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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.

WIZ Words: Head'n Down The Homestretch (Plus WIZ Top 10 Team)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 21st, 2008

WIZ Words: Head'n Down The Homestretch (Plus WIZ Top 10 Team)
by The WIZ

Wow folks the season is flying by. Do you realize that there are only 3 weeks left in regular season play? Teams are beyond the halfway point and they are just now starting to head down the homestretch. In a way it is like the Kentucky Derby as they turn that last corner and you have a bunch of great horses that battle it out down the homestretch. In Maine H.S. basketball its all about making the post season tournament and then a brand new season starts. We know that the top 4 or 5 teams in each class East and West are in but these next 3 weeks there are huge games coming which will decide whos in and whos not in. This is going to get very exciting.

The Prelim games will be played on Tuesday 2/12 and Wednesday 2/13 and the Quarter-Finals will start on 2/15. We will have to keep an eye on the Heal Points the next 3 weeks to see who makes it and who doesnt make it.

In Eastern Class A there are 16 teams and 11 will make the post season play with 5 teams drawing a bye and 6 teams playing a prelim game.

In Class A West there are 16 teams and the same holds here as well with 11 teams playing in post season play. 5 teams get a bye and 6 teams will play a prelim game.

In Class B East there are a whopping 22 teams. 15 will make post season play with the top team drawing a bye and 14 teams playing a prelim game to qualify for the Quarter-Final games.

In Class B West there are 16 teams and 10 will go on to post season play with 6 teams drawing a bye and 4 teams playing a Prelim game.

In Class C East there are 18 teams with the top 11 teams making it with 5 teams drawing a bye and 6 teams playing a Prelim game.

In Class C West there are 23 teams. 14 teams will make the post season play with 2 teams drawing a bye and 14 teams will fight it out with a Prelim game to try and make the Quarter-Final games.

In Class D East there are 22 teams this year. 15 teams will make post season play with the # 1 top team drawing a bye and 14 teams will battle-it-out to qualify for the Quarter-Finals.

In Class D West there are 15 teams and the top 9 teams will continue on to post season play with the top 7 teams drawing a bye and # 8 and # 9 will play a prelim game to see who earns the right to move on to the Quarter-Finals.

Over the next 3 weeks there are so many huge games coming to many to list but as I already said this is going to get very exciting. As we head down the homestretch this is when teams really want to start putting it all together. Teams want to start to run on all cylinders as they battle it out for top seeds and get their teams fine-tuned for tourney time.

Undefeated teams this week drops from 9 teams to 8 teams with Deer Isle dropping off with their first loss to Lee Academy.

Undefeated Teams:


Big Games this week:

Monday 1/21:

Scarborough at Portland
Westbrook at Cheverus
Bangor at Lawrence
Maranacook at Lincoln
Mattanawcook at John Bapst
MDI at Presque Isle
Dexter at Orono
Ashland at Easton

Tuesday 1/22:

South Portland at Kennebunk
Thornton at Bonny Eagle
Richmond at Valley
Old Town at Mattanawcook
Rockland at Gardiner
Lee at Calais
Winthrop at Mountain Valley (make-up game)

Wednesday 1/23:

Deering at Cheverus (make-up game)
Hyde at Gould
Fort Kent at Caribou

Thursday 1/24:

Yarmouth at Waynflete
Narraguagus at Calais
Stearns at Dexter

Friday 1/25:

Biddeford at Deering
Cheverus at South Portland
Kennebunk at Thornton
Portland at Westbrook
Dirigo at Winthrop
Traip at Cape
Lewiston at Lawrence
Morse at Messalonskeer
Mt. Ararat at Hampden
Belfast at Rockland
Washinton Acad. at Woodland

Saturday 1/26:

Greely at Freeport
York at Traip
Calais at Hyde
Lee at Schenck

As we head into this weeks WIZ Top 10 Teams there are no changes as WIZ Top 10 teams did not lose a game. Amazing! But I guarantee there will be changes next week. Teams knocking on the door has a couple of changes with the red hot Cougars of Mt. Blue coming back in and making their bid to get back into The WIZ Top 10. The Cougars who lost their first two games of the season are now 9-1 since then with their only loss was to # 1 Bangor. Coach Bessy has the young team playing very well.

