It was a bittersweet moment for Yarmouth ski coach Bob Morse, a veteran of 32 years. Both of his Nordic teams won state titles Thursday at Black Mountain, but they did so without senior captain Sarah Becker, who was hit hard with a flu bug earlier in the week.
Her brother, Braden, a junior, won the classical and freestyle races. Sarah stayed home Wednesday but made the trip to Rumford the next day in hopes of racing in freestyle.
“One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a coach was to tell the girl we had groomed to be a state champion that she can’t race,” Morse said. “There were a lot of tears. It was sad. Very sad.”
He paused to collect his thoughts.
“On the flip side, the positive side, her classmate and teammate, another captain, Olivia Conrad, came through and pulled all these girls together. She’s never been the first girl, ever, and she was first for us (Thursday), in fifth place. Talk about follow-me leadership.”
WITH CHEVERUS holding a three-point lead over Deering in the closing seconds of their Western Class A semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center, Stags senior Kylie Libby had an idea where the Rams were going to go with the ball.
She was guarding Deering’s 6-foot-4 center, Marissa MacMillan, and figured the pass would eventually come her way.
When it did, Libby got her right hand on the ball, knocking it away to a teammate. Cheverus held on to win 33-31 and advance to its first regional title game.
“I was so nervous about that, but I figured I had to go for it,” said Libby, who scored seven points (five in the third quarter to help the Stags rally from a four-point halftime deficit). “If she gets her hands on it, I’m going to have to foul her.”
Defense was huge for the Stags. Coach Richie Ashley pointed out Mikayla Mayberry’s effort against Chelsea Saucier, who was held to four points.
“She played one of the best guards in the state and held her in check,” said Ashley. “That’s what we needed to do.”
DEERING’S WEAKNESS all year has been scoring. The Rams were the second-best defensive team in the SMAA, allowing just 33 points a game. But offensively?
“Everything’s a grind for us offensively,” said Coach Mike Murphy. “Sometimes we came out on top, sometimes we didn’t.”
He said his players didn’t look confident with the ball against the Stags. But as he pointed out earlier, not many people expected the Rams to go 17-3.
“I love this group, I really do,” he said. “It’s just disappointing that we’ve got to finish this way. They really have come a long way. It’s a tremendous group of kids and basketball wise they have come a long way. But skill-wise, offensively, we’re limited.
“And in some tough games down the stretch, we showed it.”
BRIAN CLEMENT had just arrived at the Civic Center at about 5:30 p.m., a half-hour before the McAuley-Scarborough semifinal was to begin. He has two daughters, Allie and Sarah, who play for McAuley.
That’s when he got the text: Sarah, a freshman, had left her basketball shoes at their Falmouth home.
So he grabbed one of Sarah’s friends to help, ran a couple blocks back to his car and raced home. He hurried back, dropped the friend off at the door with the shoes, then went to park his car.
The shoes arrived just after the national anthem. Sarah scored five points in McAuley’s win.
Clement just shook his head while talking about it. Later he sent an email: “No worries for tomorrow — she is sleeping with them on tonight.”