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Reading 2, BC High 1: Reading avenges loss to BC High

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Reading 2, BC High 1: Reading avenges loss to BC High

By Jeff Powalisz
Globe Correspondent / March 2, 2008

WORCESTER - Its record and goal differential (129-24) gaudy, the talented Reading hockey team blazed through its 18-game Middlesex League schedule with a mission

Critics weren't buying it.

The critics multiplied after the Rockets' one blemish - a 3-1 nonleague loss Jan. 21 to BC High, their opponent in the first round of the Super 8 tournament yesterday at the DCU Center.

The Rockets silenced quite a few voices with a 2-1 win.

Reading (21-1), which went 0-3 in the Super 8 last year en route to a quick and disappointing elimination, also found a way to avenge the loss that haunted the Rockets as the season wore on.

"Personally, I don't think we got the respect we deserved," said Rocket forward Pat Kiley, who scored the winner. "Most people didn't think our league was strong. Now we proved that we can play with top-notch teams and can get our minds set for Catholic Memorial and Waltham."

Kiley snuck the puck through the legs of an Eagle defenseman and fired a wrist shot past BC High netminder Sam Marrotta with 11:45 to go in the third period.

"He can shoot," Reading coach Peter Doherty said. "We told our kids in the third period to just shoot it more -- they were trying to make perfect plays and they couldn't do it. They were overhandling the puck and you can't do that."

Despite being outshot in each period, the Rockets saved up enough energy and took care of the Eagles.

BC High's P.J. Martina broke a scoreless tie 3:50 into the second period, flicking home a one-timer from Brian Talbot in front of the net.

Reading tied it just more than a minute later when senior defenseman Garrett Collins fired a slap shot from the blue line toward the Eagle net. Reading's leading scorer Michael Lozzi (20-40 -60), was waiting at the corner of the net, and forced in the puck.

"I thought Reading deserved the game and wanted it more," BC High coach Joe McCabe said. "When you don't have that same drive, you get beat."

The Rockets failed to take advantage of a 36-second five-on-three advantage early in the second period, as BC High (11-5-5) didn't allow the Rockets to set up.

Jeff Wyer finished with 26 saves and was a force in net for the Rockets in the first period, ensuring the Eagles' dominant offensive presence didn't lead to any goals. BC High outshot Reading in the first, 10-6.

The Eagles attacked the Reading slot with abandon, including a perfectly executed one-time pass from senior forward Kevin Karalas to Merrimack-bound John Heffernan with 1:32 remaining in the first. Wyer stood tall, positioning himself for the block.

Reading freshman Devin Albert nearly backhanded home a rebound of a Kiley attempt with 6:17 left in the first.

"We played very good with them the first time," Doherty said. "I think we played better the first time than today honestly. But [today] was great."

(Ashland HS) Moresi steps in, boosts confidence

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

(Ashland HS) Moresi steps in, boosts confidence

By Brendan Hall | March 2, 2008

Ashland High senior Lindsay Shorey is, by nature, rather shy. She lets her play on the court do the talking. But last spring, Shorey and fellow captain-elect Katherine Brownlee were vocal and adamant with their coach, Phil "Smokey" Moresi.

Moresi, who was retiring as the school's athletic director at the end of the school year, was also considering stepping away as the Clockers' interim girls' basketball coach after filling in last season. But Shorey and Brownlee, fearing that they would be playing for their third coach in three seasons, pleaded with him to stay.

Moresi agreed - with a stipulation. The Clockers would to have play his way.

And for Shorey, that translated into being a bit more selfish and shooting with confidence.

The 6-foot forward led the Tri-Valley League in scoring as a junior, averaging 15 points per game, but she was known for her inclination to pass the ball rather than take a shot at the basket. Moresi felt that she had the potential to do much more.

Before Moresi's arrival, Shorey said, "I didn't really have any confidence to shoot."

With a laugh, Moresi said he told Shorey and Brownlee "this would be the only coach in their lifetime who ever said 'Don't pass it.' "

With Moresi's backing, Shorey again paced the TVL in scoring, raising her average to 22.7 points per game. But she still continued to get her teammates involved in the attack, particularly Brownlee, who averaged 12 points a game.

Shorey became the focus of opposing teams, who tried to contain her with a number of defensive schemes, including triangle-and-two and box-and-one sets. Undaunted, she powered the Clockers to four wins in their last five games, qualifying for the tournament with a 10-10 mark and a first-round matchup Thursday night against TVL champ Westwood.

"Our team didn't think we could win at the beginning of the season," said Shorey, who netted her 1,000th career point during a 29-point effort against Wayland on Feb. 13. "But toward the end, we started to believe."

Shorey has drawn interest from several Division 3 college programs, but said her two top choices are Springfield College and Eastern Connecticut State.

She was not the only girls' player in the area to emerge as a dominant player as a senior.

A year ago, Framingham rode the talents of All-Scholastic forward Denise Beliveau to the postseason. With Beliveau off to the University of New Hampshire, the Flyers this season turned to Kathleen King in the post, and she delivered.

Heading into her senior year at Framingham, King found there was little time for anything but basketball last summer. She played for two Amateur Athletic Union teams, the Boston Monarchs and the Bay State Lightning, competed in the Bay State Games, and suited up for Framingham High's summer league team. The 6-foot forward estimates that she played four hours a day during the summer.

When she finally had some time to herself, in late August, she spent it at the Framingham YMCA, running through a self-imposed 2-hour practice routine of shooting, free throws, and post-up moves. The homemade drills continued until the beginning of the basketball season.

Her dedication paid off. She developed into a ferocious presence in the low post, and virtually automatic for a double-double (averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds per game) nearly every night. While Beliveau attracted all the attention a year ago, King became the focus of every team's defense.

She led the Flyers to a 12-8 mark and a first-round Division 1 South match against New Bedford on Wednesday night. But despite her 24-point, 17-rebound performance, Framingham's season ended with a 49-41 loss.

A second-team All-Bay State Conference selection as a junior, she was chosen Most Valuable Player in the league's Carey Division this winter.

"She's really developed a will to win," Framingham coach Chip DelPrete said. "I remember very few players who hate to lose as much as Kathleen."

King - who is interested in playing at a Division 2 program in the Northeast-10, such as the University of Massachusetts at Lowell or Assumption - put up solid numbers last season while leaving the spotlight to Beliveau. Playing the role of the first option, she found out, can be a chore.

"I didn't realize how hard it was for her [until this year," when she started seeing triple teams, King said. "With everyone focusing on me this year, it's been a challenge. But I'm up for it, I guess."

The season's best
With the regular season complete, it's time to hand out a few salutes to a few teams and players from area communities. More to come next week.

Best comeback - Wayland 69, Newton South 68, Dec. 14. There were bigger rallies, but none as quick as this one. Over the final 45 seconds, the Warrior boys erased a 68-59 lead with a 10-0 run, capped by a Mike Synodis game-winning 3-pointer, for a stunner.

Best individual performance - Dan Guadagnoli, Framingham. The junior guard poured it against archrival and host Natick, starting off with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers. Scoring from all over the floor, he had 27 points at the half, and finished with 42.

