Sports – The Portland Press Herald Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:31:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Outdoors Calendar Sun, 19 Feb 2017 09:00:00 +0000 TUESDAY

Catching Smart Fish, 7 p.m. in Scarborough

Nationally known author and Maine Guide Lou Zambello will talk about how to catch those picky trout that have seen too many flies. The Sebago Trout Unlimited chapter meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Camp Ketcha at 336 Black Point Rd. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, email


Meditation in Nature, 9:30 a.m. in Georgetown

In Japan, the practice of meditating in nature to lower stress, improve memory and feel a stronger sense of place is called Shinrin-yoku, “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust invites the public to practice meditating in nature and mindfully take in the atmosphere at Morse Pond Preserve. This free meditative walk will be led by clinical psychologist Bobby Carnicella, who will offer guidelines on how to walk in nature mindfully. The walk will be mostly silent, with occasional reminders to refocus attention. Carnicella is a clinical psychologist who works at Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services in Lewiston. Participants are encouraged to wear snowshoes. To register, email or call 442-8400. To get to Morse Pond Preserve from Route 1, take Route 127 south for 10 miles, turn right on Seguinland Road and drive 1.1 miles to the preserve. The entrance is on the right.


Kids’ Derby, March 4 in Poland

Range Pond State Park is again holding a kids’ ice fishing derby. There will be a free trap for the first 500 kids and first 100 Special Olympians. There will be 500 trout stocked before the derby, and holes will be drilled. In addition, there will be free bait, a free fish cleaning station, food, and a sliding hill if weather permits. Youth ages 12 and under are free, all others play $1.50 to enter. To learn more, call 998-4104.

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Pond Hockey Classic highlights growth of sport among Maine adults Sun, 19 Feb 2017 09:00:00 +0000 SIDNEY — Dan Didham of Nova Scotia walked around Snow Pond at the Maine Pond Hockey Classic in his hockey pads, taking in the four games being played. He said the event made Maine feel like home, so much so that he and his teammates brought gift baskets filled with Canadian craft beer to give to their opponents.

“Usually we go to New Brunswick to pond hockey tournaments but sometimes we go to New York,” said Didham, 48, a hockey player for 40 years. “Everyone here loves hockey.”

Sixty teams and more than 400 players from as far as Florida competed in the Maine Pond Hockey Classic over three days last weekend. Mainers accounted for 280 of the players – a testament to the sport’s growing popularity among adults in the state.

It’s the Mostly Ex-Ponies in white against the Phantoms during the Maine Pond Hockey Classic. What it really is is hockey players who are passionate about their sport playing as often as possible. Maine had 1,660 registered adult players last year. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

In the past four years the number of Maine adults playing organized hockey has doubled – from 824 in 2013 to 1,660 in 2016, according to USA Hockey, which tracks participation levels across the country. The growth comes after nearly 20 years of hockey participation hovering mostly between 400 to 800 adults in Maine.

The Maine Pond Hockey Classic was founded in 2013. This year it attracted twice as many players as in 2016, said tournament founder and director Patrick Guerette. He expects the event will one day rival the nation’s biggest pond hockey tournaments, such as the New England Pond Hockey Classic in Meredith, New Hampshire, which draws more than 200 teams, and the largest, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis (more than 250 teams).

The teams in Sidney played four-on-four games with no goalies. The games consisted of two 20-minute periods and were played on 75-by-150-foot ice sheets outlined by boards. Each team was scheduled to play three pool games, followed by a single-elimination tourney.

Joe Hersom of Gardiner is ready for a little warmth after a game of pond hockey. Whether indoors or outdoors, not much can keep hockey players from their sport. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Many said playing hockey helps them maintain a beloved pastime from their youth.

Chad Foye has played for 45 years, since he was 6. Foye, the boys’ hockey coach for 20 years at Cony High in Augusta, said he’s seen more adults take up the game later in life.

“My best friend picked it up,” Foye said. “He played basketball in school. Now he’s got a rink behind his house. It’s great.”

