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TA 68, Scarborough 46

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 6th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Thornton Academy Golden Trojans ended the regular season on a high note by thumping the Red Storm at Scarborough 68-46.  Thornton got off to a quick start as James Morse hit 3 3-pointers, Ian Barwise added 7 points and the Trojans' defense dominated on its way to a 20-4 lead after 1 quarter.

Thornton's shooting cooled off considerably in the 2nd quarter but Scarborough was held in check for the most part.  The 2nd quarter did end on a high note for Scarborough as Ian Philbrick sank a  running jumper at the buzzer, cutting Thornton's lead to 30-16 at the half.

The 3rd quarter started very slowly for Thornton as the Trojans were held scoreless for nearly 3 minutes while the Red Storm chipped away at the lead.  But Thornton erupted for 14 points over the next 3 minutes, paced by 2 3-pointers by Barwise, and was able to extend its lead to 44-28 after 3.  Craig Robinson scored 8 points during the quarter, including a couple of treys, to help keep Scarborough in the game.

The 4th quarter ended up being a free throw shooting clinic for Thornton as it sank all 14 of its free throw attempts, preventing Scarborough from mounting a rally.  Midway through the quarter, Ian Barwise hit 2 consecutive old-fashioned 3-point plays (actually, one ended up being a 5-point play after a Scarborough technical foul) to seal the victory for Thornton.

Ian Barwise led all scorers with 23 points to go along with his 9 rebounds.  James Morse contributed 13 points and 7 assists while Andrew Shaw scored 11.  Craig Robinson paced the Red Storm with 11 points while Ian Philbrick and Garrett Alofs both added 9 points.  Overall, Thornton was a very impressive 19 of 20 from the free throw line.

Thornton heads into the Western Maine Class A playoffs as the 4th seed and will battle with 5th-seeded Deering on Friday, February 13 at 7 PM at the Portland Expo.  9th-seeded Scarborough will travel to Biddeford on Tuesday, February 10 for a preliminary game against the 8th-seeded Tigers.

Minutemen fall to Wolverines, both teams headed to Bangor.

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 6th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Schenck High School Wolverines & Stearns High School Minutemen met in East Millinocket Friday Night before a sellout crowd of 850 people & Schenck came away with a 61-52 win. Schenck was led by Senior Aaron Hutchins, who had 22 points. Jared Waite added 10, Josh Brown had 9, Brandon Theriault & Terry McCafferty each added 8, while Cody LeVasseur had 4 for the Wolverines, who finished their season at 14-4.  Stearns was led by Garen Manzo, who had 14, including 4 three pointers. Brandon McLaughlin added 12, including 2 three-pointers. Tyler Richards added 10. Zach Sadlon had 8, while Brett Baker & Cory Barnett had 4 points each for the 16-2 Minutemen. Stearns next game is Saturday, February 7th when they take on Washington Academy for the PVC Championship in Howland. Tipoff is set for 6:30PM.  Good Luck to both teams at the Bangor Auditorium

Score By Quarters:
Schenck - 13  24  39  61
Stearns -    7  18  31  52
JV Score: Schenck 47, Stearns 44. Stearns JV's finish season at 17-1.

Falcons go on the offensive

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

RUMFORD - At first if you don't succeed, grab the offensive rebound.

That proved to be the catalyst for the Mountain Valley girls' basketball team during a decisive third quarter Wednesday. The Falcons broke open a tie game to win its ninth straight with a 35-29 win over Dirigo.

Wiscasset 58, Winthrop 47

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

WINTHROP - Senior forward Jason Dennison paced Wiscasset to a 58-47 victory over Winthrop in MVC boys' basketball action Thursday.

The battle was intense in the first half as the Redskins (17-1) took a mere one-point lead for a 25-24 score at the break. Wiscasset pulled away in the second stanza with the assistance of Josh Hopkins and Josh Sonia, who contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Senior guard Zach Farrington recorded 22 points for the Ramblers (12-6).

Hyde 73, Rangeley 30

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

RANGELEY - David Duncan led a trio of players in double figures Thursday evening as Hyde hustled to a 73-30 rout over Rangeley.

Duncan finished the contest with 16 points, while Isaac Brower tallied 14 and Chris Valez added 11. Hyde jumped out to a 17-point advantage in the first quarter and was never challenged.

Quinn Philbrick led the Lakers (4-14) with eight points, while Luke Elliot added six.