Best offense - Marlborough High's boys' squad. The Panthers (17-4) play at a fast pace and have two of the region's most electric scorers in George Jordan and Keith Brown, both averaging more than 20 points. Marlborough gets the edge over Watertown's hot-handed offense for topping the 85-point mark seven times this season, including a 97-92 track meet over Worcester's Doherty Memorial on Feb. 15.

Best defense - Westborough girls. The Rangers (20-1) suffered a hiccup in a 32-point loss to Northampton in the Westboro Invitational final. The Rangers force plenty of turnovers with guards Annette Kristiansen and Emily Mongeau. Their best offense is their defense.

Most underrated (boys) - Uche Egesionu, Trinity Catholic. You won't find anyone more deceptively agile than this 6-foot-5, 280-pound center. He has shown a proficiency in scoring and as well as passing (averaging 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists), and is the main reason for one of the best records in Falcon history (18-2).

Most underrated (girls) - Michelle DeRoma, Mount Alvernia. Don't let the Division 4 tag fool you. There's a reason the guard/forward is committing to a Division 2 college program (American International). As one of the region's leading scorers (19.5 points per game), she has been a double-double threat all season. She opened the tournament with a 24-point, 21-rebound performance in Tuesday's win against St. Clement.

Rim shots
Anna Littman-Quinn of Southborough and Jordan Balcom of Natick, members of the Rivers School's girls' basketball team, were recently selected as New England All-Stars. The seniors sparked the Weston private school on a five-game win streak at the end of the regular season. Rivers (14-5) was the third seed in the New England Class B Prep tournament. . . . Emily Wanger of Newton is the first girls' basketball player in Winsor School history to reach the 1,000-point milestone. The junior forward averaged 21.7 points, 11.2 points, and 8.6 blocked shots for the Boston private school to earn MVP honors in the Eastern Independent League

At the line, Bishops shine: Feehan sinks Cougars' hopes

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

At the line, Bishops shine: Feehan sinks Cougars' hopes

By Maggie Cassidy, Globe Correspondent | March 2, 2008
Melrose's Siena Mamayek manages to avoid traffic as she drives to the basket against Reading. Melrose's Siena Mamayek manages to avoid traffic as she drives to the basket against Reading. (Jay Connor/for the globe)

Top-seeded Bishop Feehan capitalized on a 15-0 third-quarter run to take a 64-46 victory over Notre Dame of Hingham in the Division 2 South quarterfinals in Attleboro yesterday.

The ninth-ranked Cougars (14-8) stayed with Bishop Feehan (22-0) in the opening quarters, and were down by only 4 points at halftime, 26-22. Kelsey Reilly's 3-pointer to open the second half cut the deficit to 1.

But the hosts took over, using the run to build a 46-31 lead by the end of the frame. Amy Lepley posted 9 points in the run, capping it with a 3-pointer, and Jenna Roncarati added 6.

"They were a very physical team. We played them last year, so we knew that they were going to foul," Lepley said. "We were just trying to attack the basket and make them move on defense. The first half was a little shaky, but I really felt that we came back in the second half and just put them away with our defensive pressure."

Lepley scored 2 of her points in the run on free throws after a technical foul was called on Notre Dame coach Michael Barrett for questioning the referees. The free throws increased the lead to 38-25, and both coaches said they affected the flow of the game.

"It's not our gym. Things did not go the way they should have," Barrett said.

"We worked hard. There were a lot of things that didn't go our way. They're a pretty good team but I just wish we gave them what we're used to."

Lepley finished with 30 points, hitting 12 of 14 from the line, and added 11 rebounds. Bishops head coach Michael Deady said the 6-foot junior, who averaged more than 20 points per game in the regular season, has continued to anchor the team in the tournament.

"Lepley on the foul line is about as good as you can get, and she showed it today," he said. "In the tournament, [it's all about] defense, foul shots. I thought our defense was very good today, and I thought our foul shooting was very good."

Feehan shot 69 percent from the line (20 of 29), while the Cougars (5 of 19) failed to hit a free throw until the fourth quarter.

Roncarati and captain Emma Creeden frustrated Notre Dame's offense, combining for 16 rebounds while holding Notre Dame's Kathleen Colpoys to 8 points and Margaret Riordan to 4.

Even the coach is impressed:Central Catholic boys 'a very athletic group'

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Even the coach is impressed:Central Catholic boys 'a very athletic group'

By Sapna Pathak  |  March 2, 2008

Coach Rick Nault is kind of relieved that he never had to play against this year's Central Catholic boys' lineup.

"This is a very athletic group," said Nault, now in his second season as head coach after serving as an assistant for seven years at the Lawrence private school.

"We defend very well; we can score a lot. I graduated in 1990 and played for the school back then. We were competitive when I was playing, but not as competitive as we are now. Plus, other teams are better now, so the opponents we're facing keep us challenged more than when I played."

With senior forward Adrian Gonzalez, one of the state's premier players, and junior backcourt ace Billy Marsden fueling a prolific attack, the Raiders were a tough guard for any foe this season.

A year ago, Central came within a point of winning the Division 1 North title, dropping a heartbreaking, 53-52 loss to Cambridge Rindge & Latin in the final. Seeking the program's first state title since 1999, Nault felt this year's squad was the type to make another title run.

The defining moment, Marsden said, occurred in Central's rematch with league rival Lowell after suffering its first loss of the season in the initial meeting.

"We were down at halftime and we stuck with each other," Marsden said. "When we came back to win it, I really thought there was something good about this team. It was a late-season game with a rival, totally with a playoff-type of setting, and we hung tight. I think that's what coach's idea of preparation is all about."

Gonzalez, a three-year varsity player and team captain, is bound for Bentley College in the fall, where he will play on scholarship for the top-ranked Division 2 program in the country. The 6-foot-5-inch forward brings "amazing strength and unbelievable skill under the net," Nault said. The Raiders' mentor calls Gonzalez, who averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds during a 19-2 regular season, one of the state's best seniors.

"I love playing with Adrian. I'd rather that than have to play against him," Marsden said with a laugh. "We've definitely got a lot of scorers on the team and I think the first few games into the year, things started to click. We knew this could be a great year, but no one wanted to talk about it."

Central began the tournament with an impressive, 84-66 first-round win over Acton-Boxborough Monday night behind 25 points from Gonzalez, including the 1,000th of his career. Marsden, a 5-11 guard from Pelham, N.H., who averaged 20 points a game during the regular season, contributed 22. Nault said his two-year starter is "someone who knows how to see the court so well. He's fast and can get out on the wing so quickly, it's hard for defenders to follow him."

Though the Raiders boast playoff experience and veteran leadership, its younger players - like Carson Desrosiers of Windham, N.H., a 6-9 sophomore and two-year varsity player - make the most of playing with Marsden and Gonzalez.

"Billy and Adrian are such great teammates," said Desrosiers, who notched 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 blocks against Acton-Boxborough. "They're both great leaders who really take the time to help you if you're struggling with anything. To have someone like Adrian on your team is awesome; he's one of the best players in the state. And Billy is just a great scorer to learn from."

The team's other starters have been senior captain Wilfredo Pagan, at 5-9, and junior Tim Whaler, a 6-4 forward from Lowell. Central was scheduled to play Malden in a Division 1 North quarterfinal last night.

