Our Stories ::

Search our stories

MBR 15u/10th grade girls Tryouts

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

MBR 15u/10th grade Tryouts
MBR Team page link:  http://www.mbr.org/mbr15u/
Tryouts are on Sunday March 1st
@Kents Hill, 9:30 - 11:45am 
Contact Coach Liburd on kml14@hotmail.com with any questions or to pre register for tryouts by sending the following information.


Ahead of the game EL's Philbrook raised on basketball

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

AUBURN - There was a time when James Philbrook was not 6-foot-4.

Playing basketball in the driveway or at Hoop Camp with his big brother Kyle and cousin Cam Leary, "Jimbo," as he is known now by his Edward Little teammates, was too small to mix it up with the big kids.

MBR 15u/10th grade

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

Coach Liburd and others will post to this news section for a variety of reason....

Practice times, game updates, notables, game recaps

Eddies live dream 52 years in making

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 24th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Adams dedicated Friday's win to anyone and everyone who wore a basketball uniform at EL in the 52-year span since the last regional title. He'd like to dedicate another championship next Saturday and go even further back, to the last state title team at EL in 1946.

Knight, defense put Dirigo over top

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 24th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - The scenario had an unsettling air of familiarity to Dirigo coach Gavin Kane.

His Cougars were the top seed in the Western C tournament for the third straight year and had beaten the No. 2 seed, Wiscasset, twice - once during the regular season and once in the Mountain Valley Conference championship.

On Golden Pond,Plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week #12)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 24th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

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

Wow folk’s! What a week! The WIZ has been to Portland, he’s been to Augusta, he’s been to Bangor and back to Portland again catching as much of the “February Madness” as possible. I saw some great games, close ones, blowouts, and “Buzzer Beaters” and with all the madness, and with five # 1 seeds going down there are 8 teams left sitting “On Golden Pond” hoping to grab that Big Shiny Golden Ball.

Championship Match-ups:

Class A:
Edward Little Vs. Thornton- Saturday 4:00pm- ACC

Class B:
Camden Vs. Cape Elizabeth- Friday 9:00pm- CCCC

Class C:
Calais Vs. Dirigo- Saturday 8:45pm- Bangor Auditorium

Class D:
Woodland Vs. Richmond- Saturday 2:45pm- Bangor Auditorium

Upset City:

Over the course of this past week there were five # 1 seeds that were knocked out of the Tournament.

In Class A West the # 1 seeded Cheverus Stags who were undefeated at 19-0 were upset by # 4 seed the Golden Trojans of Thornton Academy in the Semi-Finals 49-43.

In Class B West the # 1 seeded Greely Rangers were upset by the # 4 Cape Elizabeth Capers in the Semi-Finals at the buzzer 46-45.

In Class C East the # 1 seeded Washington Academy Raiders were upset by # 5 seed the Stearns Minutemen in the Semi-Finals 51-49.

In Class D West the # 1 seeded Forest Hills Tigers were upset in the Western Maine Final by the # 2 seeded Richmond Bobcats 41-30.

In Class D East the # 1 seeded and undefeated Fort Fairfield Tigers were upset in the Quarter-Finals by the # 9 seeded Bangor Christian Patriots 53-51. The Patriots star Bret Bradford made 2 free throws with 2 seconds left to seal it.

Undefeated Teams:

Undefeated teams this week drops from 3 to 1 with Cheverus losing to Thornton and Fort Fairfield losing to Bangor Christian.

Camden Hills--------21-0

As we head into this weeks WIZ Top 10 Teams we have plenty of changes and yes we have a new # 1 as the Cheverus Stags who have been there all season suffered their first loss to Thornton in the Sem1-Finals. It has been a crazy week with many of the top teams suffering a loss and many people are wondering who is really the # 1 team.

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 12:

1.Camden Hills-------21-0 Windjammers Do It! Takes EM Class B Crown! Crushed Hermon in Semi’s! 60-36! Crushed Rockland in Finals! 62-36! They’ve been waiting for # 1 to Slip! And They Did! And Jammers are # 1! Baby! And They Deserve it! But Can they stay There! We Shall Find Out Next Friday Night! It’s for All The Marbles! They get Cape! It’s for The Gold! Should be a Beauty! CCCC 9:00Pm!

2.Edward Little------19-2 Here come The Eddies! Beat The Red Hot Bangor Rams! In the Semi’s! 44-39! Beat the Surging Bulldogs of Lawrence! In the EM Final! 58-50! They get the # 2 Spot! But will they stay There! They get Thornton Up Next! It’s for The Gold! It’s in Augusta! ACC Baby! Steady Eddies! Therriault Is Ready! Philbrook is Ready! 4:00Pm! They ACC will be Packed!

3.Thornton----------18-3 Golden Trojans and They Do It! They Take the West! Takes Down # 1 Cheverus! In the Semi’s! 47-41! Then Takes Down Portland! In the WMF! Congrats Trojans! Up Next! State Game! Could be Golden! For The Golden Trojans! They Get Edward Little! James Morse Is ready! Trojans are Ready! Barwise Looks for two In a Row! They can Smell It! They Can taste it! Can They Get It! I don’t Know! Find out This Coming Saturday Afternoon! ACC! 4:00Pm!

4.Cheverus---------19-1 Stags lose! Been the Best all Year! But the Cylinders Miss-Fire! Stags lose to Thornton! In Semi’s! 47-41! What Happened! No One Knows! But there Season is Over! A Great Run! But They are Done!

5.Cape Elizabeth--17-4 Capers Do It! It Wasn’t Easy! But They Take the West! Beat # 1 Greely in the Semi’s! Full Court Pass! Dickey makes The Shot! At The Buzzer! Cape Wins It! 46-45! Wow! What a Play! Capers then takes Down # 2 Falmouth! 58-48! Capers Win the West! Up Next! Cape heads Back to the State Game! They Lost Last Year! Can They steal It This Year! I don’t Know! They Get Undefeated Camden! A Heavy Duty Match-Up! CCCC! A Friday Night Main Event! Can They Fill the place! Maybe!

6. Portland----15-7 Bulldogs Surge Late! But not quite Good Enough! Beat #2 Seed Westbrook in Semi’s 55-43! The Late Run Ends! As Thornton Takes Down the Dogs! In the WMF! 49-43! Bulldogs season is Over! A Good Run Though! Tough Finish!

7.Westbrook--17-3 A great Season for the Blue Blazes! They wanted More! But The SMAA is Tough! Lost to Portland in The Semi’s! 55-43! Watch Out Next Year! Jobin and Borelli are Back!

8.Dirigo------20-1 Cougars Do It! They Take the West! Crushed Waynflete! In The Quarters! 66-38! Crushed Traip! In The Semi’s! 68-36! Crushed # 2 Wiscasset! In WMF! 64-44! Big Tom! 28pts.! 12rebs.! 4blks.! Can he be Stopped! I Don’t Think So! Up Next! They get Calais! It’s For the Gold! It’s at The Audi! In Bangor! Saturday Night! A Main Attraction! 8:45Pm! The Mecca Will be a Rock’in! and Big Tom will be a Block’in!

9.Greely----17-3 Tough Ending for The Rangers! Great Season! # 1 Seed! But Western B was a Dog Fight! They Lose On a Buzzer Beater! Cape Gets’Em in the Semi’s as Time Runs Out! 46-45! Dickey’s Shot Falls in as The Clock runs Out! Tough way to end! But that’s Basketball Folk‘s! Rangers Great Run! Great Season! And we Still Love Patrick!

