South Portland High has won six straight in Western Class A since a 41-36 loss to top-ranked McAuley. Those wins include victories at current No. 5 Cheverus, No. 6 Gorham, No. 4 Portland and a home win against No. 7 Windham.
With the quality wins, South Portland (13-3) has risen to third in the Western A standings. The 64-53 overtime win at Gorham showed the team’s resiliency and its worthiness to be considered a real threat to McAuley’s three-year reign.
“I don’t think this team has any quit in them. I’ve said it before and I don’t have to sell it to them anymore,” first-year coach Lynne Hasson said. “I don’t think they think there’s a team that can beat them if they play well.”
Offensively, South Portland has been led by Hasson’s daughter, 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Maggie Hasson.
“All you’ve got to do is look at the box scores on a daily basis to see she’s played very consistently through the entire season,” said Thornton Academy Coach Eric Marston.
Hasson has 3-point range but is at her best driving to the basket from either side of the court, weaving around defenders and finishing from awkward angles.
“You’d describe her as a scorer. Sometimes scorers find unorthodox ways to make shots,” Marston said.
Freshman point guard Lydia Henderson is a tenacious on-ball defender who also has 3-point range.
While the development of the youthful backcourt has been critical to the Red Riots’ success, the veteran frontcourt of senior small forward MacKenzie Bowring, junior 6-foot center Holly Black and senior 5-10 forward Brianne Maloney provides veteran underpinning and the ability to compete on the boards.
Maloney displayed her toughness in the win at Gorham, taking over in the fourth quarter with 11 points due mostly to her relentless pursuit of offensive rebounds.
“She has been a great senior leader all year and has been doing all the things that don’t always get noticed,” Hasson wrote in an email Sunday.
THORNTON ACADEMY senior Olivia Shaw is out of action. Marston said Shaw has struggled with back pain throughout her Thornton career but had to come out of last week’s game against Westbrook when her back seized up.
Thornton (14-2) was able to win, then beat Marshwood and Massabesic without Shaw, a 6-foot forward who is the team’s best 3-point shooter. Marston said he doubts Shaw will play Tuesday night against Scarborough but is hopeful she’ll be cleared to play sparingly in the Senior Night game against Biddeford.
Earlier this season Thornton lost 6-foot Lauren Leskowsky to a knee injury. Leskowsky was the first forward off the bench. Marston said Ashley Howe and Abby Strickland stepped up their games in Shaw’s absence but “if we’re going to make any kind of noise in the playoffs we’re going to need Liv. It’s not just her offense. She’s a great defensive player for us.”
OLD ORCHARD BEACH (11-5) AND WAYNFLETE (10-6) are ranked sixth and seventh in Western Class C, but each has just two Class C losses, and that includes a split of their season series. Playing Class B teams like Wells, Lake Region, Poland and Gray-New Gloucester doesn’t help the record but it should help tourney toughness. … Waynflete’s three key holdovers from last season’s championship team – Leigh Fernandez, Julianna Harwood and Helen Gray-Bauer – each had a big scoring game last week as the Flyers went 3-0.
FALMOUTH is ninth in the Western Class A standings (12 teams advance) with a 5-9 record and a Heal point tournament index (TI) of 32.963. Falmouth plays a mostly Class B schedule as a member of the Western Maine Conference. Falmouth’s TI would be 15th out of 16 were it in Class B. … Prediction: First team to 40 points wins Tuesday night’s No. 3 Wells (14-2) at No. 5 Greely (13-3) Class B game. Wells allows 37.6 points a game; Greely gives up 39.8. The teams haven’t met this season.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: