Winter season hits midway point

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Waynflete-Yarmouth boys’ basketball and Cheverus-Gorham, McAuley-Thornton Academy and McAuley-South Portland girls’ basketball game stories, with photos and box scores, please see theforecaster.net)

Here’s some good news for those who don’t like the snow and cold.

Winter is half over.

Well, the winter sports season is halfway finished anyway.

As we hit the middle of January, it’s time to start thinking about earning enough wins to qualify for the playoffs and about postseason positioning.

Here’s a glimpse at where things stand after another busy week:

Boys’ basketball

Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team silenced any remaining detractors with another strong week which included a statement victory. Last Tuesday, the Flyers welcomed undefeated Yarmouth, a top contender in Western B, and the teams put on a show. There was virtually no separation in the first half, as the lead changed hands 10 different times. Finally, just before halftime, Waynflete got a little breathing room as an 8-0 run put it on top to stay and it enjoyed a 30-26 lead at the break.

Offense wasn’t as prevalent in the second half, but the Flyers, paced by strong efforts from senior Harry Baker-Connick, juniors Milo Belleau and Tommy Silk and sophomore Yai Deng, saved their best for last. Clinging to a 32-31 third period lead, Waynflete got a pair of hoops from Belleau and a three-point play from Silk to make it 39-33 heading for the fourth. There, the Flyers wouldn’t be denied, as they scored the first nine points, sandwiched by a runner and two free throws from Baker-Connick. While Yarmouth attempted to rally, it wasn’t to be and Waynflete went on to a 53-43 triumph.

Belleau had 17 points, Baker-Connick added 13, Silk 12 and Deng seven, to go with a dozen rebounds.

“I was mentally into it,” Deng said. “That was the only way we’d win the game. It was all effort. I crashed every time a shot went up.”

“It was just momentum,” Belleau said. “We broke the press. Once we got going, we just ran with it. We had a good crowd. Being at home helped out too. It was a chance to prove something and I think we did.”

“Coming into this game, we knew Yarmouth was one of the best teams in the area, if not the state and we just wanted to make a statement,” Baker-Connick said. “We figured if we played defense as well as we could, we’d see what happens in the fourth quarter. I think our effort on defense and our mental toughness on offense were the difference. We got the ball where we wanted to. We got mostly layups.”

“This was a game people were looking forward to,” added Waynflete coach Rich Henry. “It’s a meaningful win for us. I told the guys coming in that this was the best team we’re likely to play. It’s a testament to them. We prepared, more mentally than physically. I’m proud of how the kids pulled it out.”

Saturday, the Flyers improved to 7-0 with a 72-39 home win over North Yarmouth Academy. Belleau had 19 points, while Deng added 10 Waynflete (fifth in the Western Class C Heal Points standings) was at Western B contender Lake Region Tuesday and hosts reigning Western B champion Poland Thursday.

In Western A, defending state champion Portland’s two-year win streak reached 31 with victories over visiting Westbrook (61-51) and host Biddeford (67-33). The Bulldogs got 21 points from Steve Alex and 16 from Joey Esposito in the win over the Blue Blazes. Against the Tigers, Liam Densmore and Amir Moss led the way with 17 points apiece. Portland (first in the Heals) hosted Bonny Eagle Tuesday, welcomes Deering Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and Marshwood Saturday, then goes to Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Deering was fifth in Western A with a 7-3 record after a 71-60 loss at Windham and a 96-48 home win over Massabesic. Ben Williams had 22 points in the loss, while Garang Majok led the way in the victory with 21. Moses Oreste and Raffaele Salamone both had 16 against the Mustangs. The Rams were home against Gorham Tuesday, play at Portland Thursday and visit Sanford Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus lost at home to Thornton Academy (52-40), then handled visiting Sanford (53-28) and was 5-4 and ninth at press time. Jesse Matthews had 11 points in the win. The Stags were at Westbrook Tuesday, visit South Portland Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and welcome Biddeford Monday.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, four-time defending Class A state champion McAuley had a week to remember, as it re-established itself as a team to beat. First, the Lions avenged a loss from Opening Night when they held off visiting, undefeated Thornton Academy, 29-25. Twelve points from Jess Willerson helped open up a 22-9 halftime lead, but McAuley went cold in the second half and the Golden Trojans drew within two, but Sarah Clement had a steal and two free throws and the Lions held on, 29-25. Willerson led the way with 14 points, while captain Olivia Dalphonse added seven.