Same starters, new team
Despite the return of all five members of last season's starting lineup, the Tewksbury High girls' basketball team is different, any member of the squad will tell you.

Sophomore Danielle DePierro simply chalked up the team's success to a heightened comfort level.

"We're a totally different team this year," DePierro said. "The same people who saw us last year think one thing, but I think we've been surprising everyone this year. We're playing well. Everyone is unselfish; no one's scared to make that extra pass. We're really more comfortable together this year."

Junior Caitlin DeFrancesco echoed her teammate's thoughts, saying the closer the squad became off the court, the more that translated into on-court success.

"It's so important," DeFrancesco said of her friendships with her teammates. "The more we learned about each other, the more we knew we could count on each other. It's allowed us to take more risks, like you're not afraid to go for the steal because you trust you'll have someone there to back you up."

That bonding was evident Monday when the Redmen convincingly won their first postseason game in a 72-39 romp over Boston Latin Academy in Division 2 North. The win placed them one game ahead of where they finished last year, when Tewksbury lost to eventual state champion Lincoln-Sudbury in the first round.

Forward DeFrancesco, who has been consistently dominant all season, finished her night with 16 points and 10 rebounds; point guard DePierro was also one of four Redmen in double figures, dropping in 16 points.

The other starters for 11-year coach Pat McAndrews are captains Caitlin Goffman, a forward, and Jill Martel, a guard, and senior center Laura Callan.

"We're more confident this year," DeFrancesco said. "We trust each other. Playing with the girls one more year has definitely helped us be more confident, even though a lot of people think we're the underdogs or we're flying under the radar."

Tournament opens with spate of upsets: Malden, Fenwick, Ipswich stun foes

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Tournament opens with spate of upsets: Malden, Fenwick, Ipswich stun foes

March 2, 2008

The Malden High boys' basketball team stunned Lynn English in the first round of the Division 1 North tournament Monday night, and coach Don Nally's phone was ringing off the hook the first thing Tuesday morning.


Sort of.

"I got a lot of phone calls," he said. "A lot of them were people saying, 'I've got to be honest with you; I didn't think you'd be able to beat 'em. That's a really good team.' I got a lot of that."

Honestly, he couldn't blame them. Go back to the end of January, when his Golden Tornadoes were 7-7 and English was 13-2, and it didn't even look like the two teams were in the same league.

He fed his band of underdogs only the best of Iams, in the form of a pregame speech.

"There's no pressure on us," he told them. "All the pressure's in their room on the kids next door. They're the league champs. They're 17-3. They're the fifth seed. You guys aren't supposed to win, but I think you can win."

Next thing you know, Malden has a 58-55 win on the road in the state tournament.

It was one stunner in a first round full of buzzer-beaters, last-second wins, and upsets. And no bracket was safe.

That meant it could have been English being taken to the canvas in Division 1or Bishop Fenwick surprising a Hamilton-Wenham team that was riding on cruise control in Division 3, or Division 4 Ipswich, which didn't have a life until three games were left in the season, catching St. Mary's snoozing in its own gym.

"I can't remember a tournament starting off like that," said Ipswich head coach Doug Woodworth. "When I saw the scores reading the newspaper, it was quite an opening round. So we'll see what happens now, you know?"

Malden stunning English was one thing. It meant the Golden Tornadoes finally got the respect they'd been missing.

But Fenwick was something completely different.

Fenwick went from being gym-filler last year to a four-win team in the Catholic Central and tiptoed into the tournament with a 10-8 record. But, when he thought about it, Crusaders coach Sean Connolly couldn't say 100 percent that his squad's 57-54 victory over Hamilton-Wenham was an upset, per se.

"I look at it as a little bit of an upset," he said.

Woodworth saw it a little differently, since his Tigers had to play both teams in back-to-back games right before the tournament.

"It wasn't shocking to me," he said. "Every league's a little bit different."

Ipswich knocked off St. Mary's, 69-68, on a buzzer beater in one of those moments where all you can hear is the ball bouncing and your heart pounding. Greg Watts, who had only been in the game 20 seconds and was in the game during crunch time and caught in a trap, found his best friend Aaron Jessen, a sophomore and admittedly not the kid that Woodworth draws the plays for. He knocked down a shot that was good from the second it kissed his fingertips goodbye.

And the team that has no business in the tournament lives to play another day.

"It's kind of like being invited to 'Dancing with the Stars,' " Woodworth said. "We got to the dance. Our artistic scores were OK, but our fundamentals in the dance weren't that good, but we still got carried on to the next week. We made it past the first week."

Pardon his self-deprecation, but it's true. This is a team that barely mustered three wins 10 games into the season (that's two years after winning a state title and a year after losing a couple of all-stars). They had to deal with talk of being nothing without the seniors who graduated, and moreover, they had to hear it jokingly, of course from the players who graduated.

Their response was a unanimous "So what?"

"They believed in themselves maybe more than I believed in them," Woodworth said. "I certainly wasn't going to bust their bubble.

"You get a team that believes in themselves, it's amazing how far they can go."

Williams displays all-around game
Amazing what the tournament will do for you. Before the tournament, Malden's Mark Williams was noted for his leaping ability and his obsession with swatting people's shots.

But in the English game, the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound senior played an all-around game, putting up 17 points, 19 rebounds, and 4 blocks, often dealing with triple teams in the paint. This is a kid who was generally lukewarm about the whole basketball thing before getting involved with the Boston Warriors AAU squad, going down to Disney World for a tournament, and really developing a work ethic about his game.

"He came into the season with a purpose and he's played so well," Nally said.

Nally likes Williams's chances at the college level, saying that the center is getting looks from Springfield College and Salem State.

"He's just a presence," Nally said. "He's just a kid who really takes up a lot of space in the paint. He gets a lot of offensive rebounds and he gets a lot of put-backs."

Around the world
The lady hoopsters at Melrose High held North Andover to three points in the third quarter of their 47-28 win in the opening round. Mystic Valley's boys' team was victimized by a New Mission defense, which held the Eagles to 25 points.

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

Win, not revenge, motivates Townies

Sport:   Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Win, not revenge, motivates Townies
 By Chris Estrada
 March 2, 2008

Charlestown wouldn't have been blamed for having thoughts of revenge heading into yesterday's MIAA Division 1 North quarterfinal against East Boston, which handed the Townies their only loss of the season in last week's City Championship game.
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But after the Townies had gotten their payback in a 61-49 victory on their home court, coach Steve Cassidy said his team didn't have such thoughts leading up to yesterday's rematch.

"I think we did a good job of convincing them just to play," he said. "Not to worry about revenge or emotion. Maybe they came in with knotted-up emotion in the beginning, but it was great."

Eastie jumped out to a 16-2 lead, a run that was keyed by a trio of 3-pointers from Jeff Cannon. But senior guard Ravon Dunbar went on a surge of his own - an 8-0 run to pull the Townies (23-1) back into the game. The second quarter saw Charlestown stay within a few points of Eastie until Dunbar hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 28 with 3:04 to go.

The Jets (17-5) went on a 7-2 spurt, but Charlestown responded with a three from Charlie Haymon, then two free throws from Jamel Williamson to tie it at 35 at halftime.

