Winter sports season hits midway point

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Greely-York boys’ basketball and Greely-Capeflete girls’ hockey game stories, with photos, 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

Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team snapped a two-game skid last week with three straight victories to get back on track. The Yachtsmen held on for a 50-45 triumph at York, downed visiting Fryeburg Academy, 53-39, then prevailed at rival Greely, 60-51. Jack Simonds had 19 points and Colin Coyne 12 versus the Wildcats. Simonds went off for 26 points versus the Raiders. In the win over the Rangers, Coyne had 21 points to help Falmouth rally from 11-points down at halftime. The Yachtsmen (7-3 and third behind Portland and South Portland in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) had a chance to avenge an earlier loss when they hosted rival Yarmouth Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). After playing host to Lake Region Friday, Falmouth visits Fryeburg Academy Monday.

In Western B, Greely has quietly put itself in position to seriously contend. The Rangers extended their win streak to four games with victories last week over visiting Kennebunk (41-34) and York (63-50). Against the Rams, Matt McDevitt had 12 points and Caleb Normandeau finished with 10. Greely then fell into a 14-1 hole against the Wildcats before hitting their stride and pulling within 31-29 at halftime. The Rangers then pulled away in the second half behind 21 points from McDevitt, 17 from Gabe Axelsen and 11 from Ryan Twitchell off the bench.

“There was concern, but we played Yarmouth earlier and were way down, so I was confident in my teammates that we could come back,” McDevitt said.

“When we took better care of the ball and when we started hitting our shots, we settled down,” Axelsen said. “At the beginning of the year, a lot of younger players didn’t trust each other, but we’re moving the ball well. We’ve gotten closer.”

“I think it’s going great when we play as a team and don’t lose our composure,” Twitchell said.

“We’ll take wins where we can get them,” added Greely coach Travis Seaver. “I’m proud of how the guys kept their composure and got us where we needed to be. With our inexperience coming into the season, the goal was to get better every day. I think we’re doing that. We have our challenges at times, but for the most part, I’m happy with where we are going into the second half of the season.”

Saturday, the Rangers fell to 6-4 and sixth in the region after a 60-51 home loss to Falmouth (despite 19 points from McDevitt and 13 from Normandeau). Greely returns to action Friday at Yarmouth, then hosts Old Orchard Beach Monday.

Yarmouth has hit a rough patch. The Clippers were undefeated going into their game at defending Western C champion Waynflete last Tuesday. 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. The Flyers put the clamps on Yarmouth in the second half and went on to a 53-43 win. The Clippers got 17 points from Adam LaBrie, but it wasn’t enough.

“If we don’t play hard, we’re going to lose,” said Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. “(Waynflete) outplayed us for 32 minutes. We didn’t answer the intensity level they had tonight. It’s a great lesson. When teams outwork you, everything becomes more difficult. We were taken out of it physically and mentally.”

After a 67-39 home win over Traip Academy (Jordan Brown had 14 points, while LaBrie added 12), the Clippers fell again Saturday, 65-52, to visiting Cape Elizabeth, a team Yarmouth had beaten earlier in the year. The Clippers managed just 16 second half points. LaBrie led the way with 10 points. Yarmouth (8-2 and second to Morse in Western B) was at Falmouth Tuesday, hosts Greely Friday and goes to Wells Tuesday of next week.

Freeport was 0-10 and 15th at press time after losses at reigning Western B champion Poland (72-49), at home to Lake Region (71-39) and at Traip Academy (71-57). Jack Davenport had 20 points against the Knights, 10 against the Lakers and 26 versus the Rangers. The Falcons hoped to get in the win column Wednesday, when they hosted Old Orchard Beach. Freeport goes to Fryeburg Academy Friday.

In Western D, North Yarmouth Academy was 5-5 and seventh at press time after a 48-42 home win over Richmond and losses at Seacoast Christian (50-39) and at home to Waynflete (72-39) last week. In the victory, Jake Malcom had 16 points, Eoin Anderson added 11 and D.J. Nicholas finished with 10. Nicholas had 11 points versus Seacoast Christian. Malcom produced 10 versus the Flyers. The Panthers were at Hyde Tuesday, visit Sacopee Valley Thursday and go to Pine Tree Academy Wednesday of next week.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, don’t look now, but the young Clippers of Yarmouth are hitting their stride. Last week, Yarmouth defeated visiting Waynflete (36-32), host Traip Academy (53-33) and host Cape Elizabeth (50-35). Against the Flyers, Cory Langenbach had 14 points, including a couple clutch 3s late. Langenbach had 15 points, while freshman Sara D’Appolonia added 14 against the Rangers. D’Appolonia was the star against the Capers, scoring 20 points. The Clippers (4-5 and 10th in Western B) would be in the playoffs had they started at press time. Yarmouth had a chance to help its cause further when it hosted Falmouth Tuesday. The Clippers are at Greely Friday, then host Wells Tuesday of next week.

