Winter season takes a pause Strong results in early going for local squads

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By Michael Hoffer
Just as the winter sports season was kicking into gear, it’s taking a brief hiatus for holiday tournaments. Of course, Mother Nature has made life difficult in the early going, but even with a small sampling, it’s clear that there are many more thrills on the horizon.
Here’s a look at where things stand as the old year prepares to give way to the new.
SUBHEAD-Boys’ basketball
While Greely and Yarmouth were meeting in a boys’ basketball showdown Monday night in Cumberland (please see story, page ?), the Falmouth juggernaut keeps rolling along.
The Yachtsmen took a 3-0 mark to Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday and came away with a stunning 55-53 win on junior standout Stefano Mancini’s dazzling 3-point shot with just 4.5 seconds to go. The dagger came seconds after Mancini missed two free throws.
“It worked a couple times in the preseason against Portland,” Mancini said, of the winning play. “We really like it as a go-to play. We were only down by one, so I wasn’t really worried about where I caught it. I was more concerned about getting my feet under me. I wasn’t off-balance.
“We felt like we didn’t get the respect we should have gotten in the preseason. We heard about how good Cape and Greely were. We’ve proved we can play. Playing three of the toughest teams in our conference, we came out with an extra chip on our shoulders wanting to prove everyone wrong.”
Mancini led all scorers with 26 points. He made six 3-pointers for the night.
“He’s a big-time player,” Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said, of his star. “Last year he was a scorer. This year he’s a player. He wanted to shoot all the time last year. He’s worked awfully hard on his game. People don’t see how hard he works. He’s a lot like (former Falmouth star and present Davidson College starter) Bryant Barr. He talks with Bryant regularly. He knows he’s good, but he can be better.
“We wanted to hang close and have a chance to win it at the end. That’s what we did. This was a gutcheck. I’m really proud of them.”
The Yachtsmen won 63-42 at home over Fryeburg Thursday (behind 18 from Mancini and 10 from freshman Jack Cooleen), then improved to 6-0 Saturday with a 64-29 triumph at Waynflete (as Mancini went off for 24 of his 26 points in the first half).
Falmouth looked to go 7-0 Tuesday (too late for this edition) at Freeport. After taking part in the holiday tournament at the Portland Expo, the Yachtsmen return to league action Jan. 3 at home versus Wells.
Freeport took a 1-4 mark into the Falmouth game. The Falcons lost 59-38 at Cape Elizabeth Thursday and 40-31 at York Saturday. They return to league action Jan. 3 at Poland.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy evened its record Thursday with a 40-35 home win over Waynflete. The Panthers rode a strong first half effort and 24 points from senior Andrew Gendron to the victory. NYA was at St. Dom’s Monday (too late for this edition). The Panthers return to action Jan. 3 at Waynflete.
SUBHEAD-Girls’ basketball
On the girls’ side, Greely is 4-1. The Rangers sandwiched wins over Wells (60-51) and Poland (56-17) around their first loss, a 47-34 home setback to undefeated York. In the victory over the Knights Saturday, sophomore Sara Warnock led the way with 10 points. Greely hoped to go to 5-1 when it visited Yarmouth Tuesday (too late for this edition). The Rangers return to league action Jan. 3 at home against Gray-New Gloucester.
Falmouth continues to be up and down. After beating visiting Cape Elizabeth (66-53) and edging host Fryeburg (34-32), the Yachtsmen fell 58-50 at home to Waynflete Saturday to drop to 3-3 on the season. Falmouth rode a 15-2 third quarter run to take a 36-30 lead into the final stanza, but the Flyers scored 21 of the game’s final 28 points to rally to the win. Senior Haley Jordan led the Yachtsmen with 15 points. Falmouth hosted Freeport Tuesday (too late for this edition). The Yachtsmen return to league play Jan. 3 at Wells.
Yarmouth evened its record and avenged a playoff loss last Tuesday with a 37-35 victory at Gray-New Gloucester as the Clippers let a 14-point lead slip away, but put it together at the end. Senior Haley Knaub hit a key jumper late and senior Michelle Moylan clinched it at the foul line. Knaub wound up with 12 points. Moylan had 10.
Yarmouth then lost 53-43 at three-time defending regional champion Lake Region Thursday and fell 26-24 at home to Fryeburg Saturday to drop to 2-4 on the year. In the most recent loss, the Clippers led just once, 2-0, and had ample opportunities down the stretch to steal it, but couldn’t hit clutch shots.
Yarmouth hosted Greely Tuesday, then takes a break from league play until Jan. 2 when it goes to St. Dom’s.
Freeport entered the Falmouth game still seeking its first victory. The Falcons fell to 0-5 with recent losses to visiting Cape Elizabeth (41-36) and York (54-25). Freeport returns to league action Jan. 3 at home against Poland.
In Western C, NYA lost 62-30 at Waynflete Thursday to drop to 2-2 on the year. The Panthers played host to St. Dom’s Tuesday (too late for this edition), then are idle until Jan. 3 when they host Waynflete.
On the ice, Western A power Falmouth suffered its first loss Saturday night to visiting Brewer (please see story, page ?).
In Western B, Yarmouth evened its record at 2-2 Wednesday with a 9-0 home win over Sanford, its biggest margin of victory since a 9-0 home triumph over Fryeburg, Dec. 15, 2004. Sophomore Joey King had a hat trick and freshman Max Grimm added four assists. The Clippers are idle until Jan. 3 when they host defending regional champion York.
Greely fell to 1-1 Thursday with a 6-3 home loss to Western A power Thornton Academy. The Rangers hung close throughout and got a pair of goals from freshman Brian Hart, but couldn’t pull off the win. Greely was at York Monday (too late for this edition). After taking part in the Maine High School Hockey Invitational, the Rangers return to league action Jan. 3 at Camden.
In girls’ action, Greely lost 5-2 to visiting Lewiston last Wednesday, then tied visiting Yarmouth 1-1 Saturday. In the deadlock, sophomore Michaela Finnegan had the Rangers’ goal, while junior Hannah Schuchert scored for the Clippers.
Greely (3-2-1) hosts Leavitt Saturday.
Yarmouth is idle until Jan. 2 when it hosts Winthrop.
Falmouth downed visiting Gorham 9-5 last Tuesday to improve to 3-2-1. Senior Ellen Hassett and junior Jacki Aaskov both scored three times. The Yachtsmen go to Winthrop Monday.
SUBHEAD-Indoor track
While the Western Maine Conference indoor track season doesn’t start until just after the New Year, Falmouth, Greely and NYA got a jump start last weekend at the Bowdoin Relays.
In the boys’ meet, won by Brunswick with 98 points, Greely came in third with 55, NYA placed 10th with 15 points and Falmouth was 12th with 4.
Individually, Falmouth’s Tom Winger won the long jump (20 feet, 9 inches).
In the girls’ meet, won by Brunswick with 79 points, Greely placed third with 59 points, while NYA came in 11th with 11 points and Falmouth was 12th with 9.
Greely’s Hannah Young, Katelyn Boynton, Abby Diehl and Hillary Cederna teamed to win the 800 relay (in 1 minute, 53.81 seconds).
In the pool, Class B powers Falmouth and Greely did battle last Thursday with the Rangers winning the boys’ meet and the Yachtsmen taking the girls’ meet.
Yarmouth was supposed to host St. Dom’s Saturday, but that meet was postponed.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at