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Yarmouth and its gunslinger ruin Freeport's Senior Night

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 8th, 2008

Yarmouth and its gunslinger ruin Freeport's Senior Night
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

FREEPORT- When Yarmouth junior Johnny Murphy's shot isn't dropping, he keeps firing.

When it is, have pity on the opposition.

Thursday evening, Murphy was simply on fire, as he drained five 3-pointers in the first period alone, helping the Clippers to an early lead and they pulled away to ruin Freeport's Senior Night by the stunning and decisive score of 73-48.

Yarmouth took the lead for good on a Murphy 3 early in the first period, led by 10 at halftime, then was never seriously challenged in the second half.

Murphy finished with 27 points (including seven 3-balls).

"It was surprising," he said. "We haven't necessarily been on the last two games. To come out like that, was a nice surprise. We moved the ball well and shots were open."

The Falcons and Clippers have been two of the feel-good stories of this exciting season. Last year, in the season finale at Yarmouth, Freeport pulled out a stirring overtime win, thanks to a late 3-pointer from then-sophomore Jon Klages, which forced overtime. The Falcons won in the extra session. Both teams made the tournament, but were eliminated in the quarterfinal round.

This winter, the Clippers have stopped and stolen hearts from the get-go. Yarmouth won its first nine games, culminated by a dramatic 50-48 home victory over Freeport Jan. 8 when senior Ben Groves scored on a reverse layup with 0.9 seconds remaining. The Clippers would lose twice to Cape Elizabeth and once to Waynflete in the meantime, while the Falcons were beating everyone but Greely and Cape Elizabeth.

Yarmouth entered the game smarting from Tuesday's 55-46 home loss to the Capers on Senior Night. Freeport was hoping to avoid a similar feat, but Murphy had other ideas.

Just 24 seconds into the game, Reid Christian, one the Falcons' many seniors, made two free throws. The Clippers countered on one free throw from Groves and a layup from sophomore Evan Henry (on a gorgeous crosscourt pass from senior Lucas Denning). With 6:05 to play in the first period, the Falcons took a 4-3 lead on a baseline jumper from senior Tom Markelon.

That would prove to be Freeport's final advantage.

With 5:43 to go in the first, Murphy quietly made a 3-pointer.

There would be many more.

The second came at the 5:14 mark. Forty-five seconds later, Murphy struck again and suddenly Yarmouth was up 12-4.

A layup from Christian ended the 9-0 run and senior Bejay Perkins added two foul shots to make it 12-8, but Groves countered with a free throw. When Klages made a jumper with 2:28 to go in the first, the hosts were within three, 13-10, but Murphy and the Clippers had more damage in store.

Thirteen seconds after Klages' basket, Groves scored on a driving bank shot. Senior Joe Dilworth, who is nearing full recovery from the hand injury which sidelined him for a month, followed with a tip-in, then Murphy closed the period with back-to-back 3-balls for a 23-10 lead.

"The other night with the Senior Night stuff going on, there was so much hype, they were exhausted before the first quarter," Yarmouth coach Adam Smith said, of his team. "We never really produced anything with our energy. We didn't draw it from the crowd, the bench or our starters and we struggled all night.

"Tonight, we came out and just played the game. It helps when we shoot well of course, but I thought we rebounded and defended extremely well too. If (Johnny) missed those shots, I'd still let him shoot and want him to shoot. It's wonderful when his team supports him like they do and keeps going to him."

Murphy concurred.

"Everyone was so nervous because it was Senior Night and wanted to do well and we didn't," he said. "That game caused us to come out like this. We were so mad. We wanted to get this for the seniors. I feel like this is the best way we could have ended the regular season. We're playing great team basketball right now."

Freeport got five quick points to begin the second period when junior reserve extraordinaire Cody Bartlett made a 3-pointer and Klages followed with a layup, but the Clippers embarked on another run, this one 10-0. The unheralded Henry, who has tremendous upside and is a star of the future, got things started with a short bank shot. Dilworth followed with a floater, Murphy made his first two-point shot of the night and Dilworth made consecutive hoops, one on a left-handed floater, the other a layup, for a commanding 33-15 advantage.

The Falcons then came to life, scoring 11 consecutive points of their own.

A 3-ball from Christian ended Yarmouth's run. Perkins then made a jump shot. Klages followed with a layup and Christian made a jumper, then scored on a fourth-effort offensive rebound layup to cut the deficit to seven, 33-26.

A 3-pointer by Denning ended the rally. Perkins hit a jumper with 2:02 to go to get the hosts within single-digits for the final time, but with 1:05 to play in the half, Murphy made a layup and the Clippers had a 38-28 lead at the break.

Any Freeport comeback hopes were quickly dashed in the third period.

Just 10 seconds into the quarter, Henry made a layup. Murphy followed with one of his own and it was a 42-28 game. After Klages answered with a leaner, Denning fed Henry for a layup and a 44-30 lead. Perkins made a jumper for the hosts, but Murphy made another 3 and Groves followed with a layup to make it 49-32. After Perkins hit yet another jumper for the Falcons, Murphy made his seventh and final 3-pointer of the night. Klages ended the period with a 3 of his own, but Freeport still trailed 52-37 with eight minutes to play.

Yarmouth ended the competitive phase of the game by scoring the first nine points of the fourth. Dilworth scored three straight layups to get things started. On the first two, he took pretty passes from Denning before finishing. The final basket came off an offensive rebound. Junior Andrew Totta then made a free throw, followed by a jump shot for a 61-37 lead. The Falcons would get no closer than 17, 65-48, the rest of the way. The Clippers got the game's final eight points as Henry made a layup, Denning hit a foul shot, Dilworth made two free throws and a 3-pointer to account for the 73-48 final score.

"A win like this is huge," Dilworth said. "Going into a week-and-a-half break, you want to go in a high note. We couldn't have played any better, even when we had the big lead. To bring that kind of intensity into a game like this means a lot."

"We came out intense," Denning said. "They made a few good runs, but we kept a decent lead. We came out with the same intensity in the second half and we extended the lead even more."

"This shows we can come back from losing to a very good team and come back and blow out a good team on their court," Groves added. "It feels good."

Murphy led all scorers with 27 points, but Dilworth was close behind with 23. Henry finished with 10, Groves had six, Denning four and Totta three.

"We scored 73 points tonight and Ben Groves had six," Smith marveled. "I wouldn't have expected that since he's such a big part of our offense. Joe coming back has been so big for us. I don't know if he'll be 100 percent, but I'll take whatever percent he is. We distributed the ball well. We feel good about what we're doing on the floor."

Freeport was left stunned.

"The key was Murphy's five 3's in the first quarter," Falcons' coach Craig Sickels said. "It's disheartening. It's not like we didn't know who he is. We know. At their place, we held him to two points through three quarters. We just didn't defend tonight. We didn't know where the shooters were and we didn't rotate to where they were. From that point, we were playing catchup.

"We made a nice run, but to start the second half, we just weren't playing intelligent basketball. We've gotten by on talent, but in close games, it boils down to poise, confidence and decisions. We have to get more of that and we don't have time. We've shown spurts, but we need to sustain that kind of play. We're not making senior-type decisions."

Christian led the Falcons with 16 points. Klages added 15 and Perkins had 12. Freeport also got scoring from Bartlett (three points) and Markelon (two).

The Falcons finished the season with a 13-5 mark, their best since moving up to Class B and their best since the 1999-2000 squad went 14-4.

Freeport expects to be the fifth seed when the tournament begins at the Portland Expo Feb. 16.

Sickels hopes his squad will regroup in the meantime.

"I just told them that the regular season's over now and the second season begins," he said. "I'd rather lay an egg now than at tournament time. Now everyone's 0-0. Hopefully, that's a positive thing. We have a week of practice. This hurts our confidence, but I hope we bounce back."

Yarmouth, meanwhile, locked up the second seed for the tournament and improved to 15-3, the program's finest regular season mark since 1988-89.

Not too shabby, considering just two years ago, the Clippers won exactly once.

"I never would have imagined two years that we'd be setting records," Dilworth said. "I can't really describe the change. It's a pretty amazing feeling. The last two years have totally erased the shadow that loomed over Yarmouth basketball. We don't even think about that anymore, but it's kind of fun to look at what we've accomplished."

"It's been so much fun," said Denning, who transferred from Cheverus in time to lead the Clippers to a 12-8 record last winter. "Every day. Practice and games are so much fun. Winning adds to it even more."

"I didn't know how good we'd be truthfully," Groves added. "I'd thought we'd be a top team, but I didn't think we'd be No. 2."

While the sharpshooting Murphy didn't suffer to the degree of his senior teammates, he too is awestruck over the Clippers' growth and success.

"I never saw that coming," he said. "I didn't think we could be this good. As the season has gone on, we've gotten more confident." The more we run, the better we get. We'll come out strong and give our best. We don't really care who we play. At the beginning of the season, we knew we'd make it, we just didn't know where. To go in as the No. 2 seed, I'm proud of it."

Smith is hoping the good times will continue when Yarmouth opens tournament play in a little over a week. After all, the Clippers haven't won a quarterfinal round game since the 1973-74 team went to the regional final.

"Last year, (the guys) really reveled that underdog role and the surprise of it all," he said. "They were trying to convince each other in the locker room that they were pretty good. This year, knowing they had to bring it and that people were going after them, they've continued to bring it night in, night out. The best thing I can say for our program, is that the younger guys know how to practice now.

"We talked about history all year. History is important. Good, bad or indifferent, it's important. These guys are writing history. We're glad to be going back a second time. We expected that all year. Last year, we were glad to make it. This year, we have a different mindset with expectations."

"Whatever the situation is, we've won 15 games, we're seeded second and they should be very proud of that. I don't know how we'll play, but we feel good and we should feel good about we've done this year. The tournament will take care of itself.

Cape spoils Yarmouth's Senior Night, locks up top seed

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2008

Cape spoils Yarmouth's Senior Night, locks up top seed
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

YARMOUTH- With a raucous full house on hand and the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Western Class B tournament up for grabs, the Yarmouth Clippers took the floor Tuesday night, hoping to add yet another triumphant chapter to their special season.

A senior group which has elevated the program to heights not seen in many years looked to make a statement in its final game in front of the home folks, but it wasn't to be.

That's because the Clippers ran up against the hottest team in the conference, the Cape Elizabeth Capers and their senior star, Shaine Burks (16 points), who missed most of the season, but is now rounding into form.

The Capers weren't intimidated in the least and shot to a quick 5-0 lead. Yarmouth responded, but found itself behind virtually the whole way and despite pulling within three points twice in the final period, the Clippers couldn't come all the way back and fell to 14-3 on the season with a 55-46 loss to a Cape Elizabeth squad which has now won 12 straight.

"We were out of sync all night," Yarmouth coach Adam Smith said. "It's a tribute to our boys for hanging tough despite not playing well. Cape certainly played great defense tonight. That said, a couple baskets here or there could have made a difference for us, but we couldn't get it done. They wouldn't let us."

While the Western B quarterfinals are still over a week away, Tuesday's atmosphere had an Expo or Civic Center feel.

After the large group of seniors (and their parents) were honored, senior Wilson Slader sang the national anthem and Smith sent five seniors out to start the game.

The Capers (who rallied from a huge early deficit to hand Yarmouth its first loss 71-50 back on Jan. 11), then stole the show.

A mere eight seconds into the contest, sophomore Andrew Dickey buried a 3-pointer. Less than a minute later, Dickey made a layup after a steal and it was 5-0.

"They didn't have their regular lineup at the start and their timing was a little off," Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray said. "We got a couple baskets and that helped confidence-wise."

"They got some open looks early that they made," Smith said. "I can't say we didn't recover from that, but it seemed like it gave them a lot of intensity to carry through the rest of the game. They seemed to ride that wave."

In the span of 18 seconds, the hosts drew even when junior Johnny Murphy took a pass from senior Lucas Denning and made a layup, followed by a Denning 3-ball to make it 5-5. Capers' junior Alex Bowe answered with a layup after a steal and junior Johnny Messina added a 3-pointer, but Yarmouth closed the quarter with hoops from sophomore Evan Henry (on a rebound putback) and senior Joe Dilworth (on a bank shot after a gorgeous spin move), cutting Cape Elizabeth's lead to one, 10-9.

Early in the second, the Clippers took their first and only lead when Henry hit a baseline jumper. Two foul shots from Bowe put the Capers back on top to stay and he followed 41 seconds later with a rebound putback to make it 14-11. After Henry made a rebound layup for Yarmouth, Burks made a pair of foul shots and Dickey hit a layup for an 18-13 advantage. After Denning set up senior Joe Laverriere for a layup and Dickey responded with a driving layup, Dilworth hit two free throws to make it a 20-17 game with 3:29 to go in the half.

Cape Elizabeth then ripped off seven straight points.

Burks got the run started with a rebound layup. After Dickey made one of two free throws, Bowe scored a layup off an inbounds pass and Burks followed with a layup to make it 27-17. Denning ended the run with a free throw with 49.9 seconds to go before halftime and senior Jack Champlin added a layup for the hosts, but with 1.4 seconds remaining, Burks was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and he made both foul shots for a 29-20 advantage.

