Stretch run begins in Forecaster Country

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth-Waynflete boys’ basketball, Falmouth-Lake Region girls’ basketball and Yarmouth-Greely boys’ hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

Believe it or not, but the winter sports regular season is coming down the stretch.

We’re mere weeks from the first state championships being bestowed.

Local teams continue to impress, but still have a long way to go.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team remains perfect and atop the Western Class B Heal Points standings after wins at Lake Region (83-50), Cape Elizabeth (52-37) and at home over Wells (60-39) last week. Senior Matt Packard had 21 points and classmate Jack Cooleen added 18 against the Lakers. Packard had 12 points, junior Charlie Fay 11 and senior Matt Kingry 10 in the win at the Capers.

“That’s probably been the biggest difference between last year and this year,” said Packard. “Only a few seniors graduated, so this year our depth has been really great.”

“The kids are confident,” said Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “The kids aren’t satisfied with where they are because we were on the outside looking in last year. They have a lot to prove. They have a lot to prove to themselves.”

The Yachtsmen had to rally to beat the Warriors behind Packard’s 28 points. Falmouth (13-0) is at Poland Friday and hosts Lake Region Tuesday.

Yarmouth is 10-2 and third after a 52-45 triumph at Waynflete and an 81-38 home romp over Gray-New Gloucester. At the Flyers, the Clippers bounced back from a one-point loss at Cape Elizabeth behind a balanced scoring attack. Senior Josh Britten had 14 points (and five steals), classmate Chris Knaub 12 (along with nine rebounds), sophomore Nate Shields-Auble 12 and senior Sam Torres eight.

“In the games we won, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” Torres said. “That was a big thing tonight, to play hard, play mentally strong and mentally tough down the stretch and that’s what we were able to do.”

“We have dips in the season,” said Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. “When Cape played great defense, we scored 39 points. Waynflete played tremendous defense, with tremendous effort and we scored 52 tonight. What we’re capable of and what we put out isn’t the same thing. We’re trying to be more consistent. “

Against the Patriots, Knaub had 22 points, Britten 18 and sophomore David Murphy 15. The Clippers went to Traip Tuesday, host Freeport Friday and have a showdown at Greely next Tuesday.

Those Rangers are now 7-5 and sixth in the region after a palpitating 65-61 home win over York Friday. Greely was down by a point heading for the fourth period, but rallied to win. Senior Liam Maker continued his recent dazzling play with 18 points. Sophomore Michael McDevitt added 17 and classmate Bailey Train finished with 13.  The Rangers were at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, welcome Fryeburg Friday and host Yarmouth next Tuesday.

Freeport lost, 67-46, at Wells Friday (despite 19 points from senior Mitch Loeman), then improved to 2-10 and 17th in the standings Saturday with a 63-58 victory at Gray-New Gloucester (Loeman went off for 25). The Falcons hosted Poland Tuesday, visit Yarmouth Friday and play host to Fryeburg next Tuesday.

In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy is 2-8 and 14th in the Heals after Friday’s 59-40 loss to visiting Old Orchard Beach (senior Asad Dahia had 18 points). The Panthers were at Hyde Tuesday, host Sacopee Friday, A.R. Gould Saturday and go to Buckfield next Tuesday.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Greely began the week 9-3 and fifth in the Western B Heals. Friday, the Rangers went to nemesis York (a team they beat earlier in the year) and lost, 40-30, despite freshman Ashley Storey’s 11 points. Greely hosted Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, goes to Fryeburg Friday and welcomes Yarmouth next Tuesday.

Falmouth put on a show last Tuesday when it hosted undefeated Lake Region. The Yachtsmen took a 37-32 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Lakers rallied and tied the game at 37-37 and 39-39. 

Wtih 58.4 seconds to play, the Yachtsmen took the lead one final time when junior Maddie Inlow made a short jumper. The advantage lasted all of eight seconds as Lake Region made a layup to make it 41-41.

Falmouth ran the clock down for a last shot. The Yachtsmen got the look they wanted when junior Anna Hickey had an open jumper, but it was no good and it was on to overtime.

