(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Wells and Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball, Greely-Falmouth, Freeport-Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth-Kennebunk girls’ basketball, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
The new winter sports season has a couple of weeks under its belt and it’s clear that local squads are in for a lot of success.
With a mini holiday break looming, here’s a glimpse at where things stand.
Yarmouth’s boys’ basketball team is off to the hottest start among local squads. After opening with a 75-49 victory at Kennebunk, the Clippers beat visiting Western B champion Poland (68-48), held off host rival Greely (57-53), won at home over Fryeburg Academy (62-42), then earned their most impressive victory, a 59-46 win at preseason favorite Cape Elizabeth.
In that one, Yarmouth fell behind early, 10-4, then roared to life, putting up 24 points in a second quarter explosion. The Clippers fended off a third quarter rally from the Capers, then put it away in the fourth period. Adam LaBrie led a balanced attack with 14 points, Adam Clark added 11 off the bench and Jordan Brown, Cody Cook and Cote Sawyer all finished with 10 as Yarmouth improved to 5-0.
“We started out a little slow and sloppy, but we knew we could play just as fast as them,” Brown said. “Everyone dug deep and we played as hard as we could. We made passes and got open looks. It was the best quarter we’ve played.”
“We were turning the ball over early, but we got over it and played our game,” LaBrie said. “It was a long week, but this shows how well we can play. We can keep it consistent.”
“We’re a hard-working team,” Sawyer said. “I feel like we work harder than most teams. We battle every game. It doesn’t matter who we play. We just play our game.”
“That’s the best we’ve played this year,” Clippers coach Adam Smith added. “When things go well, everyone shoots well and plays better defense. You never know when that wave is going to come. When that wave hits, especially with this group because we have guys who can score, it’s fun to see them rewarded for the hard work they put in.”
Yarmouth faces a showdown Tuesday, when it hosts Falmouth. The new year starts with trips to dangerous Gray-New Gloucester and reigning Western C champion Waynflete.
Falmouth beat visiting York (52-43), then downed visiting Wells (57-37) to start the season. Against the Warriors, Colin Coyne scored 23 points and Luke Velas had four key points off the bench after standout Jack Simonds received a second technical foul.
“We stayed composed,” Coyne said. “That was tough (playing without Jack), but we had to step up defensively because he’s our biggest guy. We centered around that. We had to take care of the ball on offense and we did.”
“Things are coming along pretty well,” Velas said. “Jack’s the only kid who has played a lot of varsity minutes. Everyone is kind of stepping up.”
“Some of the younger kids stepped in and played well and they’ll have to,” longtime Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan added. “We’ll have to do that all season.”
With Simonds unavailable, Falmouth then lost at Poland (75-58), but beat host Lake Region (54-46) and Saturday, held off visiting Greely, 55-52, on a Coyne 3 at the horn, to improve to 4-1. Coyne had 28 points in the victory.
The Yachtsmen are at Yarmouth Tuesday and open 2015 at Cape Elizabeth Jan. 3.
Greely has been very competitive thus far, even it doesn’t have the wins to show for it. The Rangers opened with a 51-41 loss at Gray-New Gloucester, then beat visiting Freeport (78-37) and host Kennebunk (48-41). Last Tuesday, they hosted Yarmouth and took the Clippers to the wire before falling, 57-53 (Ryan Twitchell had 24 points and Matt McDevitt added 16). Saturday, Greely lost at Falmouth on a buzzer beater, 55-52 (despite 22 points from Caleb Normandeau). The Rangers are home versus Poland Tuesday and open 2015 at Fryeburg Academy Jan. 2.
North Yarmouth Academy beat host A.R. Gould (53-23) in its opener, then lost at home to Traip Academy (82-47), at Waynflete (82-37) and at Old Orchard Beach (66-41), before bouncing back Saturday to beat visiting A.R. Gould (69-43) to improve to 2-3. Jake Malcom had 19 points and D.J. Nicholas added 13. The Panthers hosted Pine Tree Academy Tuesday and welcome Sacopee Valley Jan. 3.