The Townies took their first lead, 38-37, with a pair of free throws from David Riley. East Boston's Stanley Green then pulled a steal and score to put the Jets back on top, but Riley responded with back-to-back buckets for a 42-39 Townie lead.

That set off a 15-7 Charlestown run that was capped by a basket from Jonathan Turner for a 57-46 edge. Eastie would cut the deficit to 6 in the fourth quarter, but it would not get any closer.

At the forefront of Charlestown's resurgence was Riley, who in addition to leading his team with 19 points was a force on the offensive boards.

"We had to start off the third quarter strong, because we started off the game kind of slow," he said. "The last time we started off slow, they kind of got the edge on us and got the win so it feels good to come back there.

"Everybody was on point, everybody stayed together."

The Townies' edge on the offensive glass was the root of Eastie coach Malcolm Smith's postgame lament. However, he was also happy about his team's season overall.

"We let up zero offensive rebounds in the first half, and we let up 11 offensive rebounds in the second half," he said. "And that's the game right there.

"It's tough the way it ended today, but I tell you, with the season we had and the way the guys rebounded back and everything, to be able to pull this off, I'm very ecstatic for them."

Waterville girls enjoying the ride

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Waterville girls enjoying the ride
The Panthers have won two consecutive Class B titles and will be favored to win another next year.
By GARY HAWKINS, Blethen Maine News Service March 2, 2008

The Gold Ball has yet to make it into the trophy case at Waterville Senior High School. It´s still sitting on a table in the home of girls basketball coach Ted Rioux. So are the conference and regional plaques.

"We should all get a week," Waterville center Morgan Frame joked.

The Gold Ball and plaques will be on display at the school today but won´t be officially turned over until the banquet next Monday commemorating the team´s second straight Class B state championship.

"It´s really been an unbelievable run," said Rioux, whose team won its 44th straight game Friday night, beating Western Maine champion Lake Region for the title.

"This is something we´ll think about down the road," junior guard Paige Gardiner said.

Gardiner and her teammates are proud of their accomplishments, but they´re not resting on any laurels. With four returning starters, the Purple Panthers could run their string of titles to three and their winning streak could get into the 60s.

"Actually I was thinking a bit about that the other day," Gardiner said. "It´s exciting."

The Panthers will graduate Sarah Given and Kayla Smith, both key players, but also have a group of promising sophomores in addition to its talented junior class.

"We´re a very close group of girls," junior guard Stephanie Whitten said. "We´ve all grown up together."

Whitten said the pressure to win this year was greater because the team was expected to repeat and because they hadn´t lost.

"After last year, we knew we had to come out harder," she said. "Every team wants to beat the No. 1 team."

Rioux served as an assistant to Cony High coach Paul Vachon and his teams play a similar uptempo style, pressuring the ball and shooting 3-pointers when they can. They had the players to do it with Whitten, Gardiner, Given, Jen Nale and Frame. Along with the bench, this is a highly competitive group.

"When the game starts, they´re able to focus on one thing and that´s winning," Rioux said. "Once they get onto the floor, they´re focused."

That focus was helped by "psych parties" before each playoff game.

This season, they got together at the homes of Taylor Hart and Frame, whose father Doug is the athletic director. A team trip to a basketball camp at Boston College in the preseason was also helpful.

"That was so much fun," Gardiner said. "It was a way to get to know each other better and to know our coaches better."

In his two seasons at Waterville, Rioux has yet to lose. He´s not taking it for granted, but expectations have gone through the roof.

"It gets to the point sometimes where you win by 15 and (fans) say ´what went wrong,´ " he said. "I think they forget these are still high school kids."

The support at school has been great, Whitten said, especially from teachers, but the players would like more fans during the regular season even if some of those games aren´t that close.

After all, few teams can claim two straight championships let alone a 44-game win streak.

"It hasn´t hit me yet," Frame said. "It´s like a dream, still."

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638

Richmond boys hoping to avenge loss

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 2nd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Richmond boys hoping to avenge loss
The Bobcats face Central Aroostook in a rematch of the 2006 Class D final.

Blethen Maine News Service March 2, 2008

Central Aroostook boys basketball coach Tim Brewer was asked to compare Richmond to a team his Panthers have played this season. Brewer drew a blank.

"There's nobody on our schedule with the size they have," Brewer said.

Central Aroostook and Richmond meet for the second time in three years in the Class D state championship game at 8 tonight at the Augusta Civic Center. In 2006, Central Aroostook beat Richmond 79-55 in the state game.

When referring to the Bobcats' size, Brewer didn't just mean 6-foot-10 center Marc Zaharchuk. Richmond also starts Sam Carter and Walter Miller, each 6-3, and Brandon Lancaster at point guard.

With a frontcourt featuring no player taller than 6-1, Central Aroostook hopes to match the Bobcats' size with speed.

"We don't have much size, but we're still quick," Brewer said.

Central Aroostook had four players score in double figures in the Eastern Maine final win against Woodland. Cameron York led the Panthers with 19 points, while Manny Martinez (16 points), Logan McCarthy (15) and Casey Brewer (10) also contributed to a balanced offense.

"They're all good ballhandlers. They all look to shoot the 3," Richmond coach Paul Lancaster said of the Panthers. "They look to run, play in-your-face defense and they rebound pretty well for their size."

When Central Aroostook won back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006, they were known as a team that would hit opponents with a fullcourt press for all 32 minutes. While the Panthers don't press as much as they used to, they will still employ a variety of defensive looks.

"In games I've seen them play, one game they used a fullcourt press, or a halfcourt trap," Coach Lancaster said. "The last game I saw them play a matchup zone. They try not to be predictable, and have you adjust to them and not them adjust to you."

Richmond is a diverse offense, and that should help counter any defense the Panthers use. If Central Aroostook plays man-to-man, Richmond can try to pound the ball inside to Zaharchuk. If Central Aroostook comes out in a zone or tries to pay extra attention to Zaharchuk or Lancaster, then the Bobcats can go to other players, like Miller, Carter and Eric Murrin, who are accurate outside shooters.

Slowing down the quick Panthers will be important as well, Coach Lancaster said.

"They create matchup problems in that those kids can run the floor," he said. "The transition game is going to be key. We can't turn the ball over. They take turnovers and turn them into points."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

It's Maranacook. Barely

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

It's Maranacook. Barely
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

BANGOR- In the end, the Ryan Martin Show proved to be just enough to trump a tremendous effort by the Cape Elizabeth Capers.

In the Class B boys' state championship game at the Bangor Auditorium, the sweet shooting Martin and his Black Bears teammates threatened to run away from the Capers in the second period, but Cape Elizabeth hung tough and actually took the lead in the third period, but down the stretch, Maranacook made just enough plays to win its second crown in three seasons, 56-46.

"It feels great," Martin said. "We wanted this more than anything this year."

"We had a couple of tough breaks," Capers' coach Jim Ray countered.

Maranacook beat Mountain Valley in the 2006 Class B Final, in Bangor. Last season, the Black Bears were expected to repeat, but instead were upset in the quarterfinals. The team used that disappointment as a rallying cry this winter and never lost, downing Rockland, Mattanawcook and Camden Hills during their regional title run.