10.Calais---16-4 The Blue Devils Take the East Again! That’s 4 Straight Years! And Two with Gold Balls! Can they Get Three! They Crushed Sumner! In the Quarters! 51-29! Crushed Lee! In the Semi’s! 75-35! Crushed Stearns! In the EMF! 71-45! Up Next! A Shot for the Gold! They want it Back! They get Big Tom! And his Dirigo Cougars! How Sure is Shorey! Big Cal! Big Tom! Bring It On! This Coming Saturday Night! 8:45Pm! Whoa! The Mecca will be Packed!

Teams Knocking on the Door:

No teams Knocking This week- So lets continue on thru the Top 25:

11.Bangor----------13-6 Lost to Edward Little Semi’s 44-39.
12.Falmouth-------17-4 Beat Lake Region in Semi’s 52-49. Lost to Cape in Finals 58-48.
13.Lawrence-------12-10 Beat Mt. Blue in Semi’s 46-36. Lost to EL in Finals 58-50.
14.So. Portland----14-5 Lost to Portland in Quarter-Finals 72-49.
15.Mt.Blue---------15-6 Lost to Lawrence in Semi’s 46-36.
16.Wiscasset-------19-2 Beat Winthrop in Quarter-Finals 60-38. Beat St. Dom’s in Semis
47-42.Lost to Dirigo in finals 64-44.
17.Deering---------12-7 Lost to Thornton in Quarter-Finals-51-48.
18.Stearns----------18-3 Beat Orono in Quarter-Finals 79-61. Beat Washington Acad. In
Semi’s 51-49. Lost to Calais in EMF 71-45.
19.Morse-----------14-5 Lost to Mt. Blue in Quarter-Finals 58-45.
20.Wash. Acad.---18-2 Beat Narraguagus in Quarter-Finals 79-55. Lost to Stearns in
Semi’s 79-61.
21.Woodland-----15-7 Beat Bangor Christain in Semi’s 47-39. Beat Central Aroostook in
EMF 46-36. Eastern Maine Champs. Gets Richmond for State
Game Saturday at the Mecca 2:45pm.

22.Lake Region---15-5 Lost to Falmouth in Semi’s 52-49.
23.St. Dom’s------12-9 Beat Hyde in Quarter-Finals 58-42. Lost to Wiscasset in Semi’s
24.Richmond-----17-2 Beat Elan in Semi’s 57-38. Beat Forest Hills in WMF 41-30.
Western Maine Champs. Gets Woodland for State Game. At the
Mecca Saturday 2:45Pm.

25.Orono----------16-3 Lost to Stearns in Quarter-Finals 79-61.

Til’ Next week: Good Luck to the teams chasing the Gold Ball!


Cougars roll, chew up Redskins

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 23rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - Chants of "Overrated," directed at Dirigo's Thomas Knight, emanated from the Wiscasset student section early in the third quarter of Saturday night's Western Class C boys' championship.

The Notre Dame-bound center silenced his detractors in ear-shattering and spirit-crushing fashion, with two thunderous dunks that essentially clinched Dirigo's first regional title in 26 years.

Tigers claw way to top

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 23rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - It didn't take long to realize Saturday night that it was Jay's kind of basketball game.

It meant that the Western C girls' basketball championship game was going to be a defensive struggle and a bit of a nail-biter. It also was likely that the Tigers would have you on the edge of your seat, somewhat panic stricken and possibly in need of some oxygen. A means of kick-starting your heart might come in handy as well

York leaves no doubt, punches state final ticket

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 23rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—For the first time in 15 seasons, the York Wildcats will play for the Class B girls' state championship.

Saturday afternoon, at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Wildcats rode a 23-point, 12-rebound performance from standout sophomore Nicole Taylor and gradually pulled away from No. 2 Greely en route to a 49-30 victory.

York will meet two-time defending Class B state champion Waterville, which is riding a 65-game unbeaten streak, in the championship game Friday at 7 p.m., at the Civic Center.

“This was my 11th trip to the Western Maine Finals,” said longtime Wildcats' coach Rick Clark. “I've never felt so confident in a team as when I walked on the floor tonight. The whole demeanor all year is next game, being focused, even when things got tough. I'm a firm believer that defense is critical. Everyone sacrificed.”

Both teams entered the contest enjoying special seasons.

York, the preseason favorite, had passed every test, including wins over No. 8 Wells (35-21) and No. 4 Falmouth (47-37) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Greely was expected to be a year away, but under new coach Billy Goodman, beat every foe save York and Falmouth. The Rangers smothered No. 7 Lake Region and No. 3 Mountain Valley in their prior playoff tests.

The teams met way back on Dec. 18 and York enjoyed a 47-34 victory in Cumberland. The last playoff meeting came two years ago, a 54-40 Greely triumph in the quarterfinals..

Saturday, the post battle between Taylor and Greely junior Abby Young took centerstage early.

Just 44 seconds in, Taylor was fouled and made one of two free throws. At the other end, Taylor picked her first foul on a play which saw Rangers junior Megan Grondin score on a left-handed layup. Taylor quickly atoned with a bank shot to put the Wildcats on top. A jumper from senior Meredith Reid made it 5-2. Taylor then made two free throws and Reid made a layup for a 9-2 advantage, but with 2:37 to go in the first, Taylor picked up her second foul and Young made two free throws to end the 8-0 run. With 1:50 left, Young hit a jumper from the top of the key and Greely was within three, 9-6, after one.

The Rangers could have been in even better shape, having gotten several open looks and four offensive rebounds, but four turnovers held them at bay.

The officials dominated the action in the second period, calling foul after foul.

Taylor made two free throws to start the second. Junior Nicole Faietta answered with one foul shot for Greely. With 5:10 left in the half, Young joined Taylor with two fouls and senior Elaina Yeomelakis hit one of two free throws to give the Wildcats a 12-7 advantage. The foul-fest continued at the other end when Greely junior Abby Cornish had a chance to shoot two free throws. She only made the second. The first field goal of the quarter finally came with 3:30 left when Yeomelakis drained a baseline jumper. Grondin answered at the other end with a left-handed layup, but sophomore Stephanie Gallagher finally got in the scoring column with 2:38 to go with a free throw for a 15-10 advantage.

Gallagher got her first field goal with 2:01 to play, taking a pretty pass from junior Emma Clark and making a layup. Sixteen seconds later, Faietta picked up her third foul and Clark made one of two free throws. Young returned and quickly made a layup, but Taylor scored on a runner and after a Rangers' turnover, Reid canned a jumper for York's biggest lead, 22-12.

With 32 seconds left, Greely sophomore Megan Coale was fouled and made two free throws and the Rangers were down 22-14 at the break.

York then seized control for good in the third.

Taylor got it started with a leaner. On the next possession, after a 3-point miss, Taylor swooped in for the rebound and made a layup. With 5:31 left, Yeomelakis made a layup after a steal and it was 28-14. At the 4:15 mark, Yeomelakis hit a baseline jumper. Thirty-seven seconds later, Taylor (who went two quarters between her second and third fouls) buried two free throws and it was 32-14.

“I couldn't do that with some people, but I was confident I could do that with her,” Clark said, alluding to leaving Taylor in the game early with two fouls. “After her third foul, she waved over to me and said she was OK. I didn't want to take her out at that point.”

“I put all my effort into drawing fouls and hitting foul shots,” Taylor added.

Finally, with 3:06 to play in the third, Young hit a jump shot to end a 10-0 York and a 5 minute, 26 second Rangers' drought.

