Winter season resumes 2009 comes in like a lion

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By Michael Hoffer
After a brief (and triumphant) break for holiday tournament action, local winter sports teams have returned to league play. With February (and the postseason) drawing closer, the news continues to be promising.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ basketball: Falmouth still undefeated
All five local boys’ basketball teams took part in holiday tournaments prior to returning to league play last weekend.
Falmouth continues to produce the most drama. The Yachtsmen won their first seven games this winter, then took part in three games at the Portland High Holiday Tournament at the Portland Expo. After downing Windham 58-37, Falmouth lost 53-52 to South Portland in a game which saw junior standout Stefano Mancini miss a rare potential game-winner in the waning seconds. The Yachtsmen then defeated Sanford 65-45.
Returning to Western B action Saturday, Falmouth raced to a 36-6 halftime lead over visiting Wells and cruised to a 69-22 win behind 17 points from Mancini. Senior Josh Mokarzel added a dozen and freshman Jack Cooleen had 10. The Yachtsmen (8-0 and first in the initial Western B Heal Points standings) hosted York Tuesday (too late for this edition) and go to Lake Region Friday.
Greely also competed at the Portland Holiday Tournament. The Rangers downed Mountain Valley 62-44 before losing to eventual champion Cheverus 60-29. Greely then defeated Westbrook 58-54. The Rangers improved to 6-1 in league play Friday with their sixth-straight win, a 60-27 triumph at Gray-New Gloucester. Junior Trevor Tierney had 17 points and senior Chris Young added 15. Greely (third in the Western B Heals) was home with Lake Region Tuesday, goes to Freeport Thursday, then hosts defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth Tuesday.
Yarmouth played three holiday games, beating Class A Gorham (71-36) and Windham (65-59) before falling to Mountain Valley (45-39). The Clippers returned to league play Saturday night at home and rolled past St. Dom’s 58-37 behind senior Johnny Murphy’s 28 points. Yarmouth (6-2 and second in the Western B Heals) visited Freeport Tuesday (too late for this edition), welcomes Cape Elizabeth Saturday and visits Poland Tuesday.
Freeport’s biggest news last week came off the court where longtime coach Craig Sickels announced that this will be his last season. Sickels plans to remain as the school’s athletic director.
The Falcons played in the Medomak Valley Holiday Classic and lost to the hosts (58-38) and to Rockland (56-31). Freeport then fell to 1-6 in league play Saturday with a 47-40 home loss to Poland. Senior Jon Klages did score 20 points in defeat. The Falcons (12th in the Western B Heals) played host to Yarmouth Tuesday, welcome Greely Thursday, then go to St. Dom’s Monday.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy played in the Buckingham, Brown and Nichols tournament in Cambridge, Mass. The Panthers lost to Providence Country Day (59-30), Christian Heritage (64-50) and Beaver Country Day (57-38). Saturday, NYA improved to 3-3 in the regular season with a hard-fought 37-33 win at Waynflete. The Panthers held the Flyers to just eight first half points, but had to hold on for dear life down the stretch. NYA (14th in the initial Western C Heals) is home with Old Orchard Beach Friday and Hyde Saturday. Tuesday, the Panthers go to Sacopee.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ basketball: Yarmouth wins a thriller
In girls’ action, Yarmouth has managed to cram a season’s worth of thrills into just eight games. The Clippers were 2-5 before the break, but could have easily been at least 4-3 as they were competitive every time out. Yarmouth then took part in the Fairpoint Communications Holiday Classic in Gorham where they downed Traip (45-30) and Maranacook (54-28) before losing to South Portland (47-36).
The Clippers returned to league play Friday at St. Dom’s. Yarmouth only managed 10 points in the first half and was down six at the break. After shaving a point off its deficit in the third, the Clippers erupted for 15 fourth quarter points to force overtime. There, Yarmouth got just enough heroics to win 40-38.
“We didn’t show up in the first half,” said Clippers’ coach Nick Nash. “The whole team was cold from the floor and we just didn’t play well on either end of the court. We still looked like we were in big trouble late in the third, but we picked up our defensive intensity and started to make stops. (Senior) Lanier Bolmer and (junior) Catie Clarke played well off the bench. (Senior) Michelle Moylan hit a huge 3 and (freshman) Morgan Cahill had 16 huge second half points.
“In overtime, (sophomore) Devin Simsarian had a steal and a layup, Lanier hit a baseline jumper and Michelle hit a big free throw. It was a huge comeback win for the Clippers.”
Yarmouth (3-5 and ninth in the initial Western B Heals) hosted Freeport Wednesday (too late for this edition), visits Cape Elizabeth Friday and welcomes Poland Tuesday.
Speaking of the Falcons, they earned their first win of the season Saturday. Freeport (which lost its first six league games and fell 57-35 to Medomak Valley and 55-49 to Rockland at the Medomak Valley Holiday Classic) had little trouble with host Poland, rolling to a 55-24 victory behind 14 points apiece from juniors Rachel Foster and Lucy Whitacre and 13 from senior Kristen Poulin.
The Falcons (1-6 and 14th in the Western B Heals) went to Yarmouth Wednesday, then visit Greely Friday. Monday, Freeport hosts St. Dom’s. Tuesday brings a trip to Fryeburg.