Time after time this winter, Yarmouth has responded when challenged and the Clippers showed signs of going on another run to start the second half when Murphy scored on a layup after a steal and senior Ben Groves converted a three-point play. Cape Elizabeth junior Conor Lawler answered with a jumper in the lane and seconds after Denning was whistled for his fourth foul and had to come out, Messina made a free throw for a 32-25 lead.

A Murphy jumper was countered by a baseline jumper from Lawler and a layup from Dickey. Murphy then made another jumper and Groves hit two foul shots, but with 37.5 seconds to go in the third period, Capers' senior Woody Tabery scored on a rebound putback and the visitors had a 38-31 advantage with eight minutes to play.

The Clippers would make things interesting down the stretch.

Dilworth got things started with a left-handed layup and a free throw to complete a three-point play. Bowe then brought the Cape Elizabeth cheering section to its feet with a stunning behind-the-back pass to Burks, which led to a layup and a 40-34 lead. Murphy answered by canning a 3-pointer, but Tabery calmly hit a 3 of his own at the other end and it was a 43-37 game with 5:47 to go.

After Burks pushed the Capers' lead to eight with two free throws, Henry made a foul shot, Dilworth scored on a reverse layup, then Dilworth took a pass from Laverriere and made a layup to make it a three point game again, 45-42.

Yarmouth got the ball back and had a chance to draw even, but Murphy's 3-point bid was off line. Bowe then fed Burks again for a layup. After Dilworth missed a 3-point attempt, Lawler made a jumper. The Clippers took timeout, but couldn't rally. With 2:04 to go, Burks made two free throws and the lead was back to nine, 51-42.

Yarmouth would twice get within seven (on layups from Groves and Dilworth), but Cape Elizabeth countered with a rebound putback by Bowe and a leaner from Dickey to put the finishing touches on the 55-46 victory.

"We knew when they made a run that we had to go back at it," Burks said. "We knew if they got a lead, it would be tough to come back. We did it in the first game and we knew they could do it too."

"We made a couple more plays than they did," Ray added. "That's what happens in big games."

The Clippers were ultimately done in by too many turnovers (13 in the first half alone), too many offensive rebounds won by their opponent, and an inability to make an abundance of easy shots.

"We had some opportunities to get back in the game, but just didn't make it happen," Smith lamented. "We got a defensive stop, but they would get the rebound and the putback. They outplayed us on our floor. They played much more physical than we did. We didn't rise to the occasion tonight. Cape's been playing really well lately and we saw that tonight. They jumped on us and never really let us up.

"You miss those shots when the other team is physical. You think about who's on your back and who's coming under."

Burks led all scorers with 16 points in his best effort of the season to date.

"He was the best athlete out there on the floor," Ray said. "His real strength is his defensive ability. He's usually an on-the-ball defender for us, but he's trying to work his way back into rhythm. Tonight was a pretty good step toward that. He played big minutes and knocked down some foul shots. He's still a little tentative on offense. That stuff takes time."

"I've been in a turtleshell, just hiding, but tonight I finally broke out," Burks added. "This is by far my best game. The boos were motivation. They made a couple runs, but we finally pulled it out."

Dickey finished with 14 points. Bowe added 10. Lawler had six big points in the second half.
"Conor Lawler was amazing," Ray said. "He had a couple huge baskets. That's what I need these guys to do."

For Yarmouth, Dilworth led the way with 13 points. Murphy was also in double figures with 11 and Groves and Henry each had seven.

The Clippers appear to be set in the second spot for the upcoming tournament, but they'd like to leave nothing to chance and win at Freeport in their finale Thursday.

Yarmouth still has a lot of things to look forward to

Whether we're number two or three or whatever, we can't play like tonight," Smith said. "If we do, we'll have the same outcome as tonight. (Cape's) definitely number one. It's a percentage point race for second. Depends how Greely finishes up.

"I'd love to see (Cape) again, not because I want to play them again, but that it would mean we've gone a long ways. I hope we'd give them a better contest than the first two games."

The Capers (now 15-2) will enter the tournament as the top seed for the first time in six years. First they'll wrap up the regular year Friday night at Greely as they seek to atone for an earlier loss.

"We want to be No. 1," Burks said. "We'll celebrate on the bus ride home, then practice for a tough one at Greely."

"Friday is another tournament-type game," Ray added. "I love the way our schedule ends. We have no gimmes and have to show up every night, just like in the tournament. It's fun. Particularly if you can come away with a win.

"I think we still have a ways to go. I'm pleased with the kids, but we still have times when we have a lack of composure. It isn't easy. The target's on their back. How they react to that will define us as we step into the tournament. Everyone's gunning for us."

Red-hot Portland rallies to beat Deering

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 5th, 2008

Red-hot Portland rallies to beat Deering
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- Beware Western Class A: It's February and the Portland Bulldogs are playing their best basketball


The Bulldogs, notorious for peaking near tourney time, have returned to serious contender status. Monday night, in a game postponed 72 hours by bad weather, Portland overcame a sluggish start to rally past fierce rival Deering 53-47 at the Portland Expo.

"Both teams came tonight to play," Bulldogs' coach Joe Russo said. "It was a typical Portland-Deering game. I hope the rivalry never changes. The atmosphere and intensity is what makes basketball special in the city of Portland.

The Deering-Portland rivalry needs no introduction. Both teams have faced their share of challenges this winter, but both are once again angling for a high tournament seed.

The Rams beat the Bulldogs 59-50 at home Jan. 19 and after losing both games to their fierce rivals last winter were hoping for a season sweep.

Deering got off to a terrific start, scoring the game's first eight points, as senior Chris Smith made a layup, senior standout Kyle Donovan followed with a floater and a dunk and junior Ronald Abwoch hit two foul shots. Portland finally got on the board with 4:43 to play in the period on a foul shot from senior Jake Longstaff. Longstaff then added a long jumper, but Donovan made another layup. Bulldogs' senior Mike Harmon answered with a floater, but the Rams took an 11-5 lead after one on a free throw from senior Kristopher Stephenson.

After three rebound hoops by Donovan, Deering pushed its advantage to as many as a dozen points, 19-7, on a layup by junior Khadar Abbas with 5:12 to go in the first half, but Portland came to life 30 seconds later, when senior Anthony Passmore canned a 3-pointer. The Bulldogs got within seven, 20-13, on a bank shot from sophomore Koang Thok, but Donovan scored on a jumper and senior Tim Conley hit a leaner to push the lead back to 11, 24-13, with 1:12 to play before halftime.

The hosts would respond, however, as sophomore Joe Zukowski converted a three-point play and senior Mike Harmon's 3-point prayer was answered as time expired, getting Portland within a manageable five, 24-19, at the break.

The Bulldogs kept the pressure on in the third.

After Passmore and Abwoch traded layups, Longstaff made two foul shots and Donovan was whistled for his third foul. With 6:05 to play in the quarter, Longstaff made two free throws, then, 20 seconds later, sophomore Wally Stover scored on a layup after a steal to put Portland on top for the first time, 27-26, capping a 14-2 run.

"We weren't prepared for what they could do offensively last time," Longstaff said. "They took us by surprise. We're more well-prepared now."

Abwoch responded with a 3-ball, but Stover made a free throw and Longstaff hit a jumper right before Abwoch earned his third foul. Longstaff then made a free throw and Thok hit a floater for a 33-29 lead before Smith answered with a 3. Deering got one final possession at quarter's end and made the most of it as Abwoch took an inbounds pass and made a layup for a 34-33 advantage.

The Bulldogs made the big plays in the final stanza.

Just 27 seconds in, Longstaff tossed up a leaner as he was fouled. It dropped and he made his ensuing free throw for a 36-34 lead. With 5:42 to go, junior Ed Bogdanovich scored his first points of the game on two foul shots. Passmore and Longstaff each made a free throw, Stover converted a left-handed layup and Thok hit a 3-ball with 3:35 to go, capping a 12-0 run and giving Portland a commanding 45-34 lead.

"Kyle was getting a lot of rebounds in the first half, then we got a string of rebounds in the second half and we built the momentum off that," Longstaff said. "This kind of atmosphere this time of the year, you've got to step it up. When it's Portland-Deering, you have to step up the intensity.

"I didn't want to lose. I got into a rhythm and I found my teammates. They stepped up."

A three-point play from Conley ended the run and the Rams' 4 minute, 54 second scoring drought. Donovan then got his first points of the half on a three-point play and Deering was within five, 45-40. Smith made a layup off an inbounds pass with 1:47 left, but Longstaff broke the press on the Bulldogs' ensuing possession and found Bogdanovich for a layup and a 47-42 lead.

Donovan made it a one-possession game yet again when he hit a short banker with 1:09 to play. Conley stole the ball at the other end, but couldn't finish his opportunity. Abwoch came up with the rebound and was fouled, but missed the front end of a one-and-one.

With 33 seconds to go, Harmon made two clutch free throws. After Abwoch made one at the other end, Passmore hit a pair for a 51-45 lead with 18 seconds to play. Junior Khadar Abbas answered with two foul shots, but the Bulldogs iced it on two Bogdanovich free throws with 11 seconds left and closed out the 53-47 victory.

"We struggled at the beginning," Russo said. "We knew what they were doing and we had to keep our composure. We came out of it. We wanted to keep Donovan off the boards and we didn't in the first half. We had to run our offense. The kids did a nice job executing. It could have gone either way. We hung in there. We didn't break. Both teams played physical tonight in a good spirit."

Portland was led by 14 points from Longstaff and 10 from Passmore. Harmon had eight, Thok seven and Bogdanovich six (all on foul shots).

Deering got 19 points from Donovan and 10 from Abwoch. Abbas, who had a huge game in the first meeting, was held to four.

Coach Dan LeGage was not available for comment following the game.

The Rams (now 12-4 and fourth in the Western A Heals) hosted South Portland Tuesday (too late for this edition) and wraps up the regular season Friday at home versus Cheverus.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, hoped to continue their recent surge (Monday's victory was the team's ninth in 10 games) when they hosted struggling Cheverus Tuesday (also too late for this edition). Portland (12-4 and fifth in the Heals) goes to South Portland to conclude the regular season Friday.

As they always seem to do, the Bulldogs are putting it together when it matters the most.

"We're not exactly peaking yet, hopefully that will be Civic Center time," Longstaff said. "We're coming together. Kids are understanding their roles. There are some really good teams, but I think we can hang with them."

"We're trying to peak at this time of the year," Russo added. "We can't finish No. 1 after what SP did to TA. We're fighting for the third spot. In terms of good chemistry and spirit I feel like we're coming together. I can't tell you the outcome of the season right now, but it's really a fun bunch right now and they're really enjoying it."

Super Sunday & Super Hoops (Plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 9)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 3rd, 2008

Super Sunday & Super Hoops (Plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 9)
By The WIZ

Well folk's today is the big day Super Sunday when the biggest game of the year in football is played. Super Bowl XLII Giants VS. Patriots! Tommy and Eli Air-It-Out! Who do you like? I am going way out on a limb here. Not with my pick but with the final score. The WIZ predicts Patriots 38-13. But just like high school hoops when two teams get together for a big game anything can happen. That's why they play the games.

Super Hoops:

As I predicted last week Tabasco Road is here. I said that things were very hot and they were going to get even hotter. Wow! How hot can you get? It doesn't get much hotter than this!

South Portland loses to Portland 65-50. South Portland crushes Cheverus 68-47.

Thornton beats Cheverus 51-39.

Cape beats Freeport 58-49. Cape beats Falmouth 53-37.

Mt. Blue loses to Brewer 58-45. Mt. Blue loses to Hampden 50-48.

Dirigo beats Mountain Valley 51-39. Dirigo beats Boothbay 58-49.

Presque Isle beats Caribou 48-29. Presque Isle beats Mattanawcook 55-52.

Cony loses to Morse 53-51 in overtime.

Edward Little beats Morse 69-32

Falmouth beats Greely 65-56. Falmouth loses to Cape 53-37.

Richmond loses to NYA 59-51.

Portland beats South Portland 65-50.

Portland/Deering game postponed until Monday.

Wow! This is crazy! Hoops Gone Wild! Just too many big games coming in the final week of H.S. hoops to list. Here is the schedule for the final week. Take your pick:

HOULTON_______AT CALAIS_______

WINDHAM_______AT GORHAM_______
YORK_______AT FALMOUTH_______
BANGOR_______AT MT BLUE_______
CONY_______AT BRUNSWICK_______
MT ARARAT_______AT MORSE_______
BELFAST_______AT MT VIEW_______
ORONO_______AT OLD TOWN_______
LUBEC_______AT SHEAD_______

GREELY_______AT GRAY-NG_______
DIRIGO_______AT MT ABRAM_______
DEXTER_______AT STEARNS_______

BREWER_______AT BANGOR_______
CONY_______AT MT ARARAT_______
WISDOM_______AT EASTON_______

SANFORD_______AT NOBLE_______
CALAIS_______AT MACHIAS_______

Undefeated teams:

The undefeated list drops from 6 to 4 this week with Cheverus and Richmond dropping off.



