Winter playoff season has arrived

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The winter sports season is coming to a close and if the recent amount of snow has got you down, there’s some good news, as it has become apparent that the upcoming postseason is going to be more unpredictable than ever.

The girls’ hockey regular season has come to an end and the playoffs are set to begin. Boys’ and girls’ basketball wrap up by week’s end and the tournament starts next week. It won’t be long until the conference, regional and state championships are held for indoor track, swimming, skiing and wrestling.

Here’s a look at where things stand now that we’ve flipped the calendar to February.

Boys’ basketball

All good things must end and Portland’s boys’ basketball team found that out the hard way Saturday when its program-record, two-year, 37-game win streak came to an close. The Bulldogs made it 37 in a row last week with a 72-53 win at Windham, as Amir Moss had 17 points, while Steve Alex added 16. Saturday, however, rival Cheverus came to the Expo and made an impressive statement with a 55-44 triumph. Portland trailed most of the way and couldn’t summon up a comeback, as it lost to the Stags for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Alex had 11 points in defeat. Portland (15-1 and still first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) had a pivotal showdown at South Portland (a team that took the Bulldogs to the wire in the first meeting) Tuesday, then closes the regular season at rival Deering Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Speaking of Deering, the Rams began the week 11-5 and fifth in the region after a 68-50 home win over Biddeford and a 71-66 setback at South Portland. In the victory, Raffaele Salamone and Ben Williams both had 12 points, while Moses Oreste added 10. Against the Red Riots, Malik White had 24 points and Garang Majok added 19, but for the second time this winter, Deering couldn’t hold a lead against South Portland. The Rams were at Cheverus Tuesday and close at home versus Portland Thursday.

Cheverus was 10-6 and sixth after a 70-67 overtime win at Scarborough and the 55-44 win at Portland. Against the Red Storm, Luca Napolitano had 19 points, Austin Boudreau added 16, Zordan Holman had 14 and Jack Casale finished with 11. In the upset of the Bulldogs, Napolitano had 15 points and Holman added a dozen. Cheverus hosted Deering Tuesday and closes at home versus South Portland Thursday.

In Western C, defending regional champion Waynflete improved to 13-1 and fourth after wins last week at Wells (58-41), at home over A.R. Gould (76-32) and over visiting Sacopee Valley (76-25). Against the Warriors, Abel Alemayo had 14 points and Pace Hutchinson added 12. Milo Belleau had 20 points, Will Nelligan 11 and Willy Burdick 10 versus A.R. Gould. In the victory over the Hawks, Belleau led the way with 21, Harry Baker-Connick had 12 and Tommy Silk added 11. The Flyers host Greater Portland Christian School Wednesday and close at Hyde Thursday.

The tournament begins Tuesday of next week with the preliminary round on the courts of the higher seeds. The Western A quarterfinal round is Friday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Portland Exposition Building. The Western C quarterfinal round is contested Monday, Feb. 16 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, four-time defending Class A state champion McAuley extended its win streak to 15 and remained atop the Heals after victories last week over visiting Bonny Eagle (59-23) and host Marshwood (69-56). Jess Willerson had 14 points and Ayla Tartre 11 against the Scots. In the win over the Hawks, Willerson had 23 points, Tartre 13, Olivia Dalphonse 10 and Mary Furlong nine. The 15-1 Lions had a pivotal home showdown versus Stevens Avenue rival Deering Tuesday, then close the regular season at home versus Cheverus Thursday.

Deering extended its win streak to 12 and improved to 14-2 after winning, 52-29, at Biddeford Thursday and 58-25 over visiting Cheverus Saturday. In the win over the Stags, Tasia Titherington had 12 points. The Rams (third behind McAuley and Thornton Academy in Western A) played at McAuley Tuesday and close at Portland Thursday.

Cheverus has hit its stride in the late going and the best news for the Stags last week was the return from injury of senior Jillian Libby, who missed over a month with a knee injury. Last Wednesday, Cheverus held off visiting Scarborough, 55-41. Libby made a jump shot early, but it was junior Anne Veroneau and freshman Deirdre Sanborn who sparked a first quarter run which spelled a 16-8 lead. The Stags made it 35-26 at halftime and went on to the victory behind 13 points from Emme Poulin, nine each from Sanborn and Laura Holman, seven from Veroneau and six apiece from Libby and Brooke Dawson. Saturday, Cheverus’ three-game win streak ended with a 58-25 setback at Deering. Dawson had a team-high nine points. The Stags (9-7 and seventh in Western A) hosted South Portland Tuesday, then close at McAuley, seeking their first-ever win over the Lions, Thursday.

Portland has struggled down the stretch, Last week, the Bulldogs’ skid hit five with losses to visiting Windham (64-43) and at South Portland (63-48). Gabby Wagabaza had 17 points versus the Red Riots. Portland (7-9 and ninth in Western A) hosted Biddeford Tuesday and closes at home versus Deering Thursday.

