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Lally, Prue shine, inspire EL girls' team in 52-42 win

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

All it took Tuesday night was a 3-pointer by Francesca Lally late in the third quarter. After Oxford Hills had overcome adversity and fought back to get within one late in the third, Lally's last-second shot squelched that. Instead, EL went into the fourth riding high, and the Red Eddies never let it slip away in a 52-42 win.

Greely makes up for loss to Falmouth

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The burly Thompson muscled his way to 19 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday night as Greely avenged a season-opening loss to Falmouth with a 61-38 victory in a matchup of the highest-ranked teams in Western Class B.

Bounce toward perfection

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

SACO — Entering with the same 14-0 record it had last year in this game, Cheverus made sure it didn't stumble this time.

The Stags got their offense untracked in the second half to pull away from Thornton Academy for a 57-48 boys' basketball win Tuesday night.

A year ago, Thornton traveled to Cheverus and knocked it from the unbeaten ranks. That was the first of three straight losses for Cheverus, which didn't lose after that and won the Class A state title.

Cheverus (15-0) moved into first place this week in the Western Class A Heal points. The Golden Trojans (12-3) are ranked third.

Free throws lift Noble

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Lack of consistency at the foul line has plagued the Noble High School girls basketball team all season. But on Monday, their free throw accuracy was the key in their 38-33 win over a scrappy, upset-minded team. The win improved Noble's record to 11-4 while Sanford dropped to 7-9.

Mt. Abram 55, Boothbay 33

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Mt. Abram broke open a first-quarter deadlock with a 35-7 run over the middle two frames en route to a 55-33 victory over Boothbay.

The Seahawks (1-13) played Mt. Abram even for the first quarter, which ended in a 10-10 tie. The Roadrunners (10-4) raced away with 17-3 and 18-4 advantages over the next two quarters. Kenni Norton led Mt. Abram with 28 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Mikayla Burbank added nine points. Mary Fuller scored 11 points for the Seahawks.

Jay 55, madison 15

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Beth Moore turned in a triple-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds and 12 steals Monday, launching Jay to an easy 55-15 MVC girls' basketball win over Madison.

Moore scored eight points in the first half for the Tigers (11-3), sparking the hosts to a 10-3 lead after one quarter and a 24-7 edgeat the break.

Hillary Deane led Jay with 16 points.

Liz LeBlanc added 15.

Lauren Bean paced the Bulldogs (7-7) with six points.

Cougars hold off Ramblers' fourth-quarter rally

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

DIXFIELD - The Dirigo girls' basketball team have discovered the importance of staying composed down the stretch. The Cougars finished the deal Monday in a Mountain Valley Conference game.

Ricki Sinclair scored four points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws with 16.6 seconds left to lift the Cougars to a 32-31 victory over Winthrop.

PCHS 62, Stearns 60

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

At Guilford, Cody Briggs scored at the buzzer after grabbing an offensive rebound to help the Piscataquis Community Pirates hand the Minutemen their first loss of the season. The Pirates’ win avenged an early season loss of 76-33 to Minutemen. Briggs scored four points in the second overtime and grabbed five rebounds, the final one coming off a missed 3-pointer that he put back in from eight feet out. PCHS, which was down 44-34 early in the fourth quarter, was paced by Nolan Lovell who contributed 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Damien Bridge chipped in with 14 points and Briggs had 11. Zach Sadlon paced the Minutemen of Millinocket with 16 points and Josh McDonald netted 14.

Unbeaten Fort Fairfield sets sights on Auditorium

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

“We haven’t been for two years,” said Gardner, whose Tigers fell in the preliminary round to eventual state champion Woodland last winter.

However, Fort Fairfield, which has a solid blend of seniors Whitney Clark and Kaitlyn McLaughlin, junior Courtney Churchill, sophomore Brooke Beaulieu and freshman Amanda Hotham, is on a mission to not only get to the Auditorium, but do some damage.