Freeport was still seeking its first victory at press time. The Falcons had lost to visiting Poland (60-43), at Greely (78-37), at home to Fryeburg Academy (62-44), at Cape Elizabeth (72-40) and at home to York (76-51, despite 18 points from Jack Davenport). Freeport hoped to get in the win column Monday when it played at Wells. The Falcons open 2015 at Kennebunk Jan. 3.
On the girls’ side, Greely stumbled in its opener, 59-47, against visiting Gray-New Gloucester, but has since resembled the top tier contender so many expected. The Rangers bounced back with wins over host Freeport (62-26), visiting Kennebunk (64-33), host Yarmouth (50-29) and visiting Falmouth (54-28). Against the Yachtsmen, standout senior Ashley Storey led the way with 24 points, 12 boards, four steals and two blocked shots and underappreciated senior Haley Felkel wasn’t far behind with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“This was a big win for us,” Storey said. “If we had lost, it would have left a nasty taste in our mouths. We knew we had to come out here and give it all we’ve got.”
“In the first few games, I was a little nervous to shoot and my shot wasn’t really falling,” Felkel said. “My teammates really support me. If I’m not having a good shooting night, I try to step up in other aspects like rebounding and I try to pass to make us the best team we can be.”
“We went to the rim and got to the foul line,” Greely coach Joel Rogers added. “If we keep doing that, we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with. We did a much better job defensively today. I’m very happy about to hold them to 28 points.”
The Rangers were at Poland Tuesday and open 2015 Jan. 2 when Fryeburg Academy pays a visit.
Falmouth was 3-2 at press time. The Yachtsmen opened with a 63-49 loss at York, then beat host Wells (36-26), visiting Poland (44-27) and visiting Lake Region (in a 42-41 overtime thriller) before losing at Greely (54-28). Abby Ryan had 12 points in the win over the Lakers. Ally Hickey had a team-high 10 points in the loss to the Rangers. In that one, the Yachtsmen committed 17 turnovers and made just 7 of 16 foul shots.
“For some reason, we were sluggish,” Falmouth coach Mari Warner lamented. “I don’t know where that came from. Our transition on both ends was very poor. That’s what I was unhappy about.”
The Yachtsmen host Yarmouth Tuesday, then welcome Cape Elizabeth Jan 3.
Freeport is still seeking its first win under new coach Mike Hart. The Falcons fell to host Poland (43-28), visiting Greely (62-26), host Fryeburg Academy (74-36), visiting Cape Elizabeth (62-47), host York (67-27) and visiting Wells (57-33).
“The kids are coming along,” Hart said. “We’re learning a whole lot. Doing it on the floor isn’t like duplicating it from the chalkboard. We’re trying to perfect the things we do in practice.”
Freeport (0-6) is back in action Jan. 3 at Kennebunk.
Yarmouth began with a promising 47-24 win over visiting Kennebunk, as Jessica Kirk had 18 points, Cory Langenbach added nine and Sara D’Appolonia, in her first varsity game, had six points, nine steals and six assists.
“This really gives everyone on the team confidence,” Kirk said.
“A fast start (to the season) was very important,” said D’Appolonia. “This sets the stage for us. I think we’ll go into every game confident. We have potential.”
“We’re young and inexperienced, but we’re really athletic and I think we’re jelling as a team,” Langenbach said. “Not many people are talking about us.”
“I love starting out like this,” added Yarmouth second-year coach Christina Strong. “I wanted to put some pressure their ballhandlers and try to get some conversion points. We have the quickness and the ability to do that. That was important.”
The Clippers then lost at Poland (40-28), at home to Greely (50-29), at Fryeburg Academy (43-21) and at home to Cape Elizabeth (41-31, despite eight points from Langenbach). Yarmouth (1-4) is back in action Tuesday at Falmouth and opens 2015 at undefeated Gray-New Gloucester Jan. 3.
