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Bangor boys getting better

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Bangor’s 1-3 start in boys basketball this winter was enough to make many Eastern Maine observers take notice, largely because few could remember a similar start by the Rams.

An additional month of experience has made that slow start a distant memory, as Bangor had won seven of its last eight games and six in a row, the latest a 31-29 victory over Lawrence of Fairfield on Tuesday night.

John Bapst pulls away from MDI

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Bapst, which improved to 11-1, established a 21-8 lead midway through the second quarter thanks to a 9-0 run to start the period, but the Trojans took advantage of multiple Crusader mistakes to climb back to within six at halftime.

Brunswick´s Baecher not defined by height

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

"She´s such a finesse player. She´s not a body banger at all," Brunswick Coach Rita Maines said. "She is very cerebral, methodical and analytical. A very smart player."

Because of her height, the 6-foot-3 Baecher usually plays with her back to the basket in the post position. But she also possesses outstanding ball-handling skills and is a deadly shooter from 3-point range.

Bulldogs´ defense earns win

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

FAIRFIELD -- Coming from behind in the fourth quarter is tough, and it gets harder when you make just one of your 11 field-goal attempts down the stretch.

Lawrence had those shooting numbers in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs played tight defense and Kelli Murray made all six of her free throws as the Bulldogs stole a 36-34 victory from Bangor in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A girls basketball action Tuesday night.

Ford´s hot hand carries Rams

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA -- Given a little extra time in the pregame, Brittany Ford found her shooting touch.

The Cony High School girls basketball team rode Ford´s hot hand, too, as the Rams combined to hit 11 three-point buckets and roll to a 59-41 win Tuesday night over visiting Leavitt Area High School in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game. Ford, who shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, led all scorers with 20 points.

When foul is fair

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

"We thrive on getting ourselves to the foul line with our style of play," said Scarborough Coach Jim Seavey, whose team led 23-8 after the first quarter and 34-21 at halftime. "We want to get to the foul line and any time you go (20 of 26) from the foul line, you´re doing pretty well. We´ve been pretty consistent."

Windjammers too much for Tigers

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Windjammers (12-0) played a stifling man-to-man defense that held the Tigers (8-4) to four field goals in each half. They led 17-4 at the end of the first quarter and 49-14 after three.

"I definitely think it was a statement game," Camden sophomore point guard Graham Safford said. "We played the best defense we have all season. It led to a bunch of easy buckets."

Balanced Black Bears top Mustangs

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

"They just beat us down the floor," Mt. View coach Steve Caron said. "The difference tonight was our mental mistakes. We had four or five trips down the floor where we didn´t get a shot."

Balanced Black Bears top Mustangs

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Ben Johnson, Maranacook´s 6-foot-8 center, led the Black Bears with 13 points and 19 rebounds. Pat Norwood added 12 points, while Devin Gerrity and Mike Allen each chipped in 10.

Hyland, Red Riots upend Trojans

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

SACO — Keegan Hyland scored 47 points against Thornton Academy on Tuesday night and called it a "team effort."

Which it was, but one could be forgiven for overlooking the rest of the Red Riots while Hyland led South Portland to a fast-paced 72-67 win over the Golden Trojans in a Southern Maine Activities Association boys´ basketball game at crowded Linnell Gym.

First half surge leads Cape Elizabeth to win at Greely

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

CUMBERLAND—A blistering start proved to be enough for the defending Western Class B champions to earn a huge road victory Monday night.

Cape Elizabeth rode a 13-2 first period surge, spearheaded by sizzling senior standout Alex Bowe, to take a commanding lead it would never relinquish and the Capers fought off a 38-point showing from Greely senior Chris Young en route to a 72-64 victory.

Cape Elizabeth improved to 8-2 with its fifth successive win. The Rangers' eight-game win streak came to a halt as Greely fell to 8-2.

“It's really nice to win this one,” said Capers' coach Jim Ray. “To lose to another contender would have put us in a tough place. We know we can beat a contender. We played well enough to do that. I'm very proud of the way the kids responded in the first half. Greely's a very good team.”