“We got into I don’t want to say panic, but we rushed,” said Falmouth coach Mari Warner. “Our cuts weren’t as strong. If we simply ran our offense and ran it hard, we’d get open looks. We got open looks and missed. The shots were there.”

In OT, the Lakers grasped their second chance, rode the dominance of sophomore post standout Tiana-Jo Carter (22 points, 26 rebounds) and rediscovered their clutch shooting acumen as they went on to the 51-46 victory.

“It’s very much a half-full situation,” said Warner. “It shows what we’re capable of doing. I love coaching when there’s strategy involved. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard. That’s what you want here at Falmouth. We have no business playing anything less than this going down the stretch. The kids now know that. We’ve set the bar a little higher now. I’m very proud.”

Freshman Ally Hickey had 16 points and senior Laney Evers added 10.

“I said in the locker room that we have no excuse to play any less than we did tonight,” Evers said. “I think it was really, really good for our team because we realized our potential. I feel like this was the first game where we just clicked. Something clicked and it started to work.”

The Yachtsmen answered with a 46-33 home win over Cape Elizabeth Friday (Ally Hickey had 14 points, senior Nicole Rogers 12), but fell to 7-6 (eighth in the region) Saturday after a 47-43 loss at Wells (Ally Hickey had a dozen points, freshman Dayna Vasconcelos nine). Falmouth hosts Poland Friday then has a rematch at Lake Region Tuesday.

“From here on in, every game is big,” Warner said. “We just have to come to play every day.”

Yarmouth is 4-8 and 11th after beating visiting Waynflete (49-33) and falling at Gray-New Gloucester (55-41) last week. Senior Morgan Cahill and sophomore Erin Cahill each had 12 points against the Flyers. Morgan Cahill scored 24 points in the loss. The Clippers hosted Traip Tuesday, welcome Freeport Friday and go to Greely next Tuesday.

Freeport, after a hot start, has stumbled, losing four in a row to drop to 5-7 and 12th in the region. Last weekend, the Falcons fell at home to Wells (48-38) and Gray-New Gloucester (46-41). Sophomore Nina Davenport had 18 points versus the Warriors. Against the Patriots, Freeport forced 36 turnovers and clung to a 31-30 lead early in the fourth period, but couldn’t close it out despite 11 points and 12 rebounds from Davenport.

“We are struggling,” said Falcons coach Jen Chon. “I couldn’t even tell you how many layups we missed. We’re in a rough patch right now. I think we need to find something in ourselves, play better, be more in sync and believe in ourselves to get us where we need to be. The whole team’s goal is the playoffs and we want to be there.”

Freeport was at Poland Wednesday, visits Yarmouth Friday and plays at Fryeburg Tuesday. Junior sparkplug Aubrey Pennell (out all season with injury) might be back on the floor this week.

“We hope she gets into a game Friday,” Chon said. “Having her on the court adds a whole new dimension to our team.We have a tough road ahead of us. We’ve competed with top teams. It’s figuring out where we go from here. The girls have to have confidence we can get past this.”

In Western C, NYA began the week 4-6 and 13th in the Heals. The Panthers lost, 55-17, at Old Orchard Beach Friday. Sophomore Charlotte Esancy had a team-high seven points. NYA hosted Hyde Tuesday and Greater Portland Christian School Wednesday, welcomes Sacopee Friday, Hebron Saturday and Buckfield Tuesday of next week.

Boys’ hockey

Yarmouth’s boys’ hockey team made a monster statement Saturday night. The Clippers, after a week off, hosted a Greely squad that had run roughshod over everyone. The Rangers had gone 13-2-1 against Yarmouth over the past eight years and had won the first meeting this winter, 7-2, but this time, the Clippers found a way.

Greely raced to a quick 2-0 lead, but thanks to the power play, Yarmouth rallied to tie the score. The Rangers went up 3-2, but the Clippers again tied things up before Greely got late goals from sophomore Aidan Black and freshman Mitchel Donovan scored for a 5-3 advantage after two. 

It only took 36 seconds for the Clippers to make the score 5-4 as senior Marshall Brunelle beat Greely freshman goalie Kyle Kramlich. With 7:51 showing, sophomore Zac Doucette set up Donovan for another two goal lead.