The Murphs, the only all female team, strike a pose after playing a game. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Foye said playing in adult hockey leagues is not an easy commitment because ice time is expensive and hard to come by. There are no practices and games can start as late as 11 p.m.

“We battle through it,” Foye said.

Other players at the Pond Hockey Classic called hockey a sport that can be played for a lifetime.

“I want to play well into my 50s or 60s, as long as my knees hold up. There’s a guy here who is in his 70s,” said Justin Lawler, 28, of Oakland.

Patrick Dubay, 53, of Stillwater has played his whole life and isn’t ready to stop. He even played in an adult league when he moved from Maine to Virginia. Since he returned to Maine in 2010, he only has played pickup games. But he’s looking for an older adult league to join.

“I just play stick-and-puck,” said Dubay. “I haven’t found the right guys who skate at the same speed.”

Players shovel off hockey rinks between games. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Jared Nicholas of Bath plays on a men’s league in Rockport at the Midcoast Recreation Center, as well as in pickup games on the weekends. Nicholas said he’s seen more adults jumping into pickup games.

“You pay $10 to $15 to go to skate,” said Nicholas, 27. “You pay as you go. I think there could be more of it, there’s more of a market for it than the (ice arenas) can accommodate. Rinks are expensive. Ice time can be $180 an hour. When people get older and have kids, they just want to be able to play.”

Tim Bradford of Richmond played in the Pond Hockey Classic for the first time last weekend. He was impressed to see teams playing during a Saturday snowstorm. He was even more impressed to see those same players trying to set up the beer tent in gale-force winds.

“Adult hockey has definitely gotten bigger,” said Bradford, 26. “I think there could be more events like this. People would come. The sky is the limit.”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph

]]> 0 game on one end of the pond, another game on the other end. It's the Maine Pond Hockey Classic in Sidney, and more than 400 players playing with pucks were having a ball.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:33:04 +0000
Birding: Waxwings, finches plentiful in final Christmas counts Sun, 19 Feb 2017 09:00:00 +0000 This column concludes the overview of the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts conducted in Maine between mid-December and early January.

The Orono count was held Dec. 17. A gray jay was perhaps the least expected of the 44 species tallied. Tufted titmice were represented by 28 individuals.

A hardy northern mockingbird was unexpected. A whopping 1,467 Bohemian waxwings were found, an excellent count for this early in the winter.

Irruptive finches were well represented, with 65 pine grosbeaks, 25 purple finches, 54 common redpolls and 103 evening grosbeaks.

Just eight miles south of Orono, the Bangor count was held Dec. 31. The effort yielded a fine count of 58 species. Careful looks at the common goldeneye flocks on the Penobscot River yielded two Barrow’s goldeneyes.

Two red-bellied woodpeckers and a lingering northern flicker were the most notable woodpeckers. Two peregrine falcons and a northern shrike were delightful finds.

Tufted titmice continue to increase in the area; a total of 96 were found this year. Lingering songbirds included a Carolina wren, two northern mockingbirds and a yellow-rumped warbler.

The Bangor counters found 311 Bohemian waxwings along with 79 cedar waxwings.

Northern finches put on a good show: 146 pine grosbeaks, six purple finches, three pine siskins and nine evening grosbeaks.

Let’s head over to the Down East coast to Machias and then work our way south along the coast.

The Machias count on Dec. 31 yielded 59 species. A common pintail and four harlequin ducks were the most notable of the 14 species of waterfowl.

Lingering birds included a northern harrier, three white-throated sparrows and a song sparrow.

A red-bellied woodpecker was unusual for this part of Maine. Rough-legged hawks have been scarce in Maine so far this winter, so the two found here were great finds.

Red-breasted nuthatches were well represented with 363 individuals. Irruptive birds included 38 Bohemian waxwings, 74 pine grosbeaks, 61 purple finches, 55 pine siskins and 27 evening grosbeaks.

Counters at the Schoodic count started the new year off right, finding 59 species. Twelve species of waterfowl appeared, none out of the ordinary.