Short and sweet for EL

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Corey Therriault led EL (16-2) with 23 points, while Shane Ciriello added 18 and James Philbrook 13 points and 11 rebounds. Omar Mohamed led Lewiston (2-16) with 16 points, while Chuck Faletra added 11.

Finding a way away

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

CAPE ELIZABETH — Johnny Murphy of Yarmouth usually sees his 3-point shots go in. This time he didn't, but it still had the usual result.

Murphy hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in regulation, then scored five points in overtime to lead the Clippers to a 63-59 victory against Cape Elizabeth in a Western Class B boys' basketball game Tuesday night.

Wildcats turn back Falmouth challenge

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

FALMOUTH — Both coaches look satisfied after York beat Falmouth 50-47 in a Western Maine Conference girls' basketball game Tuesday night.

York (17-0) was in danger of losing a game, and that pleased Wildcats Coach Rick Clark.

"It's the first time we've been challenged late in the game," Clark said. York's next-closest margin of victory was 13 points.

Stearns Defeats PVHS, ends regular season at 16-2

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Stearns High School Lady Minutemen hosted the Penobscot Valley Lady Howlers in Millinocket on Senior Night & Came away with a 46-27 win. Stearns was led by Kirsten Marter, who had 14 points. Senior Adriana Eurich added 13. Senior Katie Mills & Rebecca Leavitt had 8 points each, Senior Samantha Lyons had 2 & Senior Molly Legassey added 1 for the Lady Minutemen, who finished their regular season at 16-2. PVHS was led by Senior Casey McCloskey, who had 16 points. Reese Leonard added 6 points. Jordan Leveille & Ariel Vanadestine added 2 points each & Leslie Theriault had 1 for the 10-9 Lady How.ers Stearns Next Game is Saturday, February 7th when they face the Penquis Lady Patriots in Howland for the PVC Championship. Tipoff is set for 5:00PM.

Score By Quarters:
Stearns - 12  22  33  46
PVHS -----  6   6  14  27
JV Score: Stearns 38, PVHS 29. Stearns JV's end their season at 14-4/

Deering stymies Hyland, upsets SP

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2009 by Tom Nolette


By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—The South Portland boys' basketball team had to like its chances entering Wednesday night's contest at Deering.

The Red Riots boasted the most prolific offensive force in the Southern Maine Activities Association in junior Keegan Hyland, who has averaged slightly under 30 points a game this winter, the top-ranked team offense in the conference, and they were going up against a squad ranked just seventh in team defense.

Which explains why everyone (including those taking part on the court) were in shock and awe when with eight minutes to go, Hyland had all of four points and South Portland trailed the Rams 42-26.

Despite 15 points down the stretch from “The Kid,” the Red Riots never drew closer than 12 and Deering went on to earn a huge dose of confidence with a stunning 69-50 victory.

The Rams improved to 12-5 and dropped South Portland to 13-4.

“For the most part tonight, we did a good job being patient on offense, sharing the ball,” said Deering coach Dan LeGage. “I think it's the first time I can say we played as a team. Hopefully the first of many times.”

The Red Riots have earned plenty of attention this winter for good reason. Coming off a 15-win season that included a trip to the Western A semifinals, South Portland expected to be a top contender. Thanks in large part to Hyland's wizardry, the Red Riots won 12 of their first 13 games before losing twice to powerhouse Cheverus in a week's time.

The Rams, meanwhile, have just two seniors, and have shown their youth against top teams, losing to Cheverus, South Portland, Westbrook and twice to Portland, including a 71-47 road shellacking Friday night.

The Red Riots surged past Deering 79-65 at home Dec. 23 and hoped to earn the sweep, but after a slow start, the Rams simply took control and didn't let up.

South Portland would shoot to a 10-4 lead and appeared to be in good shape. Hyland got the scoring started with a 3-pointer 49 seconds into the game (he wouldn't score again in the first half). After Deering got on the board on a bank shot from sophomore Riko Augustino, junior Connor Hasson made a leaner for the visitors. Rams' senior Ronald Abwoch (who was honored prior to tip-off as an All-American nominee) made a layup for the Rams, but the Red Riots got a rebound putback from junior Ryan Curit and a 3-ball from junior Jon DiBiase.

Then, Deering asserted itself.

Senior Khadar Abbas got things started with a 3-pointer. Abwoch followed with a jumper and sophomore Jamie Ross hinted at great things to come with a layup for an 11-10 lead. Junior Spencer Bowring answered for South Portland in the waning seconds to give the visitors a 12-11 advantage after one quarter.