Greely then got four straight free throws from Grondin, but with 50 seconds to play in the quarter, Reid made two foul shots to make it 34-20 Wildcats after three.

“We tried to exploit (Taylor's) two fouls,” Goodman said. “It just wasn't our day. In the locker room, I wanted to cut it to four, but they came out and got a layup. The girls had their energy up, but the shots just didn't go in and we turned the ball over a lot. We tried to attack. We have good shooters. It just wasn't our day.”

After Taylor hit a jumper to start the fourth, Young converted a three-point play for the Rangers to make it 36-23, but that's as close as they would get. After Reid and Taylor each made a foul shot, Young hit two for Greely, but Reid made one, Taylor hit a pair, Taylor made a three-point play, and Gallagher made three foul shots to end all suspense as York rolled to the 49-30 victory.

“Greely's a great team,” Clark said. “They're young, they'll be back full tilt next year. I'm sure we'll see them again next year. I just know my team was confident. We played great defense all year. They bought into it all year.”

Taylor led all scorers with 23 points and won the Mike DiRenzo Award as the region's most valuable player.

“It feels good,” Taylor said. “I love it. We played a lot of help defense. We blocked off the inside, we shifted over and helped on the outside. It was a great team effort on defense.

“Personally, I didn't think we had control until the buzzer. Anything can happen in the last five, six minutes. Greely's a very good team.”

Reid came up big with 10. Yeomelakis added eight, Gallagher had seven and Clark finished with one.

“It was nice to get those other points,” Clark said.

For Greely, Young led the way with 13 points. Grondin added eight, junior Karlee Biskup had five, Coale finished with two and Cornish and Faietta had one apiece.

The Rangers were done in by poor shooting and 21 turnovers.

“I hate to see it end like this, shooting 7-for-41,” said Goodman. “No guards made a shot until the fourth quarter. If we could have made some earlier, it might have helped. We didn't make shots and we turned the ball over. York's a great team, they're undefeated. They're a good rebounding team. It's tough. I wish we'd played a little better. You have to play your best game to beat York.”

Greely was 18-3 and only graduates two players. The Rangers will have a great shot at getting back and finishing the job next winter.

“I can't wait for summer,” Goodman said. “We'll work on our weaknesses. I didn't know these girls nine months ago. Now, I can't wait to coach them again. We'll get another shot next year.”

York and Waterville will meet Friday in a battle of unbeatens. The Purple Panthers have won the past two Class B state championships. The Wildcats are seeking their third (having also won in 1992 and 1994). Waterville will be the favorite, but York likes its chances.

“We have one more game,” Taylor said. “It's a big test. I'm looking forward to playing Waterville. It should be exciting.”

“There's going to be two undefeated teams in that game and they're going to play here,” Clark added. “If my kids play hard like today, I think we'll give them a game.”

Cape Elizabeth makes it two straight Western B crowns

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 23rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—After falling to Yarmouth and Greely at home to end the regular season, Cape Elizabeth was at a loss and was far from confident entering the Western Class B tournament.

Two weeks later, the Capers found themselves dancing on the court and cutting down the nets for the second year in a row after capping a whirlwind and inspirational week with a come-from-behind 58-48 victory over Falmouth in the regional final Saturday afternoon at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Cape Elizabeth, perhaps playing with house money after Thursday's improbable buzzer-beating win over top-ranked Greely, found itself down 13-4 after one quarter, but erupted in the second period and rode the stellar play of senior Alex Bowe and a huge fourth period contribution from junior Andrew Dickey to end the Yachtsmen's season at 17-4 and punch its ticket for the state final.

The Capers (17-4) will face the state's lone remaining undefeated team, powerhouse Camden (21-0), in the Class B championship game Friday at 9 p.m., at the Civic Center.

“This year was a lot more bumpy of a ride than last year,” said Bowe, who led all scorers with 22 points and was named the Pierre “Pete” Harnois Award winner as the regional tournament's most valuable player. “A lot of people didn't think we'd respond and play like we did in the tourney.”

Cape Elizabeth was cruising along at 14-2 and riding an 11-game winning streak entering the season's final week, but wound up 14-4 and fourth in the region. The Capers fought off No. 5 Yarmouth's upset bid in the quarterfinals, then delivered the signature moment of the tournament, beating Greely on Dickey's buzzer-beater in the semifinals.

Falmouth started the year 9-0 and despite a couple late hiccups, wound up 15-3 and earned the No. 2 seed. The Yachtsmen toyed with No. 7 Lincoln Academy in a quarterfinal round romp, then held off No. 6 Lake Region 52-49 in the semifinals.

The teams split in the regular season. On Dec. 16, Falmouth won 55-53 at Cape Elizabeth on junior standout Stefano Mancini's late bomb. On Jan. 30, the Capers held on for a 73-70 victory in Falmouth. The teams met thrice prior in the playoffs. The Yachtsmen won in the 1965 quarterfinals. Back in 2004, in one of the more memorable upsets in tournament history, No. 8 Cape Elizabeth beat the top-ranked Yachtsmen on a buzzer-beater in the quarterfinals. Three years ago, in the semifinals, Falmouth cruised to an easy win.

Saturday, the Yachtsmen got off to a great start, but in the end, the Capers simply had too much.

Mancini got the party started with a layup after a steal. Junior Jahrel Registe followed with a layup and classmate John Roberts (on a pass from junior Sam Horning) scored on a dunk for a quick 6-0 lead. After the Capers finally scored with 3:57 to go when senior Johnny Messina fed classmate Conor Lawler for a layup, Mancini assisted on a layup by freshman Jack Cooleen for an 8-2 advantage. After Bowe made a pair of free throws for Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth got a layup from Registe, a foul shot from Cooleen and a tip-in at the horn from Cooleen for a 13-4 lead after one.

The Yachtsmen went cold and were plagued by turnovers for much of the second quarter and the Capers rallied.

A pair of foul shots from Dickey and a layup from Messina made it 13-8. After junior Ryan Rogers hit a leaner for Falmouth, Dickey made a layup and Bowe canned a jumper to pull Cape Elizabeth within three, 15-12. Horning responded with two free throws, but Brown fed Bowe for a layup and junior Conor Moloney made a foul shot. Roberts made a layup to make it 19-15, but junior Will Pierce made a short jumper and Bowe hit a foul shot. The Capers then had a chance to take the lead right before the half and did so, 21-19, on a 3 from Bowe.

“I think the other night took a lot of out of us,” Bowe said. “We had to focus on a completely different team. Falmouth can really hurt you from the outside.”

Cape Elizabeth kept the pressure on in the third.

Lawler opened the quarter with a layup and Moloney buried a 3. After Roberts and Registe each made a foul shot for Falmouth, Bowe made a jumper and sophomore Cam Brown hit a runner for a 30-21 advantage, capping a 22-6 run.

The Yachtsmen crawled back within five on a pair of free throws and a tip (of his own missed shot) by Mancini, but Lawler scored on a putback and with his brother on the bench with three fouls, sophomore Theo Bowe made his presence felt by calmly draining a 3-pointer from the wing. Two Mancini foul shots got Falmouth back within eight, 35-27, heading for the fourth.

Things heated up quickly in the final period.

Mancini got it started with a leaner. Alex Bowe answered with a 3 from the corner. Mancini hit a jumper at the other end and Rogers added two foul shots, but Lawler responded with a layup. After Cooleen made a layup to make it 40-35, Bowe banked home a 3 to stretch the lead to eight. Wyman answered with a jumper and Mancini made a leaner to make it 43-39. After a Capers' turnover, their fifth of the quarter, the Yachtsmen gave the ball right back and Dickey made them pay, grabbing an offensive rebound, getting fouled, then making both free throws.