SP wins at Portland

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 27th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

 

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- The vastly improved Portland girls' basketball team hoped to take a big step toward their first postseason berth in four seasons with a win over perennial contender South Portland Monday night, but the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot with an abundance of turnovers and missed shots.

The Red Riots blew the game with a 34-13 advantage in the middle two periods and cruised to a 58-47 triumph thanks to 16 points from junior Danielle McCusker and 14 from senior Brianna Hawkins.

South Portland had five different players score eight points or more as it improved to 8-6 on the year. Portland, paced by 23 points from senior Nyachuol Biliew, is now 6-9.

"We really got it inside and that's our strength," said Red Riots' coach Mike Giordano. "The kids finished tonight. We made it hard for them to pick one kid and try and take her away."

South Portland was coming off a 51-45 home loss to McAuley Friday, but Giordano felt his team played well in that game, the Lions just shot lights out.

Portland, meanwhile, had lost two of its last three, including a 59-40 setback at undefeated, defending Class A champion Deering Saturday.

The Bulldogs hadn't beaten the Red Riots since Feb. 19, 2004, but they felt tonight was the time and that a victory would help cement their playoff hopes.

Things went well for the hosts in the first period. A 3-pointer from senior Alisa Sweet got the scoring started. After South Portland got on the board on two foul shots from sophomore Abby Hasson, Biliew made a 3-point shot. Hawkins answered with a layup, but Sweet canned another 3-ball with 4:31 to go in the first, giving Portland a 9-4 advantage.

The Red Riots then went on a 7-0 run. McCusker made a foul shot, Hawkins hit a pair, McCusker made a runner, then buried a jumper for an 11-9 lead. With 11 seconds to play in the period, Biliew made a 3-pointer to give the hosts a 12-11 lead.

The second period turned the tide for good.

South Portland took the lead to stay 13 seconds in when senior Kelsi Conley, who sparkled off the bench, made two free throws. She added a spinner 40 seconds later. Hasson then scored on a rebound layup and McCusker made a layup for a 19-12 lead with 5 minutes to play in the half.

Two foul shots from Sweet 17 seconds later ended the 15-3 run, but Red Riots' junior Esther Palmieri hit a jumper, McCusker and Hasson made layups, sophomore Danielle DiBiase made a free throw and McCusker made another layup to stretch the advantage to 14, 28-14, with 3:05 to go in the second period.

Portland finally stemmed the tide on a foul shot from sophomore Nyabang Diang with 2:07 left. Diang then made a rebound layup to pull the Bulldogs within 11, 28-17, at the break.

When Sweet made a rebound putback and senior Kimmie Preston hit a long jumper to start the third, it appeared as if the Bulldogs might rally, but South Portland embarked on another run, getting a 3-ball from McCusker, two free throws from Hawkins, a bank shot from Hawkins and layups from Hasson and Hawkins for a 39-21 lead.

A long jump shot from junior Mariah Callender ended a nearly four-minute scoring drought for Portland. Callender then made a layup, but the Red Riots ended the third on a 6-0 run as Conley made a layup, Hawkins hit a jump shot and Conley made a layup to give South Portland a commanding 45-25 advantage with eight minutes to go.

The hosts had one final surge and made things interesting.

Biliew came to life, making two free throws, a 3-pointer and a layup and sophomore Becca Smith scored on a layup after a steal to make it a 45-34 game with 5:21 to go. After Portland failed to get closer, Hawkins restored order with two free throws with 3:56 remaining. McCusker followed with two foul shots and Hasson made one to make it 50-34. Biliew answered with a leaner, but Palmieri made two free throws and Hasson did the same for a 54-36 lead.

The Bulldogs got no closer than 11 the rest of the way and accounted for the 58-47 final on Biliew's 3 in the waning seconds.

In addition to McCusker and Hawkins' combined 30 points, Hasson had 11, while Conley and Palmieri added eight apiece.