3.Calais----------14-0 (58 straight)


As we head to this weeks WIZ Top 10 teams keep in mind that strength of schedule is a big factor especially when you have so many teams that are close to being in the top 10.

Cheverus with two big losses drops from # 2 to # 8. Thornton with the big win over Cheverus plus a 15-1 record moves up to #2. Maranacook stays at # 3. South Portland even know they lost to a surging Portland team but they get a big decisive win over Cheverus by 21pts. moves up to # 4 Camden, Calais and Cape stay at 5, 6 and 7 respectively. The Red Hot Eddies of Edward Little move into the 9th spot. And we have a 4 way tie at # 10 this week as Dirigo, Winthrop, Presque Isle and Yarmouth are battling it out for that last spot and it is just to close to call right now.

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 9:

1.Bangor---------16-0. Rams are playing at a level way above everybody else. They crushed Messalonskee 53-35! Hammered Skowhegan 63-39! Congrats Coach Roger Reed! 500 wins! Wow! Amazing! Two big games this week! First a trip to Mt. Blue! Could be interesting! Then host the Witches of Brewer!

2.Thornton------15-1 Golden Trojans! What a season for the Trojans! They take down the previously undefeated Cheverus Stags! 51-39! Crunched Rival Biddeford 63-37! # 2 Baby! How far can they go! Two games up this final week! First up off to Kennebunk! Then home with Scarborough! Looks like 17-1 for the Golden Trojans!

3.Maranacook---15-0 Black Bears took care of MCI 77-50! Gardiner game postponed until Monday! The Bears are on a mission! Can they get the Gold! Three games up this week! First the make-up at Gardiner! Then off to Waterville! Then home with Oak Hill! Will the Bears be 18-0! I think so!

4.So. Portland---12-4 Red Hot Red Riots! Team is getting better and better! Slipped one to a late surging Portland Bulldogs team 65-50! Regain and Re-Fire! They crushed the Cheverus Stags! 68-47! Wowzer! Hoops Gone Wild! Huge win! Big week ahead! First off Riots head to Deering! Then close out with a re-match with Portland and it's at South Portland! Rams and Bulldogs! Oh My! Doesn't get any better than this.

5.Camden Hills---15-1 Windjammers get two more wins! Beat Belfast 74-64! Beat Medomak 66-48! Coach Hart preparing for Tourney Time! Team wants Gold! Two games to finish up this week! Off to Lincoln up first! Then home against Rockland! Looks like Jammers will finish up at 17-1!

6.Calais---------14-0 Blue Devils only 1 game this past week! They annihilate Woodland 52-27! Undefeated! And 58 straight wins! The Streak continues! Two games this week to close out! First the Shires from Houlton pay a visit! Then wrap it up at Machias! Looks like 60-0! Baby! Congrats Blue Devils!

7.Cape Elizabeth---14-2 Capers are on Fire! Can they be stopped! Beat Freeport 58-49! Beat a Red Hot Falmouth team! 53-37! Wow! Jimmy Ray and Tommy Ray! How far can they take this team! Two games remain! And they are huge! Both on the road! First it's off to Yarmouth! Then off to Greely! Holy Smokes! Talk about getting Hot!

8.Cheverus---------14-2 Wow! Stags drop 2 games! They lose to Thornton 51-39! Get crushed by South Portland 68-47! Very interesting now! Stags drop to # 8 for now! And they have two huge games this week! And both are on the road! First to the Expo! Take on the surging Bulldogs! Then head over to Deering! To take on the Rams! Wow! What a finish! Where is Alex Fraser!

9.Edward Little------12-4 Red Hot Red Eddies! Eddies have won 9 of their last 10! Only loss was to # 1 Bangor! They would love to meet again! Eddies crush Oxford Hills 73-43! Crushed Morse 69-32! Two games left! First it's off to Leavitt! Then home against Lewiston! Looks like 14-4!

10. A 4-Way Tie! Wowzer!

10.Dirigo----------16-1 Welcome Cougars! They charge into the Top 10! Three Wins this past week! And two were huge! First they annihilate Telstar 94-34! Beat Mountain Valley 51-39! Get by Boothbay 58-49! Congrats coach Kane! And congrats Cougars! One game left! Cougars head to Mt.Abram! To finish up at 17-1!

10.Winthrop------14-1 Ramblers just Rambled along this week! They Rambled all over Monmouth 76-54! Rambled all over Wiscasset 70-57! And really put the Ramble to Lisbon 91-41! Last week of regular season! And Ramblers have 3 games! First off to Madison! Then home with Carrabec! Then off to Telstar! Ramblers finish at 17-1 Baby!

10.Presque Isle----15-2 And welcome Wildcats! Big year so far! Big Game! Big Win! They beat Caribou 48-29! Another Big Game! Another Big Win! Beat Mattanawcook! 55-52! How far can the Wildcats go! One game left! Old Town pays a visit! Coyotes would love to steal this! But it won't happen! Looks like the Wildcats finish at 16-2!

10.Yarmouth-----14-2 Dilworth is back! And Clippers are back on track! Beat York 68-54! Beat a tough NYA team 78-68! Two games left! Both are huge! First host the Red Hot Capers of Cape Elizabeth! Then head to Freeport to face the Falcons! Wow! What a way to finish up!

Teams Knocking on the Door:











Til' Next Week: Have a Super Sunday! And a Super Week! And Go Patriots!


South Portland earns sweet revenge at Cheverus

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 2nd, 2008

South Portland earns sweet revenge at Cheverus
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- Give the South Portland boys' basketball team credit. The Red Riots are certainly resilient. They're also proud, talented and after Saturday night's game at Cheverus, vindicated.

South Portland couldn't hold a 12-point lead and lost to the Stags in overtime eight days ago at home, then the Red Riots went to Portland and lost decisively.

South Portland could have gone into a slide, but the Red Riots came out Saturday with fire in their eyes and completed their mission in stunning fashion, opening up an early lead and building on it throughout the second half en route to a shocking 68-47 victory at Keegan Gym.

"It feels great after last week and (the Portland game) to come out like this and play so consistent and win it as a team," said South Portland senior Nick Wright, who was one of many Red Riots to produce big-time.

"This is a big win for our program against a quality team which is very well coached," added South Portland's first-year coach Phil Conley. "I'm proud of my guys for the way they worked. This is the best game we've played defensively. We also rebounded and our transition game from that was very effective." "

The Stags' win at South Portland on Jan. 25 was their 14th straight to start the season, but Cheverus lost 51-39 at home to Thornton Academy Tuesday, then continued to struggle in front of a rowdy crowd against a Red Riots team looking for another defining win.

South Portland took a 13-8 lead after one quarter and those who felt the Stags would beat the Red Riots decisively in the rematch soon realized they were in for something else entirely.

South Portland slowly pushed its lead upward in the second quarter, going from 20-14 to 28-18 right before the half. Then, right before the horn, senior Will Furbush canned a 3-ball and the Red Riots hit the stairs to the locker room on a high with a 31-18 lead.

The euphoria ended as soon as the team shut the door as memories of the recent painful loss crossed everyone's mind.

"We knew what happened last week after we had a lead at halftime," Wright said. "Tonight we said let's focus and go out and play like we did in the first half."

"I didn't have to mention it," Conley added. "It was spoken about by the players before I got into the locker room. Our guys took care of the basketball tonight."

Everyone expected Cheverus to make a second half run, but instead, the Red Riots kept pouring it on.

Senior Nick Gaddar got the second half started on a promising note when he made a layup. Sophomore standout Keegan Hyland added a free throw and the lead was 16, 34-18. After Stags' junior Ian Barwise made a jumper, Gaddar converted a three-point play and South Portland was on top 37-20.

Barwise made a 3-pointer for Cheverus, but Hyland made consecutive layups for a 41-23 advantage. Stags' junior Mick DiStasio answered with a layup, junior Peter Foley made a 3 and Barwise converted a three-point play to pull the hosts within 11, 41-30, but Hyland made a three-point play and after Barwise made a foul shot, Red Riots' sophomore Matt Lee canned a 3-ball for a 47-31 advantage.

Cheverus got back to within 13 on a 3-pointer from junior Ian Schwarz, but Lee made one free throw and Wright added a pair to give South Portland a commanding 50-34 lead after three periods.

"Every time they scored, we answered with a bucket or two," Wright said. "We just kept our composure down the stretch."

Lee opened the fourth with a 3-ball to give the Red Riots a 19-point lead, 53-34. After DiStasio made a layup, Hyland answered with two free throws. After Stags' sophomore Indiana Faithfull hit a 3-pointer, Hyland made a bank shot and it was a 57-39 game with 3:34 to play.

After Gaddar made a foul shot, Cheverus senior Chris Hendrix hit a 3-pointer, but Lee, Hyland and Wright all made two free throws apiece to give South Portland its biggest lead, 64-42, with 1:21 left.

After Stags' senior Keelan Donovan made two free throws and Schwarz sank a 3, Red Riots' sophomore Connor Hasson made three foul shots and sophomore Spencer Bowring added one more to account for the 68-47 final.

South Portland's loud and vocal cheering section rushed the court and the Red Riots celebrated their first win over the Stags since the 1999-2000 season.

"They beat us on our court, but we beat them on their court on Senior Day," Gaddar said. "It feels great. I think we came out with more intensity. I have to give up to the rest of my team. We played hard. I haven't seen my team play that hard ever."

"Against a good team like Cheverus you have to play a total game and I thought we did that," Conley said. "In the first game, we didn't do a very good job of that. You learn as a team and you learn from losing. I thought we handled their defensive pressure tonight.

"This is a huge win. Our schedule's so tough down the stretch. We're coming off two losses, but the guys didn't let that get to them. They worked hard in practice. I'm so proud of my kids. They gave it their all and played tremendous."

Hyland led all scorers with 22 points. Wright finished with 14 points and more impressively, 18 rebounds.

"The ball bounced my way a little bit," Wright said. "We boxed out and played our game. We didn't let them get second shots."

"I thought Nick Wright was unbelievable tonight," Conley added. "Offensively, he was great as well."

Lee also had 14 points, while Gaddar had 11. Furbush and Hasson both finished with three points. Bowring had one.

"I thought Hyland, Lee and Furbush made some big-time shots in the second half," Conley said. "Nick Gaddar played tremendous defense. We have tremendous senior leadership. With that senior leadership, they're very athletic, which helps. They're smart kids."

The Red Riots' strong team effort didn't surprise Wright.

"I think it's everybody," he said. "Even the kids who don't play. Everyone's so involved and loves the game so much. We play so well as a team. It comes from the heart."

Cheverus was paced by 11 points from DiStasio. Barwise had nine, Faithfull seven. Hendrix and Schwarz both had six. Donovan finished with four points. Foley and Foster had two apiece. Senior Doug Alston, who was huge in the victory at South Portland, failed to score a single point.

The Stags were searching for answers in a long postgame meeting, but coach Bob Brown admitted he was at a loss for words.

"They outplayed us in every aspect of the game," Brown said. "Give South Portland credit. They played to their strengths. They were just better, quicker and just outplayed us. He outcoached us. Right now we're in a funk. We're going backwards. Every time we started to make a run, they did something good. We got a couple calls. If they go the other way...

"I've been coaching 48 years. For the first time, I'm stumped. These guys have to grab it and get it. They have either get together or not get together. Now's the time."

Cheverus (14-2 and second to Thornton Academy in the Western A Heals) closes the regular year with games at Portland Tuesday and at Deering Friday.

South Portland improved to 12-4, its most wins since the 1999-2000 squad went 13-5 in the regular year. The Red Riots close with a visit to Deering Tuesday and a home game versus Portland Friday.

They'll enjoy this victory, but the Red Riots (fourth in Western A) still have loftier goals to attain.

"This will help us in the Heal Points," Gaddar said. "We're definitely looking for a top three seed going into the tournament. We've still got two more games and playoffs that count the most. Senior year's mapping out pretty good right now."

"This is huge," Wright said. "We'll celebrate it tonight and hopefully watch the Pats win a championship tomorrow, but we have to get ready for Deering. We lost to them earlier. We have to put this behind us. We know we're one of the top teams in the conference."

"I don't know where we're going to finish," Conley added. "This is a big one, but we have two games left. We'll get ready for Deering Tuesday. Overall, it's a great win and we look forward to our next game."

Y-town bragging rights go to the Clippers

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 2nd, 2008

Y-town bragging rights go to the Clippers
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

YARMOUTH- Nine days ago, the Yarmouth boys' basketball team traveled to unheralded Western C contender Waynflete and left with a decisive and stunning loss.

Saturday afternoon, the Clippers made another trip to a Western C contender which plays in a small, unfamiliar gym, crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy, and made sure that history didn't repeat itself.

Yarmouth never got caught looking ahead to Tuesday's showdown with Cape Elizabeth, fending off the Panthers' best shots before finally pulling away in the fourth quarter to win 78-68.

"From the tip, it was a really high-intensity game," said Clippers' senior point guard extraordinaire Lucas Denning. "(NYA) came out and played hard all game. They played a great game. We matched their intensity.