A free throw from Hasson 12 seconds into the second period gave the Red Riots a 13-11 lead. Abwoch answered with an old-fashioned three-point play before DiBiase gave South Portland its final lead, 15-14, with a bank shot.

Junior Eddie Tirabassi put Deering ahead to stay with a jumper at the 6:41 mark. Abbas followed with a jumper. After Bowring made two free throws, sophomore Jackson Frey and Abbas made 3-pointers for a 24-17 Rams' lead. Curit responded with a leaner, but Abbas made two foul shots, then hit another 3-ball. Then, with 4.8 seconds left before the half, Ross scored on a layup after a steal for a commanding 31-19 lead.

“I think the kids had a bad taste in their mouths from the Portland game and wanted to show they're better than what they showed that night,” LeGage said. “Tonight, they played as a team, they played  hard, they played physical and they didn't play scared.”

“It started out 10-4 and I thought we'd be in good shape, but we went on a little bit of a drought,” said South Portland coach Phil Conley.

After the Rams pushed their lead to 14 on a layup from junior Ian Nono, Hyland finally got back in the scoring column with a free throw. Then, the Red Riots appeared to get a break when DiBiase made a 3-pointer, was fouled in the process, and hit the ensuing free throw for a four-point play, cutting the deficit to nine, 33-24. Hasson then made a leaner and it appeared a South Portland comeback was underway, but Ross made a bank shot, Abwoch converted a pretty left-handed layup after driving through a couple defenders, Ross made a three-point play and then with 11.3 seconds left in the third, Ross made a layup to cap a period-ending 9-0 run for a 42-26 advantage.

“It's a great feeling,” said Ross, who is also a star on the gridiron as quarterback in the fall. “We've been working all week on spreading the ball. We've turned the ball over a lot lately. We had great court vision tonight. We just came together. It wasn't just me. We were finding each other.”

“I thought Jamie had an unbelievable game,” LeGage added. “When he wants to be good at something, he's great. He's a great athlete.”

Hyland and Abwoch traded free throws to start the fourth. Ross then made a layup for a 45-28 lead. Hasson and Tirabassi then traded layups before Hasson hit a leaner. With 5:08 remaining, Tirabassi made a three-point play to push the lead to 18, 50-32, but South Portland wasn't quite done yet.

A layup by Hyland was answered by a thunderous dunk, foul and made free throw by Nono, but Hyland hit a 3, then made two foul shots. With 4:02 to play, Hasson hit two free throws and suddenly the Red Riots were back within a dozen, 53-41. After Ross made a layup, Hyland hit a jump shot, but that would be the visitors' last hurrah.

After Abbas hit a 3-ball, South Portland got a free throw from sophomore Vukasin Vignjevic, but Ross made a layup and Abwoch hit a foul shot to push the lead to 61-44. The Red Riots got no closer than 14 from there and Deering cruised home to the emphatic 69-50 victory.

“The last couple years we've been plagued with injuries at the end of the year and we've dropped games,” LeGage said. “This is really the first time since (the championship season of) '06 that we've won a big game heading into the playoffs. We have seven sophomores, two freshmen, three juniors and two seniors who did it. Our mantra for tonight was that we played as a team for the whole game. They just passed the ball and committed to the defensive end.”

Abbas led all scorers with 21 points. Ross added 18 and Abwoch had 13. Tirabassi finished with seven, Nono had five, Frey three and Augustino two.

“Eddie Tirabassi didn't show up in the stat book, but he played great help side defense,” LeGage said. “Khadar had foul trouble, but still had 21. He's hit big shots all year long. People don't realize how good Ron really is. He doesn't put up Keegan numbers, but he does it all on his own. The last couple years have been a treat watching him. Jackson Frey came in and did some good things.”

For the Red Riots, Hyland led the way with 19.

“We played great defense for the whole game,” LeGage said. “Keegan's probably the best player I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few players. Our focus was all about him. We tried to keep him from going crazy and scoring 40 points. I thought if we did that, we'd have a good chance.”

“We doubled Keegan,” added Ross. “He's tough to defend. He's the best player in the state by far. We did well. We kind of let up in the fourth. We knew we had to come in and double team him and make every shot contested and just be his biggest nightmare. We did that.”