"I thought Kelsey Conley gave us some great minutes off the bench," Giordano said. "It might have been Abby Hasson's best game. Bri did what we expect from our senior captain. How much has Danielle opened up our game? She keeps people honest and gets shots for Esther Palmieri, who can knock them down as well."

"I think we picked it up big time and played like a team," added Hawkins. "We were selfless and did a great job overall. It was important that we didn't have to have one person to go to. We were all scoring. It's a good win for us after the McAuley loss. It helps our confidence. We're showing good progress."

After Biliew's 23 points, Sweet was the only other Bulldog in double figures with 10.

Portland (11th in the latest Western A Heals, the top 11 teams qualify) host red-hot Scarborough Wednesday, play at Cheverus Friday and close the regular season at McAuley Feb. 6. The Bulldogs need to win at least once, if not twice more to qualify.

South Portland, meanwhile, which is eighth in the Heals, goes to Kennebunk Wednesday, visits McAuley Friday and plays at Deering Tuesday. The Red Riots close the regular year at home against Gorham Feb. 6.

This is a potential darkhorse which could cause problems in a few weeks.

"I feel like we have a great chance if we keep playing our best," Hawkins said. "It's good to go in under the radar sometimes. We haven't been that successful the past few years as a favorite. Anything can happen."

"We're still a work in progress," Giordano added. "I'd like to see us become a little more consistent. We have as good a chance as anybody to get to the Expo and hopefully the Civic Center."
"We could wind up sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, anywhere in there. We'll have a better idea by the end of the week."

Free throws lift Noble

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 26th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Lack of consistency at the foul line has plagued the Noble High School girls basketball team all season. But on Monday, their free throw accuracy was the key in their 38-33 win over a scrappy, upset-minded team. The win improved Noble's record to 11-4 while Sanford dropped to 7-9.

Mt. Abram 55, Boothbay 33

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 26th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Mt. Abram broke open a first-quarter deadlock with a 35-7 run over the middle two frames en route to a 55-33 victory over Boothbay.

The Seahawks (1-13) played Mt. Abram even for the first quarter, which ended in a 10-10 tie. The Roadrunners (10-4) raced away with 17-3 and 18-4 advantages over the next two quarters. Kenni Norton led Mt. Abram with 28 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Mikayla Burbank added nine points. Mary Fuller scored 11 points for the Seahawks.

Jay 55, Madison 15

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 26th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Beth Moore turned in a triple-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds and 12 steals Monday, launching Jay to an easy 55-15 MVC girls' basketball win over Madison.

Moore scored eight points in the first half for the Tigers (11-3), sparking the hosts to a 10-3 lead after one quarter and a 24-7 edgeat the break.

Hillary Deane led Jay with 16 points.

Liz LeBlanc added 15.

Lauren Bean paced the Bulldogs (7-7) with six points.

Cougars hold off Ramblers' fourth-quarter rally

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 26th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

DIXFIELD - The Dirigo girls' basketball team have discovered the importance of staying composed down the stretch. The Cougars finished the deal Monday in a Mountain Valley Conference game.

Ricki Sinclair scored four points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws with 16.6 seconds left to lift the Cougars to a 32-31 victory over Winthrop.

PCHS 62, Stearns 60

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 26th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

At Guilford, Cody Briggs scored at the buzzer after grabbing an offensive rebound to help the Piscataquis Community Pirates hand the Minutemen their first loss of the season. The Pirates’ win avenged an early season loss of 76-33 to Minutemen. Briggs scored four points in the second overtime and grabbed five rebounds, the final one coming off a missed 3-pointer that he put back in from eight feet out. PCHS, which was down 44-34 early in the fourth quarter, was paced by Nolan Lovell who contributed 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Damien Bridge chipped in with 14 points and Briggs had 11. Zach Sadlon paced the Minutemen of Millinocket with 16 points and Josh McDonald netted 14.
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