"They're a very good team. I'm not going to say I wasn't nervous after what happened at Waynflete. We had to come to another small gym for an afternoon game. It was tough, but we got it done."

The game was fast-paced and closely contested from the get-go. Yarmouth clung to a 16-15 lead after one quarter. The Clippers then rode a late second quarter surge to take a 36-29 lead. The Panthers wouldn't let them pull away, however, and were still within six, 51-45, at the start of the fourth.

In the final stanza, the visitors finally seized control.

With 6:02 to play, NYA senior standout Liam Anderson made a pair of foul shots to make it a 58-51 game, but after the Panthers failed on a pair of possessions with a chance to get closer, Yarmouth junior gunslinger Johnny Murphy made a jump shot. The hosts answered when senior Alex Briggs scored on a rebound putback, making it 60-53 with 4:45 to play. Yarmouth senior Joe Dilworth responded with a bank shot, but Anderson scored on a finger roll and it was 62-55 with 3:38 remaining.

Then, and only then, did the Clippers get some breathing room.

A 6-0 run did the trick. Senior Ben Groves scored on a leaner, Denning hit a jump shot, then, with 2:06 to go, Denning made two foul shots and it was 68-55. NYA got a free throw then a rebound putback from Anderson to get back within 10, 68-58, but after a Denning steal, Yarmouth senior Robb Arndt fed Murphy for a layup with a gorgeous pass and the lead was back to a dozen, 70-58.

The teams then traded points the rest of the way until the Panthers got to within eight, 76-68, on a leaner from junior Andrew Gendron. But only 19.5 seconds remained and it was too late. A layup by Murphy accounted for the 78-68 final score.

"We got out of here with a win," Yarmouth coach Adam Smith said. "Offensively, (NYA) was incredibly good. They hung around and hung around. I thought they were explosive offensively. We were just tougher offensively. We had better looks down the stretch and we kept the offensive pressure on them. We had patience and broke them down."

"We gave them a run," NYA first-year coach Ed Rogers said. "We knew the last time we played a team like this, Freeport, we were out of it early. Our goal was to have energy for 32 minutes. I told the guys afterwards that they lost to quite possibly the Class B champion and gave them everything they could handle. If we can keep this effort up, we like our chances."

Dilworth wound up leading the Clippers in scoring with 21 points as he continues to round into playing shape after sitting out for a month with a broken hand.

"This is the most tired I've been after a game," Dilworth said.

"Joe picked up the offensive load," Denning said. "It's great to have him back. He takes so much pressure off."

"I thought Joe played his best game back," Smith added. "He ran out of gas, but I kept him in there to give him a workout. I think he feels good. He has a little ways to go, but today was a nice day for him."

Murphy (who only had three first half points) finished with 18. Groves had 14, while sophomore Evan Henry added a huge 11. Denning had 10 and Arndt and senior Jack Champlin both had two.

Count Rogers as one who's very impressed with the Clippers.

"Lucas Denning is probably the best point guard in the state because he doesn't have to shoot at the beginning, but at the end, he's the key," Rogers said. "Evan Henry stepped up and had a great game for them. We didn't expect 11 points from him. We held Johnny Murphy to three points in the first half. He had a big second half. They're so potent even if we hold Johnny down. They have all the pieces. "

For NYA, Anderson (three days removed from a 31-point uprising in an upset win over Richmond) was the high man with 22 points. Senior Pak Lul added 14, Gendron had 13 and senior Taylor Gorman scored 11 before fouling out. Briggs finished with four and junior Calvin Chicoine and sophomore Henry Sterling had two points apiece.

"Taylor had a good game for us," said Rogers. "We finally got back to four guys in double figures. If there's such a thing as a good loss, this was a good loss. It was a well-played game. We have nothing to be ashamed of."

The Panthers, now two-thirds of the way through a stretch which sees them face the best of the best in three classes, go to Western C power Traip Tuesday and close the regular year Friday at Gray-New Gloucester.

NYA (now 9-7 and seventh in the Heal Points standings) looks to host a preliminary round playoff game, then take its chances in Augusta.

"We're hoping to get a home game," Rogers said.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are now 14-2. That's the most wins in a regular season for the program since the 1988-89 team went 15-3.

Yarmouth is far from done. The Clippers (second in Western B) are hoping to overtake Cape Elizabeth for the top spot and can go a long way toward doing so with a win over the Capers, whom they host Tuesday night (Senior Night). Yarmouth closes the regular season Thursday with another huge test at Freeport (a team the Clippers beat at home on a buzzer-beater last month).

"(The Waynflete loss) was a wakeup call," Denning said. "We went in there knowing they were a good team, but we didn't play a good game. That hurt our morale a little, but we've come back out and won. We have huge games left. We're getting ready for Cape now. It's Senior Night. They already beat us."

"I said to the guys, 'You're 14-2. It doesn't get better than that,'" Smith added. "We've battled all year. Nothing comes easily to us. We like it that way. It toughens us up for the tournament. Next week will toughen us up too. We'd like to play really well going into the tournament. (The 1 seed) or 2 doesn't matter. I'm hoping we can go either in one or two. It would be a big thing for us. We just wanted to continue to win and play well."

Waynflete edges St. Dom's

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 30th, 2008

Waynflete edges St. Dom's
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

It didn't make any of the papers, but Waynflete enjoyed a stirring win at St. Dom's last night to stay red-hot in Western C action.

The Flyers entered the game on a three-game win streak, highlighted by an impressive 15-point home win over Yarmouth last week.

Waynflete beat St. Dom's 60-51 in Portland in the season opener way back on Dec. 7, but last night's game would go down to literally the final second.

Flyers' coach Rich Henry described the contest as "one of our traditional knockdown, dragout games...back and forth all game."

Waynflete led 27-26 at halftime and 42-39 going to the fourth, but there, things got really interesting as the hosts rallied to take a 55-53 lead inside of two minutes. The Flyers responded and tied the score when junior Hassan Jeylani scored on a layup after a steal.

On the ensuing Saints' possession, they turned it over and Waynflete freshman Joe Veroneau dove to the floor, came up with the ball and controlled it in time for the Flyers to take timeout.

The game came down to a buzzer-beater and who better to shoot with the game on the line than senior sharpshooter Lucas O'Neil? Waynflete got him the ball and despite having two defenders draped all over him, O'Neil calmly buried it for his 35th, 36th, and 37th points of the night!

Waynflete 58 St. Dom's 55.

The kicker was that St. Dom's had just beaten NYA on a buzzer-beater Saturday.

The Flyers are now 9-6 (and fifth in the Heals). They go to Sacopee Thursday, then close the regular year with home games versus Lake Region and Hyde next week. The team is certainly peaking at the right time.

Liam's dream game helps NYA hand Richmond first loss

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 30th, 2008

Liam's dream game helps NYA hand Richmond first loss
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

YARMOUTH- The Richmond Bobcats traveled south Wednesday night with a perfect record and a very big addition to their lineup in tow.

A couple hours later, they headed home with their first regular season setback since 2006.

The North Yarmouth Academy Panthers, coming off a pair of devastating losses, rose to the occasion, getting 31 points from senior Liam Anderson, including a three-point play which broke a tie with 1:50 to go, and held on for a stirring 59-51 Heal Points-rich victory.

"It's a big win," Panthers' first-year coach Ed Rogers said. "I told the kids it takes time for things to come together. We've lost a couple heartbreakers lately. We knew these guys hadn't lost a regular season game in two years. We knew where they were in Heal Points. We knew how big it was. We played team basketball. When we got behind, we'd been faltering, but tonight we didn't do that."

"They were ready to play," Richmond coach Paul Lancaster said. "They knew we're a point-worthy team. We just couldn't get it done. They're a quality program. Even though we lost tonight, I think the kids would say this was a fun game to play in."

The Bobcats entered Wednesday's contest on a roll, having downed all of their foes this season, including rival Valley last week. Even better, senior standout Marc Zaharchuk is back in action after missing a month with a broken arm.

NYA, meanwhile, was in the midst of a four-game skid, which included last-second losses at St. Dom's (42-41) and Gould (47-46).

Wednesday, the Panthers got off to a great start.

Anderson scored eight points in 50 seconds to give his team an early 8-2 lead. NYA senior Taylor Gorman then had a pair of layups, senior Pak Lul took a pass from Gorman and made a layup and junior Andrew Gendron hit a short jumper, giving the Panthers a 16-2 lead halfway through the opening period.

Richmond soon settled down, but layups from Lul and Gorman gave NYA a 20-6 lead. Bobcats' senior Brandon Lancaster made a pair of foul shots and after Gendron hit another jumper, Lancaster made a bank shot with time winding down to get Richmond within 12, 22-10, at quarter's end.

The Bobcats closed the gap in the second period.

Zaharchuk got things started by draining a 3-pointer. After the Panthers got a floater from Anderson, Lancaster scored on a rebound putback to make it 24-15. Zaharchuk followed with a three-point play and Richmond was within six, 24-18. Anderson and Lancaster then traded hoops and Anderson and Zaharchuk did the same to make it a 28-22 contest. Bobcats' senior Sam Carter made one of two foul shots with 1:45 to play in the half to make it a 28-23 game, but NYA senior Alex Pilitsis made a foul shot and Lul scored on a layup on an inbounds pass to push the lead back to eight points, 31-23. With 36.2 seconds to play in the half, Bobcats' sophomore Eric Murrin made a layup and the Panthers' lead was just six, 31-25, at the break.

Richmond went off on a 9-2 run to start the third period to take its lone lead of the game.

Senior Walter Miller got things started with a 3-pointer. After Anderson made a layup for NYA, Murrin scored on a leaner and Miller followed with another 3-ball, tying the game at 33-33. With 4:41 to play in the third, Carter made the second of two foul shots to put the Bobcats ahead, 34-33.

Considering all the bad bounces that have gone their way in recent days, no one would have been too surprised if the Panthers buckled, but instead they embarked on a 7-0 run to end the quarter.

Gendron put the hosts back on top with a jumper. Anderson followed with a layup after an offensive rebound, then converted a three-point play to make it 40-34 heading for the fourth.

A layup by Anderson 13 seconds into the final stanza pushed the lead to eight, 42-34, but a layup by Miller ended the 9-0 run and Richmond's 5 minute, 19 second drought. Lul then fed Gorman for a layup and Anderson scored on a tip to make it a 10-point game, 46-36, with 5:38 to play.

It was then the Bobcats turn to surge.

Murrin hit back-to-back 3-pointers and suddenly it was 46-42 with 4:53 to go. After Gendron made one of two free throws, Zaharchuk hit a layup and Lancaster buried a 3-ball, tying the score at 47-47 with 2:35 remaining.

Fourteen seconds later, Gendron went to the line for a one-and-one, but missed the front end. Richmond then pounded the ball in to Zaharchuk, but his short hook was just off the mark and Gorman rebounded. At the other end, Lul delivered the ball to Anderson and he made a layup while being fouled by Lancaster. Anderson then added the free throw, completing the three-point play and putting NYA ahead to stay, 50-47.

After Miller missed a 3 for the Bobcats, Anderson calmly buried one for NYA, making it 53-47 with just over a minute to go. Carter was then short on a 3-point attempt and Gendron was fouled after grabbing the rebound. He calmly sank both free throws, pushing the lead to eight, 55-47, with just 48.1 seconds left.

Murrin would score on a layup after a steal with 26 seconds left, but eight seconds later, Gendron made two more foul shots. Murrin made two free throws of his own with 9.7 seconds to play, but with 7.6 seconds left, Gendron made two more foul shots, accounting for the 59-51 final score.

"It feels really good coming off four losses," Anderson said. "It's been tough. We had buzzer-beater losses, but we pulled together. This is huge. I don't think Richmond's lost in two seasons. It says a lot about us and a lot about them. It was a tough game. It feels good to get a win.

"It was important to get off to a great start especially against this team. They started hitting some 3's, but we slowed it down and played our game."

Richmond is undefeated no more.

"We always have a tough time with NYA," coach Lancaster said. "They're well coached. Their kids play hard. We had to step it up a little more than normal. We came out a little flat and they came out fired up. We got down and dug a big hole and got all the way back, but we had to change gears. They got big rebounds. Things went their way. When we had to make big plays we didn't and they did. You have to give them credit. They played an excellent game.

"I don't know if the loss isn't better for the coach than it is for the kids. As a human being, I feel the expectations and pressure of beating undefeated more than the kids do. The kids will go home and be a little down, but tomorrow's another day. I won't sleep very much tonight, but that's coaching. The kids keep things in perspective. Adults tend to overblow things. I don't feel so bad about the loss. It was a hard fought game. We could have laid down and these kids battled back. That shows me the mark of a champion."

Richmond was paced by 14 points apiece from Lancaster and Murrin. Zaharchuk finished with 10, Miller added eight and Carter had five.

The Bobcats remain atop the Western D Heals and return to action Friday at home versus Rangeley.

For the Panthers, Anderson's 31 points easily led all scorers, but he had company. NYA also got 13 points from Gendron, eight from Gorman, six from Lul and one from Pilitsis, along with steady ball control from junior Calvin Chicoine.