Freeport got its first win last week after nine straight losses. After falling at home against Poland (36-27, despite six points apiece from Megan Cormier and Taylor Rinaldi) and at defending Class B champion Lake Region (68-48, despite 21 points from Cormier), the Falcons beat visiting Traip Academy, 60-44, as Kayla Belanger had 17 points and Cormier added 14. Freeport (1-9 and 15th in the Heals) was at Greely Tuesday and hosts Fryeburg Academy Friday.

Greely made it seven straight wins with a 59-28 victory at Kennebunk last Tuesday, but Thursday, the Rangers lost at York, 48-43, despite 19 points from Ashley Storey. Saturday, Greely improved to 8-2 and fifth in Western B with a smothering 37-13 win at Falmouth. Storey had 17 points and the Rangers allowed just three points in the second half (after permitting a measly 10 in the first half). Greely was home versus Freeport Tuesday and hosts Yarmouth Friday.

In Western A, Falmouth appeared to be clicking on all cylinders going into the Greely game, having rallied past visiting York (65-55) and holding off host Fryeburg Academy, 39-32, earlier in the week. Against the Wildcats, Jess Burton had 20 points, Ally Hickey added 18 and Dayna Vasconcelos had 12. Hickey had a team-high 10 points in the win at the Raiders and six in the loss to the Rangers. The Yachtsmen (6-3 and fifth in the region) were at Yarmouth Tuesday, go to Lake Region Friday and play host to Fryeburg Academy Monday.

In Western D, NYA sat 2-7 and 14th at press time. Last week, the Panthers downed host Hebron Academy (48-14), then lost at Seacoast Christian (34-13) and at Waynflete (54-13). Hannah Carr had 20 points and Suzanna Butterfield added 10 in the victory. Carr had seven points versus the Flyers. NYA was home with Hyde Tuesday, hosts Sacopee Valley Thursday and goes to Pine Tree Academy Wednesday of next week.

Boys’ hockey

On the ice, the seemingly unstoppable Falmouth Express finally met its match Saturday night. The two-time defending Class A state champion Yachtsmen took an 8-0 record into a home tilt with Scarborough and wound up with their first blemish after a 3-1 defeat. Brandon Peters scored to give Falmouth an early lead, but it didn’t last. The Yachtsmen (first in the Western A Heals) went to Lewiston Wednesday, host Bangor Thursday and travel to Biddeford Monday.

In Western B, Yarmouth and Greely are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but still have time to qualify.

The Clippers were 2-6 and eighth (seven teams qualify) at press time after a 6-3 home loss to York and a 5-1 win at Leavitt. Yarmouth goes to Gardiner Thursday and plays host to Cape Elizabeth Monday in a pivotal contest.

Greely fell to 1-7 and ninth after a 4-3 overtime home loss to St. Dom’s and a 3-1 setback at Cape Elizabeth. Andrew Ray had two goals against the Saints. Colby Robinson had the goal versus the Capers. The Rangers go to Gardiner Saturday.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, Greely remains third in the powerhouse East Region after an impressive 6-2 win at Capeflete and a 2-2 draw at Edward Little/Leavitt last week. In the win, both Danita Storey and Courtney Sullivan registered hat tricks.

“It’s the first time we’ve played on the same line,” Storey said. “We figured good things would happen if we worked hard. I love playing with Courtney. She knows how to move the puck.”

“We just found each other on the ice,” said Sullivan. “I felt pretty good with her, because we’ve known each other for awhile. We know where each other will be.”

“We put them on a line together today and they got a lot of chances out of it,” Greely coach Nate Guerin added. “It was fun to watch. They’re usually together on the power play. This is the first game they’ve been together every other shift. They got in a groove.”

In the tie, the Rangers fell behind, 2-0, but Storey gave her team life with a goal and with 18 seconds to go, Ellie Schad delivered the equalizer.

It took a solid game to score,” Guerin said. “Their goalie is unbelievable and they do a great job of protecting her. They really clog up the middle of the ice and it was hard to get pucks through. We knew it was going to be a greasy play like that and we’re thankful we got out of their with a point.”

Greely (10-2-1) was at Mt. Ararat Wednesday, hosts defending state champion Scarborough Saturday and welcomes Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester Monday.

Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG was fourth in the East at 6-5-1 following a 1-1 tie at Biddeford and a 7-0 victory at Mt. Ararat. Katie Clemmer (from Michelle Robichaud) scored in the deadlock. After going to Capeflete Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story), Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG visits Greely Monday.

In the West Region, Falmouth began the week second to Scarborough with a 8-3 mark following a 2-1 loss at the Red Storm and a 9-0 home victory over Portland/Deering. Sarah Hutcheon had the goal in the setback. Camden Carrier and Abi Lebel each had two goals in the win. The Yachtsmen were at Lewiston Wednesday, play host to Gorham/Bonny Eagle Saturday and welcome Biddeford Monday.

Indoor track

Another week of Western Maine Conference indoor track action again produced plenty of triumph for local standouts.

Greely’s boys and girls were both first in a nine-team meet.

The Rangers boys got event wins from Gavin Poperechny in the junior 400 (1 minute, 3.83 seconds), Ryan Morrison in the open two-mile (10:16.01), Ben Ray in the open pole vault (11 feet, 6 inches) and its senior 4×200 (1:41.86) and open 4×800 (9:00.47) relays.

Girls’ champions included Danielle Holt in the junior 55 hurdles (11.01 seconds), Chloe Waldrep in the junior high jump (4-10), Elizabeth Brown in the junior shot put (27-4), Jocelyn Mitiguy in the senior 55 hurdles (9.38), Alyssa Coyne in the senior shot put (39-2), Izzy Evans in the open 800 (2:33.33), Lucy Wetzel in the open pole vault (8-0) and Maegan Dougherty in the open triple jump (32-3).

Freeport boys were fifth and the girls seventh. Erik Brobst won the boys’ open 800 (2:19.47).

NYA’s boys and girls both came in sixth. Hannah Austin won the girls’ open mile (5:36.71).

In the other meet, both Falmouth teams came in second to York. Yarmouth’s boys placed third and the girls were fourth.

Individually, the Yachtsmen boys got wins from Matt Polewaczyk in the junior 55 (6.98) and the junior 200 (24.31), Cole Anderson in the junior shot put (38-7.5), Nigel Dunn in the senior 200 (24.00), Bryce Murdick in the open 800 (2:04.18) and the open two-mile (10:26.92), Aaron Thomas in the open pole vault (11-6) and their senior 4×200 relay (1:36.18). The Clippers got wins from Luke Laverdiere in the open mile (4:36.44) and Darren Shi in the senior shot put (47-8).

In the girls’ meet, Falmouth winners included Danielle Casavant in the junior high jump (4-8), Emma England in the senior 200 (28.20), Gina Pardi in the open 800 (2:39.25), Lydia Farmer in the open triple jump (33-0.5) and the junior 4×200 relay (1:59.41). Yarmouth’s Emma Egan won the senior 55 (7.83), the open long jump (16-4.25) and the senior high jump (5-4). Teammate Simone Laverdiere was first in the open mile (5:45.79).

This Friday, Falmouth and NYA join Fryeburg Academy, Poland, Sacopee Valley, Traip and Wells in the early meet, while Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth go up against Cape Elizabeth, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, St. Dom’s and York in the late start.

Swimming

Falmouth’s swim teams battled defending Class A champion Cheverus last weekend. The girls fell just short, 84-80, while the boys lost, 113-56. The Yachtsmen face Cape Elizabeth Friday.

Greely’s girls held off Cape Elizabeth, 89-78. The boys lost to the Capers, 109-45. The Rangers are at Westbrook Friday.

Yarmouth’s girls defeated Portland, 76-60, while the boys fell to the Bulldogs, 80-72. The Clippers host Gorham Thursday.

Skiing

Local Nordic skiers began the season last week with a freestyle race at Pineland. In the boys’ race, Freeport’s Bennett Hight was the top individual with a time of 17 minutes, 27 seconds, helping the Falcons to a victory. Greely was paced by Tim Adams (10th, 18:49). In the girls’ meet, Freeport’s Elizabeth Martin was first (18:33) and her team also came out on top. Greely was led by Emily Follett, who was ninth in 22:32.

In the Hornet Classic Saturday, Freeport’s girls were second to Maranacook, as Falcon Lily Johnston was the top individual 16:21, with Martin right behind in 16:35. Greely came in 16th as Follett was 45th in 21:28. Freeport’s boys came in fourth (Gould Academy was first) and Greely placed 14th. Individually, Hight led the Falcons with a 15th-place finish (15:56). The top Ranger was Adams (21st, 16:23).

On the Alpine side, the league season began Monday with a giant slalom meet at Shawnee Peak which featured Falmouth, Greely, Gray-New Gloucester and Lake Region. The Rangers won both the boys’ and girls’ meets. The Yachtsmen girls were second, while the boys didn’t have enough finishers to score. Individually, in the boys’ meet, Falmouth’s Thomas Lesniak was second with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 1.52 seconds. Greely was led by Axel Lindsay (fourth, 1:06.36). In the girls’ competition, Greely’s Nettie Cunningham was first (1:04.33), while Falmouth’s Alex Shapiro was runner-up in 1:05.10.

Freeport and Yarmouth joined Cape Elizabeth and Fryeburg Academy in a slalom meet, also at Shawnee Peak. In the boys’ competition, the Falcons were first and the Clippers third. Freeport was led by Caleb Abbott (1:25.92) and Ryder Bennell (1:26.90), who finished first and second, respectively. Yarmouth’s top finisher was Jack Diggins (fourth, 1:37.42). In the girls’ meet, the Clippers were first, while the Falcons came in fourth. Individually, Yarmouth’s Anna Bouton was third (1:41.71). Freeport was paced by Wynne Cushing (ninth, 1:51.30).

Sun Journal staff writer Mike Kraft contributed to this story.

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

Sidebar Elements


Greely freshman Courtney Sullivan eludes the Capeflete goalie and scores one of her three goals during last week’s 6-2 Rangers’ victory. Teammate Danita Storey also had a hat trick.

North Yarmouth Academy’s Henry Quesada (left) and Freeport’s Henry Jaques compete in the mile at last weeekend’s indoor track meet. Jaques came in second, while Quesada was fourth.

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