Greely is ranked second in the Heals. The Rangers went 5-1 during the 2008 portion of their league schedule, then defeated Marshwood (51-32) and Mountain Valley (36-34) at the Portland Holiday Tournament. Saturday, Greely held off visiting Gray-New Gloucester 50-39 to improve to 6-1 on the season. Junior Karlee Biskup had 19 points. Junior Abby Young added 16.
The Rangers had a showdown at three-time defending regional champion Lake Region Wednesday (too late for this edition), host Freeport Friday, visit Cape Elizabeth Monday and play at Traip Tuesday.
Falmouth took a 4-3 mark into the holiday break. At the Porltand Holiday Tourney, the Yachtsmen defeated Leavitt (78-59) and Marshwood (64-47). Saturday, Falmouth improved to 5-3 with a hard-fought 47-44 win at Wells. Senior Andie Doyle led the way with 13 points. Classmate Haley Jordan had 10. Senior Kelsey Graffam finished with nine points and sophomore Jess DiPhillippo added eight.
The Yachtsmen (seventh in Western B) visited undefeated, top-ranked York Tuesday (too late for this edition). Saturday, Falmouth hosts nemesis Lake Region. Tuesday, it goes to Gray-New Gloucester.
In Western C, NYA went 2-3 in the 2008 portion of its regular schedule, then played two games at the Cole Farms Holiday Classic in Gray, losing 44-35 to Oak Hill and 67-33 to Cape Elizabeth. Saturday, the host Panthers gave talented Waynflete everything it could handle before falling 43-36. Senior Kate Merrill had nine points in defeat.
NYA (15th in the initial Western C Heals) is at Old Orchard Beach Friday.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ hockey: Greely edges Cape in OT
On the ice, while Falmouth did battle with some top Class A teams in recent days (please see story, page 13), Greely faced off with its top rival Monday night with the top spot in Western B at stake.
Playing at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Rangers and Capers put on a show, as expected. Greely led 2-1 and 3-2, but Cape Elizabeth answered both times. The Capers then took a late 4-3 lead, but senior Brian Allyn scored with 2:30 left in regulation to make it 4-4. Then, 2 minutes, 47 seconds into OT, Allyn struck again, beating Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Phil Jordan before sprawling into the boards to give the Rangers a stirring 5-4 win.
“I feel like in some ways, we’re fortunate to get the win,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “It could have easily gone the other way. Offensively, we played a very good game. Brian played beautifully. He made a tremendous one-on-one move and had a great finish. He had three very different kind of goals tonight. Fortunately, overtime didn’t last very long.
“I have high standards for our team. We need to play better in some aspects of our game. We’re creating some good offense, but we’re just not taking care of the puck smartly in our zone. It makes it exciting in some very painful ways.”
Greely (4-1 and second to Cape Elizabeth in the initial Western B Heals) went to Winslow Wednesday (too late for this edition), hosts Houlton Saturday (in a game that’s been moved to the Cumberland County Civic Center for a 12:30 p.m. start) and welcomes York Monday.
Elsewhere in Western B, Yarmouth fell to 2-3 Saturday with a 7-4 home loss to York. The Clippers (sixth in the Heals) went to Noble Wednesday (too late for this edition) and visit Portland Saturday.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ hockey: Greely wins Dudley Cup
On the girls’ side, Greely is flying high after defeating Falmouth to win the Dudley Cup for the second year in a row. The Rangers rode two goals from sophomore Michaela Finnegan to a 5-2 victory to win the New Year’s Day contest. Greely then improved to 6-2-1 Saturday with a 9-1 home victory over Brunswick. After falling behind 1-0, the Rangers got the next nine goals. Junior Melanie Howland scored three goals and freshman Ceci Hodgkins added a pair.
Greely (second to Lewiston in the initial East Region Heals) was at Winslow Wednesday (too late for this edition).
Falmouth bounced back from its Dudley Cup loss with a 4-2 home victory over Winslow Saturday, improving to 5-2-1 in the process. Junior Jacki Aaskov scored twice in the win. The Yachtsmen (fifth in the West Region) welcome St. Dom’s Thursday and go to York Saturday.
Yarmouth improved to 3-4-1 Friday with a 2-0 home win over Winthrop. Sophomore Courtney Barker had both Clippers’ goals. Yarmouth (sixth in the East Region) is at Winthrop Monday.
SUBHEAD-Ski season underway
Local skiers hit the trails Saturday and the slopes Monday as their season commenced.
Saturday, at the Hornet Classic in Turner, Yarmouth’s Nordic girls came in third behind Mt. Blue and Leavitt. Falmouth placed sixth, Greely was ninth.
Freeport didn’t score as a team, but senior standout Molly Susla came in fourth individually (14 minutes, 49.3 seconds). Sophomore Becca Bell led the Clippers with a seventh-place showing (15:33.3). Sophomore Sarah Abramson was the fastest Yachtsmen (eighth, 16:02). The top Ranger was senior Tess Carley (ninth, 16:03.4).
In the boys’ race, won by Mt. Blue, Yarmouth placed fourth, Greely was fifth, Falmouth came in sixth and NYA placed 15th.
Rangers’ sophomore Sam Humphries (sixth, 12:43.9) and Clippers’ junior Cam Woodworth (10th, 12:59.8) finished in the top 10.
Monday, at an Alpine slalom meet at Shawnee Peak, the Falmouth boys beat Fryeburg, Lake Region and Freeport. Yachtsmen senior Chris Moody was runner-up individually (1 minute, 3.31 seconds). The Falcons were paced by junior Christo Milholland (ninth, 1:10.96).
The girls’ race was won by Fryeburg Academy with Lake Region second. Falmouth placed third and Freeport was fourth. Junior Casey Hilfrank was the Yachtsmen’s fastest skier (sixth, 1:11.73). The Falcons were led by senior Monica Krahn (seventh, 1:11.85).

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

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