"The key for Liam was he's had a lot of good halves, but we've stressed him playing intense for 32 minutes," Rogers said. "He wanted to put us on his back and he did that. He's an outstanding player."

"We knew we had to win this one," Anderson added. "I wanted the ball in my hands. Everyone played well. It was a team effort. We had great guard play, Andrew and Calvin."

NYA improved to 9-6 with the victory, but is in the midst of a brutal stretch. The Panthers (ninth in the Western C Heals) just beat the finest team in Western D. Friday, they host one of the best in Western B, crosstown rival Yarmouth, and Tuesday they go to Western C power Traip. NYA wraps up the regular season a week from Friday at Gray-New Gloucester.

"We've got Yarmouth and Traip coming up," Anderson said. "Those are tough games."

Based on Wednesday night's showing, the Panthers are up for the challenge.

"We've learned a lot," Rogers said. "We played South Portland and Thornton in the preseason and lost handily, but we learned a lot. We learned when we got beat handily by Freeport. If we can have our energy and play as hard as we can, we can compete. We feel much better tonight than we did the last four games.

"Our goal was to leave the court having worked as hard as we could. We wanted it more. We play the number one team in D, B, and C three games in a row. If we could go 3-0, that would shake the whole thing up."

Mancini's the man as Falmouth beats Greely

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 29th, 2008

Mancini's the man as Falmouth beats Greely
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

FALMOUTH- The Falmouth Yachtsmen boys' basketball team is much more than sophomore sharpshooter Stefano Mancini, but when Mancini is on his game, the Yachtsmen are very difficult to beat..

The Greely Rangers, riding high after Saturday's stirring overtime win at Freeport, found that out the hard way Tuesday night as Mancini went off for 16 first half points and 24 overall, as Falmouth led from start to finish in a 65-56 victory.

"The young kids played very well tonight," Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan said. "We're playing better as a team. I'm pleased with what we're doing. We're not there by a longshot, but we're doing good things. We bent, but we didn't break. Earlier in the season, we'd break. Our confidence is growing."

This game proved yet again that the only thing for certain this winter in Western Class B is that absolutely nothing is for certain.

Greely looked to start a win streak, while Falmouth had won three in a row and 10 of 11 and was seeking revenge for a season-opening 63-52 loss in Cumberland.

The Yachtsmen got off to an ideal start when senior Michael Doyle made a bank shot and senior Kevin Smith made a 3-pointer for a 5-0 lead. The Rangers then got on the board on a layup from junior Chris Young, but Mancini converted an old-fashioned three-point play and sophomore Jahrel Registe made a spinning jumper to make it 10-2. After Greely senior Spenser Adams and Mancini traded 3-pointers, Greely got a jumper from junior Erik Thayer, only to see Mancini make a floating bank shot at the other end. Young then made a layup, but Mancini answered with a driving layup of his own to give the hosts a 17-9 lead after one.

Early in the second period, Smith made another 3-pointer for a 20-9 lead. Thayer got one point back with a foul shot, but Smith answered with a layup. Rangers' sophomore Trevor Tierney and Falmouth sophomore Ryan Rogers traded baskets before Greely junior Ben Andreasen and Adams both made short jumpers to pull the Rangers within eight, 24-16.

The Yachtsmen would close the half on an 8-2 run as Mancini made a 3-ball, sophomore Sam Hornung hit a layup, then, after Tierney made two free throws, Mancini hit another 3-pointer for a 32-18 advantage at the break.

After Greely coach Ken Marks delivered some choice words in the locker room, one player, Young, came to life in the third period, scoring 13 points on his own, but the Rangers couldn't get any closer than nine.

Right out of the locker room, Young made a rebound putback. After Mancini sank a jumper at the other end, Young made a layup, was fouled, and made the free throw. Fourteen seconds later, Young made another layup and it was 34-25. After Mancini made a leaner, Young made another layup. Registe converted a rebound putback at the other end, but Young scored on a layup once more to make it 38-29.

Smith then made two free throws and Hornung had a layup for Falmouth before Greely got a foul shot from sophomore Sam Thompson. With 1:31 to go in the period, Hornung scored on a rebound putback, only to have Tierney answer at the other end with a layup. In the waning seconds, Yachtsmen junior Jack Wyman made a layup and Young answered with a dunk. Despite Young's heroics, Falmouth still took a 12-point lead, 46-34, into the fourth.

Greely hoped to make a run in the fourth, but despite nine points from Thayer, couldn't do so. Thayer got things started with an old-fashioned three-point play. After Registe answered with a fastbreak layup, Thayer canned a 3-ball to make it 48-40. Smith responded with a jump shot for the hosts, but with 4:32 to go, Tierney made a layup and the Rangers were back within eight, 50-42.

Doyle responded with a layup and Smith made two free throws for a 54-42 lead, but Young made a foul shot, then Thayer made another 3 to make it 54-46 with 3:02 remaining.

The Yachtsmen simply wouldn't buckle. Wyman made a free throw, Registe followed with two more and it was 57-46. After Adams made a foul shot for Greely, Mancini made a pair of Falmouth and that was pretty much all she wrote. The closest the Rangers got down the stretch was seven, 63-56, before two free throws from Rogers accounted for the 65-56 final score.

Mancini led all scorers with 24 points.

"Tonight, I was able to adjust," he said. "Everyone else on the team is stepping up. We didn't feel like we had it until the end. Not the way Adams can shoot the ball."

"He's a big-time player, but the other kids played well too," Halligan added.

Smith finished with 14, while Hornung and Registe both had big nights with eight points apiece.

For Greely, Young led the way with 22 points (18 of which came in the second half) and 13 rebounds.

"Chris played well," Marks said. "We talked about getting the ball inside. He took it to heart."

Thayer wound up with 12 points. Adams had nine and Tierney eight.

"It was a slow start and Mr. Mancini made his shots," Marks said. "Kevin Smith played well and their role players played well. This is a tough place to play.

Greely (now 10-5 and third in the Western B Heals) hosts Fryeburg Friday, goes to Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday, then wraps up the regular season at home Feb. 8 versus red-hot Cape Elizabeth, in a game rife with Heal Points and playoff positioning implications.

"We have to somehow match teams' intensity," Marks said. "Not everybody's doing that. We have Cape to end the season. Between now and next week we have to put something together."

Falmouth improved to 11-4 and is sixth in Western B, but still has an opportunity to move up. The Yachtsmen go to Cape Elizabeth Friday, then close the year with a home game versus York Tuesday and a visit to Lake Region Friday.

"We have tough teams left," Halligan said. "In this league, you have to come to play every night. We'll be ready."

"Coach said at the beginning of the year that the team who's going to be the best is the one who's improving going into the tournament and it looks like we're on our way to doing that," Mancini added. "We need to work on being consistent."

SMAA Stats (thru 1/26/08)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 28th, 2008

SMAA Stats (thru 1/26/08)

Scoring Leaders:

   1. Kyle Donovan-------Deer---17.6
   2. Keegan Hyland------SP-----16.7
   3. James Morse---------TA----15.3
   4. Kyle Sanborn--------West---15.2
   5. Mick DiStasio-------Chev---14.6
   6. Ryan McQuestion---Wind---14.3
   7. Dom Borelli---------West---13.8
   8. Kory Martin----------TA---13.3
   9. Andrew Arena-------Gor---13.0
  10. Ed Bogdanovich-----Port---12.2


   1. Mike Foustoukos-------Gor---11.6
   2. Colin Cooper-----------Mars--10.6
   3. Ed Bogdanovich--------Port----8.9
   4. Neumann----------------Bidd---8.7
   5. Kyle Donovan-----------Deer---8.4
   6. Nick Wright--------------SP----8.1
   7. Dakota Greene-----------TA---7.3
   8. Jamieson-----------------Bidd--7.0
   9. Kyle Sanborn-----------West---6.8
  10. Dom Borelli-------------West---6.6


   1. Polichronopoulus--------Mars----5.2
   2. Mohamed----------------Bidd----4.9
   3. James Morse--------------TA----4.5
   4. Travis Guerrette---------Wind----4.5
   5. Dakota Greene------------TA----4.2
   6. Jeff Winnie----------------TA----3.7
   7. Brian Jenkins-------------Gor----3.6
   8. Ronald Abwoch---------Deer----3.6
   9. Jake Longstaff------------Port----3.0
  10. Stephen Lebel------------West---3.0


   1. Pat Stefanilo-----------San----3.5
   2. Matt Matoin-----------San----3.3
   3. Doug Alston----------Chev---3.2
   4. Tim Conley------------Deer---3.1
   5. Will Furbush------------SP----3.0
   6. James Morse------------TA---2.9
   7. John Onesti-------------BE----2.6
   8. Mick DiStasio---------Chev---2.5
   9. Kong Thok------------Port----2.5
  10. Indy Faithfull-----------Chev---2.3

Free Throw Percentage:

   1. Doug Alston----------Chev---37/48---77.1
   2. Kyle Sanborn--------West----33/44---75.0
   3. Travis Guerrette------Wind---37/50---74.0
   4. James Morse---------TA-----39/53---73.6
   5. Jeff Winnie-----------TA----26/36----72.2
   6. Dom Borelli---------West---43/60----71.7
   7. Neumann-------------Bidd---24/35----68.6
   8. Lincoln Sanborn-------BE----32/47----68.1
   9. Ed Boddanovich------Port----31/46----67.4
  10. Ryan McQuestion-----Wind---29/45---64.4

3-Point Goals:

   1. Andrew Arena--------Gor----34
   2. Crosby---------------Mrsh---30
   3. Mick DiStasio--------Chev---27
   4. Ryan McQuestion-----Wind--24
   5. Christian Hamilton-----West--24
   6. Will Furbush------------SP---22
   7. Gross-----------------Kenn--22
   8. Kyle Brown -----------San---19
   9. Matt Lee---------------SP----17
  10. Jamieson--------------Bidd---17
  11. Indy Faithfull----------Chev---17

WIZ Words: Tabasco Road (plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 27th, 2008

WIZ Words: Tabasco Road (plus WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8)
By The WIZ

Wow! What a week folks! We had it all this past week thrillers, big games, overtime games, not so pretty games. Things are really heat'n up! And the next two weeks are going to be unbelievable! You think things were hot this week well just wait for the next two weeks as the team's fire up and head down
Tabasco Road! Things are going to get very hot! It's that time of year when teams should be fine tuned and ready to put out their best. We'll have teams jockeying for top seeds and we'll have teams trying to make the tournament. This is the best time of year folks. Basketball fans everywhere pack the gyms to root for their hometown teams. Hoop Junkies overdose! People don't get enough sleep they stay up late. The MBR Message boards goes completely nuts! High school hoops! You gotta Luv It!

In some of the big games this past week the Cheverus Stags had a Battle Royal with the South Portland Red Riots. This was the best game I have seen in sometime. The Stags were down by 12pts. late in the 3rd but staged a comeback and tied the game at the end of regulation, then stole the game in overtime 63-61. South Portland was impressive and proved to all they are a legit top 10 team in the state. Cheverus also beat Deering earlier in the week 67-49.

Bangor won their big game over Edward Little very decisively 57-42.

Winthrop beat Mountain Valley 40-36 then lost to Dirigo 48-44.

Thornton beat Bonny Eagle 46-42.

Calais beat Lee 67-60.

Yarmouth lost to Waynflete 69-54.

Cape beat Traip 56-46.

Caribou beat Hermon 69-61.

Mt. Blue beat Brewer 53-51.

Greely beat Freeport in overtime 76-61.

Richmond beat Valley 66-51

Central Aroostook won 4 games this week and the two big ones they beat Southern Aroostook 67-60 in overtime and they beat Ashland 63-60.

Ugly Games:

Lee at Calais one player getting 3 T's.

Nokomis at Brewer a fight outside after the game.

Lewiston at Lawrence a brawl in the 3rd period stopping and canceling the game.

There is no need of this folks. Players, coaches and fans need to respect the game. Emotions can run very high during games I understand that, but we must remain composed. Play and cheer your hearts out and when it's over leave it on the court. Remember this is only a game. It's a game we all love, but let's respect it.

Undefeated Teams:

Undefeated teams this week drops from 8 to 6 with Winthrop and Traip dropping off.