Six northern gannets were delights, along with two rough-legged hawks.

Black guillemots are expected on any coastal Maine bird count. Counters here found 36 black guillemots, along with other less common alcids: two thick-billed murres and a quartet of razorbills.

Less common gulls included five black-legged kittiwakes and singleton Iceland and glaucous gulls.

Two northern shrikes graced the area with their presence. Lingering birds included nine American robins, a northern mockingbird, a white-throated sparrow and three song sparrows.

Winter finches included 55 purple finches and an excellent total of 24 red crossbills.

Let’s hop on a plane to visit Matinicus Island, 20 miles off shore, like three birders did on Jan. 5. You never know what a far-flung outpost like Matinicus will hold.

The counters found 39 species. There were no jaw-dropping finds; the expected coastal birds were present just offshore.

Lingering birds included a northern flicker, a yellow-rumped warbler, four white-throated sparrows and two song sparrows. The only other sparrow was an American tree sparrow, and no finches were found at all.

The Pemaquid count on Dec. 17 produced a nice total of 64 species. Three wood ducks were the most unusual of 15 species of waterfowl.

Lingering birds included a northern harrier, a belted kingfisher, five eastern bluebirds and a northern mockingbird.

A merlin and two fox sparrows were notable.

The Bath count was held Dec. 19, producing a fine total of 74 species. Fifteen northern pintails were the most notable waterfowl.

Highlights included an American pipit, four Lapland longspurs and a long list of lingering species. These ambitious birds included a great blue heron, five northern harriers, two hermit thrushes, a Savannah sparrow and five red-winged blackbirds.

Herb Wilson teaches ornithology and other biology courses at Colby College. He welcomes reader comments and questions at:

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Skiing in Maine: Powder aplenty at Maine ski areas Sun, 19 Feb 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Right now, skiing in Maine is as good as it’s been in years. Slammed by a series of snowstorms that buried both the coast and the mountains, all of Maine has at least two feet of snow on the ground.

It’s fortuitous timing, as ski areas and winter recreation facilities head into the Presidents Day vacation week – traditionally one of the two biggest weeks of the season for most resorts. Virtually all of Maine’s ski areas, big and small, are headed into the holiday with nearly 100 percent of their terrain open, carpeted with packed powder (read: snow) rather than frozen granular (read: ice).

The snow is a cooling salve on the pain of last season, a lousy winter typified by warm temperatures and below-average snowfall. Sugarloaf, for example, already has logged more natural snow for 2016-17 than it received in the entirety of last season. It also has already opened the summit snowfields for the first time in two years.

Sunday River didn’t just beat last season – Director of Communications Darcy Lambert reported that “this is hands-down the best February in terms of natural snowfall that Sunday River has seen in over a decade.”

Last year’s conditions led to a lower number of skier visits than usual statewide, with the Ski Maine Association putting the number at about 1.2 million. This year the state is on track to beat that.

And we’re on track for a reprieve from our seemingly regularly scheduled snowstorms. Forecasts are calling for the next week to be warm, sunny and calm – perfect for getting out to play in the snow.

Skiers who missed the chance to bag powder days during the recent nor’easters would be wise to head to Black Mountain in Rumford, which is typically closed during the week. Because of this, the trails – and especially the glades – hold onto untracked powder quite a bit longer. Black Mountain is open every day during this vacation week, so a sick day on Tuesday or Wednesday might be in order.

Greenwood’s Mount Abram, which is usually open only Thursday to Sunday, also will be open during the vacation week.

Hermon Mountain, which is usually only open in the afternoon and evening during the week, has extended its hours for the holiday week – it will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

All of Maine’s resorts are planning festivities for the week, with Boyne Resorts-owned Sunday River and Sugarloaf boasting the busiest schedules.

The former has live apres ski music at the Foggy Goggle every day from 3 to 6 p.m., and night skiing at South Ridge and North Peak from 4 to 8 p.m.