Also the Mattanawcook Lynx are on fire as they have won 4 straight including a big win over Lee Academy this past week. This week they are 13 teams listed as knocking on the door but there are about a dozen other teams that are right behind those teams that are right there also. Just too many to list but this whole thing will all play out in the next few weeks.
Action is going to get fast and furious. Who is going to step up and who is going to step out?

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 7:

1.Bangor----12-0 Only one game this past week! Another Crusher! They crushed Lewiston 83-56! Two big games this week! First off to Lawrence! Bulldogs would love to pull off the upset! Then host the Red Hot Red Eddies of Edward Little! Wowzer! Eddies look for revenge! Can they get it!

2.Cheverus---11-0 Big game with Deering postponed! Beat a good Scarborough team 54-42! Stags 11-0! # 1 in the West! # 2 in the State! Next up a Monday night game! Host the Blazes of Westbrook! Then a Biggie! Host the Rams of Deering! A Wednesday Night Heavy Weight Match-Up! Then a Friday night Main Event! Across the bridge to South Portland! To take on the Red Hot! Red Riots! Big week for the Stags! Wow! Things are Heating-Up!

3.Maranacook--12-0 Black Bears Annihilate Mt. View 84-57! Crushed Medomak 77-43! Can anyone stop the Black Bears! Two games up this week! First off to Lincoln! Then home to play host to Winslow! Black Bears move to 14-0 Baby!

4.Winthrop---10-0 Ramblers big game with Mountain Valley Postponed! They had the week off! Two games up this week! And both are Huge! A Big Tuesday night in Rumford! As they take on the Falcons of Mountain Valley! Falcons want this game Bad! Then back home to take on the Cougars of Dirigo! Wowzer! We will find out how good the Ramblers really are this week!

5.Thornton---11-1 Golden Trojans two more wins! Crushed the Knights of Noble 65-31! Knocked down the Eagles of Windham 65-46! Big game up next! They head to Bonny Eagle! Scots are playing tough! Then back home to take on the Rams of Kennebunk! Can the Trojans move to 13-1! Will be interesting!

6.Camden----12-1 Windjammers back on track! Beat Gardiner 66-46! Took care of Mt. View 69-58! Only one game up this week! Play host to Waterville! Jammers move to 13-1!

7.Deering----9-2 Rams re-adjust without Parker Dodd! Big game with Cheverus postponed! Rams win a big one! They beat the Dogs of Portland! 59-50! Three games up this week! First off to Massabesic! Then the Big Make-Up! Off to Cheverus! Rams hope to pull the upset! Then host the scrappy Tigers of Biddeford! Big week for the Rams! Will they stay in the Top 10!

8.Calais-------10-0 The streak continues! 54-0! Wow! Blue Devils crushed Guagus! 85-53! Took care of the Shiretowners of Houlton 60-47! Big game up next! A Tuesday Night Main event! The Pandas of Lee Academy come to town! The streak is in jeopardy! Can the Devils continue! Then host Guagus! Then off to Hyde to face the Phoenix! Could be a very interesting week!

9.Edward Little--10-3 Red Eddies are Red Hot! They beat Brunswick 56-49! Took care of the Witches from Brewer! 55-42! One game up this week! Its Huge! A Friday Night Main Event! Eddies head to Bangor! Looking for Revenge! 3pt. loss in first match! Eddies havent lost since! 7 straight wins! Can the Eddies do it! Can they take down # 1!

10.South Portland--10-2! How about those Riots! They are real! Best season in years! They Annihilate Noble 85-45! Took care of a very good Bonny Eagle team 68-47! Off to Kennebunk up next! Then a real Biggie! A real Big Test! Another Friday Night Main Event! And its at South Portland! Beal Gym will be pack! The Undefeated Cheverus Stags come to town! This is gonna be a good one folks! Can the Riots take down the Stags! We shall find out!

Teams Knocking on the Door:

Cape Elizabeth----10-2
Presque Isle------11-2
Mtn. Valley-------10-1
Mt. Blue----------9-3
C. Aroostook------10-0

Til Next week: Fasten your seat belts folks! The ride is going to get Fast and Furious!


Portland stifles Scarborough

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 21st, 2008

Portland stifles Scarborough
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- The Portland Bulldogs boys' basketball team's season was at a crossroads when it took the court Monday afternoon against the up-and-coming Scarborough Red Storm.

Less than 48 hours after a painful loss at Deering and now without senior standout Justin Powell for the rest of the year, the Bulldogs needed to make a positive statement, get back in the win column and earn some Heal Points.

Did they ever.

Portland broke open a close game with an 18-6 run in the second period, added 23 more points in the third and cruised to a 59-43 victory over the Red Storm, thanks in large part to a season-high 22 points from junior Ed Bogdanovich.

"We moved the ball well and hit our open shots," Bogdanovich said. "It's a big win coming off the Deering game. We knew we had to win it. We didn't underestimate them."

"I'm very proud of the kids," Portland coach Joe Russo added. "They played very well. For three quarters, I think the kids really did a nice job executing the offense, playing good team defense, things we've been looking for. It was fun to coach for three quarters."

The Bulldogs suffered their fourth loss of the season Saturday night at Deering. Portland hadn't lost four games in the regular season in six years. The Bulldogs (who also lost in OT at Thornton Academy and to Cheverus and Windham in close games), needed a victory over a team ranked higher than them in the Western Class A Heal Points standings.

Scarborough is such a team. The Red Storm entered Monday's contest with a mark of 8-4 (which included a win at South Portland). Scarborough gave Cheverus a scare in a 54-42 home loss Saturday and hoped to build on that and beat Portland for the first time ever.

In the first period, Scarborough had ample opportunity to take control, but the Red Storm failed to do so and that eventually cost them.

Five different players scored for both teams in the first period. Three times the game was tied. Portland led twice and Scarborough took three leads, including an 11-8 advantage on a 3-pointer from junior Ian Philbrick and a rebound putback by senior Chris Bernard, but Bogdanovich hit a jumper late in the quarter to make it an 11-10 game after one.

Bogdanovich put his team up 12-11 with a layup early in the second. A jumper from Red Storm senior Logan Oliver gave the visitors their last lead, 13-12. Portland sophomore Koang Thok (coming off a huge game at Deering) then drained a 3-pointer for a 15-13 lead, but Scarborough senior Andy Pogar tied the contest with a layup.

The Bulldogs then went on an 11-0 run to seize control.

A Bogdanovich jumper put the hosts ahead to stay. Sophomore Joe Zukowski followed with a leaner and Bogdanovich hit another jumper for a 21-15 lead. With 1:54 to go in the first half, Thok drained a 3-pointer. With 31 seconds left, senior Nick Hellen converted a layup for a 26-15 advantage.

The Red Storm ended the run and a 3 minute, 52 second scoring drought when senior Chris Hughes made a layup with 13 seconds to go, but Portland senior Jake Longstaff drained a leaner as time expired, sending the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 28-17 lead.

"We were in a good spot, but as soon as they started pressuring us in the second quarter, we didn't respond," Red Storm coach Matt Townsend lamented. "We turned the ball over and didn't execute."

Portland quickly dashed any Scarborough comeback hopes in the third quarter.

Longstaff got things going with a jumper. After Hughes answered with a jumper for the Red Storm, Longstaff made another jump shot for a 32-19 lead. After Philbrick made one foul shot, Bulldogs' senior Anthony Passmore did the same, Bogdanovich scored on a rebound putback and Hellen converted a layup for a 37-20 advantage, just 1 minute, 20 seconds into the second half.

With Powell no longer on the team, Hellen had to step up his play and did so big-time against the Red Storm.

"I was really pleased with Nick Hellen tonight," Russo said. "He stepped in in Powell's absence. I thought he was awesome tonight. He and Dewayne (senior Albertie) will get some time. They're disappointed that (Powell's) not able to play. We know what we brought to the team. There's compassion there, but they're getting over it.

Scarborough got a point back on a Pogar free throw, but Longstaff (sitting on the floor after a steal) fed Bogdanovich for a layup and a 39-21 lead. After Pogar made a bank shot for the visitors, Bogdanovich hit a jumper, then took another pretty pass from Longstaff and scored a layup to push the lead to 20 points, 43-23. The Bulldogs would still lead by 20, 51-31, thanks to a last-second Passmore layup, at the end of the quarter.

"We really turned it on in the third quarter," Bogdanovich said. "It was a pretty close game at halftime and we didn't want to come out flat."