Cape Elizabeth, which lost to Maranacook in last year's Class B Final, opened 2008-09 with victories over Fryeburg and Gray-New Gloucester, lost in the waning seconds to visiting Falmouth, downed Freeport, lost at Lake Region by two, then defeated Poland, York, Waynflete and Yarmouth prior to Monday's game.

Greely, meanwhile, fell at home to Falmouth in its opener (in a rematch of last year's stirring buzzer-beater quarterfinal round tournament win). The Rangers then came to life, defeating Fryeburg, Wells, York, Poland, Yarmouth, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region and Freeport.

Last Feb. 20, the Capers rallied in the fourth period to beat the Rangers 48-39 in the semifinals.

The rivals split during the regular season last year, with each team winning on the road. Cape Elizabeth had to go to double-overtime to beat Greely, but this time around, the Capers were in control more or less from start to finish.

The Rangers got the scoring started on a layup from Young, but Bowe hit a turnaround jumper and senior Johnny Messina followed with an old-fashioned three-point play for a 5-2 lead. Layups from junior Trevor Tierney and Young gave Greely its first and only advantage, 6-5, but the visitors soon seized control.

A leaner from senior Ben Fox gave Cape Elizabeth the lead for good, 7-6. Bowe followed with a jump shot, junior Andrew Dickey scored on a putback and Bowe made back-to-back shots for a 15-6 lead. After Young stopped a 10-0 Capers' run with a pair of foul shots, Bowe was followed while shooting a 3-pointer as time expired in the first. He sank all three free throws for an 18-8 advantage.

“We dug too deep a hole,” lamented Greely coach Ken Marks. “You can't let a kid like Bowe go off like that and expect to come back.”

Fox made a pair of foul shots to give Cape Elizabeth a 20-8 lead a minute into the second period, but two free throws from sophomore Sam Johnston and a leaner from junior Sam Thompson pulled the Rangers back within eight, 20-12.

The Capers then went on a 9-1 run to extend their lead. Dickey made two free throws and Bowe hit a 3-ball. After Greely senior Ben Andreasen made one of two foul shots for the hosts, Bowe made a jumper, then hit a turnaround jumper for a 29-13 lead.

After Tierney hit a jumper and senior Chris Higgins made a layup, Messina answered with a left-handed layup and Dickey made a jump shot to push the advantage back to 16, 33-17. Andreasen made a  layup for the Rangers, but with 1.8 seconds to go in the half, sophomore Cam Brown made a layup for the visitors which gave them a 35-19 lead at the break.

Bowe almost matched Greely's point production in the first 16 minutes, scoring 18 points on his own.

“We tried to switch out on him and get a hand up so he couldn't catch and shoot,” said Marks. “He did in the first half. He didn't as much in the second half.”

“We played some really good defense in the beginning and Alex shot well,” Messina said. “We're starting to click.”

“Alex was tough,” Ray added. “He got us through a lapse offensively. He knocked down a few shots. We were defending pretty good and clogging up the middle pretty well. (The kids) were jacked up at halftime. I was trying to convince them (the Rangers) weren't going away and that they needed to come out and play.”

The biggest change in the third period was the sudden appearance of Greely junior Erik Thayer (the hero of last February's Falmouth win). Thayer didn't play in the first half (coach's decision), but quickly brought renewed energy to the floor. The Rangers came out and made things interesting.

Young hinted at a half of dominance to come with a layup and a 3-ball to cut a 16-point deficit to 11, 35-24. After junior Conor Moloney made an old-fashioned three-point play for the Capers, Thompson made a free throw, Tierney scored on a tip-in and Young hit a bank shot to cut the deficit to just nine, 38-29.

Bowe answered with a free throw, but Young made back-to-back layups to make it a six-point game, 39-33. Cape Elizabeth calmly scored the next eight points as Bowe made two foul shots, then hit a jumper, Fox made a free throw and Dickey hit three of four foul shots for a 47-33 advantage. A Tierney layup was answered by a pair of Messina free throws to end the quarter, keeping the Capers firmly in control, 49-35.

To its credit, Greely didn't quit down the stretch.

After Dickey and Young traded layups and Young and Messina traded two free throws to start the final period, Young made a layup, then hit two foul shots to make it a 10-point game, 53-43, with 5:33 to go.