“That was a fantastic game,” said Willerson. “We wanted to beat the number one seed. We wanted to avenge the losses from last year and this year. This gives us a lot of confidence. We know we can play with anyone.”

“We were able to pull through and get the win,” said Dalphonse. “We knew we needed to pull this out. It’s really important. We’re not so much focused on beating TA, it’s just beating a top team. We want to prove to the rest of the league that we can win. It’s a big win against a great team.”

“This game was a mid-term for my team,” added Lions coach Billy Goodman. “I wanted to see what we had. We didn’t win a trophy tonight, but we gained confidence that we can compete with the top team.”

Friday, McAuley found itself in a back-and-forth struggle at South Portland. The Lions, who led at halftime, 27-26, turned up the defense in the second half and went on to a 45-36 triumph. Willerson led all scorers with 17 points, Dalphonse added a dozen, freshman Eva Mazur and Emily Weisser produced key contributions and McAuley won its ninth game in a row and improved to 9-1.

“We knew coming out we had to focus on our intensity and we did that,” said Dalphonse. “It was definitely a concern that we’d be satisfied with a big win (against Thornton Academy), but we had to come out and make another statement against a good team and we did.”

“I was nervous, but it was just pregame nerves,” Mazur said. “It was fun. I liked it. On defense, I just want to get the ball. I just want to help the team.”

“I’ve been playing with JVs to help get the nerves out,” Weisser added. “I played really timid at the beginning of the season, but I’ve gotten comfortable with everyone and more confident. It’s nice to show that hard work pays off.”

The Lions (second to Thornton Academy in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) hosted Scarborough Tuesday, welcome Sanford Friday and play at Westbrook Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Deering continues to soar, improving to 8-2 and fourth in the region after wins last week over visiting Windham (52-39) and Massabesic (60-21). Mary Tadsse had 15 points, Amanda Brett 14 and Cierra Burnham 11 versus the Eagles. Lodia Ismail had 19 points and Tasia Titherington 13 in the win over the Mustangs. The Rams were at Gorham Tuesday, host Portland Friday and welcome Sanford Tuesday of next week.

Portland eighth at 5-4 after a 57-40 loss at Westbrook and a 48-29 win at Biddeford. Merritt Ryan had 12 points and Gabby Wagabaza 10 in the loss. The Bulldogs were at Bonny Eagle Tuesday, pay a visit to Deering Friday and welcome Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus was holding on to the 12th and final playoff spot at 5-5 after a 66-47 home loss to Gorham and a 45-33 win at Sanford. In the setback, the Stags hung tough for two-plus quarters, then were done in by 28 turnovers. Laura Holman had a team-high 12 points in defeat.

“I wouldn’t say the first half is as well as we can play, but we played well for sure,” said first-year Stags coach Steve Huntington. “If we played that way in the second half, we would have been right there.”

Cheverus was home with Westbrook Tuesday, goes to South Portland Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play at Biddeford Monday.

In Western C, Waynflete was 6-2 and ninth after a 36-32 loss at Yarmouth, then handled visiting NYA (54-13) In the loss, Julianna Harwood had 14 points and seven rebounds, but the Flyers shot just 1 of 12 from 3-point range and let a late three-point lead slip away. In the win, Annika Brooks and Lydia Giguere both had 15 points. Waynflete hosts defending Class B champion Lake Region Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and goes to Poland Friday.