In the fourth, Portland led by as many as 22 points, 55-33, before the Red Storm rallied to within 14, 55-41, with 2:53 to go on a bank shot from senior Abe Snow. But two Bogdanovich layups, sandwiched around a layup by Oliver accounted for the 59-43 final score.

"We feel that Scarborough is a good team," Russo said. "They have a lot of seniors, good players. They needed a big win. We need big wins. We didn't take them lightly. We knew they'd come to play. When they tried to make a run they couldn't. That took the wind out of their sails."

Bogdanovich led all scorers with his 22 points. He also dominated on the boards and had several blocked shots. Longstaff added a dozen points, Thok had eight, Hellen and Zukowski scored six apiece, Passmore had three and senior Mike Harmon two.

"We're all coming together now," Bogdanovich said. "We just need to play like we did in the second and third quarters."

For Scarborough, Philbrick led the scoring parade with 12 points. Hughes added eight and Pogar had seven.

"We broke down in the second half," Townsend said. "There were a few bright spots, but not many. The nine seniors have never beaten a city school and now they'll have to beat them in the playoffs. We still have a chance."

The Red Storm (now 8-5 and fifth in the Western A Heals) are home against Massabesic Friday. Scarborough is still seeking a confidence-building victory against a powerhouse team and will get one more shot at such a win, Feb. 8 in the season finale at Thornton Academy.

"I'm a little scared now," Townsend said. "We need a big win over Thornton Academy. If we win the games we're supposed to win and beat TA, we should stay in the top five and avoid a prelim."

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, now 9-4 and ninth in Western A, have a series of huge tests upcoming, beginning with a game at Westbrook Friday. Portland then has two games versus South Portland, sandwiched around home battles against Deering and Cheverus.

"We have Westbrook, Deering one more time, Cheverus one more time, South Portland twice," Russo said. "Every game is big. The teams we're playing are either with us or ahead of us in the standings."

Cheverus stays perfect after nearly perfect start

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 21st, 2008

Cheverus stays perfect after nearly perfect start
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- It isn't often that a team can essentially have a win salted away before the first period comes to a close, but that's exactly what the Cheverus Stags accomplished Monday night at Keegan Gym.

The Stags stayed undefeated with a 68-45 victory over the Westbrook Blue Blazes, due mostly to a 20-0 run to start the contest.

Cheverus' smothering defense forced numerous turnovers which led to easy layups and when the Stags were forced to shoot from the outside, they buried those as well as they moved to 12-0 on the season.

"We came out strong," said Cheverus senior Mick DiStasio, who led all scorers with 20 points. "We were really intense. We've been winning, but we haven't been playing particularly well."

The Stags have vanquished all foes this year, but are now in the midst of a brutal regular season-ending stretch. Saturday, Cheverus held off upset-minded Scarborough 54-42.

Monday, the Stags welcomed a dangerous Westbrook squad which entered the contest 7-5.

The Blue Blazes never knew what hit them.

It took a minute and 36 seconds for the scoring parade to start as DiStasio got things going with a layup. With 4:40 left in the first period, Stags' sophomore Indiana Faithfull converted a layup. Twenty-six seconds later, senior Doug Alston did the same. With 3:52 to go, DiStasio had another layup. Nineteen seconds later, it was senior Alex Fraser's turn. With 2:11 left in the quarter, Alston scored on a finger roll. Junior Dan Foster then added a jump shot, Alston scored on a layup after a steal and when Fraser scored on a layup with 57.2 seconds to go in the first, the lead was a mindboggling 20-0.

"That's how we play," Cheverus coach Bob Brown said. "We want to play fast."

Westbrook finally got on the scoreboard with 40.8 seconds to go in the period when senior Kyle Sanborn made one of two free throws. Senior Stephen LeBel hit a bank shot with time winding down to make it a 20-3 Stags' lead after one.

"We felt that it would be a tough game with their size," DiStasio said. "We felt if we used our quickness, we could get to them and take over and we did."

While Cheverus scored almost exclusively on layups in the first period, it demonstrated that it could score from the perimeter in the second quarter.