The latter has a heavier focus on kid-friendly events, with arts and crafts, movie nights and food-focused events throughout the week. One notable exception is a presentation from Patrick Scanlan, Carrabassett Valley Academy’s new Alpine leadership coach, on Thursday afternoon at the new Competition Center. Scanlan will be discussing the recent explosion in popularity of backcountry skiing, a topic of particular interest to many readers of this column.

Those looking for a laugh can keep their eyes open for comedian Bob Marley, who is performing at Shawnee Peak on Monday, at Sugarloaf on Wednesday and Thursday, and at Sunday River on Saturday.

The nor’easters hammering Maine have been a particular boon for Nordic areas, many of which suffered through last season’s drought without the benefit of manmade snow. Like the Alpine resorts, most of the state’s cross-country networks now boast 100 percent open terrain. While the Rangeley Lakes region suffers through Saddleback’s persistent closure, the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center is reporting “epic midwinter conditions,” with packed powder and powder surfaces on over 30 kilometers of trails.

For Nordic skiers looking to explore the nation’s newest national monument, the National Park Service is reporting great conditions in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. To reach the trails, follow the road to the North Entrance – the road has been plowed and there’s parking at the monument entrance. The Old River Road Loop Trail and K Comp Trail to Bowlin and Stair Falls have both been groomed, and a single set of tracks to Haskell Rock Pitch has been packed and set.

Perhaps the best thing to come from this active snow pattern – two storms with light, airy snow followed by wetter, heavier stuff – is that it sets up a spectacular base for later this season. Lots of the snow on the ground will hang on as the temperatures warm, and we could be looking at a season that extends through April and into May.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer living in Portland. Along with his brother, Jake, he writes about great Maine destinations for outdoors enthusiasts. Josh can be reached at:

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Boys’ basketball: Skowhegan stuns Medomak Valley Sun, 19 Feb 2017 04:25:20 +0000 AUGUSTA — The Cinderella run for the Skowhegan High boys’ basketball team continued Saturday night.

The Indians, led by 17 points from senior guard Brendan Curran, took the lead for good with under three minutes to play and held on for a 54-53 win over previously unbeaten and top-seeded Medomak Valley in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

No. 8 Skowhegan (11-9), which needed double overtime to escape the preliminary round against Brewer, will face No. 5 Messalonskee in the regional semifinals Wednesday.

Curran was one of the three Indians in double figures, with Cole Pierce and Garrett McSweeney each chipping in 11 points.

Medomak Valley (18-1) was led by 16 points from Cam Allaire.

The Panthers became the third higher-seeded team to lose in the Class A North quarterfinals. No. 2 Hampden Academy and No. 4 Gardiner also were eliminated.

This story will be updated.

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High school sports tournaments: complete coverage Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:43:11 +0000 0, 18 Feb 2017 23:12:09 +0000 Saturday’s high school roundup: Falmouth takes out Biddeford Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:26:01 +0000 At this time of year, teams are preaching defense more than anything else.

And so it was Saturday night with Falmouth High’s boys’ basketball team. The second-seeded Yachtsmen struggled offensively in their Class A South quarterfinal against seventh-seeded Biddeford, but they more than made up for it with their defense.

Falmouth built a 22-point lead in the third quarter and held off a Biddeford charge for a 48-34 victory to advance to the regional semifinals.

“We live on our defense,” said Dave Halligan, Falmouth’s veteran coach. “If our offense isn’t working, and it wasn’t tonight, then our defense will keep us in the game and give us a chance to be successful. That’s all you can ask.”

Falmouth (14-5) will play Cape Elizabeth in the regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cross Insurance Arena. The teams split in the regular season, with the Capers winning 40-37 on Dec. 29 and Falmouth winning 60-44 on Feb. 8. A year ago, Falmouth eliminated Cape in the semifinals on its way to a state championship.

Biddeford finished 8-11.

The Yachtsmen only forced eight turnovers, but their perimeter defense really bothered Biddeford’s 3-point shooters. The Tigers hit just 5 of 21 3-point attempts (24 percent) and converted only 11 of 41 shots overall (27 percent).