At the other end, with 3:32 to go, Mancini made a tough-angle leaner while being fouled, then completed the three-point play to pull the Yachtsmen to within three, 45-42. Dickey again answered, making a layup and after a Falmouth turnover, Dickey drove baseline again and made a layup for a 49-42 lead with 2:49 to play.

“It was a 1-2-2 (zone) they went into,” Bowe said. “We'd seen that before. We were ready. We tried to get to the line. Dickey kept getting to the hoop.”

“We had to take some chances and leave someone open and they made us pay,” Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said.

With 2:14 left, Cooleen made two free throws, but 20 seconds later, Dickey missed a 3, but got his own rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw to make it 50-44. After Rogers was short on a 3, Messina was fouled and hit both ends of a 1-and-1. Mancini then missed two foul shots with 1:11 left and Dickey hit a foul shot 10 seconds later to make it 53-44. With 35 seconds to play, Cooleen made a layup, but Messina got one back at the line. Mancini made a layup with 23.4 seconds left to make it 54-48, but Bowe hit four foul shots to bring the curtain down and the Capers celebrated their second straight regional championship with a 58-48 victory.

“It feels good,” Lawler said. “Two in a row. We beat Falmouth in the regular season, so we knew we could beat them. We played tough. We came out flat, but we turned it around. We hit some shots. It definitely helped hitting our foul shots at the end. They put us on the line and we made them.”

“(The Greely win) was so exciting that today was almost like a letdown,” Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray added. “The first quarter was a little slow, but I couldn't be prouder of how they reacted. The kids didn't panic. Maybe they're coming together. It was a matter of kids getting it together at the right time and believing.”

Alex Bowe led all scorers with 22 points.

“A lot of (our success is) Bowe,” Lawler said. “He hits his shots. We rally around him.”

“Alex was Alex,” Ray added. “He's steady. He doesn't panic. He's one of the most composed players I've had the opportunity to coach. I'm so happy for him and all the guys.”

Dickey added 12 (eight coming in the fourth period).

“He took it to the hole and rebounded,” Ray said. “When he's playing like that, he's tough.”

“We're back in states,” Dickey said. “It's one of the best feelings. I sat out almost the whole third quarter. I had so much stuck in me that I wanted to let out. I did. We realized it wouldn't be an easy game and we stepped up on defense. That helped us in the end.”

Lawler had eight points, Messina five, Moloney four, Theo Bowe three and Brown and Pierce two each.

Falmouth finished 17-4 and is still seeking its first Western B championship. The Yachtsmen have lost in the regional final three times in the past five seasons.

“We lost to a very good team,” Halligan said. “ Bowe's a well-deserved MVP. He was a game-breaker. We had trouble all season long keeping it going and finishing. That's inexperience and youth. I don't like the result, but I'm pleased with the effort. I'm really proud of my kids. The community should be too.”

For Falmouth, Mancini capped his season with a 19-point performance (17 coming in the second half).

“Big-time players step up in games like this,” Halligan said. “He did in the second half. I think he'll build on this. He'll be an exciting player to watch next year.”

Cooleen added nine, Registe and Roberts had five each, Horning and Rogers both had four and Wyman finished with two.

The Capers now look ahead to their big challenge. Camden was already considered to be the finest team in the state regardless of class and after crushing its opposition in the regional tournament, the Windjammers will be heavy favorites in the final.

“We've heard all about this Camden Hills team,” Bowe said. “I'm sure they're quite a team. I think it definitely helps playing here. We're looking forward to it.”

“It's going to be a good game,” Dickey said. “They're big and physical. It could go either way.”

“We'll try and play tough and get rebounds and play good defense,” Lawler added. “We want to finish the job this time.”

TA makes history, wins Western A title

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 23rd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—Back on Dec. 5, the Thornton Academy boys' basketball team looked like world-beaters after a 21-point victory at Portland in the season opener.

The Golden Trojans and Bulldogs became afterthoughts for most of the remainder of the year as defending champion Cheverus ran roughshod on Western Class A, but Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the teams took centerstage once more, battling for the regional championship.

While the rematch was much closer than the opener, the fourth-ranked Golden Trojans found a way to do it again, leading virtually the whole way and holding on down the stretch thanks to the steady ballhandling and foul shooting of standout senior James Morse to edge the No. 6 Bulldogs 49-43.

Thornton Academy didn't just win any old regional championship. The Golden Trojans won their first-ever title and will meet Eastern A champion Edward Little Saturday in the Class A championship game at 4 p.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.

“It's awesome for our community,” said Thornton Academy coach Bob Davies. “The kids deserve it. They worked hard. It's fun. We have another week to go.”

Both teams were viewed as serious threats to Cheverus when the season commenced. The Golden Trojans were regional finalists last winter and returned some big-time firepower, most notably Morse and classmates Michael Guerin, John Trull and Doug Wilcox. The addition of former Cheverus star, senior Ian Barwise, made Thornton Academy even more imposing.

The Golden Trojans didn't disappoint in the regular year, losing only to Cheverus and South Portland at home and at Deering in overtime. Thornton Academy had to fight for its playoff life in the quarterfinals, but thanks to some late Morse and Wilcox heroics, edged No. 5 Deering 51-48. The Golden Trojans then made the biggest statement of the tournament with a 47-41 upset win over previously undefeated, top-ranked Cheverus in the semis.

Portland, meanwhile, had an up-and-down regular season. The Bulldogs won 12 times, but lost twice to Cheverus, twice to South Portland and once each to Westbrook and Thornton Academy. Portland slipped all the way to the No. 6 spot after home losses to the Stags and Red Riots in the regular season's final week.

The Bulldogs found the magic tough just in time for the tournament, as they dispatched No. 11 Bonny Eagle 56-38 in the preliminary round, rallied for a stunningly decisive 72-49 triumph over No. 3 South Portland in the quarterfinals, then upset No. 2 Westbrook 55-43 in the semis.

The last time the Bulldogs and Golden Trojans met in the tournament came in 2002 quarterfinals, a 51-30 Thornton Academy victory.

Portland got the jump on a basket from freshman Will DeFanti, but its 2-0 advantage would be its only of the night.

The Golden Trojans got a basket from sophomore Andrew Shaw to tie it, then a 3 from Shaw to take the lead for good. After a Bulldogs' timeout, Morse hit a jump shot to put Thornton Academy ahead 7-2. After Portland junior Joe Zukowski made a spinning jumper, Shaw buried a 3 to make it 10-4.

“That was a great way to get going on the right foot,” Morse said. “(Shaw) has tons of potential. He had a big game tonight.”

Bulldogs' junior Walter Stover, who emerged as a standout in the tournament, answered with a  3-ball and senior big man extraordinaire Ed Bogdanovich followed with a basket in the lane to make it a 10-9 contest, but Trull beat Bogdanovich en route to a hoop and Morse and junior Tomas Littlefield followed with hoops to put the Golden Trojans up 16-9 after one period.

“Anytime you can play with the lead, you're usually in control of the pace,” Davies said. “It's definitely easier to play with the lead than coming from behind.”

Bogdanovich started the second with a putback, but Morse answered with a jump shot. After Bogdanovich made two foul shots, Trull hit a jumper in the lane and Morse made a layup on a fastbreak to make it 22-13 and force Portland coach Joe Russo to call timeout with 5:25 left in the half.

Bulldogs' junior sharpshooter Koang Thok made a jumper, but Trull came out of a scrum to score and make it 24-15 with 4:24 left.