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, was exulting in its first state final berth in two decades. The Capers were the preseason favorite in Western B and after a 3-2 start, caught fire and won their final 15 games to earn the top seed, before crushing Wells, squeaking past Greely and holding off Freeport to capture the regional title.

Cape Elizabeth took Maranacook and Martin's best shot in the early going.

Black Bears' senior Will Bardaglio got the scoring started with a jumper 31 seconds in. A leaner from senior Ian Place (heralding a strong half) drew the Capers even at the other end.

With 5:49 to play in the first, Martin hit his first 3-pointer. Junior Alex Bowe answered with a jumper, but Bardaglio made two foul shots. After sophomore Andrew Dickey made a layup for Cape Elizabeth, Martin buried a jump shot. With 2:09 to go in the opening stanza, senior Woody Tabery made a layup for the Capers, but Martin erupted for back-to-back 3's and a 15-8 advantage. A layup from senior Shaine Burks pulled Cape Elizabeth back within five, 15-10, after one.

Martin had 11 of his team's points in the first eight minutes. The Capers featured five different scorers.

A layup from senior Mike Poulin put Maranacook up 17-10 early in the second. Bowe answered with a jumper, but sophomore Ben Johnson made two foul shots for a 19-12 lead. After senior Tommy Ray made a jump shot for Cape Elizabeth, Bardaglio hit a jumper for the Black Bears, good for a 21-14 advantage.

With 5:35 to play in the half, Place made one of two free throws. Martin answered with a long jump shot. After Place again hit one of two foul shots, Poulin buried a jumper with 3:54 remaining in the half and Maranacook appeared to be in good shape, up 25-16.

Instead, the Capers closed the half with a flourish.

First, Place made a layup. Burks then hit two free throws and followed with a floater to cut the deficit to just three, 25-22. After Martin made two free throws with 1:50 to play in the half, Dickey canned a 3-ball from the corner and Cape Elizabeth found itself down by only two points, 27-25, at the break.

The squads battled back and forth in the third.

Martin opened the second half with a jumper to push the lead back to four, but Bowe made a layup and Dickey hit two free throws to make it 29-29, the first deadlock since 2-2.

After Bardaglio drained a 3 for the Black Bears, the Capers went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for the first time.

A jumper in the lane by Bowe got it started. He then made the first of two free throws to tie the score. Bowe missed the second foul shot, but a lane violation on Maranacook gave him another chance. Bowe was off on that bid as well, but Dickey grabbed the rebound and hit a short jumper to put Cape Elizabeth up 34-32.

"To (Cape's) credit, they did a great job," Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. "They're a great defensive team. They have a lot of weapons. They're tough to defend. We played at their pace."

A baseline jumper by Bowe with 4:03 to go in the third gave the Capers a 36-32 lead, but senior Conrad Gilman made a layup and Johnson tied the game on a gift layup (picking up a kicked ball right under the hoop and putting it home) with 3:10 left.

At the 1:38 mark, the Black Bears went back on top on a baseline jumper from Martin, but a rebound layup from Dickey in the final minute tied the score again.

With time winding down, Martin attempted a contested jumper which rattled off the rim, but Johnson was there to put it in with under a second to go and it was 40-38 Maranacook heading for the fourth.

Just 37 seconds in, Bowe tied the game with a runner. Bardaglio put the Black Bears up with a 3-pointer, but Burks rebounded his own miss and laid it home with 6:29 to go, pulling Cape Elizabeth within a point, 43-42.

With 6:01 to play, Poulin canned a 3. Maranacook then had a chance to extend its lead even more, but Bardaglio missed an open 3 and Martin couldn't sink a jumper. With 4:56 remaining, Dickey hit a leaner to put the Capers back within two, 46-44, but Black Bears junior Mike LaChance answered with a layup and a 48-44 lead.

With 4 minutes to go, Bowe took an inbounds pass and made a short jumper to make it 48-46. After a stop, Cape Elizabeth had a golden opportunity to retake the lead, but Dickey was just short on a 3-point attempt.

At the other end, Martin somehow got free for an open look on a 3 and he was true, pushing the lead up to five, 51-46, with 3:07 left to play.

"Our goal was to make him work hard," Ray said, of Martin. "I thought our guys did a heck of a job defensively. We were up four and made two defensive mistakes and they capitalized on them."

After Burks was called for charging, the Black Bears had a chance to earn a little breathing room, but after running some time off the clock, they turned it over and the Capers got a chance to respond.

Burks missed an initial shot, but Tabery grabbed the rebound. The ball came back to Burks in the lane, but again his shot was off. After the teams traded turnovers, Martin was fouled with 53.6 seconds to go.

In the one-and-one, the standout calmly sank both foul shots for a 53-46 advantage. Following a missed 3-point attempt from Bowe, Bardaglio went to the line and made one free throw. Burks missed at the other end and Martin iced it with two free throws with 30.1 seconds o go, putting the finishing touches on the 56-46 victory, which was much, much closer than the final score indicated.

"We knew we had to get defensive stops and get the tempo going our way," Martin said. "We flew under the radar my sophomore year and won when no one expected us to win. We took it one game at a time this year."

"We hit big 3's," Schmidt added. "That's how these guys have been their whole careers. It's an incredible legacy. They lost three times in three years and won two state championships. Very few classes can say that."

Bowe led the Capers with 15 points. Dickey added 13. Burks finished with eight, Place with six and Ray and Tabery both bowed out with two points.

"We didn't do as intelligent a job as we should have on offense," coach Ray said. "Credit their defense."

Ray had nothing but appreciation for his kids.

"They worked as hard as any team I've every had," he said. "They played well together. We got contributions from eight core guys. A lot of them are coming back next year. They have an opportunity to learn from this.

"It's been a fun week. The kids at school and the fan support have been great. We enjoyed it. We're obviously disappointed, but we'll reflect on the great job we did."

Martin's 26 led all scorers. Bardaglio added 13. Poulin had seven points, Johnson six and Gilman and LaChance finished with two points each.

Maranacook seniors cap three-year run with title

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Maranacook seniors cap three-year run with title
Ryan Martin, Mike Poulin and Will Bardaglio close their careers with a second Class B championship.

Blethen Maine News Service March 1, 2008

This is how Ryan Martin always hoped it would end. Wearing a nylon necklace he made himself when he helped cut down the net at the Bangor Auditorium. Waiting for another turn to cradle the Class B Gold Ball.

On Friday night, the Maranacook Community School boys basketball team won its second state championship in three years, beating Cape Elizabeth 56-46. The Black Bears' senior class, led by guards Martin, Mike Poulin and Will Bardaglio, capped their careers with an undefeated 22-0 season. During the last three years, that group led Maranacook to an incredible record of 59-4.

"They have two state championships in four years. There's very few classes that go through a high school in the state that can ever say that," said Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt, the man charged with guiding this talented group through its high school career. "It's just amazing."

When the Black Bears beat Mountain Valley 73-58 for the 2006 state title, they weren't unlikely state champions, but they weren't wire-to-wire favorites either. Maranacook was coming off a 10-9 season in which they lost in the preliminary round.

They were expected to contend in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, but a state title? That was perhaps a year away.