“That’s a pretty good shooting team,” said Falmouth senior Sean Walsh, who scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds. “You’ve got to feel good about that.”

Biddeford Coach Justin Tardif knew his team would have to shoot well to have a chance.

“If you’re going to pull the upset, you’re going to have to hit some 3s to win,” said Tardif. “That was the difference. Sometimes the game of basketball is really simple. It’s about making shots, and we were not making them.”

Falmouth never trailed and led 11-5 after one quarter and 25-11 at the half. The Yachtsmen appeared to be pulling away in the third when they scored the first eight points.

When Walsh scored down low late in the quarter after a lob pass from Mike Simonds, Falmouth led 38-17.

That’s when Biddeford started hitting some shots. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Tigers pulled within 10, the final time at 42-32 on a basket by Carter Edgarton. But Falmouth regrouped, slowed the pace and scored the next six points to secure the win.

Jack Bryant led Falmouth with 14 points, along with eight rebounds, while Colin Coyne had 11 points. Biddeford’s Kyle Norton led all scorers with 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers.

While disappointed about the loss, Tardif said his team had come a long way.

“They hung in there,” he said. “We forced them to have to finish out the game. I’m proud of this senior group. They were 2-52 the last three years. And it was really nice to see them play on a playoff court.”

For Falmouth, Halligan said there is work to be done.

“I’m not pleased (with how his team played),” said Halligan. “I’m pleased that we won. There are some things that we need to take care of and we’ll do that in practice.”


OCEANSIDE 53, NOKOMIS 49: Third-seeded Oceanside (16-3) overcame a poor first quarter and held on in the closing minutes to beat No. 6 Nokomis (11-8) in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Nokomis couldn’t get a good look at the basket on two late possessions with a chance for a go-ahead bucket, and Oceanside’s Cooper Wirkala made a pair of free throws with less than three seconds remaining.

Michael Norton Jr. scored 27 points for Oceanside, the reigning regional champion.

Josh Smestad led Nokomis with 22 points, while Zach Hartsgrove added 17.

Nokomis took command early, racing out to an 18-8 first-quarter advantage, but led by a scoring surge from Norton, the Mariners fought back. Oceanside was up 24-22 at halftime, and then 40-35 after a fast-paced third quarter.

A.R. GOULD 76, TEMPLE 63: Tyrese Collins scored 36 points to lead second-seeded A.R. Gould to a quarterfinal win over No. 7 Temple at the Augusta Civic Center.

Gould (16-3) faces No. 3 Valley, a winner over Vinalhaven earlier in the day, on Wednesday morning in the regional semifinals.

Brad Smith scored 36 points for the Bereans (8-11), but Temple’s first trip to the Class D tournament since returning to MPA-sanctioned play two years again came to a quick end.

A high-scoring first half ended with a Collins 3-pointer at the buzzer, sending Gould into the break with a 41-37 lead. After holding Temple to just nine third-quarter points, the Bears pulled away in the final period with a 22 points over the last eight minutes.

Gage Barton added 19 points for A.R. Gould, while Joe Xu scored 11 for Temple.

SPRUCE MOUNTAIN 88, LISBON 66: Mason Shink set a Class B South tournament record with eight 3-pointers and finished with 38 points, and the second-seeded Phoenix (16-3) rolled past the No. 7 Greyhounds (9-10) in a quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Shink had 25 points and seven 3-pointers by halftime, matching the previous regional record. He went to the bench for good early in the fourth quarter with Spruce Mountain holding an insurmountable lead.

Noah Preble added 22 points and Austin Darling scored 14 for the Phoenix, who will face No. 3 Wells in the semifinals Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Tyrese Joseph paced Lisbon with 20 points.


GREELY 4, YARMOUTH 2: Jake McDonald and Andrew Moore each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (10-5) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two periods in a win over the Clippers (7-9-1) at Travis Roy Arena.

Ryan Megathlin and Matthew Kramlich also scored and Ryan Sullivan recorded two assists for Greely.

