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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.

Headín For the Homestretch,Plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8

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

Head’n For the Homestretch
(Plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8)

'Sponsored by Rivalries'
"Where every day is a victory celebration"


Well folk’s we are heading for the homestretch. There are just two weeks left of regular season play. It has been a crazy season so far and the next two weeks will be even crazier. Teams will battle for top spots, teams will battle to get bye’s, and teams will battle just to get a prelim game. It is that time of year when it is “Put-Up! or Shut-Up!” It is the time of year when you find out who is  the real deal and just who the pretenders are. It is that time of year when your team should be running on all cylinders. You know just like a top notch race car that is finely tuned. It is that time of year that you want your team healthy. Injuries to key players can be disastrous heading into the homestretch or heading into the tournament. Yes folk’s we are just three weeks away from the “Big Dance” and only the top teams from each class will be invited. The next two weeks will be wild as there are many big games to be decided as to who will actually earn the right to attend the “Big Dance”. And speaking of the “Big Dance” this could be the last year of the prelim games. If the MPA passes the proposal that they have on the table right now then only the top 8 teams from each class East and West will get to go.

The way the tournament structure is set right now 67% of the teams from each class get to go:

In Class A East there are 16 teams. 11 teams will make the tournament. The top 5 teams draw a bye and 6-11 will have to play a prelim game.

In Class B East there are 22 teams. 15 teams will make the tournament. The #1 seed  draws a bye and 2-15 will play a prelim game.

In Class C East there are 17 teams. 11 teams will make the tournament. The top 5 teams will draw a bye and 6-11 will play a prelim game.

In Class D East there are 22 teams. 15 teams make the tournament. The # 1 seed draws a bye and 2-15 will play a prelim game.

In Class A West there are 16 teams. 11 teams will make the tournament. The top 5 teams will draw a bye and 6-11 will have to play a prelim game.

In Class B West there are 15 teams. 10 teams will make the tournament. The top 6 teams will draw a bye and 7-10 will have to play a prelim game.

In Class C West there are 21 teams. The top 14 teams will make the tournament. The top 2 teams will draw a bye and 3-14 will play a prelim game.

In Class D West there are 14 teams. 9 teams will make the tournament. The top 7 teams will draw a bye and 8 and 9 will play each other in a prelim game.

In my opinion the prelim games are part of the tournament, but they are not part of the “Big Dance”. If you draw a bye you are in, but if you don’t draw a bye then you have win a prelim game to get an invite to the “Big Dance”. The “Big Dance” the games are played at the Civic Centers or the Auditoriums. Prelims are played in high school gyms. The “Big Dance” is the top 8 teams from each class.

In some of the big games involving top teams this past week:’

Cheverus beat Westbrook 60-44. Beat South Portland 60-42.
Westbrook beat Portland 62-48.
Edward Little beat Bangor 60-51
Brewer beat Messalonskee 75-42. Beat Brunswick 58-55.
Cape beat Traip 59-42.
Morse beat Messalonskee 48-35.
Greely beat Lake Region 43-37.
Presque Isle beat Mattanawcook 42-40.
Calais beat Houlton 55-41. Beat Madawaska 66-53.
Washington Acad. beat Orono 72-57. Beat Woodland 70-40.
Forest Hills beat Buckfield 50-39.
C. Aroostook beat Easton 54-47. Beat So. Aroostook 58-56. Beat Ashland 63-60.

WIZ Big Games for Week # 9:

Monday 1/26:

Calais at Woodland
Houlton at Presque Isle
Penquis at Orono
Piscataquis at Stearns

Tuesday 1/27:

Cheverus at Thornton
Marshwood at Deering
Portland at South Portland
Cape at Freeport
Greely at Falmouth
Lincoln at Gardiner
Madison at Jay
Forest Hills at Averill
Lawrence at Hampden
Leavitt at Mt. Ararat
Morse at Cony
Mt. Blue at Brewer
Oxford Hills at Edward Little
Hermon at Mattanawcook
Medomak at Erskine
Winslow at Rockland
Lee at Woodland
Cent. Aroostook at Easton

Wednesday 1/28:

Hall-Dale at Boothbay
Presque Isle at Caribou
Katahdin at Schenck

Thursday 1/29:

Mountain Valley at Livermore Falls
OOB at Buckfield
Fort Kent at Houlton
Narraguagus at Washington Acad.
Stearns at Penquis
Cent. Aroostook at Hodgdon
Shead at Woodland

Friday 1/30:

Biddeford at Thornton
Cheverus at South Portland
Deering at Portland
Westbrook at Thornton
Windham at Bonny Eagle
Cape at Falmouth
Traip at St. Dom’s
Bangor at Skowhegan
Brunswick at Mt. Ararat
Cony at Oxford Hills
Edward Little at Morse
Hampden at Mt. Blue
Lawrence at Brewer
Erskine at Winslow
Medomak at Camden
Rockland at Lincoln
Sumner at Jonesport-Beals
Easton at Ashland

Saturday 1/31:

Hyde at Calais
Livermore Falls at Jay
Mattanawcook at Presque Isle
MDI at Ellsworth
Lee at DIS
Narraguagus at Sumner
Stearns at Houlton
Washburn at Cent. Aroostook

Undefeated Teams:

Undefeated teams stay at 5 teams this week as all 5 teams won their games.