NYA opened with losses to host Traip Academy (52-7), at home to Waynflete (63-12) and at home to Old Orchard Beach (44-14), then got in the win column with a 35-24 home victory over Hebron Academy. Hannah Carr had 14 points. The Panthers were home against Pine Tree Academy Tuesday and open 2015 at Sacopee Valley Jan. 3.
Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team, the two-time defending Class A state champion, has lived up to preseason billing as the team to beat, not that anyone will be able to beat them. The Yachtsmen beat their first four foes by a composite 38-1 margin. After opening with a 9-0 win at Yarmouth, Falmouth beat Portland/Deering by scores of 11-0 and 12-0 before downing visiting St. Dom’s Saturday, 6-1, in a rematch of last year’s state final.
Against the Saints, Isac Nordstrom set the pace with a goal just 20 seconds into the contest. Nordstrom finished with two goals and an assist, Chris Camelio added a pair and Marcus Cady and Brandon Peters netted one each.
“They got on us pretty early, but we changed our strategy a little bit, got pucks in deep and gave it right back,” Nordstrom said.
“We have some holes to fill, and we’re working on that, but we played well tonight, we answered the call for sure,” said Falmouth coach Deron Barton. “(St. Dom’s is) a good team, you can’t count them out, ever.”
The Yachtsmen were at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, battle Greely in the Dudley Cup Jan. 1 and visit Bangor Jan. 3.
Greely dropped its opener, 5-0, at Waterville, then beat visiting Leavitt, 3-0. Losses at home to Gorham (6-2) and at Kennebunk (3-0) followed. The 1-3 Rangers face off against Falmouth New Year’s Day, then welcome Yarmouth Jan. 3.
Speaking of the Clippers, they were seeking their first win at press time after falling at home to Falmouth (9-0), at Edward Little (7-2), at home to Winslow (2-1) and at Lewiston (6-1). Yarmouth hoped to get over the hump when it hosted Cheverus Tuesday. The Clippers are at Greely Jan. 3.
On the girls’ side, Falmouth and Greely have emerged as top contenders.
The Yachtsmen extended their win streak to four and improved to 6-1 with wins last week at Capeflete (4-0) and York (6-1). Stone Carmichael, Camden Carrier, Marcy Kittredge and Meg Pierce all scored against Capeflete. Carrier had two goals versus the Wildcats. Falmouth hosts Yarmouth Wednesday, welcomes Greely in the Dudley Cup Jan. 3 and after playing at Portland/Deering Jan. 3, gets a shot at defending state champion Scarborough Jan. 6 on the road.
The Rangers, meanwhile, were also 6-1 at press time after extending their win streak to three with an 8-0 victory at Winslow Saturday. Greely was at Yarmouth/Freeport Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story), hosts Mt. Ararat Saturday, plays Falmouth on New Year’s Day and welcomes Edward Little/Leavitt Jan. 3.
Yarmouth/Freeport took a 3-3 mark into Monday’s showdown with Greely after losses last week at Lewiston (7-0) and Edward Little/Leavitt (2-1). After visiting Falmouth Dec. 31, Yarmouth/Freeport opens 2015 with a home tilt versus Edward Little/Leavitt Jan. 2.
The Western Maine Conference indoor track regular season begins Jan. 2. Local teams took part in the Bowdoin Relays Saturday and will participate in the USM Classic Saturday.
In the pool, the Greely juggernaut is again turning heads. The boys beat Biddeford (58-18) and Deering (56-29), but lost to Falmouth (53-41). The girls’ squad had no trouble with Biddeford (73-19), Falmouth (67-27) and Deering (62-32).
Falmouth’s boys, in addition to beating Greely, defeated Yarmouth (103-56). The girls bounced back from their loss to Greely with an 85-74 win over Yarmouth.
Prior to losing to Falmouth, the Yarmouth girls downed Biddeford, 70-62. The Clippers were at Windham Tuesday.
The Western Maine Conference Alpine ski season is schedule to begin Jan. 5.
The Nordic campaign starts Jan. 7.
Sun Journal sports editor Justin Pelletier contributed to this story.