Cooper May and Will Jacobs each scored a third-period goal for Yarmouth.

WINDHAM/WESTBROOK 5, NOBLE/WELLS 2: Five players scored for Windham/Westbrook (5-11) in a win over the Knights (3-14) at USM Arena.

Windham took a 3-0 lead on goals by Cam Morrison in the first period and Derek Corbett and Tommy Lekousi in the second period. Keegan Pock and Dylan Francoeur also scored for the Eagles.

Nate DeWolf and Evan Whitten scored a goal apiece for Noble.

YORK 8, GORHAM 1: Thomas Carr recorded two goals and an assist for the Wildcats (13-2) in a win over the Rams (4-12-1) at USM Arena.

Julius Lundgren added a goal and two assists for York, which also got goals from Andrew Bertolini, Jacob Martin, Dalton McCann, Aidan Drew and Spencer Pickett.

FALMOUTH 8, THORNTON ACADEMY 0: Brendan Hickey notched two goals and two assists for the Yachtsmen (13-3-1) in a win over the Trojans (3-13) at Family Ice Center.

Robbie Armitage also scored twice, and Alex Grade had three assists. Jacob Skillin-Lanou, Theo Hembre, Lou Mainella, Garett Tracy contributed a goal apiece.

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Sports Digest: Canadiens lose in Julien’s return to Montreal Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:10:33 +0000 HOCKEY

Canadiens lose in Julien’s return to Montreal

Patrik Laine and Mathieu Perreault each had a goal and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled Claude Julien’s return to Montreal with a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday in Montreal.

Joel Armia also scored for Winnipeg (27-29-5), and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 shots. The Jets had dropped five of six.

The Canadiens fired Coach Michel Therrien on Tuesday and hired Julien, the former Bruins coach, in hopes of getting their season back on track.

Julien coached Montreal from 2003-2006.

Robin Lehner stopped 16 shots in the third period and 37 overall as the Buffalo Sabres snapped the St. Louis Blues’ six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory at Buffalo, New York.

 Henrik Zetterberg scored a tiebreaking goal on Detroit’s fifth shootout attempt and then Petr Mrazek stopped Alex Ovechkin, sending the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Detroit.

Cam Talbot made 38 saves, Connor McDavid scored his 20th goal and visiting Edmonton beat Chicago 3-1 for its third straight win.

Cory Schneider made 40 saves and Travis Zajac had a goal and an assist to lead the host New Jersey Devils over the New York Islanders 3-2.


NASCAR: Austin Theriault of Fort Kent won the ARCA opener at Daytona International Speedway after a harrowing late accident damaged part of the energy-absorbing wall and halted the race. The 200-mile event was called with five laps remaining – with Theriault sitting on the high-banked track.

“When you’re fast and you play a smart race, you’re hard to beat,” Theriault said. “Fortunately everything played out in our favor.”


NFL: The Miami Dolphins signed defensive end Cameron Wake to a two-year contract extension.

The 35-year-old Wake is coming off a Pro Bowl season, one year removed from an Achilles injury. He had 111/2 sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception this past season, helping the Dolphins reach the playoffs.

 New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has a court date next week on criminal charges stemming from a fight after he turned himself in to police and was later released on a non-monetary bond.


PGA: Dustin Johnson finished with three birdies over his last four holes for another 5-under 66 and a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the rain-delayed Genesis Open at Los Angeles.

LPGA: Lizette Salas shot a 2-under 71 to take a two-stroke lead in the Women’s Australian Open at Adelaide.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Brett Rumford shot a 4-under 68 for a five-shot lead in the World Super 6 tournament at Perth, Australia.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied two of the last four holes to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples and Kevin Sutherland into the final round of the Chubb Classic at Naples, Florida.


WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Mikaela Shiffrin won a third straight slalom title at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, to retain her unbeaten record at major events.

The 21-year-old American extended her first-run lead to finish a huge 1.64 seconds faster than runner-up Wendy Holdener of Switzerland.

Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was third, trailing by 1.75.

– Staff and news service report

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Saturday’s college roundup: UMaine women lose at Albany Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:09:49 +0000 ALBANY, N.Y. — Albany countered a late Maine rally and came away with a 64-60 victory Saturday in an America East women’s basketball game.

Sigi Koizar matched her season high with 25 points for Maine (15-15, 8-7), which trailed 35-26 at halftime, then pulled within a point by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter. But the Great Danes (15-11, 9-4) scored six straight points and the Black Bears never caught up.

Koizar added seven rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Black Bears. Julie Brosseau tossed in 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

Bailey Hixson led Albany with 15 points.

ST. JOSEPH’S 80, SIMMONS 48: Kelsi McNamara scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures as the Monks (21-4, 15-1 Great Northeast Athletic) beat the Sharks (7-15, 5-10) at Standish.

Leading 14-10 after the first quarter, St. Joseph’s opened the second with a 12-4 run and led 43-23 at the half. The Monks, the top seed in the GNAC tournament, will be home against Albertus Magnus in a quarterfinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 91, NICHOLS 59: The Nor’easters (20-5, 16-2 Commonwealth Coast) used a 35-10 run in the third quarter to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit and defeat the Bison (2-23, 2-16) at Dudley, Massachusetts, for their 14th consecutive victory.

Alicia Brown had 17 points and 10 boards, Sam MacDonald tossed in 16 points, and Olivia Allrich and Sadie Nelson added 11 points each for UNE, which clinched the top seed for the conference tournament for the sixth staight year and be home against Gordon in a quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

UMASS-DARTMOUTH 69, SOUTHERN MAINE 41: The Corsairs (20-4, 10-3 Little East) scored the first 12 points of the second half, part of a 24-6 run in the third quarter, to pull away from the Huskies (5-19, 4-9) at Gorham.

Jackie Luckhardt, Miranda Nicely and reserve Kimberly Howrigan each scored seven points for USM.

AMHERST 76, BATES 35: The Purple and White (25-0), ranked No. 1 in the country, ended the first quarter with an 11-0 run to take a 22-5 lead and rolled past the Bobcats (8-16) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC championships at Amherst, Massachusetts.

Allie Coppola led Bates with 12 points.Carly Christofi tossed in 10 points.

BOWDOIN 72, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 47: Kate Kerrigan had eight points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals to lead the Polar Bears (21-3) over the Camels (16-9) in a NESCAC quarterfinal at Brunswick.

Bowdoin will face Tufts in the semifinals next Saturday at Amherst, Massachusetts.

COLBY 48, MIDDLEBURY 39: The Mules (13-11) went on a 14-6 run over the final six minutes and defeated the Panthers (17-8) in a NESCAC quarterfinal at Middlebury, Vermont.

Colby will play at Amherst in the semifinals at 2 p.m. next Saturday.

(1) CONNECTICUT 63, TULANE 60: Napheesa Collier had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Connecticut (26-0, 13-0 American Athletic) held off Tulane (16-11, 7-7) at New Orleans to push its record winning streak to 101 games.


NICHOLS 86, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 69: The Bison (20-5, 15-3 Commonwealth Coast) hit six first-half 3-pointers, built a 34-24 halftime lead and defeated the Nor’easters (7-18, 5-13) at Dudley, Massachusetts.

Reserve Jackson McCoy led UNE with 12 points. C.J. Autry and Gavin Dibble each chipped in with nine.

ST. JOSEPH’S 80, SUFFOLK 73: Leading 67-51 with 5:39 to play, the Monks (13-12, 10-8 Great Northeast Athletic) scored their final 13 points from the foul line, and held off the Rams (7-18, 6-12) at Standish.

Ian Mileikis had 17 points for St. Joseph’s, including 6 of 6 from the line in the final 35 seconds, and dished out eight assists.

(1) GONZAGA 82, PACIFIC 61: Nigel Williams-Goss had 18 points and seven assists as Gonzaga (28-0, 16-0 West Coast) beat Pacific (10-19, 4-12) at Spokane, Washington, to remain the only undefeated team in Division I.