C. Aroostook--14-0


Big games this week: So many but here are some of the big ones:

Monday 1/28:

Livermore Falls at Mountain Valley

NYA at Gould

Valley at Piscataquis

Tuesday 1/29:

Deering at Marshwood
Scarborough at Biddeford
South Portland at Portland
Thornton at Cheverus
Windham at Bonny Eagle
Freeport at Cape
Greely at Falmouth
York at Yarmouth
Bangor at Messalonskee
Brewer at Mt. Blue
Cony at Morse
Hampden at Lawrence
Lewiston at Brunswick
Woodland at Lee Academy

Wednesday 1/30:

Richmond at NYA
Caribou at Presque Isle
Dexter at Piscataquis

Thursday 1/31:

Mountain Valley at Dirigo
Boothbay at Hall-Dale
Forest Hills at Greenville
Oxford Hills at Cony
Hermon at Old Town
Houlton at Fort Kent
Washington Academy at Narraguagus

Friday 2/1:

Bonny Eagle at Windham
Deering at Portland
Gorham at Westbrook
South Portland at Cheverus
Thornton at Biddeford
Falmouth at Cape
Yarmouth at NYA
Rangeley at Richmond
Brunswick at Mt. Ararat
Lawrence at Brewer
Morse at Edward Little
Mt. Blue at Hampden
Skowhegan at Bangor
Maranacook at Gardiner

Saturday 2/2:

Boothbay at Dirigo
NYA at Traip
Medomak at Camden Hills
Old Town at Caribou
Presque Isle at Mattanawcook
Lee at DIS
Woodland at Calais

MBR Broadcast:

As many of you know MBR has been broadcasting games live through streaming over the internet. This is becoming huge. It has been a great success. Many people have told me how excited they are about the broadcast and many have said they have relatives out of state that are tuning in. MBR broadcast has a very busy week coming up. And also Big News! MBR will be broadcasting tournament games from the Expo, the ACC and the CCCC! Wow! MBR taking it to another level! MBR's Tom Nolette doing the Play-By-Play and The WIZ on Color! Doesn't get any better than that folks. Also Michael Hoffer and Ron Hawkes have done some color in games.

MBR Broadcast schedule this week:

Tuesday 1/29: Thornton at Cheverus
Wednesday 1/30: Prep Special: Lee Academy at Bridgeton Academy
Thursday 1/31: Mountain Valley at Dirigo
Friday 2/1: South Portland at Cheverus
Saturday 2/2: Boothbay at Dirigo

As we move to this weeks WIZ Top 10 Teams as predicted there have been some major changes. Bangor, Cheverus and Maranacook stay at the top 3 respectively. Winthrop with the loss to Dirigo by 4pts. drops from # 4 to # 8. Deering with another loss to Cheverus by 18pts. drops out of the top 10 this week. Edward Little losing to Bangor by 15pts. drops out of the top 10 as well. Thornton, Camden Hills and Calais slide up one notch each. South Portland with their great game against # 2 Cheverus moves up to # 7. Cape Elizabeth with their big win over previous unbeaten Traip 56-46 make their first appearance in the top 10 at #9. The Capers are Red Hot winning their last 7 straight games and Shaine Burks is now back with the team.. The Cougars of Mt. Blue also make their first appearance into the top 10 at # 10. The Cougars have been on a tare since losing their first two games of the year the Cougars are 11-1 since then with their only loss to # 1 Bangor back on 1/8 and the Cougars have a 7 gaming winning streak since that loss.

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 8:

1.Bangor-------14-0 The Rams are destroying everything in site! They destroyed Lawrence 54-25! They destroyed Edward Little 57-42! 8 Straight weeks at # 1 Baby! The Rams head to Messalonskee up next! Then host the Indians of Skowhegan! Looks like the Rams will head to 16-0! Can anyone beat this team!

2.Cheverus-----14-0 Stags stay perfect! Crushed Westbrook 68-45! Crushed Deering 67-49! Escaped a Red Hot SP Riots team 63-61! Overtime Thriller! Wow! What a game that was! Two tough games this week! First up! The upset-minded # 4 Golden Trojans come in for a Tuesday night Main Event! Then a major Heavy Weight Re-Match! The Red Riots pay a visit to Keegan Gymnasium! Riots look for Pay-Back! Wow! Things are Heat'n Up! Can the Stags stay undefeated! Both home Games! I think so!

3.Maranacook---14-0 Black Bears are on Cruise Control! Beat Lincoln 64-47! Beat Winslow 77-53! Can they be Stopped! Not this week! Two games up! First up MCI pays a visit! Then it's off to Gardiner! To Tame the Tigers! 16-0 Baby!

4.Thornton------13-1 Trojans two more wins! Beat a tough Bonny Eagle team 46-42! Took care of the Rams of Kennebunk! 56-34! Huge game up next! The Trojans head to Cheverus! A Tuesday Night Main Event! Wowzer! Keegan Gym will be Packed House! Can they pull it off! Then off to Biddeford to tame those Tigers!

5.Camden Hills---13-1Only one game this past week! No contest! Jammers crushed Waterville 59-42! Coach Hart gearing up for tourney time! Two games up this week! First off to Belfast! Then play host to Medomak! Jammers move to 15-1 this week!

6.Calais----------13-0 The streak stays alive! 57 straight Baby! Chalk up 3 more wins! Blue Devils are flying! Beat a tough team from Lee 67-60! Crushed Guagus 70-50! Destroyed Hyde 67-47! Can they be stopped! I don't think so! At least not in the regular season! Only one game this week for the Devils! They host the Dragons from Woodland! Could be interesting! Dragons are not to Shabby!

7.So. Portland---11-3 Red Riots are for real! They totally Annihilate Kennebunk 62-35! Then the Biggie! They take the # 1 team in the West Cheverus to overtime! But they lose by 2! 63-61! Best game of the year so far! Huge week coming! Two games on the road! Cross the bridge to the Expo! Riots vs. Bulldogs! Then over to Cheverus! A Friday Night Main Event! A Re-Match with the Stags! Talk about Tabasco Road ! It doesn't get any better than this!

8.Winthrop-----11-1 Two tough games this week! Ramblers get by Mountain Valley! In a Thriller! 40-36! Suffer their first loss to Dirigo! Another Thriller 48-44! Ramblers drop to # 7 for now! Three games up this week! First home against Monmouth! Then off to Wiscasset! Then off to Lisbon! Ramblers move to 14-1 this week!

9.Cape Eliz.----12-2 Welcome Capers! Cape is hot! Burks is back! Watch Out! They beat undefeated Traip by 10! 56-46! Beat the Warriors of Wells 54-45! Two big games this week! Both at home! First up the Yachtsmen from Falmouth pay a visit! Then the Falcons of Freeport come to town! Two Big Games! B west is Crazy right now!

10.Mt. Blue---11-3 Welcome Cougars! They've been Waiting! They Deserve it! They got it! # 10 Baby! Cougars have won 7 straight! Squeaked one out over the Witches of Brewer! 53-51! Swarmed all over the Bees from Leavitt 74-54! Coach Bessy and Coach Howard have to be Happy! Nothings easy in the KVAC! Two toughies this week for the Cougars! First at home! A Re-match with Brewer! Then off to Hampden! Wow! Can the Cougars stay in the Top 10! Very interesting! We shall see!

Teams Knocking on the Door:

Wow so many this week and Dirigo, Yarmouth, Traip, Caribou, Presque Isle, Mountain Valley, Boothbay, Richmond and Central Aroostook are all screaming! We want in WIZ!

Presque Isle--13-2
Edward Little-10-4
Mtn. Valley---11-2

Til' Next Week: Get ready! Things are getting Hot! The trip down Tabasco Road starts this week!


Greely overcomes adversity, beats Freeport in OT

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 27th, 2008

Greely overcomes adversity, beats Freeport in OT
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

FREEPORT- On the heels of their worst loss of the season, the Greely Rangers needed a win Saturday night against the host Freeport Falcons, one of the hottest teams in the league.

Greely would get back on the winning track, but it certainly wasn't easy. The Rangers built a 15-point third quarter lead, but watched it all slip away as the Falcons tied the game in the waning seconds. Overtime was all Greely, however, as the Rangers outscored the hosts 15-0 en route to a much-needed 76-61 victory.

"It was tough," said Greely sophomore Trevor Tierney, who led all scorers with 24 points. "I don't think I've played in an atmosphere like this. The crowd was crazy. We came in and played our game. It was fun. We're getting it together at the end of the season. We were coming off a tough loss. We knew we had to get it together or our season wouldn't go the way we wanted it to."

Two weeks ago, in Cumberland, Freeport beat the Rangers 58-51, sending Greely into a slump. The Rangers followed with a loss at Western C contender Traip Academy, then, after a home win over Waynflete, they were shocked at home by a Lake Region squad which has been middle of the pack this winter.

Conversely, Freeport's confidence has grown by the day and the Falcons took an 11-2 mark into Saturday's showdown, with their lone losses being a double-overtime setback at Falmouth and a two-point loss at Yarmouth on a buzzer-beater.

The Rangers would control play for most of the night, but needed to go four extra minutes to leave town with the win.

Just 13 seconds into the game, Tierney made a short jumper to set the tone. Twenty-three seconds later, the hosts answered and tied the score on a floater from senior Reid Christian. After Greely junior Chris Young made one of two free throws, Freeport took its only lead of the night, 4-3, on a layup by senior Kyle Flash. The Rangers would convert six layups in the opening quarter and led 15-10 after one, thanks in large part to seven points from Young.

The Falcons got three free throws from junior standout Jon Klages 40 seconds into the second period (after Klages was fouled attempting a 3-pointer). Thirty seconds later, Klages made a jumper and Freeport was even at 15-15, but the visitors would get the next nine points.

Young put Greely on top with an old-fashioned three-point play. Young then made a layup and senior standout Spenser Adams made back-to-back layups for a 24-15 lead. Flash ended the run and a 4 minute, 3 second drought with a free throw and senior Bejay Perkins added a jumper, but Adams responded with a 3-ball and it was 27-18 Rangers. After Klages made a jumper, Greely junior Ben Andreasen scored on a layup and Tierney hit a jumper for a 31-20 advantage. Klages answered with a foul shot, but sophomore Sam Thompson gave the Rangers a 33-21 halftime lead with a late layup.

"We try to get the ball up and down the floor," Greely coach Ken Marks said. "We were looking more inside than we have. That's where the baskets came in the first half."

"In the first half, our interior defense was the poorest performance rotation-wise we've had all year long," Falcons' coach Craig Sickels said. "We left guys open. We played the ball, but we didn't play the guys without the ball."

Freeport hoped to make a run in the second half and got off to a good start.

After Klages made a foul shot and Tierney answered with a layup, Perkins hit a jumper and a bank shot and Christian buried a jump shot to make it 35-28.

Greely then extended its lead.

First, Adams made a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. Tierney then sent a gorgeous pass to Thompson for a layup. Tierney added a layup of his own and junior Erik Thayer made a free throw to give the Rangers a seemingly commanding 43-28 bulge with 3 minutes to go in the period.

The Falcons would draw closer by quarter's end.

A rebound layup by Flash ended the 8-0 run. After Tierney made a free throw, Perkins nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and junior Cody Bartlett made a jumper in the lane to make it a 44-38 game. With 31 seconds left in the third, Tierney made two free throws, but Bartlett answered with a 3. Adams then gave his team some momentum heading for the fourth when he made a left-handed floater with just two seconds left to make it 48-41 Greely.

Bartlett got the final stanza off to a promising start for the hosts with a bank shot, but Tierney answered with a layup. Bartlett then beat a defender for a layup and Klages made two free throws to make it a 50-47 game with 7:03 to go. After Andreasen made a free throw, Bartlett did the same for Freeport and it was 52-48. With 6 minutes to go, Adams put home a rebound layup, but Klages made a leaner, then hit one of two foul shots to cut the deficit to three, 54-51. With 4:27 left, Flash made a short jumper and suddenly it was a one-point game, 54-53.

With 3:48 to go, Adams capped a perfectly orchestrated play by burying a 3-pointer and the lead was back to four, 57-53. Bartlett made a free throw for Freeport, but Tierney made one for Greely, Adams hit one as well, then Tierney made one more for a 60-54 advantage with 1:15 remaining.

The Falcons weren't done yet.

With 1:03 left, Christian hit a clutch 3. Eighteen seconds later, Klages calmly drained two foul shots to make it 60-59. Perkins then stole the ball for Freeport and called a timeout, but the Falcons immediately gave it right back to the Rangers.

With 33 seconds left, Adams made one of two free throws, but Klages came right back down and made a pretty running bank shot to tie the score at 61-61 with 19 seconds to go.

It was the first tie since 15-15.

It would also be the final point Freeport would score.

Adams had a great look to win the game in regulation, but his shot was off the mark and it was on to overtime, where Greely would simply dominate.

After both teams had opportunities to take the lead, the Rangers retook control when Tierney scored on a leaner, was fouled and made the free throw.

"Coach yelled at us a little bit, but we knew what we needed to do," Tierney said. "We let up, but we needed to come back strong. I was pretty pumped. It worked out well. It got the rest of the team pumped. We were just patient. In the first game, we forced shots. In this game, we hit cutters and it worked out well."

Nineteen seconds later, Tierney made yet another layup to make it 66-61. Adams then made two foul shots as the game slowly got out of the Falcons' reach. Young made back-to-back layups and suddenly it was 72-61. Andreasen and Tierney then both made a pair of foul shots to account for the final score as Greely survived with the 76-61 decision.

"We talked about the fact that people are getting geared up to play us and we weren't matching their intensity," Marks said. "I thought tonight, we matched their intensity. We had the game pretty much put away in regulation, but we made some mistakes. To come back and shut them out in overtime is pretty impressive after playing last night.

"Our whole philosophy tonight was just to play it and I thought they did. Especially in overtime."