Hockey

On the ice, the Cheverus boys took a 6-2-1 record into Monday’s game at Thornton Academy. Last week, the Stags lost at Bangor, 4-1. Cheverus (third in Western A) is home against Brunswick Thursday and welcomes St. Dom’s Saturday.

The Portland/Deering co-op team was sixth at 4-6 after a 5-2 home loss to Cape Elizabeth. Portland/Deering is home with Kennebunk Thursday.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus was seventh in the West Region at 4-9 after a 4-0 loss to Capeflete Saturday. The Stags welcome Brunswick Thursday and St. Dom’s Saturday.

Portland/Deering was 1-9 and eighth in the West after losses to Capeflete (6-0) and Falmouth (9-0). After playing at Winslow Tuesday, Portland/Deering goes to defending state champion Scarborough Thursday and visits York Monday.

Indoor track

There was no indoor track league action last week, but some local standouts still impressed.

Deering’s boys took part at the Dartmouth Relays and turned heads. The Rams were 11th of 51 scoring teams. Hany Ramadan won the 600 in 1 minute, 23.63 seconds. Paolo DeMarco was sixth in the 55 hurdles (8.12). Deering’s 4×400 relay team was fourth (3:36.99). Cheverus’ Jake Dixon won the 300 (35.5). Jacob Schott was sixth in the high jump (6-2) and sixth in the triple jump (41-10). Cheverus’ Sarah Mount was sixth in the girls’ quarter-mile (1:02.27).

Local runners, jumpers and throwers are back in action Saturday. McAuley competes against Bonny Eagle, Noble and Thornton Academy, Cheverus and Portland take part in a meet which includes Massabesic and Westbrook and Deering battles Marshwood, Scarborough and Windham.

Swimming

Cheverus’ defending Class A state champion boys’ swim team stayed perfect on the season last week with a 113-56 win over Falmouth. The Stags girls, also defending Class A champs, beat the Yachtsmen, 84-80. Cheverus hosts Deering Friday.

Deering’s girls beat Windham, 111-54. The boys lost to the Eagles, 108-48.

McAuley is at South Portland Friday.

Portland’s boys beat Yarmouth, 80-72, while the girls lost to the Clippers, 76-60. The Bulldogs go to Windham Thursday.

Waynflete is at Kennebunk Saturday.

Skiing

Local Nordic skiers began the season last week with a freestyle race at Pineland. In the boys’ race, Portland’s Brad Ravenelle finished second (17 minutes, 29 seconds). Waynflete’s Willson Moore placed fourth (17:58). Deering’s Caleb Niles came in eighth (18:31). In the girls’ competition, Deering’s Ewa Varney (21:55) and Leinani Farnsworth (21:57) placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Portland’s was led by Bea Hesselbart (12th, 22:45). Waynflete was paced by Marijke Rowse (14th, 24:17).

In the Hornet Classic Saturday, Deering’s girls were fifth and Waynflete came in 14th. Portland’s boys were sixth, while Waynflete placed 11th.

Wrestling

Portland’s wrestling team suffered an 84-0 loss to Marshwood Saturday to fall to 4-7 on the season. The Bulldogs hosted Deering and Scarborough Wednesday and take part in the Southern Maine Classic at Noble Saturday.

Deering lost to Noble (75-6) and Massabesic (54-24) last year to fall to 0-9. After going to Portland Wednesday, the Rams host Bonny Eagle and Sanford Monday.

Cheverus lost to Noble last week, 72-6.

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

Sidebar Elements


Waynflete’s Abel Alemayo drives to the basket during the Flyers’ 53-43 win over Yarmouth last week.

McAuley senior Ayla Tartre drives the baseline during Friday’s 45-36 win at South Portland. The Lions had a terrific week last week, handing top-ranked Thornton Academy its first loss, then prevailing at the Red Riots.

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