"I think our sophomore year it was all unexpected. We flew under the radar. I don't think anyone expected us to win a state championship that year," Martin said.

That Gold Ball moved Maranacook into the role of front-runner, and had illness not kept Bardaglio from playing in the regional quarterfinals last season, where the Black Bears were upset by Maine Central Institute, then perhaps they would have been playing for a third consecutive state championship.

"I didn't want to watch them lose this year. I tried to stay healthy, and I did. We were able to get it done," said Bardaglio, who scored 13 points in win against Cape Elizabeth.

Martin said it wasn't Bardaglio's absence that hurt the team last season as much as it was the wrong mental approach. For lack of a better phrase, the Black Bears began to believe their own hype.

"Obviously last year, I think we tried to skip right to the state championship game, and this year we took it one game at a time. We played all four (tournament) games very well," Martin said.

This season, the top-seeded Black Bears survived a quarterfinal scare from Rockland before beating Mattanawcook 89-70 and KVAC rival Camden Hills 84-72 to win the Eastern Maine tournament. Up nine points early against Cape Elizabeth, the Black Bears withstood a Capers' rally during which the Western Maine champs took a four-point lead midway through the third quarter.

"They're too good. They have too many weapons. It's hard to defend all those good athletes out there. They're good basketball players," Schmidt said of Cape Elizabeth. "It's just like the Eastern Maine (championship) game with Camden. We knew they'd come back and make a run at us."

Minutes after his team was handed the Gold Ball, Schmidt reflected on its place in Maine high school basketball history. The Black Bears have definitely earned a place among the best teams of the past few decades.

"It's going to take a while to sink in for a lot of people. But if you look at state champions the previous 20 years, there are definitely some schools that have great programs," Schmidt said. "There are classes at the Greelys, Camdens, there's a few others. We're lucky to be a part of it."

You know who's really lucky? The Maranacook fans who were able to witness this three-year run of excellence.

That's not say the Black Bears will fade with the graduation of Martin, Poulin, Bardaglio, Conrad Gilman, Max HoddWells, Corey Stephens, and Brian Bean. There's talent coming back. But Maranacook's Class of 2008 was a joy to watch play basketball, and it won't be forgotten soon.

"We've proven that we can win," Bardaglio said. "We went out on top, and there's no greater thing to do."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

Remember Lakers' coach for more than just one game

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Remember Lakers' coach for more than just one game
There's no denying the success Paul True has had at Lake Region, despite the lack of a state title.

By MATT DIFILIPPO, Blethen Maine News Service March 1, 2008

You notice those eyes when you talk to Paul True. He's one of those people who has sad eyes even when he's smiling. On Friday night, those eyes looked a little red.

True, who graduated from UMaine-Farmington and coached the Skowhegan girls basketball team for seven seasons, now coaches the Lake Region girls. In four seasons, he has brought the Lakers to the Class B state championship game three times.

In a quiet hallway at the Bangor Auditorium, True talked about the things he didn't want to talk about: Why his team lost, what turned the game for Waterville in the second quarter, why the foul trouble his team got into was so important.

Lake Region lost to Waterville 54-35. The Lakers lost to Waterville in the state title game last year, and to Presque Isle the year before that.

It's too bad -- and I'm sometimes guilty of this myself -- that we will remember a team like Lake Region for its failure to win the state title instead of its dominance of Western B. We don't think of the Buffalo Bills as beating all comers in the AFC; we think of them as the team that lost four Super Bowls. It's natural -- we remember the last game, it's the most important one.

In this case, Paul True deserves better. Someone who had seen both teams told me before last night's game that if Lake Region lost by less than 25 points, it would be an upset. The Lakers came out and led by nine in the first quarter, but then they got into foul trouble for the first time all season, and Waterville was a better team to begin with.

The Lakers lost by 19, and that's the only Lake Region game score that will be in the tournament program next year.

"We're still winning the West," True said. "Bringing the Class B runner-up plaque home to our school is nothing to be ashamed of. Would I like to win one of these? Absolutely. But it doesn't take anything away from my experience with the kids."

True's players speak of him as a motivator. His teams always seem to be undersized, but they always play hard. And if his final legacy is that he turns out to be one of the top coaches never to win a state title? Well, there are a lot worse things to be, and few people better to coach your kids.

IN THE last 13 years, a Western B team has won the state title just twice -- Gorham in 1999 and Greely in 2004. While a lot can happen in a year, Waterville should make it 12 out of 14 in the East. As long as the Purple Panthers don't break school rules and stay injury-free, they should again be the favorite next season.

Waterville returns four starters in Morgan Frame, Paige Gardiner, Jen Nale and Steph Whitten. No one in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B has an answer for Frame, and no one has a point guard as good as Whitten.

About the only thing the Panthers could benefit from adding is another strong inside player. Kayla Smith, Waterville's only graduation loss from this year's team other than Sarah Given, is only 5 foot 7, but rebounded like she was a few inches taller. The Panthers will miss her.

But that's quibbling. Next year at this time, Waterville will be loaded again, and if it loses, that will be much more of an upset than winning by less than 25 on Friday night.

SINCE WATERVILLE has proven that it is a pretty good team, and it's sitting on 44 straight victories, can the Panthers get some fans between now and next season?

I went to the Eastern B semifinal between Waterville and Erskine. OK, it was an 8:35 p.m. start, but still, there were maybe 200 people in the stands on the Waterville side of the court. Not all of those were Waterville fans, either. I don't know what the exact word is for that kind of fan support, but "pathetic" is a good guess.

Two hundred fans for an undefeated team? It's not like girls or women's basketball isn't watchable in this area -- the University of Maine women draw around 2,000 people a game, and that's not close to being a good team yet.

Maybe it's something to do with Waterville. I went to a Waterville football game a few years back -- at a homecoming game, no less -- and there were less than 300 fans there, total.

Whatever the reason, hopefully it changes soon, because the Waterville girls would be hard-pressed to be putting a better team on the floor for their fans.

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243


Copyright © 2008 Blethen Maine Newspapers

Maranacook perseveres, wins title

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Maranacook perseveres, wins title
 Cape Elizabeth's Thomas R. Ray gets ready to pass to teammmate Alex Bowe (left) while flanked by Maranacook's Ryan Martin (#5), and Will Bardaglio during their Class B final at Bangor Auditorium Friday. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)

By Ernie Clark
Saturday, March 1, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine - The pace of the game may have belonged to Cape Elizabeth, but the gold ball belongs to Maranacook.

The Black Bears, held in check offensively for most of the night, made three key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good, then preserved that cushion at the free-throw line to earn their second Class B boys basketball state championship in three years with a 56-46 victory over the Capers at the Bangor Auditorium on Friday night.

The win capped off an undefeated season for Maranacook of Readfield, which was motivated throughout the winter by the memory of being ousted as the No. 1 seed in last year's regional quarterfinals.

"It feels great," said senior guard Ryan Martin, who scored a game-high 26 points. "After what happened last year, we knew we had to take it one game at a time this year, and that was really the game plan going into every game.

"We did that, and that’s what got us here, and we played another good game tonight."

The Black Bears (22-0) needed to play a good game, because a Cape Elizabeth team making its first appearance in a state final since 1988 simply wouldn’t go away.