"We played so well in the second half to get back in, but we didn't get many bounces," Sickels said. "To score 40 points in the second half, I thought that helped. I thought our defensive energy was better in the second half. It's unfortunate we couldn't carry it into overtime.

"I told the kids it's one game and one loss. Everyone's got two or three losses. Our losses have been in double overtime, in overtime and at the buzzer. We haven't gotten beat by someone we shouldn't get beaten by and we haven't got beat by a lot of points.

While Tierney led the way with his 24 points, he had plenty of company. Adams finished with 21, Young had 16, Andreasen finished with eight, Thompson had four and Thayer three.

"Trevor's playing very well right now," Marks said. "He's got a tremendous upside. Spenser hit some huge shots. He's tough off the dribble."

Freeport was paced by 18 from Klages. Perkins finished with 14.

"Bejay had a great game offensively and defensively," Sickels said. "He was a spark. That's what he's capable of doing. I hope this lights a fire under him. He sees the floor, he's a good shooter, he's quick on defense. I thought Cody was big. He had some big plays, but I think we went to him too much at the end. We didn't rebound well. We could have rebounded better."

Bartlett had 11 points, Christian nine, Flash seven and senior Tom Markelon two.

The Falcons (11-3 and third in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) step right back into the lion's den Tuesday when they go to red-hot Cape Elizabeth.

"It's going to be huge,"Sickels said. "We got them here once. It's going to be like this all over again. That will help us come tournament time. It would have been nice to get this one."

Greely (now 10-4 and fifth in Western B) visits Falmouth Tuesday.

"It's wide open," Marks said. "If Lake Region plays like they did last night, they could win too. There's a bunch of teams that are tough. We have some huge games to go."

"If we keep playing like this, I don't think anybody can beat us," Tierney added.

Cheverus rallies past SP in an Instant Classic

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 26th, 2008

Cheverus rallies past SP in an Instant Classic
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

SOUTH PORTLAND- For the vast majority of Friday night's showdown at historic Beal Gymnasium, the host South Portland Red Riots woke up the echoes and had the undefeated Cheverus Stags on the ropes.

When the dust had cleared, however, the Stags remained the lone unbeaten team in Western Class A after rallying for an absolutely palpitating 63-61 overtime victory.

Cheverus embarked on a furious fourth quarter rally, erased a 12-point deficit, tied the game with just over a minute to go in regulation, took the lead for good with 37 seconds remaining in overtime, then watched helplessly as two potential South Portland game-winning 3-point bids barely missed in the waning seconds, before holding on for a 63-61 victory in arguably the finest game of the year.

"This was the first scare I've had all season," said Cheverus senior captain Doug Alston, who tied the game with two free throws late in regulation, then added five points in OT. "(South Portland's) a very good team. In the first half, we didn't play the best we could. We came out with heart in the second half and came out with a 'W.' It shows we can overcome the challenge. We buckled down and got through it as a team."

"We had a few turnovers late in the game, but overall, I'm so impressed with and proud of my team," countered South Portland's first-year coach Phil Conley. "I couldn't have asked for anything more. They left it all on the line. I thought we hit shots, like they did. I thought it was a great high school basketball game. Cheverus is a very good team, but we are as well and I think we proved it tonight."

Cheverus came to South Portland with a 13-0 record and plenty of confidence after riding staunch defense and devastating 3-point shooting to relatively easy home wins over Westbrook and Deering earlier in the week.

The Red Riots, meanwhile, have impressed under Conley, and the up-and-coming team has hit its stride earlier than expected. South Portland's lone losses were close decisions at home to Deering and Scarborough. The Red Riots' biggest win to date was a victory over Thornton Academy.

Some still felt South Portland wasn't quiet at Cheverus' level, but the Red Riots dispelled all doubts with their performance in front of a raucous crowd.

The visitors took a quick 3-0 lead on a 3-ball from sophomore Indiana Faithfull. After the hosts tied the game on a bank shot from sophomore standout Keegan Hyland a foul shot from senior Nick Gaddar, the Stags went up 6-3 on a free throw from junior Peter Foley and a rebound layup by senior standout Mick DiStasio.

South Portland would get the next six points as senior Nick Wright made a layup, Hyland scored on a rebound layup and senior Will Furbush scored on a layup for a 9-6 lead. Alston got one point back with a foul shot, but the Red Riots closed the quarter with two free throws from sophomore Matt Lee and a layup by Gaddar for a 13-7 advantage.

Cheverus would get the first eight points of the second quarter.

Faithfull got things started with a second 3-ball. After junior Will White made two free throws, White canned a 3-ball to make it 15-13 Stags, but Cheverus wouldn't lead again in regulation.

Lee tied the game with a layup after a steal and Gaddar (taking a pretty pass from Lee) put his team on top with a layup. After Stags' junior Ian Barwise made a free throw, Wright scored on a layup after a steal. DiStasio scored on a layup to make it a 19-18 game, but Hyland hit a baseline jumper, Gaddar scored on a rebound layup and Furbush canned two foul shots for a 25-18 lead.

Cheverus junior Dan Foster stemmed the tide with a floater, but Hyland answered with two free throws. After Faithfull made a layup, Hyland scored on a transition layup to give South Portland a 29-22 advantage at halftime.

Many on hand expected the Stags to make a run in the third period, but the Red Riots didn't let up.

After junior Ian Schwartz made a layup for the visitors, Gaddar converted a left-handed layup. Faithfull answered by making one of two foul shots, but Hyland buried a 3-pointer at the other end (South Portland's first made 3 of the night) for a 34-25 lead. After DiStasio scored on a layup, Furbush canned a 3-ball and Wright made two free throws to give the hosts their biggest lead, 39-27.

DiStasio answered with a long jumper and Foster made a 3, but Hyland answered with a 3 at the other end, keeping the lead at 10, 42-32. After Alston answered with a 3-ball for the visitors, Lee made one of his own for a 45-35 advantage.

With just over a minute to go in the third, DiStasio made two free throws, but Hyland hit his third 3 of the quarter and South Portland led 48-37. Faithfull gave his team some momentum, however, making a bank shot as time expired (after Barwise tipped a rebound to him) to make it a nine-point game, 48-39, with eight minutes to go.

The Stags' heart, desire and skill would make a huge difference in the final stanza.

Alston opened the period with a layup. After Hyland made a floater for his final points of the night, Faithfull scored on a layup after a steal, DiStasio made a long jumper, then DiStasio canned a 3-ball with 3:37 to go, cutting the Red Riots' lead to just two, 50-48. Seconds later, Alston appeared to tie the game with a layup, but the officials ruled he traveled first.

With 3:03 left, Furbush took a pass from Gaddar and made a 3-pointer for a 53-48 lead, but 24 seconds later, Barwise converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Lee made a layup off an inbounds play with 2:02 to go for a 55-51 advantage, but Barwise tipped home the miss of DiStasio 3-point attempt with 1:48 left, and after a South Portland turnover, Alston made two free throws to tie the game at 55-55 (the first deadlock since 15-15) with just over a minute to play in regulation.

"We worked the ball around a lot more in the second half and got more open shots," Alston said. "As a captain, I felt it was my duty to help the team as much as I could and that's what I did."

With time winding down, Furbush had a shot from the wing to win it, but it was off. Hyland attempted to tip it home, but failed and Cheverus got the rebound with 1.3 seconds left. The Stags weren't able to get a good shot off, however, and it was on to overtime.

If South Portland had capitulated there, no one would have been surprised.

Instead, the Red Riots kept battling.

After the Stags went up 57-55 (for their first lead since 15-13) on two Alston free throws, Gaddar tied the game with a layup. With 1:46 to go in OT, Alston made two more free throws. Twenty seconds later, he hit another for a 60-57 advantage, but Gaddar made a layup to cut the deficit to one, then, with just 48.3 seconds to go, Furbush canned two free throws to put the Red Riots back on top, 61-60.

Cheverus then proved it had icewater in its veins.

With the game on the line, DiStasio fed Barwise with a gorgeous pass and the junior made a layup for a 62-61 lead with 37 seconds to go. South Portland dribbled into the Stags' zone and looked to answer, but instead called timeout to set up a potential game winning shot.

The Red Riots would execute the diagrammed play perfectly as Hyland dribbled into the lane, drew the defense, then fed Furbush on the wing, but Furbush's shot rattled in and out and Faithfull rebounded and was fouled with just 5.6 seconds to go.

Faithfull missed the first foul shot, but made the second, putting the hosts on the ropes.

"I wasn't going to miss the second one," Faithfull said. "It was fun. We all played with our hearts. The crowd was amazing. Everyone got into it. We got after it in the second half."

South Portland quickly raced the ball up court and got it to Gaddar as the clock neared zero. Gaddar unleashed a promising shot from just outside the 3-point arc, but it was barely long and as the horn sounded, Cheverus exulted while several Red Riots sagged to the floor in shock.

The Stags had survived and stayed undefeated with the stirring 63-61 win.

"(South Portland) outplayed us," Cheverus coach Bob Brown said. "They outhustled us. They outexecuted us in the first half. Give them all the credit. We made a few substitutions. We made played hard and solidly executed some offense that they didn't take us out of. We made plays. This is our fourth game in seven days. For those kids to have enough in them to win shows a lot."

"In overtime, the two looks were exactly what we wanted, but the shots were in and out," Conley lamented. "I can't fault the shots. That's what we drew up and what we wanted. We executed. We just didn't make it, but I think this game is good experience for us as we make our stretch run.

"(Cheverus) played very good defense. I thought offensively, we had looks all game. It was a great atmosphere. A packed gym. Our fans were supportive, which I appreciate."

Cheverus got 15 points from DiStasio, 14 from Faithfull and 13 from Alston. Barwise added eight. White and Foster both finished with five, Schwartz had two and Foley added one.

"We've got so many players who contribute in different ways," Faithfull said. "We never get down."

"The reason I think we won is that the bench came in and helped us," Brown added. "I'm talking about (senior Keelan) Donovan, Schwartz, White and Foster. All of those guys came in and even (senior Chris) Hendrix came in. Two of them started in the second half because my big guys sat since they weren't doing anything.

"I think we showed character. Especially having to play these games against good teams. I thought Alston played hard down the stretch. He stepped up and made the plays. He had courage to fail. He didn't fail. He made foul shots."
"DiStasio at the end made three or four big plays. That pass at the end was a very big play.

"I think (South Portland's) phenomenal. The place was packed and the crowd was going crazy. It was like the old days. The fans got their money's worth. South Portland is as dangerous a team as we've played. They're athletes. Hyland's a great player. Furbush is a great player. I think Conley's done a great job and has made them believe."

Hyland led all scorers with 21 points (although he had just two in the fourth quarter and OT). Gaddar had a sensational effort with 13 points. Furbush finished with 12. Lee had nine and Wright six.

South Portland (11-3 and fourth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) doesn't have much time to lick its wounds. The Red Riots go to Portland Tuesday, then visit Cheverus Friday. The regular season slate ends with a game at Deering and a visit from Portland.

"Our guys continue to work hard everyday and continue to get better," Conley said. "I think we're right there. We'll have good practices and be ready for Portland Tuesday."

Cheverus (now 14-0, but still third to Thornton Academy and Deering in the Heals) hosts Thornton Academy in a compelling showdown Tuesday night. The Stags then welcome South Portland before finishing the regular year at Portland and Deering.

"We don't have any breathers the rest of the way," Alston said.

Either do those of us fortunate enough to follow these amazing athletes and teams.

Waynflete stuns Yarmouth...and it's not even close

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 25th, 2008

Waynflete stuns Yarmouth...and it's not even close
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- The Yarmouth Clippers boys' basketball team traveled to Waynflete Thursday afternoon with the top ranking in the Western Class B Heal Points standings in tow.

The Clippers were also on an emotional high as senior standout Joe Dilworth (who missed a month with a broken hand) had been cleared to play.

It all should have added up to an easy win for Yarmouth against an unfamiliar Western Class C foe, but this is why they play the games.

The host Flyers made an emphatic statement, seizing control early in the second half, then pulling away for a surprisingly easy 69-54 victory.

Waynflete put forth an inspired effort from start to finish, amazed even its most ardent supporters and got the job done led by 25 points from senior star Lucas O'Neil.

"It was a complete team effort tonight," said O'Neil, who has emerged into one of the top players in the Western Maine Conference this winter. "We were confident. Anytime we step in a gym, we feel like we'll compete and get a win. A lot of players stepped up. I was proud of my teammates tonight."

"I'm happy for the kids," Waynflete coach Rich Henry added. "We've been working hard."

Yarmouth has arguably been the most compelling local story of the 2007-08 season. The Clippers, just two years removed from a 1-17 campaign, have enjoyed stirring wins over Falmouth, Greely, Freeport and Falmouth again (the latter three coming after Dilworth's injury) and they've done it behind a stirring style of play, led by the ballhandling and pinpoint passing of senior point guard Lucas Denning, the bruising inside play of senior Ben Groves, the sharpshooting of junior Johnny Murphy and consistent unheralded performances from an assortment of supporting players.