Thornton Academy wouldn't score again in the half and Portland got a leaner from Stover and a 3 from sophomore James Ek to pull within four, 24-20, at the break.

The third period was far from a thing of beauty, as the lead fluctuated from eight points down to two.

Two minutes in, Stover made a layup to make it 24-22. A long jumper from Shaw and a jump shot from Barwise put the Golden Trojans up 28-22, but Ek answered with a jumper. A putback by Shaw at the 2:03 mark gave Thornton Academy a 30-24 advantage, but the Bulldogs closed the period on a high note as Thok made a layup, then made a layup after a steal to make it anyone's game, 30-28, after three.

Ultimately, the fourth period and the game would be decided at the foul line.

Bogdanovich got fouled 27 seconds in to the final stanza and had a chance to pull his team even, but made just one free throw. Morse was fouled on the inbounds pass after the second free throw and hit two foul shots for a 32-29 lead. With 7:16 to go, Morse made two more and it was 34-29.

“I knew I had to make them down the stretch,” Morse said. “I worked on them a lot after the Cheverus game. That's how it is in the playoffs. I had to be confident and knock them down.

After DeFanti made one free throw for Portland, Wilcox hit two and Trull made a layup to give the Golden Trojans a 38-30 advantage with 5:47 to play.

Stover got two points back for the Bulldogs at the line, but Morse fed Barwise for a layup with 4:49 to go and it was 40-32. After Bogdanovich and Barwise traded free throws, Ek hit two for Portland to pull the Bulldogs to within six, 41-35, with 3:26 remaining.

Thirty-six seconds later, Bogdanovich was fouled and made two free throws to make it 41-37. After Shaw and Ek both missed a pair of free throws, DeFanti made the highlight reel play of the tournament, firing a fastbreak behind-the-back pass to Thok for a layup with 1:19 left, pulling Portland to 41-39.

Shaw missed at the other end, but before the Bulldogs could attempt to tie or go ahead, Shaw grabbed his own rebound and was fouled. He made the second of two for a 42-39 lead.

At the other end, Bogdanovich was fouled and made one free throw to make it 42-40. Morse was promptly fouled on the inbounds and calmly sank two free throws for a 44-40 lead with 52 seconds to go. After two Portland misses and a turnover, Guerin stepped to the charity stripe and hit a pair for a 46-40 lead with just 24.2 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs stayed alive with 14.7 seconds left when Ek buried a 3, but Morse was fouled and hit the first of two shots with 11.1 seconds remaining to put the Golden Trojans up 47-43. Morse missed the second free throw, but raced in among four Portland players to get his own rebound. He was fouled again and this time, hit both free throws to ice it and Thornton Academy was able to celebrate its history-making 49-43 win.

“That's something he does,” Davies said. “When it happened, I wasn't surprised. James decided the game on that one play.”

“I knew when it left my hand that it would be short,” Morse said. “No one boxed out so I went and got it.

“We had to keep our heads in it mentally. That's what it came down to down the stretch. We had to find open players and make plays. We worked on the trap in practice, getting it to the middle and making the right play. We played defense as hard as we can. That's what we're known for. This feels great after coming so close last year.”  

Morse led all scorers with 17 points and was named the George Vinall Award winner as the regional tournament's most valuable player.

“James Morse is just the guy,” Davies said. “We know what we have with him. He did it down the stretch, making free throws, taking care of the basketball.”

“His decision-making and his control of the ball are great,” Russo said. “Most guys aren't that comfortable with the ball. He's tough in a close game since he makes such good decisions.”

Shaw added 15 points, Trull had six, Barwise five and three players (Guerin, Littlefield and Wilcox) all chipped in with two.

For Portland, Bogdanovich had 11 points in his swan song. Ek added 10 and Stover had nine.

“Wally was a trooper tonight,” Russo said. “He played with a broken finger and was awesome.”

Thok finished with eight, DeFanti had three and Zukowski added two.

The Bulldogs finished 15-7 after a stirring run and will be heard from again.

“This one stings,” Russo said. “Losing hurts, but we lost to a quality team. It took everything they had to beat us tonight. We held one of the best teams in the league under 50 points, so I feel we should have won.

“My kids played awesome, but it means we're in second place. We don't like losing. We expect to win. I really thought we'd win. We had 'em, but we couldn't make our free throws down the stretch. That was difference in the game. If we made free throws to take the lead, we were going forward and they were going backwards. They would have acted different if they fell behind. We missed six big ones in the fourth quarter. I probably jinxed my players since we've shooting them well.

“The biggest difference of our team from the beginning of the year to now was our growth in playing together, team chemistry, kids understanding their roles. It took me awhile.”

Portland will graduate four seniors: Bogdanovich, Charlie Ho, Campbell Rico and Joe Violette, but returns plenty of firepower for 2009-2010.

“I've been doing this for a long time and we've been here probably more than most teams,” Russo said. “Every year I graduate good seniors. I can't be any prouder of these four seniors. Their desire and their character. Joe, Eddie, Charlie Ho, Campbell are four fantastic human beings. Not too many coaches keep seniors around if they're not their better players. I'm thankful the guys stuck with the program. They were awesome team leaders. Without them, we wouldn't have been close to being here tonight.

“It's also nice to know I have good guys coming back.”

The Golden Trojans (now 18-3) turn their attention to Edward Little (19-2) in a compelling state final. The Red Eddies haven't played in a state game since 1957 and are seeking their first championship since 1946.

“EL's a great team,” Davies said. “They have size and some good guards. They're there for a reason.”

“We have a week to prepare,” Morse added. “We'll work hard. We're confident to see what we can do. I feel like we're a tough team. We can battle. We have talent and toughness to combat any team in the state.”

Minutemen Eastern Maine Runners-Up

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 22nd, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Stearns High School Minutemen saw their stellar 2008-2009 Basketball Season come to an end tonight at the hands of the Calais High School Blue Devils 71-45 at the Bangor Auditorium. Calais was led by Cal Shorey, who had 27 points. Jeremy Carr added 17, Jordan Leeman added 13. Steven Rogers had 6, Josh Gillespie had 4, while Dylan Ramsdell & Joseph Mitchell had 2 apiece for the Blue Devils, who are now 17-4 on the season. Stearns was led by Sophomore Brandon McLaughlin, who had 16 points. Senior Tyler Richards & Junior Garen Manzo had 12 points each for Stearns. Senior Zach Sadlon added 3 & Senior Cory Barnett added 2 for the Minutemen, who finished their season at 18-3. Congrats to Coach Leeman & Calais & Good Luck in the State Championship Next Saturday in Bangor & Congrats to Coach Duplisea & Stearns High School on an outstanding season & For making it to the schools first Eastern Maine Championship Game in 32 years. Seniors on the Stearns squad include: Tyler Richards, Cory Barnett, Charlie Osborne, Zach Sadlon, Andrew Rideout, Jeremy Santerre & Brett Baker. thanks to everyone for reading my recaps all season long, it has been alot of fun & I look forward to doing recaps again next winter.

Score By Quarters:
Calais - 19 38 47 71
Stearns- 18 30 39 45

Deering beats Noble, advances to regional final

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 21st, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—Virtually everything has gone the way of the Deering girls' basketball team so far this season, but entering the tournament, the Rams faced two big questions.

The first, “How will Deering respond if it's taken to the wire?” will have to wait at least one more night.

