on his terrific senior season, there will be plenty of interest in his services. Noah Malone, South Portland’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, made great strides and was the sparkplug behind another solid Red Riots season.

Coach Kevin Millington’s comment: “Noah improved his overall game immensely this past year. He could impact the game in a variety of ways, shooting and attacking the rim, getting to the foul line, on defense and on the glass. More importantly, Noah has matured so much as a person. He was our leader and a great mentor to the young guys. I am so proud of him and how far he has come. Being able to watch his personal growth over the last three years is something that reminds me what is really important when coaching young men.”

Previous winners:

2016-17 Ruay Bol (basketball)

2015-16 Jack Fiorini (basketball)

2014-15 Andrew Whipple (hockey)

2013-14 Andrew Whipple (hockey)

2012-13 Tanner Hyland (basketball)

2011-12 Chad MacWhinnie (swimming)

2010-11 Tommy Ellis (hockey)

2009-10 Zach Horton (hockey)

2008-09 Keegan Hyland (basketball)

2007-08 Nick Wright (basketball)

2006-07 Coleman Findlay (basketball)

2005-06 Tim Clark (hockey)

2004-05 Andrew Cousins (basketball)

2003-04 Max Ludwig (track)

2002-03 Ethan Gato (track)

2001-02 Jesse Ludwig (track)

Female:

MEGHAN GRAFF, Senior-Basketball

* SMAA Class AA All-Conference, first-team

* SMAA All-Defensive team

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

* State foul shooting finalist

* Miss Maine Basketball semifinalist

Graff did a little of everything for a Red Riots team that excelled nearly from start to finish this winter.

Graff started playing basketball in the fourth grade and says that it’s always been her favorite sport.

“Basketball is so fast-paced,” she said. “You’re always moving. It’s always so much fun to play and I love the competitiveness. I have two older brothers and I always wanted to beat them.”

Graff joined the Red Riots varsity team as a freshman, being named to the SMAA All-Rookie team after the season. As a sophomore (12.7 points per game and a first-team all-star) and junior (13.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.3 steals and a first-team all-star), Graff and her teammates took Gorham to the wire before losing in the Class AA South Final.

This winter, South Portland was viewed as the team to beat and for most of the year, the Red Riots had no peer in Class AA. Graff wound up averaging 13.7 points, 3.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals and she hit 75 percent of her foul shots. She was a matchup nightmare inside and out and played strong defense as well, helping South Portland win 17 of 18 contests.

Highlights included 16 points in a win over Cheverus, 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists in an interclass victory over eventual Class A champion Greely, 10 points, four rebounds and four steals in a key win at Scarborough, 18 points in a victory over defending Class AA North champion Oxford Hills, 19 points in a win over Sanford, 17 points and five steals in a win over Massabesic, 18 points in a victory at Windham, 13 points and five assists in a win over Portland, 18 points in a victory over Deering, 20 points in a win over Thornton Academy, 22 points in a victory over Falmouth, 14 points in a win over Noble, 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in a win at Gorham and 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a second victory over Portland.

Graff then had seven points in a quarterfinal round playoff win over Noble before South Portland was upset by Gorham in the semifinals.

“The season didn’t end the way we wanted it, but it was so fun,” Graff. “Looking back at four years, we made great memories. It made me a better player and person.”

Graff, who also plays soccer at South Portland and competed for the Firecrackers AAU team, is a member of the school’s drug and alcohol awareness group, SoPo Unite. She will attend and play basketball at Bates College next year.

A terrific player and young lady will say goodbye to the Red Riots, but rest assured that Meghan Graff, South Portland’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, won’t soon be forgotten for her accomplishments.

Coach Lynne Hasson’s comment: “Meghan was the heart and soul of our team. She was a consistent scorer for four years, becoming our leading scorer as a junior and senior. She developed into one of the best perimeter shooters in our league and had range to the 3-point line, but even better, she could penetrate off the dribble and score in the paint. She always defended the toughest perimeter player on the other team and did an outstanding job shutting down some of the best players in our league. She was the consummate team player, doing whatever it took for us to win. She was unheralded as a passer, yet was a very good passer and was always unselfish with the ball. She could play any position on the court both offensively and defensively and was our best player posting up low and finishing in the post. Meghan will be remembered as one of the best to wear a South Portland uniform as she led us to two Southern Maine championship games and a 17-1 regular season this year. Her heart, passion, love of the game and work ethic are second to none. She will be very difficult to replace and certainly will be missed by players and coaches alike for all that she brought to the program as a player and as a person.”

Previous winners:

2016-17 Juliana Selser (track)

2015-16 Maddie Hasson (basketball)

2014-15 Maddie Hasson (basketball)

2013-14 Brianne Maloney (basketball)

2012-13 Danica Gleason (basketball)

2011-12 Nyajock Pan (track)

2010-11 Abby Hasson (basketball)

2009-10 Danielle DiBiase (basketball)

2008-09 Brianna Hawkins (basketball)

2007-08 Curry Girr (diving)

2006-07 Kelsey Flaherty (basketball)

2005-06 Christina Aceto (basketball)

2004-05 Whitney Morrow (basketball)

2003-04 Courtney Albin (track)

2002-03 Abby Lesneski (basketball)

2001-02 Abby Lesneski (basketball)

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

Malone

Graff

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