The Clippers entered the game after having nearly a week off following last Friday's 63-56 win at Falmouth (behind 30 points from Murphy).

The Flyers, meanwhile, had been competitive all year, but were still looking for a signature win. Waynflete had improved to 6-6 Tuesday after an improbable 54-53 come-from-behind win at Hyde. In that one, the Flyers blew a late lead and fell behind by three, but somehow survived when O'Neil was fouled with time winding down and was awarded five free throws after a technical. He made four of his foul shots and Waynflete snuck out of town with a 54-53 win and a dose of confidence, which paid huge dividends Thursday.

In the early going, it appeared as if Yarmouth would cruise to an expected, easy win.

After Waynflete took a 2-0 lead on a short jumper from sophomore John Malia, Murphy buried a jump shot and Clippers' senior Robb Arndt made a layup for a 4-2 lead.

The Flyers went up 5-4 on an old-fashioned three-point play by Malia, but Groves made a pair of layups, hit two free throws and Murphy buried a jump shot for a 12-5 advantage.

Waynflete wouldn't wilt, however.

A rebound tip by Malia ended Yarmouth's 8-0 run. After Dilworth made his first appearance for the Clippers, O'Neil made a spinning layup and senior Jared Entwistle scored on a jumper to cut the deficit to one, 12-11, after one quarter.

Waynflete retook the lead on a layup from junior Hassan Jeylani, then extended its run to 10-0 on a Jeylani jumper to go up 15-12. Murphy tied the score with a 3-pointer, but O'Neil answered with a jump shot and Jeylani scored on a rebound layup for a 19-15 lead.

The Clippers then ripped off seven quick points as Groves scored on a layup, senior Jack Champlin made two free throws and Murphy canned a 3-ball. The Flyers got a jumper from O'Neil, but Groves made a layup. O'Neil made another jumper and Entwistle hit a foul shot to tie the game at 24-24. After Groves scored on a layup after a spin move, Waynflete was able to grab the halftime lead as O'Neil scored on a layup after a steal, then hit a long jumper for a 28-26 advantage.

Many on hand expected Yarmouth to take control in the second half, but instead, the hosts would carry play.

The Clippers tied the game just 14 seconds into the third period on a rebound layup from sophomore Evan Henry. Nineteen seconds later, Yarmouth went up 30-28 when Henry hit a short jumper, but Entwistle answered with a layup for the Flyers. After Groves made a layup to give the Clippers their last lead, 32-30, Jeylani buried a 3 to put his team on top to stay. Malia added a layup to make it 35-32. After Denning made a foul shot, Entwistle answered with a layup. Groves made a free throw to make it a 37-34 game, but the hosts scored the next eight points, as Malia made a short jumper, O'Neil hit a layup and sophomore Bill Ngoal converted back-to-back layups (the second coming after a steal) for a 45-34 advantage. Champlin made a short jumper in the final minute to cut the deficit to nine, 45-36, entering the fourth quarter, but it was clear that Waynflete had Yarmouth on the ropes.

O'Neil started the final period by making the first of two free throws for a 46-36 lead. After missing the second, O'Neil got his own rebound and laid it in to make it 48-36. Denning answered with a three-point play, but Flyers' sophomore Cecil Gardner made a layup for a 50-39 lead. Champlin hit back-to-back shots to make it a seven point game, 50-43, but O'Neil stemmed the tide with a layup. After Groves made a bank shot to cut the deficit back to seven, 52-45, Jeylani calmly sank two free throws to push the lead back to nine.

Champlin answered with a jumper and Groves made a left-handed layup to make it a five-point game, 54-49, with 4 minutes to play, but Malia hit a layup after a steal and Ngoal made a layup for a 58-49 lead. After Denning got the Clippers back within seven, 58-51, with a jumper, Malia made two free throws for a 60-51 lead.

With 2:46 to play, Denning hit one of two free throws to make it a 60-52 game, but Yarmouth was running out of time. O'Neil made a layup and two free throws for a 64-52 lead. Ngoal made three free throws and O'Neil a pair to make it 69-52, then Champlin scored on a rebound layup with under a minute to go to account for the 69-54 final score.

"We felt good at halftime," O'Neil said. "We knew they'd make a run and to be ready.

We limited them to a lot of one-and-out possessions. This is a big 'W' for a young team."

"I tried to stress to the kids that they did the things we've been talking about doing," Henry added. "I asked them, 'How did it feel? Did it feel like you were playing otherworldly or did it feel like the things we were doing in practice?' To a man, they realized we did the things we talked about.

"We faced Yarmouth last year in the Old Orchard Beach tournament. It didn't count. We were somewhat familiar with them. We knew they were a good team, but we knew we needed to play smart and not be in awe."

While O'Neil led all scorers with his 25 points, he had plenty of company. Malia had 15 points. Jeylani added 11. Ngoal had nine, Entwistle event and Gardner two.

"It was a complete team effort tonight," O'Neil said. "We were confident. Anytime we step in a gym, we feel like we'll compete and get a win. A lot of players stepped up. I was proud of my teammates tonight."

"We tried to make some adjustments on how we were playing and how we blocked out," Henry added. "Pretty much, we knew we were doing what we wanted to do. We knew they'd make a run.

"We knew pressure was key. We wanted to make them play halfcourt defense against us. Once we were able to break their pressure, we were OK. Making free throws was big for a young team. When Lucas makes them, I expect that. When some the younger kids step up, it's a bonus."

For Yarmouth, Groves led the way with 21 points. Champlin had 12. Murphy finished with 10, but all of them came in the first half. Denning added seven and Arndt and Henry both had two. Dilworth did not attempt a shot from the field. He did miss a pair of foul shots. While he appeared a little rusty, he did play solid defense and grabbed a couple rebounds and steals. It shouldn't be long until he's back in game shape.

The Clippers (now 11-2 and still first in the Western B Heals) quickly hopped a bus home and coach Adam Smith was unavailable for comment. Yarmouth is home against Gray-New Gloucester Saturday night.

The Flyers (7-6 and now fifth in the Western C Heals) host Old Orchard Beach Saturday afternoon.

Thursday's victory will be a great building block.

"If anything, this puts more pressure on us, because know we know what we're capable of," Henry said. "I hope it's a steppingstone for them."

"We're definitely jelling," O'Neil added. "I'm anxious to see what we can do when get into the tournament."

Cheverus does it again, this time to Deering

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 23rd, 2008

Cheverus does it again, this time to Deering
Special to MBR
By Michael Hoffer

PORTLAND- The scouting report on the Cheverus Stags is pretty simple. They love to press, get easy transition baskets and drain 3-pointers.

Stopping the Stags is much more difficult.

Wednesday night at Keegan Gym, it was the Deering Rams' turn to discover just how explosive Cheverus can be. Before they knew what hit them, the Rams trailed 16-5 and although they rallied valiantly in the second half, they didn't have enough and the Stags pulled away to stay perfect (13-0) with a 67-49 victory.

Junior Mick DiStasio had 18 points and classmate Ian Barwise added 16 (as both made multiple 3-pointers) to lead the onslaught.

"It's the second game in a row we've come out really sharp," Barwise said. "We're playing well. It's good to come out with intensity like that. We knew we were good, but we didn't know how good we were. Beating a team like this does a lot for our confidence. It's Deering-Cheverus. It's bound to be intense. It's nice playing intense games like this."

"We just dug ourselves too deep of a hole," Deering coach Dan LeGage said.

Cheverus entered the week behind Thornton Academy and Deering in the Western Class A Heal Points standings despite its unblemished record. Monday night, the Stags hosted Westbrook and shot to a 20-0 lead en route to an easy 68-45 win.

Deering came to Ocean Avenue Wednesday full of confidence after Saturday night's impressive home win over Portland and a romp at Massabesic Monday which made the Rams 10-2.

That confidence disappeared almost immediately and the Stags quickly seized control.

Just 46 seconds into the game, DiStasio buried a 3-pointer and Cheverus was on top to stay. With 6:21 to go in the first period, DiStasio scored on a layup to make it 5-0, which forced LeGage to call timeout. A layup by Deering senior Kyle Donovan got the Rams off the schneid, but Barwise answered with a 3-pointer.

Deering got back within three, 8-5, on a 3-ball from junior Khadar Abbas (who had a breakout game versus Portland), but the Rams would never get that close again.

Cheverus senior Alex Fraser and Barwise connected on back-to-back 3-pointers and junior Dan Foster added a layup for a 16-5 lead. Rams' junior Ronald Abwoch momentarily stemmed the tide with a roller, but Foster buried a 3-ball and the Stags had a 19-7 advantage after one period.

"That's been Cheverus' m.o. all year," said LeGage. "If you don't let them go on those runs, you have a chance. When their perimeter game's going and they're shooting that well, they're tough. We had guys on them. They just made them. They pride themselves on their shooting and pressure defense."

When DiStasio opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, it appeared as Deering would be run out of the building. The Rams crawled back within 10, however, as sophomore Ed Tirabassi made a layup and Abwoch buried a 3-pointer. After Cheverus sophomore Indiana Faithfull made one of two free throws, DiStasio connected on a 3-pointer and Faithfull added a layup for a 28-12 advantage. After senior Nick Burkhardt converted an old-fashioned 3-point play for the visitors, Faithfull scored on a layup after a steal and Barwise nailed a 3-ball for the Stags' biggest lead, 33-15.

"I love to shoot them," Barwise said, of his long-distance bombs. "I don't really think about it. If they fall, they fall."

Thanks to seven straight points from Donovan, Deering crept back to within 11, 33-22, but Barwise made a layup and junior Ian Schwartz did the same to give Cheverus a commanding 37-22 lead at the half.

The visitors could have wilted, but instead, they embarked on a furious rally.

Abbas opened the second half with a layup. Abwoch added two free throws, then Donovan made a layup to get the deficit under 10, 37-28. Cheverus senior Doug Alston made two free throws, ending a 4 minute, 33 second drought and Faithfull buried a 3-ball, but Donovan hit one of two free throws, senior Tim Conley scored on a rebound putback and Conley converted a three-point play to make it a 42-34 contest with 2:27 to play in the third quarter.

"We had it under control, but we didn't play well," Cheverus coach Bob Brown said. ""We got disorganized. We stood around and didn't run our offense. We didn't do any of the things we should. Their pressure got to us and we didn't handle it well. We turned it over and didn't play solid halfcourt defense. The whole thing crumbled."

After Alston scored on a layup with 1:55 left, Tirabassi scored on a rebound layup and Donovan followed with an emphatic dunk after a pretty move to squeeze through a pair of defenders. With 36.7 seconds left, Donovan made the second of two free throws and the Rams were suddenly within five, 44-39, but Cheverus senior Keelan Donovan made two free throws with 11.7 seconds remaining to end Deering's 10-2 run and give the Stags a 46-39 advantage heading for the final stanza.

Just 15 seconds into the fourth, however, Abbas drained a 3-pointer and the Rams were only down 46-42, the closest they'd been since 8-5.

Cheverus would respond.

First, DiStasio made both ends of a one-and-one. Schwartz followed with a free throw, then Barwise made another 3 for a 52-44 lead.

Donovan answered with a rebound layup, but Barwise made a layup for the Stags and DiStasio followed with a free throw for a 55-44 advantage. With 3:56 to play, Abbas drained another 3 to make it 55-47, but the Rams would get no closer.

Cheverus closed the game on a 12-2 run, thanks to three layups, a 3-pointer and three foul shots from Alston, as it put the finishing touches on the 67-49 win.

"(Cheverus) had three big runs," LeGage said. "They had one at the beginning, then they had another run. We made our run in the third quarter. Then they had a run to put it away. They shot the ball well. When Barwise and DiStasio shoot like that it's tough."

"We came out a little slow in the second half," Barwise said. "We didn't take care of the ball as well as we should have. Other than little mistakes, we got through it and started playing well again."

While DiStasio and Barwise combined for 34 points, the Stags also got eight points apiece from Faithfull and Foster, seven from Alston, five from Donovan , three from Fraser and a pair from Schwartz.

Deering was led by Donovan's 17 points. Abbas finished with 11. Abwoch added seven. Conley finished with five points, Tirabassi four, Burkhardt three and senior Kristopher Stephenson two.

"I'm proud of the guys," LeGage said. "They could have easily cashed it in. They didn't. They hit shots. That's something we can build on. We get them again. Our guys know what it's like so there won't be that shock at the beginning, but until we're able to sustain that sort of third quarter effort for 32 minutes, we'll have the same results.

"Certainly, there were some things to build on. We can't get too high or too low. It's too early to push the panic button. If I thought we played a good game and still lost by 18, I'd be nervous. We played two good quarters and two bad quarters. Next time, we have to put four good quarters together."

Both teams still have several huge tests remaining as the regular season draws to a close.

Deering is home to face Biddeford Friday, goes to Marshwood and Portland next week, then closes the season with home games versus South Portland and Cheverus.

The Stags visit the red-hot Red Riots Friday night, then come home Tuesday for a monster showdown with Thornton Academy. Cheverus then has its home finale versus South Portland before finishing the regular year at Portland and Deering.

"It doesn't get any easier," Brown said.
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