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Ethan Murphy’s layup beat the horn and Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team beat Medomak Valley for a dramatic Class B state title back in February.
South Portland southpaw ace Henry Curran was a revelation in the spring, leading the Red Riots to the Class A state final.
On the last day of October, Scarborough’s volleyball team got to celebrate its first Class A state title.
South Portland 2 Portland 1 Western A baseball final
Scarborough 2 St. Dom’s 1 (2 OT) Class A boys’ hockey state final
Cape Elizabeth 44 Medomak Valley 42 Class B boys’ basketball final
In a year of great “Game of the Year” candidates, nothing tops a buzzer beater for the ages to snap a 27-year title drought. The Capers had lost three previous trips to the state final and squandered an early 7-0 lead and let a 34-29 advantage heading to the fourth period slip away and with just over a minute to go, Cape Elizabeth trailed by six points. The Capers roared back to tie and after a Panthers miss with time winding down, Eddie Galvin grabbed the ball, spotted teammate Ethan Murphy behind the defense and delivered the pass of his life to Murphy, who laid the ball up just before the horn and it dropped through the net, giving Cape Elizabeth its long-awaited championship, setting off an unforgettable celebration.
Local high school sports athletes set a high standard again in 2015.
Whether the season was winter, spring or fall, triumph was the theme and there were countless memorable moments.
With another winter season underway and a new year upon us, here’s one final look back at the thrills that made up the year just past.
When 2014 gave way to 2015, Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team was gearing up for a run at its first Class B championship since 1988. South Portland was quite formidable as well and and Scarborough vied for a playoff spot.
On the girls’ side, South Portland was jockeying with the best teams in Western A. Scarborough also was in playoff contention, while Cape Elizabeth appeared to be a non-factor in Western B. Guess again.
On the ice, Scarborough’s boys’ hockey team was hoping to finally leapfrog Falmouth and win an elusive Class A title, but the Red Storm weren’t seen as the favorite. Cape Elizabeth and South Portland were also competitive.
The Scarborough girls’ team was defending a state title and Capeflete was also in the hunt.
Skiing, swimming, track and wrestling teams and individuals made their mark as they geared up for the postseason.
February vacation week brought the first hardware of the new year.
Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ swimming won the Class B championship, thanks in large part to Harry Homans taking the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. The Capers girls didn’t finish first, but Sadie Stiles won the 100 breaststroke crown.
No local team won an indoor track title, although the Scarborough boys came pretty close. The Red Storm had to settle for individual titles from Hugh McSorley (shot put) and Jacob Terry (two-mile). Cape Elizabeth’s Mitch Morris (boys’ Class B two-mile) and South Portland’s Michael Cuesta (boys’ Class A long jump and triple jump) also had first-place showings.
On the slopes, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ Alpine ski team won the Class B championship.
Scarborough freshman Jeremy Sendrowski took the Class A wrestling title at 113 pounds.
On the ice, Capeflete’s girls won a playoff game over Biddeford, but ultimately lost to Falmouth in the West Region semifinals. Scarborough started what it hoped would be a repeat title run with a semifinal victory over York, but the Red Storm were ousted by Falmouth in the West Region Final.
On the boys’ side, South Portland lost in the quarterfinals and Cape Elizabeth fell in the semifinals. Scarborough had to survive an overtime scare to beat Biddeford in the quarterfinals, then finally slayed the Falmouth beast in the semifinals.
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
Scarborough’s girls gave eventual regional champion Thornton Academy a scare in the Western A quarterfinals before ultimately going down to defeat. South Portland won a prelim, then upset Deering in the quarterfinals, but met its match against four-time defending champion McAuley in the semifinals. Cape Elizabeth barely got into the Western B playoffs, then embarked on a magical run, downing Fryeburg Academy in the preliminary round, upsetting top-ranked Spruce Mountain in the quarterfinals and Lincoln Academy in the semifinals. Midnight finally struck for Cinderella in the regional final, as the Capers were no match for eventual state champion Greely.
On the boys’ side, in Western A, Scarborough was beaten in the preliminary round and South Portland beat Cheverus in the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Falmouth in the semifinals. In Western B, Cape Elizabeth beat rival Greely in the quarterfinals and ousted Lincoln Academy in the semifinals. After getting past Lake Region in the regional final, the Capers finally ascended to the pinnacle, as Ethan Murphy’s buzzer-beating layup produced a 44-42 win over Medomak Valley, putting an unthinkably wonderful punctuation mark on the season.
Only two games were played in the month of March and Scarborough’s boys’ hockey team won both of them, downing Cheverus, 5-2, in the regional final and clinching the championship by virtue of a 2-1 double overtime win over St. Dom’s in the state game, as Sean McGovern etched his name into lore with the decisive tally.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
South Portland’s baseball team, behind the brilliance of left-handed ace Henry Curran, made a run to the top of the standings. Cape Elizabeth wound up first in Western B.
Scarborough’s softball team was its usual dominant self, while South Portland overcame a slow start to become a contender and Cape Elizabeth also qualified for the postseason.