The Capers (19-3) trailed throughout by a narrow margin until sophomore forward Andrew Dickey scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to give his team a 34-32 lead with 5:22 left in the third quarter.

Junior forward Alex Bowe followed with a baseline jumper to extend the margin to four points, but Maranacook point guard Mike Poulin set up inside baskets by Conrad Gilman and Ben Johnson to tie the game, and Cape never led again.

Will Bardaglio, a key player in Maranacook’s 2006 title run but sidelined by mononucleosis during last year’s tournament loss, struck the biggest basket of the game, a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave the Black Bears the lead for good at 43-40 early in the fourth quarter.

It was one of Maranacook’s few transition baskets of the night — in stark contrast to its high-scoring ways of its Eastern B semifinal and final, when the Black Bears averaged 86.5 points per game.

"I wasn’t getting open that much in the halfcourt because they were denying me the ball," said Bardaglio, "but I saw that I had an opening and I just took it, and luckily the shot went down."

After Cape Elizabeth’s Shaine Burks countered by scoring with the rebound of his own miss, Bardaglio fed Poulin for another 3-pointer as Maranacook slowly extended its lead.

Dickey and Maranacook’s Mike LaChance swapped baskets before Bowe scored from the lane to pull Cape Elizabeth within 48-46 with 3:57 left.

The Capers never scored again.

Martin then gave the Black Bears some breathing room. The 5-9 Martin drove into the lane against considerable defensive pressure from the 6-2 Burks, but when Martin passed to Gilman on the wing, Burks fell down.

Martin retreated to the 3-point line, got the return pass from Gilman and drilled Maranacook’s seventh 3-pointer of the night for a 51-46 Black Bears’ lead.

"We were up four, and we make two defensive mistakes and they capitalize on them," said Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray. "They’re that good, they can drill those open shots."

Martin finished his high school career shooting 8 of 15 from the field overall, 4 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line, while Bardaglio added 13 points and five rebounds and Poulin chipped in with seven points and steady floor play.

The Black Bears also got solid production from their two big men, the 6-5 Gilman and the 6-7 Johnson, who worked in tandem during the second half to take away much of Cape Elizabeth’s inside offense while matching the Capers on the backboards. That duo combined for eight points and seven rebounds.

"We just needed to control the inside a little more, and Ben came down with some big rebounds," Martin said.

Bowe led Cape Elizabeth with 15 points, while Dickey had 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

"I thought our guys did a heck of a job defensively, but we’ve got to play both sides of the basketball," said Ray. "I don’t think we played as intelligent a game as we needed to on our offensive end, and you have to give [Maranacook] a lot of the credit for that."

Panthers repeat as 'B' champs

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Panthers repeat as 'B' champs

Waterville Senior High School teammates, Morgan Frame holds their Maine Class B girls championship trophy high after they defeated Lake Region High School for the Maine Class B basketball title at the Bangor Auditorium Friday night. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)

By Jessica Bloch
Saturday, March 1, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine - The Waterville girls basketball team knows what it takes to make a rally work. Last Saturday the Panthers rallied from a three-point halftime deficit in the Eastern Maine Class B final against Mattanawcook of Lincoln.

Waterville also needed a comeback Friday night against Lake Region of Naples in the Class B state championship game. One key defensive switch and a couple of made baskets later, the Panthers were right back in it and rolling.

Once again this season, junior Morgan Frame led the way as Waterville earned a 54-35 triumph over the Lakers at the Bangor Auditorium for the program’s second straight state crown and undefeated season.

"We had to play like champions, and we did it," said Sarah Given, the only senior in Waterville’s starting lineup, who scored 11 points and had seven rebounds.

It was the 44th straight win for the Panthers.

Lake Region, which has won three Western Maine titles in a row, finishes at 19-3. The Lakers have been unable to win a state title in that run.

Frame finished with 14 points, keeping the Panthers in it from the free-throw line in the second quarter and then scoring three points in a 8-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter. She also had eight rebounds and three blocks.

Lake Region led by nine points twice in the first quarter, but Waterville worked its way back into the game with a switch from man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone.

"We’ve been working on the 1-3-1 a lot in practice and it helps keep the middle compacted so that they can’t penetrate," Given said. "We knew that was what they liked to do. We tried to get out on their shooters as much as we could because they shoot the 3 so well."

The Panthers outscored the Lakers 31-10 in the second and third quarters combined.

Waterville didn’t shoot well in the first half, during which the Panthers went 5-for-21 from the floor. They were much better in the third quarter, however, going 9-for-12, which opened things up for Frame underneath.

"We knew we had to play our game and come out strong," Given said. "The shots finally fell and that’s what made the difference in the game."

Given scored all of her points in the second half. She drained a 3-pointer only 1 minute, 47 seconds into the third quarter to put Waterville ahead 29-20.

Sophomore Jen Nale added 12 points for the Panthers and Stephanie Whitten had eight points — all badly needed offense — as Frame got into foul trouble and spent stretches of the game on the bench.

So did Lake Region senior guard Renee Nicholas, who eventually fouled out but led all scorers with 16 points, nine of which came in the first quarter.

"I think the big turning point was when Renee picked up her second foul," said Lake Region coach Paul True. "She was obviously huge and having her here next to me on the bench was a huge factor for us. And obviously we didn’t shoot the basketball very well."

The Lakers made 14 of their 51 shots.

The game was scheduled for 7 p.m. but tipped off at 7:28 because the Auditorium staff had to deal with a leak in the roof that had water dripping on the floor. The drip was a few inches behind the free-throw line on the home team side of the court.

The teams came out for their warmups but were sent back to their locker rooms before the introductions, which eventually started at about 7:20. Two Waterville students were recruited by school athletic director Doug Frame to wipe the floor when the action was going on at the other end.

"I had to change my socks at halftime," said Given, who was wiping her shoes off on her socks during breaks in action in order to gain more traction. "We were all struggling with the slipperiness."

Brewer, Bapst, Black Hawks face stiff tests

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Brewer, Bapst, Black Hawks face stiff tests
By Larry Mahoney
Saturday, March 1, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

The Brewer High School Witches, the John Bapst High School Crusaders and the Houlton-Hodgdon Black Hawks are seeking Eastern Maine hockey championship game berths.

But they will have their hands full with central Maine rivals Monday.

Defending state Class B champ Brewer, 17-4 and the second seed in Class A, faces No. 3 Waterville, 13-7-1, in the 5 p.m. EM Class A semifinal at the Colisee in Lewiston while top seed Lewiston, 17-3-1, faces fourth seed Lawrence of Fairfield, 13-7-1, in the 9 p.m. semifinal.

In the Class B semisat Sukee Arena in Winslow, No. 5 Houlton-Hodgdon (12-9) meets top seed Winslow (14-5-1) at 5 p.m. with No. 2 John Bapst of Bangor (14-5-1) taking on No. 3 Gardiner (13-5-2) in the 8 p.m. contest.

InClass A, Brewer will have to find a way to neutralize Waterville’s high-powered line of John Massey (10 goals, 18 assists) between Zach Jochem (10 & 17) and Ian Rowe (12 & 8) while finding ways to create problems for Panthers goalie Nolan MacDonnell.