With 6:59 to play, sophomore David Clemmer scored a shorthanded goal (junior Kevin Haley got the assist) and suddenly it was a one goal game. It then took only 31 more seconds for Yarmouth to tie the score. Senior Alex Kurtz did the deed with another shorthanded goal, this one assisted by classmate Eamon Costello.

“Eamon did a terrific job of getting me the puck,” Kurtz said. “He went through like three guys. I was sitting on the back door and tapped it in. He did it all for me.”

The game winner came with 3:52 showing.

Costello put a shot on net and with the puck loose, Kurtz swatted at it and managed to get it past Kramlich and the Clippers had the lead for the first time, 7-6.

“I just slapped at the puck, tried to get it in and tucked it under his pads,” Kurtz said. “They signaled goal and we went nuts.”

“(Alex is) a great player,” Yarmouth coach David St. Pierre said. “He’s got a ton of skill and passion. He leaves it all on the ice. The team rallies around that emotion and passion.”

The only scare down the stretch came with 15.5 seconds remaining when junior goalie Red DeSmith had to sprawl to collect a loose puck with the Rangers playing with an extra attacker. Yarmouth was able to run out the clock from there and celebrate its big win.

“This game meant the world to me,” said Kurtz. “I love playing in this rink. Big ice sheet. Great atmosphere. We’ve discussed this week about how this program was in the can when I was a freshman. We’ve built our way.”

“We talked before the game about believing in ourselves and executing out there,” St. Pierre said. “If we believed and picked each other up, we were still in it. We played really strong. Greely’s a great team. In my opinion, they’re one of the top five teams in the state, regardless of class. To come into their barn and get a win, it’s a big statement. It helps us cement that if we work hard, we can play with anyone.”

Yarmouth improved to 4-3-1 and is sixth in the Western B Heals. The Clippers went to Leavitt Wednesday, host Gardiner Saturday and welcome South Portland next Wednesday.

Greely was shocked with the loss, its first of the year.

“We just a really poor job of buckling up and playing smart,” lamented longtime Rangers coach Barry Mothes. “I give (Yarmouth) credit for fighting hard. They deserve credit and the win.”

Monday night, the Rangers fell to 6-2-1 (second behind York in the Western B standings) after a 5-4 overtime loss at Lewiston. Greely was at St. Dom’s Wednesday, visits Leavitt Saturday and has a big home showdown with York Feb. 2.

In Western A, Falmouth began the week 5-3-1 and fourth in the standings after a 3-3 tie at defending state champion Thornton Academy Saturday (Kris Samaras scored twice, including the tying goal with just over a minute to play). The Yachtmen host Marshwood Saturday.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, Falmouth has locked up the top seed in the West Region with a 16-0 record. The Yachtsmen’s latest victims were host St. Dom’s (9-3), host Yarmouth (6-1) and visiting Winslow (6-1). Lucy Meyer had four goals, Megan Fortier three and Abby Payson two in the win over the Saints. Fortier went off for five versus Winslow. Falmouth hosts Brunswick Saturday, then closes the regular season Monday with a home showdown against East Region power Greely.

Speaking of the Rangers, they’ve leapfrogged Brunswick into the top spot in the East after Saturday’s 4-1 win at the Dragons. Shannon Donovan, CeCi Hodgkins, Meg Finlay and Paige Tuller all scored and Emma Seymour made 15 saves. Greely (12-2) hosted Leavitt Wednesday, is at Falmouth Saturday and closes the regular season next week with a home game versus York and a trip to Portland.

Yarmouth began the week 5-10 and sixth in the East and is looking to make it into the fifth spot, which would mean a playoff berth. Last week, the Clippers sandwiched wins at Winslow (7-5) and St. Dom’s (9-2) around a 6-1 home loss to Falmouth. Ariel Potter had a hat trick against Winslow. Yarmouth is at Gorham Friday, visits Lewiston next Wednesday and closes at Cheverus Feb. 4.

Indoor track

The Falmouth and Greely indoor track juggernauts squared off again last week. The Rangers and Yachtsmen were joined by Hyde, NYA, Poland, St. Dom’s, Traip and Wells. Falmouth was first and Greely second on the boys’ side and the teams flip-flopped in the girls’ meet. NYA’s boys and girls were both third.