The second, “Will sophomore defensive standout Britni Mikulanecz be able to return from a knee injury and play?” was answered in the affirmative Friday evening at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The undefeated and top-ranked Rams faced No. 4 Noble in a rematch of last year's regional final and the outcome was never in doubt as Mikulanecz and her teammates produced a smothering defensive effort and 10 players ended up in the scoring column as Deering rolled to a 53-26 victory.

The Rams will battle No. 3 Biddeford in the Western Class A Final Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Civic Center.

“Watching the No. 1 team go down in Western Class A boys and Class B boys was definitely a big eye-opener,” said Mikulanecz, who had five points. “We knew we had to come out and play our game. For me, it was good to get my feet wet and make up for lost time.”

Deering won it all a year ago, returned virtually everyone from that squad and even after Mike Murphy replaced Mike D'Andrea as coach on the eve of the season, hasn't missed a beat this winter, winning 18 times (all by 10 or more points). One of the few close contests came Jan. 9 in North Berwick, a 36-25 Rams' triumph.

Noble, led by 1,000-point scoring senior Sloane Sorrell, went 14-4 in the regular year to earn the No. 4 seed. The Knights used a superb defense effort to defeat No. 5 Windham, 35-21, in the quarterfinals.

Deering had a difficult time getting past No. 8 McAuley in the quarterfinals, but eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter behind 20 points from sophomore Kayla Burchill to win, 42-27.

The Rams and Knights met twice prior in the playoffs. In 2006, Deering won 35-32 in the quarterfinals. Last winter, Deering downed Noble 53-39 in the regional final.

Friday, the Rams came out strong, but the Knights hung tough early.

Senior Maria Apon got the scoring started 1 minute, 19 seconds in with a 3-ball. Junior Claire Ramonas added a bank shot for a quick 5-0 lead. Sorrell responded with a three-point play before Apon hit a layup for a 7-3 advantage. After Senior Taylor O'Neil made a layup for Noble, Burchill knocked down a 3-ball to make it 10-5.

Seconds later, the best news of the tournament for Deering came when Mikulanecz returned to action for the first time since the end of the regular season. .

“It's been pretty pain-free,” said Mikulanecz, of her knee. “It tightens up after I stop, but I'm doing pretty well. It tweaked once, but it felt pretty good to run.”

Sorrell made a jumper, but Manduca buried a free throw. After a Sorrell layup got the Knights within two, Ramonas answered with a layup for a 13-9 Rams' lead after one.

Deering then got some breathing room in the second quarter.

A putback by senior Casey Everest got it started. Manduca then made a layup after a steal for a 17-9. The next time down, senior Jessica Ruhlin grabbed two offensive rebounds and after the second fed Manduca for a 3. Burchill then made a free throw and Manduca hit two more before the Knights finally snapped the 12-0 run and a 6 minute, 27 second scoring drought when Sorrell converted a leaner.

Burchill promptly answered with a 3, Ramonas made a runner and Mikulanecz buried a 3 for a 31-11 advantage with 1;29 to go in the half. Sophomore Megan Pelkey made two free throws for Noble with 1:13 left in the half, but senior Jordan Cuddy answered with a baseline jumper.

The Knights looked as if they'd gain some momentum in the final minute of the half as Sorrell made two foul shots and senior Rebecca Creveling got in on the act with a 3. After a Deering turnover, Noble had a chance to get even closer, but Sorrell was off on a jumper and the Rams delivered a dagger when Manduca hit a 3 with a second left for a 36-18 lead.

“We definitely utilized our athleticism well,” Mikulanecz said. “We used everyone to stop their inside game.”

Deering held serve in the third. After Sorrell scored on a layup after a steal, Manduca hit a jumper in the lane. Sorrell answered with two foul shots, but Ruhlin calmly knocked down a 3-pointer, then scored on a putback for a 43-22 lead. Senior Erica Anderson made a free throw for the Knights before Mikulanecz made a layup. Then, with 0.2 seconds left, O'Neil was fouled while shooting a 3. She missed the first foul shot, then hit the next two to make it 45-25 Rams with eight minutes to play.

In the fourth, Apon made a jumper and Ramonas hit a layup to get things started. Noble scored one point in the period and Deering punctuated its 53-26 victory with a putback by freshman Ella Ramonas.

“The kids responded,” Murphy said. “Sloane Sorrell is obviously the leader of that team. I thought Claire Ramonas did a great job on her, along with our help-side defense. Maria Apon had some great minutes. It was great to have Brit back. We did a tremendous job on defense in the first half. We gave up some silly baskets in the  first quarter, but we made the adjustment and played better. Noble really struggled to score and we widened the gap. Noble's a good team. They deserved to be here. I'm happy for the kids. Now it comes down to one game.”

Manduca led the Rams with 13 points. Ten Deering players scored in all. Claire Ramonas was next with eight. Apon and Burchill had seven each, Mikulanecz and Ruhlin had five apiece and four different players (Cuddy, Everest, sophomore Aarika Viola and Ella Ramonas) had two.

Sorrell led all scorers with 15 points. O'Neil added four, Creveling had three and Anderson and Pelkey finished with two apiece.

The Rams have a chance to win consecutive regional crowns, something the program has never managed. They'll meet a red-hot and confident Biddeford team (16-4), which followed Deering's win with an upset victory over Scarborough.

The Rams beat the Tigers 60-42 at home Dec. 23 behind 20 points from Manduca and 11 from Burchill. Keila Grigware led Biddeford with 17 points. Aimee Mortensen had 14. In the only previous playoff meeting, Deering beat the Tigers 70-45 in the 1988 semifinals

It'll be fun tomorrow,” Murphy said. “We're looking forward to the challenge. Biddeford's a very good opponent. They're a very well coached team. They took away Scarborough's strength. They pressed them. I expect to see the same thing tomorrow. They'll try to be deliberate and we'll need to make sure they're not deliberate. They're very resilient. We have a lot of respect for that team. It comes down to one game. Anything can happen in 32 minutes.”

“I'm excited for tomorrow,” Mikulanecz added. “Biddeford was one of my best defensive game. I'm excited to try and do it again. If it comes down to a close game, we have experience. We're a young team, but we seem to handle pressure well. We won't settle for anything short of a Gold Ball. Absolutely not.”

Biddeford upsets Scarborough, sets up Deering showdown

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: February 21st, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—With all eyes on defending champion Deering and sudden media darling Scarborough at the dawn on the Western Class A girls' basketball tournament, one team went overlooked.

Friday night, at the Cumberland County Civic Center, that team, the third-seeded Biddeford Tigers, reminded one and all that they'll have a mighty big say in who wins the regional crown.

The Tigers pulled a shocker by changing defensive tactics, holding the potent second-ranked Red Storm to just 29 points, and rode a superb offensive game from junior Lauren Rousseau and some clutch second-half shooting from senior standout Aimee Mortensen to a stunning 32-29 Western A semifinal round showdown.

Biddeford improved to 16-4 and will face Deering for the Western Class A title Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Civic Center.

“It was a tough battle,” said Tigers' coach Ron Cote. “I thought our defensive plan's execution was excellent.  I thought the kids did a great job. It was the first time all year we did not press. First time all year we didn't play a matchup zone. We took a chance and put in a whole new game plan for this team and for this game and the kids executed it. We wanted to sandwich their big people inside. It worked pretty well.”

Scarborough has enjoyed a special season, by far its best since joining Class A. The Red Storm lost by two early at Windham and fell by 10 at home to Deering Jan. 8 (in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated), but beat everyone else behind a balanced attack. Scarborough finished 16-2 and earned the No. 2 seed and punished No. 7 South Portland 53-26 in the quarterfinals Monday behind 16 points from star junior Christy Manning.