"We’ve got to get the puck deep, we’ve got to get shots and we have to protect [goalie Eric White] in front of our net. We’ve got to make sure they don’t get two, three or four shots [in a flurry]," said Brewer coach Bill Schwarz. "If we do that, we’ll be in good shape."

Brewer has the most productive line in Class A in center Dylan Fitzpatrick (33 & 29), Class A’s leading scorer, between Ryan Nadeau (16 & 27) and Nick Risser (21 & 18).

"I’m not going to try to match lines with them," said Schwarz. "I want to make them do what I want to do. Our second line [Mike Kotredes between Evan Nadeau and Tyler Coombs] can play with anybody’s line."

Kotredes has 9 & 6, Coombs has 7 & 6 and Nadeau has 2 & 7.

Schwarz added that his forwards are going to have to be careful with the puck because Waterville is such a good transition team.

"We can’t dangle with the puck in the neutral zone or at the blue line. Turnovers will kill you," said Schwarz. "And we’ll need to play well in our own end. We’ve got to keep them to the perimeter."

The teams split regular-season games.

Prentiss Swett (9 & 14) continues to lead the defense corps after being moved back from forward at the outset of the season.

"He has made a big difference back there. He has helped us a lot. He’s an unselfish hockey player," said Schwarz.

White has a 13-4 record, a 1.94 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage after making 28 saves in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brunswick.

Shawn Lee (6 & 9) heads up the Panthers defense corps in front of MacDonnell.

In Class B, John Bapst is seeking its first appearance in an Eastern B championship game but will take on a quality Gardiner team it split with during the regular season.

"We’ve got to play well in the defensive zone and the neutral zone," said John Bapst coach Aaron King. "They have great forwards and we’re going to have to slow them down.

"They’re always looking to attack so we’ve told our kids they’re going to have to commit to defense and take offensive chances when we get them," added King.

Gardiner coach Matt Dineen said the two teams are very similar.

"Bapst will work hard. They’ll play with self-discipline and they are intense about their business," said Dineen. "It’s going to be a battle."

They split regular-season games.

John Bapst is led by the line of Casey Hull (36 points), Andrew Casey (19) and Neil LaFrance (15 points) with linemates Connor Scofield (20) and Nikki Mitchell (19) also having noteworthy season. Chase Huckestein, Tyler Fadrigon and Matt Duplisea have headlined the blue line corps in front of goalie Derek Duff.

Gardiner is led by center Klinton Peckham (53 points), Bass Chadwick (41) and Zoe Fisk (31) along with Pete Caradonna (29) and Kevin May (26). The defense corps features Forrest Chadwick (19) and Bobby Johnson (12). Chris Howe has allowed just two goals a game in net.

Houlton-Hodgdon coach Joel Trickey is hoping for a fast-paced game against a Winslow, a team with which it split.

"Our kids don’t play well unless they’re skating," said Trickey whose Black Hawks are led by center Craig Buxton (20 & 12), LW Mike Epley (12 & 13) and RW Morgan Hall (10 & 8). Trickey feels he has the best defenseman in Class B in Zach Chase (3 & 20), the team’s captain and leader, and Malik Abouleish has had an impressive freshman season (2.04 goals-against average, .910 save percentage).

Winslow is led by snipers Sean Bourgeois and Chad Guptill, and Ben Grant along with defenseman Derek Lizotte. Bourgeois and Guptill both missed the 5-4 KVAC championship game loss to Gardiner.

Old Town, Calais to join LTC C ranks

Sport: Football  Posted: March 1st, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Bangor Daily
By BDN Staff
Saturday, March 1, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

The LTC Class C football ranks will grow to 12 teams next fall with the acceptance of Old Town and Calais-Woodland as new members.

Conference officials met Thursday night in Bangor and voted to accept both teams into the league beginning with the 2008 season, according to Mike Archer, athletic administrator at Orono High School.

The teams come to the Class C level with different objectives, Old Town to preserve its program and Calais-Woodland to compete at the varsity level for the first time.

"We’re excited," said Calais High School assistant principal Matt Clark, a former head coach in the LTC at John Bapst of Bangor. "We think this will help Old Town and help us."

Old Town is a traditional Class B program that has struggled in recent years with frequent coaching turnover and decreased player participation. The Coyotes have just a 12-78 record since their most recent Class B playoff appearance in 1997 and have been winless the last two seasons.

After an internal study conducted by an ad hoc committee last fall, the Old Town school board voted unanimously to have the Coyotes compete in Class C beginning next fall, with a commitment of at least three years.

Under Maine Principals’ Association rules, when a team competes at a level below what its enrollment dictates it is ineligible for postseason play, and with 578 students Old Town is a Class B school by enrollment so it will be ineligible for the playoffs while in Class C. Current MPA breakdowns place football teams with 800 or more students in Class A, 506 to 799 in Class B and 0 to 505 in Class C.

Such a move is not unprecedented. Both Mount Desert Island and Rockland dropped from Class B to Class C at times in the past in order to rebuild their programs. Ironically, both schools qualified for postseason play in 2007, with MDI in Class B and Rockland now a Class C school by enrollment.

"Hopefully this will give us the opportunity to get our numbers up to where they were in years past and to replenish a program with a very, very strong tradition," said Old Town principal Joe Gallant. "We hope this will give us the opportunity to play on a more competitive basis on a week-to-week basis."

Old Town’s plans reopened a window of opportunity for the cooperative Calais-Woodland program, which originally sought varsity status after the 2006 season after its players had experienced considerable success the three previous years in the Canadian-based Fundy Football League.

But that application, and a subsequent appeal, were denied by the MPA because the Calais-Woodland program had not completed two years of Maine subvarsity competition.

According to the MPA football bulletin, "New varsity teams must maintain/participate in a J.V. program (with a minimum number of six games) for a minimum of two consecutive seasons prior to entering varsity competition, based on the two-year classification cycle. If a league wishes to admit a school earlier due to an odd number of teams, it may apply to the football committee."

The anticipated move of Old Town to Class C would have left both the Pine Tree Conference Class B and LTC with 11 teams in 2008, so Calais-Woodland — which played a subvarsity schedule last fall — applied to both leagues for early acceptance. It ultimately gained entry to the LTC, where it belonged by enrollment.

"We have to look at this as a positive, that we’re adding football in Eastern Maine," said Archer. "We’re here for the kids, and we’ve got to do what’s best for kids to provide them opportunities."

LTC officials did question Calais-Woodland representatives on several issues before accepting the application, particularly in regard to having an adequate playing field and accommodations for opposing teams to film and scout the games, as well as the sustainability of the program.

Clark said Calais-Woodland is working on developing a football facility for the program.

As for player participation, particularly at the youth levels, "they felt their numbers are pretty solid," Archer said.

"I think the best way to continue to build the program is to have that varsity status," added Clark.

One complication arising from the changes is that both the PTC B and the LTC will have to develop new conference schedules for the second year of their current two-year scheduling cycles.

Archer said the LTC has established a six-member committee to devise a new schedule for the coming year. Among questions to be answered are whether the league will use a one-division, 12-team format or be divided into two six-team divisions, and whether to hold four- or eight-team playoffs.

A new two-year scheduling cycle for both conferences will begin with the 2009 season.
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