Senior Chris Hendrix got things started with a layup. After the Blue Blazes answered on a jumper from Sanborn, Stags' junior Ian Barwise made a foul shot. Westbrook sophomore Dominic Borilli made two foul shots, but Cheverus junior Ian Schwartz canned a jumper and DiStasio followed with the first of his 3-pointers for a 28-7 advantage.

DiStasio (14 second quarter points) would hit three more 3-balls in the period and Barwise canned another, helping the Stags lead 46-20 at the break.

"This year, everyone is playing as a team," DiStasio said. "We're quick. We're faster than most starting lineups. We have more depth. Our intensity and depth will help us hopefully take it to the Gold Ball."

Westbrook got as close as 21 points, 50-29, when sophomore Nick Jobin made two free throws with 2:30 to play in the third period, but Alston made two foul shots and senior Peter Foley scored on a rebound putback, pushing the lead back to 25, 54-29. It was 54-30 at period's end.

In the fourth, Westbrook cut the deficit to 20 points, 54-34, but the Stags never let the visitors enjoy anything resembling a run and put the finishing touches on their emphatic 68-45 triumph.

"Once you get a lead like that, it's tough to maintain," Brown said. "I thought we played very well in the first half. In the second half, they played better and we played worse."

DiStasio led with 20 points, but Cheverus actually had 11 different players merit inclusion in the scoring column. Alston finished with 10. Foley and Faithfull had eight apiece. Schwartz wound up with six. Barwise and Fraser had four, while Foster, Hendrix and junior Will White all had two points.

"I think we really don't drop off a lot when we go to the bench," Brown said. "The bench comes out there and speeds it up even more. They create havoc. We play pretty well together. We're playing better each game."

Westbrook (7-6 and seventh in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings) was paced by 14 points from Sanborn and 10 from Borilli. The Blue Blazes return to action Friday when Portland comes calling.

The Stags (third in the Heals, behind Thornton Academy and Deering) host Deering Wednesday and go to South Portland Friday. Cheverus also has Deering again, South Portland again, Portland once more and also hosts Thornton Academy in a huge showdown Jan. 29.

"These next few games, we really need to step it up," DiStasio said. "Tonight, we showed if we play like a team, we can do good things.

"These next games will be a lot of fun. They won't be easy. We'll have to play our 'A' game every time we go out there. We have a big target on our backs and everyone wants to get us."

Deering pulls together, beats Portland 59-50

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 20th, 2008

Deering pulls together, beats Portland 59-50
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

PORTLAND- The Deering Rams boys' basketball team has demonstrated an impressive knack of overcoming adversity this season, but what the Rams accomplished Saturday night on their home floor was their finest hour to date.

The squad is already without injured junior Regan Flaherty for the season. Saturday, senior Tim Conley was in street clothes and this past week, junior Parker Dodd left the team.

Instead of using the absences as an excuse, Deering put forth a tremendous effort against rival Portland, leading almost the whole way and cruising to a 59-50 victory behind 20 points from junior sharpshooter Ronald Abwoch and 17 apiece from senior standout Tim Donovan and junior star-in-the-making Khadar Abbas.

"It feels good," Abbas said. "We worked hard as a team. We never stopped playing hard. This is the best game we've had. We played hard all game and never let down."

"We're lucky to steal one early, the first time we played them," added Rams' coach Dan LeGage.

Deering entered the season a question mark. Donovan's availability was uncertain and the Rams had a dramatically different roster from a year ago, meaning a lot of players had to get used to new roles.

Donovan got clearance to play and Deering won its first six games before a thrilling one-point, overtime loss at Thornton Academy. After a home win over Noble, the Rams were shocked at Bonny Eagle. Deering bounced back with a win over Kennebunk, giving it an 8-2 mark prior to Saturday's showdown.

Portland, meanwhile, was viewed as the favorite entering the winter, but the Bulldogs have struggled to hit their stride. Senior Justin Powell was in the lineup only sporadically and Saturday it was revealed that he is no longer on the team. Portland opened the season with an overtime loss at Thornton Academy. The Bulldogs also stumbled at Cheverus and Windham, but had won five straight before meeting their match.

Prior to tipoff, with his family on hand, late Deering statistician Ernie Harmon was honored as a chair was dedicated in his memory.

Deering junior Andrea Rogers delivered a rousing version of the National Anthem and it was showtime.

The visitors took a quick 2-0 lead when senior Anthony Passmore scored on a layup off the opening tip. Donovan put his team up 3-2 with an old-fashioned three-point play, but the Bulldogs answered when senior Mike Harmon made a pair of free throws.

Portland would never lead again.

With 6:10 to go in the first, Abbas hit a long jumper ad Deering was up to stay, 5-4. Abwoch followed with two free throws and a layup after a steal, then Donovan converted a reverse layup for an 11-4 advantage.

The Bulldogs got back to 11-8 on a layup from junior Ed Bogdanovich and two free throws from emerging sophomore star Koang Thok, but Donovan answered with a 3-pointer to make it 14-8.

Thok hit a 3-pointer at the other end, but Donovan converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 17-11 lead. Portland senior Dewayne Albertie got one back with a foul shot, but Abwoch buried a jumper. In the final minute, Bulldogs' sophomore Walter Stover hit a 3-ball, ending a frenetic period which saw Deering lead 19-15.

The second quarter was vastly different.

Forty-five seconds in, Abwoch hit a long jumper for a 21-15 lead. Bogdanovich and Abwoch then traded hoops, giving the Rams a 23-17 edge. Portland then came to life, pulling within two on a 3-ball from Thok and a free throw from Bogdanovich. With 1:48 to play before halftime, Deering got its first points in nearly three minutes as senior Chris Smith made a free throw.

That would be it for first half scoring and the Rams went to the locker room clinging to a 24-21 lead.

While Portland imposed its will in the second period, Deering seized command in the third.

Just 11 seconds into the period, senior Guilluame Ramonas scored on a reverse layup. Stover answered with a 3-ball, but Donovan hit a jumper (his first points since the first quarter), Abbas made a layup and Abwoch did the same for a 32-24 advantage.

Stover momentarily stemmed the tide with another 3-pointer, but Abbas made back-to-back 3's for a 38-27 lead.

"I was confident," Abbas said. "I was keeping my composure. I was wide open. I just had to stay calm."

Sophomore Joe Zukowski hit a jumper in the lane for Portland, but Abbas scored on a rebound putback to restore the Rams' advantage to 11, 40-29. Passmore made one of two free throws for the Bulldogs, but Abwoch made a free throw, then hit a jumper to make it 43-30.

Thok got five points back with a pair of foul shots and a 3-ball, cutting the deficit to eight, 43-35, but with time winding down in the quarter, Abwoch was fouled while attempting a 3 and was awarded three foul shots. He sank them all and Deering led 46-35 heading for the fourth.

"We ran a little play at the end of the quarter and that drew a foul," LeGage said. "Ronald's coming along. He was in a different role tonight. He handled the ball more than we asked him to in the past. He's matured to be able to handle that. The other guys fed off that."

"We had a tremendous second quarter and we tried to build on that, but they came out and played a much better third quarter," Portland coach Joe Russo said. "We thought we could press them, but they hit those 3s. That's it in a nutshell. The dagger was right at the end of the third quarter when we fouled on the 3-pointer."

Harmon opened the fourth with a layup making it 46-37, but the Bulldogs would get no closer. Another Abbas 3-pointer pushed the lead to 12. After Harmon made two free throws, Ramonas scored on a layup. Senior Jake Longstaff made two free throws for Portland, but Abbas scored on a rebound putback and Donovan made a layup for a 55-41 lead.

"We talked about not letting (the Bulldogs) get their engine going," LeGage said. "They're very talented. When they get it cranked up, they're tough to stop. We talked about not letting up consecutive baskets. We played a mix of a zone and man to keep them off balance, but they still made shots and never gave up."

Albertie hit a layup at the other end for the visitors, but Donovan answered with one of his own. After Thok made a layup for Portland, Abwoch made two free throws for Deering's final points. Thok accounted for the 59-50 final score with a floater and 3-pointer in the waning seconds.

"We hit some shots," LeGage said. "The guys played good defense and rebounded. Guys like Ramonas, (sophomore Ed) Tirabassi and Chris Smith played well on the boards. When they missed, we were aggressive on the glass. We controlled it more in the third quarter. We handled their pressure and found some guys who were open. Abbas hit some shots. Ronald hit shots and Kyle did his role. We made them miss and boxed out."

In addition to the 54 combined points from Abbas, Abwoch and Donovan, Deering got four points from Ramonas and one from Smith.