Biddeford entered the year as one of the favorites and hasn't disappointed, despite a pair of losses to Scarborough and one each to Deering and Windham. The Tigers' 14-4 record gave them the No. 3 seed and they quickly ended No. 6 Marshwood's hopes in the quarterfinals en route to a 51-42 triumph.

The Red Storm beat the Tigers 65-56 Dec. 27 in Biddeford and enjoyed a 64-54 home win over Biddeford in the regular season finale Feb. 5.

The teams had no prior playoff history.

Friday, the game started as the Rousseau vs. Manning show.

Manning got things started with a jump shot. Rousseau answered with a 3-ball. After the Red Storm took a 4-3 lead on a baseline jumper from senior Abbey Pelletier, Rousseau fed sophomore Keila Grigware for a basket and the lead. Rousseau then made a free throw and added a leaner for an 8-4 advantage. Manning answered with a jumper in the lane, but Rousseau banked home a leaner to make it 10-8. After Manning canned two foul shots, junior Jenn Colpitts made a layup after a steal to tie the game at 10-10 after one.

Scarborough did everything in its power to allow Biddeford to take over in the second, but the Tigers couldn't oblige.

A 3-pointer from junior Sarah Moody put the Red Storm up 13-10 1 minute, 44 seconds into the new stanza. Biddeford pulled even on a free throw from Grigware and a putback from senior Alyssa Grigware, but Brackett put Scarborough back on top with two foul shots. Senior Shannon Grebin tied the game with a jumper with 3:17 left, but the Tigers didn't score again. In the final minute, Manning made one foul shot and despite seven turnovers in the quarter (10 for the half) and just five-for-10 foul shooting, the Red Storm took a 16-15 advantage into the break.

“It was very low scoring,” Rousseau said. “I expected it to be more high scoring. That meant our defense played well. We had so much more energy to stop them and play our offense. We only practiced it three days. We knew if we beat Marshwood, we wouldn't press (Scarborough) since they beat us the other two games. I thought we played well.”

After a scoreless first half, Mortensen made her presence felt in the third period and gave her team the lead.

Manning got the second half scoring started with a foul shot. Mortensen then scored on a leaner while being fouled. She missed the free throw, but grabbed the rebound and went up again, but her shot was off. With 3:25 to play in the quarter, Rousseau made a free throw for an 18-17 Tigers' lead. Manning answered with a putback, but Mortensen canned a 3. After Scarborough pulled even on a jumper from Brackett, Mortensen made a jumper in the lane to put Biddeford ahead to stay and Rousseau buried a long 3 with three seconds to go to put the Tigers up 26-21 with eight minutes to play.

“Lauren really stepped it up,” Cote said. “She played with a lot of confidence. She took charge of the offense. At the beginning of the game, I thought she was the difference out there. She's our floor general. I thought she had a great game.

“I thought Aimee made some key baskets for us at the right time. She was really struggling in the first half. She kept her head up and didn't get down on herself. She made some huge baskets.”

The Red Storm then found themselves in an even deeper hole when Rousseau canned a 3 56 seconds into the fourth, but they would rally.

Pelletier made a free throw, junior Heather Carrier hit a 3-pointer and Brackett drained a short jumper to make it 29-27 with 3:25 remaining, but 15 seconds later, Rousseau restored a semblance of order by hitting a foul shot. After Colpitts was off on a 3-pointer which could have tied the score, senior Tracy Gouin was fouled for the Tigers. She missed the front end of a 1-and-1, however, and Scarborough had another chance to respond.

After Moody missed a 3, Brackett got the rebound and banked home a shot to make it 30-29 with 1:29 to go and put all the pressure on Biddeford.

The Tigers rose to the occasion, running nearly a minute off the clock before Mortensen was fouled. The standout then calmly hit both ends of a 1-and-1 and the lead was back to three, 32-29.

The Red Storm looked dead in the water when Brackett missed a short jumper and Grebin grabbed the rebound, but Grebin missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 9.4 seconds and Scarborough had one final chance to extend its season.

Inbounding at midcourt, the ball came to Brackett, who has served her team so well as point guard the past three seasons. Brackett raced to the top of the key and with three defenders closing in, launched a 3-pointer that hit the rim and landed in the eager hands of Rousseau as the horn sounded.

Biddeford had sprung the upset, 32-29.

“What we do well I think is press and play a matchup zone,” Cote said. “I sold the change to the kids, they bought it. They said afterwards that they liked it. It worked. It could have gone the other way. It's a chance we took. They beat us twice in the year. They fastbreak well. They beat us on easy baskets the last two games we played them. We wanted to play them in a halfcourt game and see if they could out-execute us.”

“We had the final play designed for one of three players, Sarah Moody, Reegan or Jenn Colpitts, to take the shot,” said Scarborough coach Jim Seavey. “It's designed for one of them to be open. I wouldn't say she was open. Biddeford guarded the 3-point line.

“We picked a bad night to never get into a flow. Credit to Biddeford. They made everything tough for us. It's just one of those things. I anticipated them not wanting to get into a track meet with us after what happened in the regular season. If you told me we'd hold them to 32 points, I'd think we'd win by 20, but that didn't happen tonight because they took away our transition and made it very difficult for Christy and Abbey to establish themselves in the post.

“They played a lot of diamond-and-one in the first half. It caught us by surprise, but we attacked it. We got some good looks. If you're not shooting well from the perimeter, it just gets tighter and tighter inside. We attacked the way we needed to, but we didn't make shots.

“Biddeford came out on the floor with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Rousseau hit a couple huge shots and that took the wind out of our sails a little. The kids battled back and we had a chance to tie it at the end.”

Manning led Scarborough with 10 points. Brackett added eight, Carrier, Moody and Pelletier had three apiece and Colpitts finished with two.

The Red Storm finished 17-3, but enjoyed arguably the finest season in program history.

“We had a lot of firsts,” Seavey said. “I have to believe 17 wins ranks right up there. It's a great bunch of kids. They gave their all. If you would have told me back in November that we'd be 17-3 this year and lose in the semifinals at the Civic Center, I would have taken that. We won 13 games last year and made it to the quarterfinals at the Expo. This year we got to the big building. The kids have a lot to be proud of. These are great kids. They did everything I asked them to and more. I wouldn't trade them for the world.”

Scarborough says goodbye to Brackett, Chelsea Kothman and Pelletier, but returns everyone else. The Red Storm will be among the favorites next winter.

“The seniors were our backbone,” Seavey said. “Reegan led the way. Abbey came back after being injured and didn't miss a beat. Chelsea didn't see the floor a lot, but she's the epitome of a teammate. One of the best girls I've coached. You can never replace your seniors. They brought different ingredients to the table for us. It'll be tough.

“I think we'll be a favorite next year. I like that. The target's going to grow bigger and bigger. It's tough to beat a good team three times. That adage came into effect tonight. I knew it would be a knock-down, drag-out. These kids will battle and work to get better between now and next season. We'll try to replace the three kids who were integral to our success. There were no individuals on this team. No petty jealousies. They didn't get caught up in any of that. They just wanted to go out and perform for each other and be successful and I think that's what they did.”

The Tigers were paced by 16 points from Rousseau and nine from Mortensen. Keila Grigware had three points, Alyssa Grigware added two, as did Grebin.

Biddeford will look to complete a magical run against Deering Saturday night. On Dec. 23, the Tigers lost 60-42 at home to the Rams, who got 20 points from senior standout Diana Manduca. Keila Grigware had 17 points and Mortensen 14 for Biddeford.