Fort Fairfield--14-0

As we head into this weeks WIZ Top 10 teams there are some changes. All the teams in the top 10 stayed in the top 10, but some moved up and some moved down. Cheverus, Camden, Westbrook and South Portland remain the top 4 teams this week.
Portland suffering their 3rd loss of the season to Westbrook drops from # 5 to # 8. Edward Little with a big win over Bangor jumps from # 7 to # 5, and Thornton with two wins moves from # 8 up to # 7. Brewer stays at # 9, and Cape stays at # 10. With some very big games this coming week there should be some big changes in the Top 10 next week.

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8:

1.Cheverus---------14-0 Stags still Proving to All they are # 1! Three up! Three Down! Beat #3 Westbrook 60-44! Beat # 4 South Portland 60-42! Beat Massabesic 78-56! Another Big Week for the Stags! First up! Head to Saco! Take on the Golden Trojans of Thornton Academy! Trojans would love to win this one! But they won’t! Then a Re-Match with the Red Riots! At South Portland! Riots would Love Revenge! But they won’t Get it! Stags move on to 16-0! Baby! 16-0! And Best in the State!

2.Camden---------14-0 Windjammers just Cruising through Class B! Totally Annihilates Mt. View 98-49! Crushes Waterville 75-37! Two games up this week! At Belfast! Then Host Medomak! No contest here! Jammers move to 16-0! # 1 in Class B! And # 2 in the State! They would love a Shot at # 1! But it will never Happen! It would be a fun game Anyway!

3.Westbrook--------12-2 Blue Blazes lost to # 1 Cheverus! 60-44! Blazes Bounce Right Back! Beat # 5 Portland! 62-48! Blazes stay at # 3! Two games on Tap this week! First up! The Mustangs of Massabesic pay at Visit! Then the Rams of Gorham pay a Visit! The good host Blazes move to 14-2!

4.South Portland--12-2 Red Riots Blow-Out Kennebunk! 81-40! The Kid throws in 30 in the 1st Half! Riots then lose to # 1 Cheverus! 60-42! And that was without Matt Lee! Will Lee be Back! If not the Riots may be in Trouble! We Shall See! Riots Two Huge games this Week! Both at Home! First up the Portland Bulldogs! Dogs will be Very Hungry! Next a Re-Match with the # 1 Cheverus Stags! A Friday Night Main Event! At Beal gym! Whoa! The Place will be Packed! Big! Big! Week for the Riots!

5.Edward Little--12-2 Eddies Making a Statement! # 1 in the East! And # 5 in the State! Beat a Surging Bangor Rams team! 60-51! Two games up this week! And one is a Real Biggie! First up the Vikings of Oxford hills come to Town! Then it’s The Shipbuilders of Morse that will pay a visit! Huge game! Shipbuilders would Love this One! But they won’t Get it! Eddies go to 14-2! Baby!

6.Dirigo--------14-0 Coach Kane’s Cougars are just Cruising through Class C! Totally Wipe-Out Mt. View! 63-28! And Carrabec! 76-17! WOW! Can anyone give them a Game! Three games up this week! First up! Host the Ramblers of Winthrop! Then it’s Off to Telstar! And then Back Home! Against Mt. Abram! Cougars 17-0! With a week too Go!

7.Thornton---12-2 Two more W’s for The Golden Trojans! Beat the Scots of Bonny Eagle! 83-59! Crushes Kennebunk! 76-26! Trojans are Very Good! James Morse and Co. can’t Wait for Tourney time! Huge Game up Next! The # 1 Cheverus Stags come to Saco! Trojans would Love to take this One! I don’t think they Can! But you Never know!
We Shall see! Then Host Rival Biddeford! Tigers will be Hungry! Could be Interesting!

8.Portland---11-3 The Bulldogs lose to # 3 Westbrook! 60-44! Trust Me! Bulldogs are better than this! Beat Scarborough 63-53! Coach Russo can’t wait for the Tourney! Dogs are very Dangerous! Two Big Games this Week! First across the Bridge! To South Portland! Huge game for both! Then Host to Big Rival! Deering! Whoa Baby! What a Week in the SMAA!