DiBiase and Hasson both chipped in with 11. Bowring and Curit had four apiece, Vignjevic finished with one.

“I thought Deering outplayed us in all aspects of the game tonight,” Conley said. “This is the first game where that has happened. I know my guys will get to practice tomorrow and we'll be ready Friday for Portland. It was just a tough game overall, both offensively and defensively. Deering played a very good game tonight.”

The Red Riots were third in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings, but aren't guaranteed that finish. Winning at Portland in the finale Friday would sure help.

“We'll be anywhere three to five,” Conley said. “We'll take it one game at a time like we've done all year and get back at it.”

Deering now has its second statement win of the season (the Rams upset Thornton Academy in overtime back on Jan. 2). The Rams were sixth in the latest Heals and will likely finish there, but could move up if they can do something no other team has done this winter: beat defending state champion Cheverus Friday night on the road.

“We hope we can catch them on an off night,” LeGage said. “They haven't had one in over a year. “

“We have momentum after tonight,” Ross added. “We have confidence. We need to bring the same intensity into the tournament. We're going to give it our all. Cheverus is a tough place to play.”

If Deering winds up sixth, it will host a preliminary round game Tuesday. Whatever happens, one thing is certain, the Rams are team to contend with and might not be a year away as some might have surmised.

“It's a big confidence booster,” Ross said. “People are telling us that TA was a mistake. We know we can beat whoever whenever. We just had to come together and play like a team and do what we do. This is a huge win going into the tournament.”

“I don't know if this will get us out of the sixth seed,” LeGage added. “I don't know if it's worth enough to bump us up to five. It's nice to play the spoiler, especially as a young team. We're probably looking at a prelim, which is fine. If you'd told me before the season that we'd be 12-5 after 17 games with all these young kids, I would have said you're crazy. It's a testament to the program. We've been able to sustain every year and be right there.”

Finding a way away

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 4th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

CAPE ELIZABETH — Johnny Murphy of Yarmouth usually sees his 3-point shots go in. This time he didn't, but it still had the usual result.

Murphy hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in regulation, then scored five points in overtime to lead the Clippers to a 63-59 victory against Cape Elizabeth in a Western Class B boys' basketball game Tuesday night.

Wildcats turn back Falmouth challenge

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 4th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

FALMOUTH — Both coaches look satisfied after York beat Falmouth 50-47 in a Western Maine Conference girls' basketball game Tuesday night.

York (17-0) was in danger of losing a game, and that pleased Wildcats Coach Rick Clark.

"It's the first time we've been challenged late in the game," Clark said. York's next-closest margin of victory was 13 points.

Cheverus smothers Portland, improves to 17-0

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 4th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—A thing of beauty it was not, but for the 17th successive time this winter, the Cheverus boys' basketball team was simply better then its opponent over 32 minutes as it gradually pulled away from Portland en route to a 50-33 victory at the Portland Expo Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs led by five after one quarter, but were done in by a 15-4 Stags' surge in the second period and the visitors controlled the game from there, thanks to 21 points from senior Mick DiStasio.

Portland was within two late in the first half, but Cheverus went on a 14-2 run to put the game on ice and drop the Bulldogs to 10-5 on the season.

“We started off slow,” said DiStasio. “They spread us out on defense and that gave us a bit of trouble. We didn't get into our offense real well. Once we did, everything started to flow. Usually we start out hot. We came out flat tonight.”

The Stags got a stern test from Portland back on Jan. 10 before they pulled away late to win 59-44. Cheverus beat its first 16 foes by an average of 26-plus points. The Bulldogs had shown glimpses of promise, but had dropped games at home to Thornton Academy and Westbrook in addition to losses at Cheverus and South Portland.

Tuesday, it appeared early on that Portland might have what it took to pull off the upset, but ultimately, the Stags reminded everyone that they are undefeated for a reason.

Prior to the tip, DiStasio and Bulldogs' senior standout Ed Bogdanovich were both honored as McDonald's All-American nominees from the state of Maine.

Foul trouble would plague Portland's star, while DiStasio, who has teamed with junior Indiana Faithfull to make for an unstoppable and dynamic tandem, would eventually have his way.

DiStasio got the scoring started with a layup 1 minute, 1 second in. Bogdanovich answered with a rebound putback to tie the score. After Cheverus senior Joe Dadiego made a layup, junior Koang Thok responded with a 3-ball for the hosts to give them a 5-4 lead. Faithfull hit a layup for the Stags, but Thok hit a jump shot, Bogdanovich made a layup and Thok hit a jumper (which appeared to have come after time expired) to give Portland an 11-6 edge after one period.