"Ramonas doesn't play a lot, but he was ready," LeGage said. "I have to give him credit. He's been quiet and works hard. He was ready and produced.

"I think we have a good senior group. They're good kids first. They're all top-notch students. They've been brought up the right way. They know what needs to be done. Kyle, Chris and Timmy are the last links to the championship team. They know what they need to say to the underclassmen. They're patient and encouraging."

Portland was led by a breakout 20 points from Thok. Stover finished with nine. Harmon had six. Bogdanovich added five. Albertie and Passmore both had three and Longstaff and Zukowski had two apiece.

"We worked hard, but when you dig from behind all game, you have to get a rhythm going," Russo said. "When you miss shots, it's hard to get a rhythm.

"Deering played well. They shot really well. They had to shoot against our zone and they hit them.

"We didn't shoot well from the foul line and we had too many turnovers. Turnovers don't help. Maybe now, we'll figure out how to buckle down."

The Bulldogs (now 8-4 and eighth in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings) are back in action Monday when they host dangerous Scarborough (4 p.m. tip time at the Expo). Portland is at Westbrook Friday, then closes the regular season with two games versus South Portland, sandwiched around showdowns at home versus Cheverus and Deering.

"Scarborough's no picnic and Westbrook's no picnic," Russo said. "We get these guys again. It's good that everyone's playing well. We have to decide if we're going to do it or we're not."

The Rams (9-2 and second in Western A) also return to the court Monday when they go to Massabesic. Deering has another huge test upcoming Wednesday, when it goes to Cheverus.

"I hope we can keep it up," Abbas said. "We have some big games coming up. We want a high seed for the playoffs."

It's a work in progress," LeGage added. "This is a good one, but we have to come back Monday and keep taking steps forward. It doesn't get any easier for us. All the teams are so balanced in the league. It's so wide open. South Portland, Cheverus and TA are leading the way. We're in the same boat as Portland. It'll be interesting."

In case you're wondering the Deering-Portland rematch is Feb. 1 at the Expo.

"Hopefully we can beat them again next time," said Abbas.

"We're happy with the win, but we know that Portland will be ready next time," LeGage added.

Red Hot Red Riots Over Bonny Eagle Scots 68-47

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: January 18th, 2008

Red Hot Red Riots Over Bonny Eagle Scots 68-47
By The WIZ

This was a very interesting game at Beal Gymnasium in South Portland tonight. Everyone knows that Bonny Eagle is short-handed with injuries but the Scots have been playing very well. Coach Rick Simonds has his Scots scrapping and playing very good basketball but the Red Riots of South Portland were too much tonight.

In the 1st qurarter the Scots played right with the Riots. The first few minutes it was the Keegan Hyland/ John Onesti show has Hyland scores 9 straight points and Onesti scores 6 straight points as the Riots lead 9-6 with 3:20 to play in the first period. Jon Onesti was very impressive tonight as he scored 9 of his game high 24pts. in the first period to keep the Scots close but the Riots held a 2pt. lead after one period 16-14.

The story of this game was in the 2nd period as the Riots Will Furbush scored 11 of his 20pts. in the 2nd and Hyland added 5, Matt Lee a 3 Nick Wright two deuces as the Riots outscored the Scots 25-8 to take a halftime lead of 19pts. 41-22.

In the 3rd and 4th periods teams played pretty even as both teams put up 14 points apiece in the 3rd and the Riots out scored the Scots 13-11 in the final period as the Riots come away with the win 68-47.

Bonny Eagles John Onesti was everywhere tonight. This kid can play. He is a rebounding machine, plays a very tough defense and he can put the ball in the hoop. Also Nate Doehler is a tremendous athlete who can play the game of basketball.

The Riots Hyland and Furbush really Lit-It-Up tonight. Furbush had 20 and Hyland had 18 points. Furbush had 18 of his 20 in the first half and Hyland had 14 of his 18 points in the first half. South Portlands Nick Wright is looking better every game. The very athletic senior had 13pts and sophomore Matt Lee also playing very well had 6pts. to help in the cause.

With the win the Riots improve to 10-2 and the Bonny Eagle Scots now stand at 6-6.

Scoring in tonights game were:

Bonny Eagle:


South Portland:


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