9.Brewer---12-2 Witches Grab two more Wins! Destroy the Eagles of Messalonskee! 75-42! Get by Brunswick! 58-55! Witches are Gearing Up! Heading for the Homestretch! Big Game up Next! Witches head to Mt. Blue! Cougars are Very Good! And Cougars are Very Hungry! Huge Game Right Here! Then it’s off to Lawrence! And the Bulldogs will be Very Hungry Too! Dogs would love this Game! Can the Witches Stay in the Top 10! I don’t Know!

10.Cape Eliz.--12-2 Capers on a Roll! Two more W’s! Big Game! Beats Traip! 59-42! Then Crushes Wells! 74-41! Two Games this week! And the 2nd one is Huge! First up its off to Freeport! Falcons would love this one! But they won’t Get it! Then the Biggie! Off to Falmouth! Take on the 13-1 Yachtsmen! Wow! Huge! Huge! Game for both! Who will Win this one! I’m not sure! I’ll take Capers by 3!

Teams Knocking on the Door;

Mt. Blue--------11-3
Presque Isle---14-1
Fort Fairfield--14-0
Wash. Acad.---12-1
C. Aroostook--10-3

Til’ Next Week: It might be very Cold outside, But it is going to be very Hot on the Hardwood the next two weeks! Good luck to all Teams!


Dirigo 76, Carrabec 17

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The top-ranked Dirigo Cougars rolled to a 76-17 triumph over Carrabec on Saturday.

Travis Knight led Dirigo with 17 points, while Tyler Chiasson added 11 points. Kyle Hutchinson and Nic Crutchfield chipped in with 10 points apiece, and Aaron Fenstermacher and Eric Bolduc had nine each.

Rangeley 44, Cavalry Christian 42

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Freshman forward Luk Elliott hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game to give Rangeley a 44-42 victory over Cavalry Christian on Saturday.

Reagan Sargent also hit a trey with time winding down to bring Rangeley within striking distance.

Casey Clark paced the Lakers (4-10) with eight points, including two from behind the arc. Elliott and Alex Morton finished with seven points apiece. Zeke Hall registered six points and 10 rebounds.

Zac Austin led Cavalry (1-13) with 13 points and Jared Madden added 11.

NYA 33, St. Dom's 25

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Senior guard Andrew Gendron tossed 16 points as Yarmouth executed a very deliberate and disciplined march towards a 33-25 victory over St. Dom's in WMC boys' basketball action Saturday.

The Panthers (6-7) took a 15-12 halftime lead. Senior forward Aaron Allen notched a double-double for the Saints (8-7) with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort.

Lee 103, Hebron 52

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Twelve different players scored, and six had double figures, as Lee nearly doubled up Hebron 103-52.

The Lumberjacks came out strong, keeping pace with Lee Academy up until a 44-44 halftime score. Lee opened the floodgates in the second half as they outscored Hebron 59-8 in the stanza.

Oliver Brown led the way for the Lumberjacks with 19 points, while Milo Frank chipped in with 12 points.

Madison 80, Lisbon 42

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Madison used a 20-2 run to open the game and coasted to an 80-42 victory over winless Lisbon.

The Buldogs extended the margin to 37-15 and 62-30 after the middle two frames.

Simon Elias led Madison with 21 points, while Erza Gourey added 17 points and Matt Smith andd Sam Perkins had 10 apiece. Nick Jones and Scott Eck led Lisbon (0-13) with 13 and 11 points.

Rangely 50, Calvary Chr. 26

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Allison Hammond scored 18 points and Angela White added 145 points to lead Rangeley to a 50-26 victory over Calvary Christian in a Class D girls' basketball game played Saturday.

After opening a 13-4 lead after the first quarter, the Lakers (9-5) out the game away with an 18-6 run to extend the advantage to 31-10 at halftime.

White led Rangeley with nine rebounds, while Hammond recorded seven steals. Hope Johnson scored 16 points for Calvary.

Gray-New Gloucester 47, Yarmouth 37

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 25th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Senior guard Rachel Clement tossed 14 points to lead Gray-New Gloucester to a 47-737 triumph over Yarmouth in WMC girls' basketball action Saturday.

The Patriots (9-5) used a 10-0 run in the final minutes of the game to make a mad-dash from a 37-37 dead heat to the final buzzer. Laura Getchell recorded 12 points and nine rebounds for Gray-New Gloucester.

Devin Simsarian paced the Clippers (5-9) with 10 points in the losing effort.

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