Individually, Greely’s Mike Leeman was the lone multiple event winner on the boys’ side. He took the long jump (18 feet, 7.5 inches) and the senior high jump (5-4). The Rangers also won the junior 800 relay (1 minute, 48.47 seconds). Falmouth took the senior 800 relay (1:39.40). NYA’s Alex Coffin won the 800 (2:04.13). 

Greely’s girls won 10 individual events and also took the senior 800 relay (1:54.92). Falmouth’s junior 800 (1:58.20) and 3,200 (11:50.12) relays placed first. NYA got wins from Muriel Adams in the junior shot put (25-11) and Moira Lachance in the senior high jump (4-8).

Freeport and Yarmouth competed against Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region and York. In the boys’ meet, won by York, the Clippers came in third and the Falcons were fifth. York’s girls also placed first. Yarmouth was sixth and Freeport seventh.

Yarmouth’s Chandler Smith was first in the boys’ junior 200 (25.27 seconds). Darren Shi won the junior shot put (35-1). Lucas Davis took the senior 55 (7.10). Thomas Robichaud won the pole vault (10 feet). Freeport’s Taylor Saucier was first in the two-mile (10:36.26). On the girls’ side, Freeport’s Ciera Wentworth was runner-up in the 800 (2:35.77). Yarmouth’s Mary Coyne came in second in the junior 200 (29.54), Molly Walsh was second in the junior 55 hurdles (10.82) and the Clippers junior 800 relay squad also was runner-up (2:04.98).

Friday, Falmouth and Yarmouth join Gray-New Gloucester, Hyde, Poland, Traip and York at 4:30 p.m. Freeport, Greely and NYA meet Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Lake Region and Wells at 7:30 p.m.

Swimming

Falmouth’s swim teams were swept at Cape Elizabeth last weekend. The boys lost, 101-52, and the girls fell, 117-67. Greely swept Windham. The boys won, 49-45, and the girls prevailed, 62-25. Results for Yarmouth’s meet at Bonny Eagle weren’t available.

Falmouth hosts Yarmouth Thursday and Greely is at South Portland Friday.

Skiing

Falmouth and Yarmouth’s Alpine ski teams participated in a WMC slalom meet Friday at Shawnee Peak. The Yachtsmen won the boys’ meet, while the Clippers were second. Yarmouth’s girls were also runner-up to Fryeburg. Falmouth came in third.

Individually, the Yachtsmen boys had the top five finishers, paced by Alex Gowen (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 25.35 seconds). Matthew Highland was the fastest Clipper (sixth, 1:33.86). In the girls’ competition, Falmouth’s Leika Scott came in second (1:36.92). Yarmouth’s Claudia Lockwood finished fourth (1:40.09).

Greely took on Cheverus, Lake Region and Marshwood in the giant slalom the same day. The Rangers girls finished first, while the boys placed second to Marshwood. Individually, Elyse Dinan sparked the girls with a first-place finish (1:00.24). Shane DelBianoc was second in the boys’ competition (1:01.90).

Local Nordic teams took part in the Maranacook Wave freestyle race Saturday at Black Mountain.

NYA won the boys’ race with Greely placing 11th. The Rangers were 14th and the Panthers 15th on the girls’ side (Leavitt came in first).

Individually, NYA’s Evan Kendall was second among the boys (14:20.6). Greely was led by Doug Mitiguy (37th, 16:54.6). Eva Bates of Greely was 39th in the girls’ race (22:33.7). Melanie Regan (52nd, 23:37.9) paced the Panthers.

Freelance writer Ryan Robb contributed to this story.

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

Sidebar Elements


Falmouth junior Charlie Fay slams home two points in the Yachtsmen’s win at Cape Elizabeth Friday night.

Freeport sophomore Nina Davenport eyes a shot during Saturday’s home loss to Gray-New Gloucester.

Greely freshmen goalie Kyle Kramlich kicks aside the shot of Yarmouth junior Kevin Haley during the Clippers’ 7-6 win Saturday night.

Yarmouth’s Jocelyn Davies places third in the senior high jump at last weekend’s conference meet.

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