The teams have only met one prior time in the playoffs and that came way back in 1988 (a 70-45 Deering win in the semifinals).

“We'll enjoy this one,” Cote said. “We'll think about Deering tomorrow.”

“We're ready for it now,” added Rousseau. “We played a good one tonight. If we come out like that tomorrow, we'll be alright.”

Falmouth edges Lake Region

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 20th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND—Less than two hours after watching one of their fiercest rivals beat another on an improbable buzzer-beater and with last winter's agonizing last-second playoff ouster never far from its thoughts, the Falmouth boys' basketball team was on the brink of doom Thursday night in a Western Class B semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The second-ranked Yachtsmen led No. 6 Lake Region by 12 early in the fourth period and had a seven-point advantage with under three minutes to play, but with time winding down, the Lakers had a chance to tie and got the ball in the hands of one of their stars, senior Phil Leighton. Leighton's 3-point bid to force overtime was well short, however, and Falmouth was able to exorcise its demons and advance to the regional final with a 52-49 victory.

The Yachtsmen enjoyed a 13-0 third period run which proved to be just enough to allow them to improve to 17-3 and earn a regional final date with No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (the defending Western Class B champion) Saturday at 3:45 p.m., at the Civic Center. Lake Region finished 15-5.

“Ever since I died my hair gray, we've had games like this,” joked longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “We saw what happened to Greely and we remember what happened to us last year.”

“I think we showed we definitely grew up from last year,” added Yachtsmen junior standout Stefano Mancini. “We showed it down the stretch.”

Falmouth went 15-3 in the regular season, but one of its losses came Jan. 9 at Lake Region (60-51). The Yachtsmen returned the favor, 55-49, in the regular season final Feb. 6, in Falmouth.  The Yachtsmen had no trouble in routing No. 7 Lincoln 68-42 in the quarterfinal round.

The Lakers went 14-4 this winter and wound up No. 6. A second-half surge led to an upset of No. 3 Mountain Valley in the quarterfinals.

Both teams were sluggish early. Falmouth took the lead on a layup from senior Jack Wyman. Lake Region then got a jumper from Leighton and a layup from sophomore Kevin Jilson. After Mancini tied the score with a left-handed layup, senior Derek Mayo put the Lakers up 6-4 with a layup after a steal, but Yachtsmen freshman Jack Cooleen made a layup, then buried two foul shots for Falmouth's first lead. Then, with time winding down in the period, Gilson hit a 3-ball for a 9-8 Lake Region edge.

Early in the second, Falmouth went up 10-9 on a layup from senior Jahrel Registe, but Gilson answered with a three-point play. Mancini came down and made a leaner while being fouled, then hit the free throw for a 13-12 lead. After the Lakers drew even on a Mayo foul shot, Wyman buried a 3 to put the Yachtsmen up for good.

Junior Matt Langadas responded with a driving layup, but Mancini made two foul shots. After Leighton canned a jumper, Mancini made two more free throws. Langadas got one point back at the line, but junior Ryan Rogers drained a 3-ball for Falmouth's biggest lead yet, 23-18. With 26.1 seconds to go, junior Zach Tomkinson scored on a putback to make it 23-20 at the half.

The Lakers pulled within one on a layup from Leighton to start the third, but the Yachtsmen would dominate the rest of the period.

First, Mancini hit a 3 for a 26-22 lead. Then, after Langadas scored on a leaner for Lake Region, Falmouth got 13 unanswered points in a two-minute span to take command.

Rogers got the run started with his second 3. Junior Sam Horning drained a jumper, Registe converted an old-fashioned three-point play, Registe fed Rogers for a layup and Mancini buried another 3 for a 39-24 lead.

“We needed to attack the pressure,” Halligan said. “When we held the ball, we had turnovers. When we attacked, good things happened to us.”

A Langadas layup with 50.5 seconds to go ended the run and a 3 minute, 45 second drought, and Mayo went coast-to-coast with time expiring for a layup, but the Yachtsmen were sitting pretty leading 39-28 at the start of the fourth.

Lake Region didn't go without a fight in the final stanza.

After Cooleen had a free throw to make it 40-28, Leighton made two free throws and Mayo tipped home a missed shot to cut the deficit to eight. After Wyman fed Horning for an easy layup, Leighton scored on a driving layup and it was 42-34 with 5:07 left. Mancini hit one of two foul shots, but Tomkinson made a layup and Langadas did the same to make it 43-38 with 4:11 to go.

“We come out strong at halftime, but coach always says a dangerous time is an 11- to 15-point lead,” Mancini said. “We settled down and let them get back in it.”

Registe made a layup after a pretty spin move, but Langadas hit a leaner to make it 45-40. After Mancini fed Horning for a layup, Leighton made a layup, then buried a 3 to get the Lakers within two, 47-45, with 1:38 still showing on the clock.

They would draw no closer.

With 52.8 seconds left, Rogers made a runner off the glass to extend the lead to four. Lake Region then turned the ball over, but Rogers missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Mayo made one of two free throws with 25.4 seconds to go to make it 49-46. Mancini had a chance to give his team some breathing room, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Horning came from nowhere, however, and dove for the loose rebound. He corralled it and called timeout.

“Sam's one of those players who is huge for us,” Halligan said. “He rebounded and played good defense. He made headsy plays.”

Then, with 17.5 seconds to go, Gilson stole a pass and was fouled. He hit just the first of two, however, and Registe rebounded the miss and was fouled. Registe then calmly made two foul shots to make it 51-47. Mayo raced down for a layup with 10.4 seconds to play, pulling Lake Region within two, 51-49, but with eight seconds remaining, Mancini went to the line with a chance to ice it. He only made the first, however, giving the Lakers one final chance. Leighton's long-distance bomb with time winding down was well short and the Yachtsmen held on to advance.

“I didn't want it to happen again,” Rogers said. “We knew we had to close it out. Last year, we might have coughed it up, but we did it tonight.”

“Hopefully we'll learn from this and get better each time out,” Halligan said. “It's a great experience for this team to be on this court.

“In the first half, they had offensive rebounds, which was most of their offense. At halftime, we talked about blocking out. We did and that's when we spurted. They started to get offensive rebounds again at the end and that's when they came back. Neither team quits. No matter the score, we kept playing. Crazy things happen in a tournament and you have to play through. We've learned that the last couple years.”

Mancini led all scorers with 17 points, but once again, Falmouth won with a team effort. Rogers was a big part of it with 10 points.

“It took all five guys,” Rogers said. “We all had each other's back. They kept collapsing on (Stefano) and I was open. My guy left me and I called for the ball.”

Registe added nine points, Horning had six, and Cooleen and Wyman both had five.

Lake Region got 15 points from Leighton, 11 from Langadas, 10 from Mayo, nine from Gilson and four from Tomkinson as its finest season in five years came to a close.

The Yachtsmen keep going and will battle Cape Elizabeth, which appears to suddenly be destiny's darlings.

“Coach says to avoid the high highs and low lows,” Mancini said. “They had a high high.”

“We can't doze off like we did at times tonight,” Rogers added. “Cape will make us pay.”

Halligan feels that his team is capable of keeping the magic going and advancing to the Class B state game for the first time.

“It should be a great game,” he said. “Anytime we get together, it should be a great game. They're scrappy. A blue collar team that works hard. We better be ready to play. We come out and compete every night. We want to take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. If we play well, we'll take what comes.”
Now viewing 33780 thru 33795 of 36716 Stories
Pages: ... 2251 2252 2253 2254 2255 ...