Boys’ lacrosse featured strong play from defending state champions Cape Elizabeth and South Portland and perennial power Scarborough.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland all made runs to the playoffs.
Area track stars geared up for the state meet.
The tennis story featured excellence from several teams, most notably the Cape Elizabeth boys.
The spring championship season began with strong showings at the outdoor track state meets. Scarborough’s boys and South Portland’s girls both placed second in Class A. At the individual level, South Portland’s Daniel Giuliani won the Class A boys’ shot put and set a new state record (62 feet, 8.25 inches) in the process. Teammate Michael Cuesta added a crown in the Class A boys’ long jump. South Portland’s Juliana Selser took first in the Class A girls’ 800. Cape Elizabeth’s Morgan Carpenter won the Class B girls’ javelin.
A week later, Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ tennis team won a third straight Class B crown.
On the diamond, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland’s softball teams both lost in the preliminary round. Scarborough, which was undefeated during the regular season, got to the Class A state game, but was no match for Messalonskee’s Kirsten Pelletier, who beat the Red Storm, 1-0.
Baseball provided no shortage of excitement. Cape Elizabeth was the top seed in Western B and downed Lake Region and Lincoln Academy to reach the regional final. There, against defending state champion Greely, the Capers grabbed an early lead, but the Rangers tied the score in controversial fashion, then ended Cape Elizabeth’s season with a pair of eighth inning runs. South Portland, the No. 3 seed in Western A, had to go eight innings to survive Biddeford in the quarterfinals, then rallied for an improbable win at Marshwood in the semifinals. In the regional final, the Red Riots held on for a thrilling one-run win over South Portland to reach the state final, where this time, a one-run decision went against them in a painful 5-4 loss to Bangor.
In girls’ lacrosse, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland both lost in the quarterfinals. Scarborough got to the Western A Final, but was soundly defeated by eventual state champion Marshwood.
On the boys’ side, Scarborough lost to Thornton Academy in the semifinals, while Cape Elizabeth and South Portland got back to the state final. The Red Riots weren’t able to repeat, losing to Brunswick, but the Capers beat Yarmouth for the third year in a row and show no signs of slowing down.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball. By mid-August, fall practice was underway.
Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf and volleyball excitement.
On the gridiron, Cape Elizabeth got off to a hot start, while Scarborough and South Portland were competitive.
On the pitch, Scarborough’s perennially strong boys’ soccer team closed in on yet another undefeated regular season, while Cape Elizabeth, Greater Portland Christian School and South Portland were also playoff-bound.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough showed promise.
Scarborough’s defending Class A champion field hockey team finally proved mortal, seeing its 66-game regular season win streak come to a close on the 16th with a loss to Cheverus.
Defending Class A champion Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough were in the hunt as top volleyball teams.
Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come.
Cape Elizabeth’s golf team wound up without peer, winning every regular season match, taking the Class B team championship and seeing Ryan Collins win a share of the Class B boys’ individual title. Defending Class A champion Scarborough placed third at states.
Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team won Class A for the eighth time in 11 seasons.
Scarborough’s field hockey team wasn’t able to repeat as state champion, being upset by Thornton Academy in the semifinals.
Volleyball produced more thrills. Cape Elizabeth, the top seed, won a quarterfinal round match over Yarmouth and hosted Scarborough, which survived Biddeford in a prelim, then beat Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals, in the state semifinals. The Red Storm shocked most on hand by winning in four sets, then captured the state title for the first time by beating Greely in four sets.
The soccer playoffs saw Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ two-year regional championship reign end with a controversial overtime loss to York in the Western B semifinals. Scarborough also lost in the semifinal round, to Gorham in Western A.
On the boys’ side, Cape Elizabeth survived Freeport in overtime in the Western B preliminary round, then was ousted by eventual champion Yarmouth in the quarterfinals. GPCS lost in the Western D quarterfinals. In Western A, South Portland saw its title hopes dashed by Cheverus in the semifinals for the second year in a row. Scarborough, meanwhile, got back to the regional final, where it hoped to avenge an upset loss to Cheverus from the previous year.
Football’s playoffs began with Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough both winning quarterfinal round games.
The soccer drama continued into November, where Scarborough’s boys avenged their loss from 2014 with a 2-0 win over Cheverus in the Western A Final. The Red Storm’s hopes for a state title fell short, however, with a 1-0 loss to Lewiston.
The football season came to a close that same weekend, as Cape Elizabeth dropped a heartbreaker to Wells in the Western B semifinals and Scarborough was eliminated by eventual repeat champion Thornton Academy in the Western A semis.
And with that, the fall season was over.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again.
In boys’ basketball, Cape Elizabeth overcame a slow start and is rounding into top form again. GPCS, Scarborough and South Portland should also be in the hunt throughout.
On the girls’ side, South Portland expects to be a title contender, while Cape Elizabeth, GPCS and Scarborough are also competitive.
On the ice, the Scarborough boys and girls are thinking state championship and the other squads are also in the mix.
Swimming, track and wrestling have provided their share of promising moments and skiing is about to get underway, now that the snow has fallen.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2016 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!