In Western C, Waynflete improved to 10-5 and eighth after wins last week at Hebron Academy (58-16), visiting Kents Hill (45-9) and host Sacopee Valley (56-32). Against Hebron, Helen Gray-Bauer had 11 points, while Julianna Harwood added 10. Gray-Bauer had 11 more points against Kents Hill, while Annika Brooks finished with 10. In the win over the Hawks, Gray-Bauer had 18 points, while Harwood had 11 and Brooks added 10. The Flyers were at Kents Hill Monday and close at home versus Greater Portland Christian School Wednesday.

The tournament begins Wednesday of next week with the preliminary round on the courts of the higher seeds. The Western A quarterfinal round is Monday, Feb. 16 at the Portland Exposition Building. The Western C quarterfinal round is contested Tuesday, Feb. 17 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Hockey

Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team returned to action after a two-week absence Saturday, handling visiting Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills, 10-0. Nic Noyes and Keegan Thomas both scored twice. The Stags (9-3-1 and second to two-time defending state champion Falmouth in the Western A Heals) have two critical games upcoming: at home versus Falmouth Thursday and at Scarborough Saturday.

The Portland/Deering co-op team was 5-8 and seventh in Western A after beating visiting Mt. Ararat (4-2) and losing, 7-0, at Lawrence/Skowhegan. Dominic Tocci scored twice in the win. Portland/Deering has a home tilt with South Portland Thursday and plays a makeup game at home versus Brunswick Monday.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus and Portland/Deering fell short of the playoffs this winter.

The Stags finished 5-13 and seventh in the West Region (but only six teams qualified) after losses at Gorham/Bonny Eagle (4-3), at home to Falmouth (5-1) and to visiting defending state champion Scarborough (5-0). Leanna Farr had the goal against the Yachtsmen. 

Portland/Deering closed by sandwiching losses to visiting Brunswick (3-1) and host Biddeford around a 5-3 win over Winslow to wind up 2-15-1 and eighth. Delaney Stokes had the goal against the Dragons. 

Indoor track

The Southwestern Maine Activities Association held a final regular season makeup meet at Colby College in Waterville Saturday. Deering’s boys got wins from Yahya Hussein in the two-mile (10 minutes, 13.78 seconds), Hany Ramadan in the 800 (2:01.93), 

The SMAA championship meet will be held Saturday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

The Class A state meet is Monday, Feb. 16 at USM. The Class B state meet is the same day at Bates College in Lewiston.

Swimming

Cheverus’ boys swim team enjoyed a 105-65 win at Cape Elizabeth last week. The girls lost to the Capers, 97-84. The Stags hosted Westbrook Monday in the regular season finale.

Deering’s regular season-ending meet at Westbrook was postponed by snow to Monday.

McAuley’s meet at Greely Monday was postponed.

Portland’s meet at Bonny Eagle Monday was postponed.

Waynflete’s regular season-ending meet versus Yarmouth was postponed.

The North Division Southwesterns meet is Friday and Saturday in Westbrook.

The Class B boys’ state final is Saturday, Feb. 14 at the University of Maine in Orono. The Class B girls compete for state glory Monday, Feb. 16 in Orono, while the Class A boys’ state meet will be held at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The Class A girls’ state meet is Tuesday, Feb. 17, also in Brunswick.

Skiing

Portland’s boys were second to Falmouth, while Waynflete placed eighth in a Western Maine Conference/Southwestern Maine Activities Nordic freestyle race in New Gloucester last week. Portland’s Dillon Kelly was first individually with a time of 19 minutes, 56 seconds. Willson Moore led the Flyers with a 12th-place showing (23:32). Deering’s girls came in fifth, while Waynflete placed seventh. The Rams were paced by Ewka Varney (10th, 28:06). The top Flyer was Ellie Chidsey (27th, 31:48).

On the Alpine side, Cheverus’ girls were fourth in a five-team slalom meet last week at Shawnee Peak. Hanna Sonesson was ninth individually with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 52.07 seconds.

The state meets are Feb. 16-18.

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team closed the regular season Saturday with a 36-30 win over Windham. The Bulldogs wound up 8-12.

Deering wound up 0-19 after losses Saturday to Biddeford (54-21), Westbrook (40-28) and Scarborough (42-39).

The regional championships are Saturday, Feb. 7 at Marshwood High School.

The Class A state meet is Saturday, Feb. 14 at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cheverus senior Jillian Libby soars for a rebound during last weekend’s 58-25 loss at Deering. Libby returned from a knee injury last week.

Deering’s Mary Tadsse knocks the ball away from Cheverus’ Deirdre Sanborn during Saturday’s tilt. The Rams won their 12th game in a row.

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