Fortunes turned quickly in the second as the Bulldogs began to turn the ball over and the Stags turned those miscues into points.

DiStasio hit a jumper, senior Peter Foley made a layup and junior Lenny Cummings drained one of two foul shots to tie the score. After Portland went back on top, 13-11, on a Bogdanovich layup, DiStasio hit a bank shot to tie the game, then made a layup for a 15-13 lead that Cheverus would never relinquish.

Faithfull followed with a leaner to push the advantage to four, 17-13. After Thok made a layup for the Bulldogs, Dadiego hit a short hook shot and Foley made a layup to give Cheverus a 21-15 lead at the break.

The Stags then seized control in the third.

After Cheverus senior Dan Foster and Bogdanovich traded baskets to start the second half, DiStasio hit a 3-ball, made a layup and then buried another 3 for a 31-17 lead.

“We've just got too many weapons,” said Stags' coach Bob Brown.

Portland answered as Thok and junior Walter Stover hit floaters and senior Campbell Rico made a layup to make it 31-23, but DiStasio calmly buried another 3 for a 34-23 lead. Rico answered with a jump shot, but Cummings hit a free throw. Stover then made a foul shot for the Bulldogs to make it a 36-26 game with eight minutes to go.

When Faithfull began the fourth period with a 3-pointer and DiStasio hit a pair of free throws, Cheverus' lead was 15, 41-26, and the game was all but over. The Bulldogs crawled back to within 10, 41-31, on an old-fashioned three-point play from Bogdanovich and a layup after a steal by Thok, but Faithfull made a free throw, Foster scored on a rebound putback and Cummings slammed one home, was fouled, then converted a three-point play to ice it. The Stags then put the finishing touches on the 50-33 win.

“It was a very physical game,” Brown said. “(Portland) had a lot of very patient offense. I thought we played pretty good defense. Offensively we were effective enough to put up 50 points to hold them down. Down the stretch in the season, scores go down. Defense is the key. Anybody can win a Portland-Cheverus game over here.”

DiStasio led all scorers with his 21 points. Cummings was next with nine. Faithfull had eight and Dadiego, Foley and Foster each added four.

For Portland, Thok was the leading scorer with 13 points. Bogdanovich had a quiet 11.

“Ed's the one we were most concerned with,” DiStasio said. “He's the center of the team, an All-American candidate. We had to focus on him. That's what we did tonight.”

Rico finished with four, Stover had three and senior Joe Violette added two.

“We played a good first quarter, played some pretty good defense,” said Bulldogs' coach Joe Russo. “I thought that maybe the kids would take the challenge. As ugly as the first quarter was offensively, I liked that. We took bad shots in the second quarter.

“They have two great players. Their role players are awesome. I thought maybe Cheverus was beatable before tonight. Anyone's beatable on a given night, but seeing the league and how they play, I don't think so. This year will be easier for them than last year. They let teams hang around for a couple quarters then flip a switch. They don't make a lot of mistakes”

Portland (fifth in the latest Western A Heal Points standings) closes its regular season Friday night at home against Keegan Hyland and South Portland, a team the Bulldogs lost to 57-49 a week ago.

“For us to continue succeeding this year, I have to figure out what makes these guys tick,” Russo said. “I usually have that figured out by now. We're running out of time. “

Cheverus is having no such trouble. The undefeated state champs will be first in the region and can now focus on finishing the regular year without a blemish. The Stags host Deering in their finale Friday night.

Then, it's time to turn attention to defending the crown.

“I feel good,” Brown said. “It's a fragile team. We're not overly deep. Some role players come in and do a decent job. We have one more, then it's a new season. Then, who knows?”

“We're a strong team and we know that,” DiStasio added. “There are still things we have to get better at. We still have to get better offensively. We held them to 33 points, but we still need more offensive execution. We experienced a little lapse last year. We didn't want that feeling again. We know what it's like to win and we thrive on winning. That's what we're going for.”


Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 3rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Mt. Ararat's stunner: Eagle girls shock No. 2 Brunswick 38-33

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 3rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

In front of a large, standing-room only crowd on Friday, Mt. Ararat picked up a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory that is long in the making, knocking off Eastern Maine Class A's second-ranked Brunswick Dragons 38-33 in a stunning upset.
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