Dickey answered with a 3-ball from the left wing, but Thayer made a free throw and Young scored on a putback to again make it a 10-point game, 56-46. After Messina hit four foul shots in a 33 second span, Tierney hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 11, 60-49, but Brown hit a runner to push the lead back to 13, 62-49.

Young answered with a layup, then made two free throws. After Dickey scored on a layup, Greely senior Jake Dimick made one of his own to make it a 64-55 game. Fox made a layup for the Capers, but Young made two free throws and Tierney hit a bank shot with 1:54 to go to pull the Rangers within seven, 66-59.

Messina scored on a driving layup, but Young made two more foul shots and the score was 68-61 with 1:01 to play. Nineteen seconds later, Messina made the first of two foul shots, but with 22.7 seconds remaining, Young buried a long 3-ball to make it 69-64, the closest Greely had come since the score was 11-6.

That would be the Rangers' last hurrah, however, as Brown calmly sank two foul shots and with 6.6 seconds to play, Messina hit one more to account for the 72-64 final.

“It's always a lot of fun to play Greely,” Messina said. “They're a big rival. We always look forward to it and prepare well for it. We just tried hard. We get pumped for the big games. We never really felt like we were in jeopardy.”

Bowe led the Capers with 23 points. Messina finished with 17 and Dickey added 16. Fox scored seven points, Brown had six and Moloney finished with three.

Greely couldn't overcome its slow start.

“It wasn't (the Capers') pressure that hurt us,” Marks said. “It was us trying to force things that weren't there. They hit their shots in the first half. We didn't. The second half was much better played. We brought the intensity, hit the boards better and defended better. Our philosophy is to not settle. In the first half we did. In the second we didn't.”

The Rangers were led by Young, who erupted for 32 second half points (including 21 in the fourth quarter) en route to a game-high 38.

“(Chris) was the only one,” Marks said. “You think about the shots he had in the second half. Two 3s. The rest were all going to the basket. That's what we're trying to instill in these kids. We're bigger and stronger than anyone we play.”

Tierney added 13 points. Andreasen and Thompson finished with three, Dimick, Higgins and Johnston had two apiece and Thayer (who wound out fouling out in his limited stint) wound up with one.

“(Erik) brings a ton of energy to the floor,” Marks said. “Had he played the first half, who knows?”

The Rangers (second to Falmouth in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) return to action Tuesday as they host the Rangers of Traip Academy. Friday, Greely goes to Waynflete.

“We're not an undefeated team or a one-loss team,” Marks said. “I think we're very good. When we play them over there the last game it'll be a great game.”

The Capers-Rangers rematch is Feb. 3 at Cape Elizabeth.

The Capers (fifth in the latest Western B Heals) visit Wells Tuesday and host York Friday. As happy as they were to leave Cumberland with a 'W,” they know there are much bigger tests to come.

“It's shaping up well for the end of the year,” Messina said. “I never really liked being the favorite. I'd rather be the underdog. We need to work on defense. We still need a lot more improvement.”

John Bapst pulls away from MDI

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 13th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Bapst, which improved to 11-1, established a 21-8 lead midway through the second quarter thanks to a 9-0 run to start the period, but the Trojans took advantage of multiple Crusader mistakes to climb back to within six at halftime.

Bulldogs´ defense earns win

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 13th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

FAIRFIELD -- Coming from behind in the fourth quarter is tough, and it gets harder when you make just one of your 11 field-goal attempts down the stretch.

Lawrence had those shooting numbers in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs played tight defense and Kelli Murray made all six of her free throws as the Bulldogs stole a 36-34 victory from Bangor in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A girls basketball action Tuesday night.

Ford´s hot hand carries Rams

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 13th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA -- Given a little extra time in the pregame, Brittany Ford found her shooting touch.

The Cony High School girls basketball team rode Ford´s hot hand, too, as the Rams combined to hit 11 three-point buckets and roll to a 59-41 win Tuesday night over visiting Leavitt Area High School in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game. Ford, who shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, led all scorers with 20 points.

When foul is fair

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: January 13th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The Red Storm shut down Noble forward Sloane Sorrell -- a player considered to be the driving force of the Knights´ offense -- and offensively finished 20 of 26 from the foul line, including 9 of 11 in the first quarter.
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