Women’s hockey

ST. ANSELM 6, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Kaitlyn Spillane had a pair of goals and an assist as the Hawks (20-2-3, 15-1-1 New England Hockey) took a 4-0 lead after one period and handled the Huskies (6-18-1, 4-12-1) at Gorham.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 3, ST. MICHAEL’S 1: Gabreille Moscato scored twice in the second period to put the Nor’easters (10-13-2, 7-9-1 New England Hockey) ahead 3-0 against the Purple Knights (4-20, 4-13) at Biddeford.

TRINITY 2, BOWDOIN 0: Maggie Cusick and Taylor Foy scored in the third period to lead the Bantams (9-12-3, 8-6-2 NESCAC) over the Polar Bears (12-8-4, 7-6-3) at Hartford, Connecticut.


BOWDOIN 1, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 1: Ronnie Lestan scored the tying goal for the Polar Bears (8-15-1, 5-12-1 NESCAC) with 1:05 remaining in the second period against the Camels (4-16-3, 2-13-3) at Brunswick.

MAINE 4, MERRIMACK 4: The Black Bears (10-18-4, 4-14-2 Hockey East) surrendered three leads and tied with the Warriors (13-13-6, 7-7-6) at North Andover, Massachuests.

Cedric Lacroix, Blaine Byron, Ron Michel and Ryan Smith scored for Maine.

COLBY 3, TUFTS 2: Nick O’Connor scored with 1:13 left to lift the Mules (13-6-4, 11-4-3 NESCAC) over the Jumbos (11-10-3, 9-8-1) at Waterville.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 7, WENTWORTH 0: Ryan Burr and Adam Canepa each scored twice, and the Nor’easters (12-9-2, 8-7-2 Commonwealth Coast) cruised over the Leopards (5-16-3, 3-12-2) at Biddeford.


WINTHROP 12, MAINE 5: The Eagles (2-0) scored 11 runs in the sixth inning and defeated the Black Bears (0-2) at Rock Hill, South Carolina.

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Boys’ basketball: Cape Elizabeth tops Brunswick in overtime Sun, 19 Feb 2017 02:47:53 +0000 Finn Bowe hit a free throw with no time remaining in overtime Saturday night to give third-seeded Cape Elizabeth a 50-49 victory against sixth-seeded Brunswick in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

The Capers (12-7) will meet second-seeded Falmouth in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Cape Elizabeth and Brunswick couldn’t have been more evenly matched. Heading into the game, they sported identical records. During the game, both teams struggled with nerves while also showing tenacity and verve.

In the end, Bowe – who only this week participated in his first contact practice in more than a month after suffering a broken fibula – made the difference with his free throw.

Bowe went to the line after a defender grazed his arm as time expired on a 3-point attempt. He used an up-fake to get the Brunswick player off balance.

After a brief discussion by the three officials to make sure the foul came before the buzzer, Bowe (team-high 14 points) calmly hit the free throw.

“My teammates got me there,” said Bowe, who missed half of the season because of the injury. “Everyone was making plays. They set me up to be the hero but I just made the (free throw).”

The play followed one free throw by Josh Dorr of the Dragons, who was fouled on a drive with 6.7 seconds left.

Dragons Coach Todd Hanson thought the game was going to a second overtime when Bowe was forced to fake the defender.

“It’s a judgment call,” Hanson said. “In an overtime game in the tournament, I just wish … it seemed like (the officials) were unsure. So I wish the three of them got together and had a discussion. And it didn’t seem like they had that discussion.

“When I saw him up-fake I thought that bought us time and ran the clock out. He went back up and it (appeared) a late call.”

The free throw capped the last comeback by the Capers, who trailed 20-12 at halftime, 38-29 with five minutes left in regulation and 46-42 in overtime.

An 11-0 run gave the Capers their first lead, 40-38, since leading 8-5 at the end of the first quarter. Quinn Hewitt (12 points, 6 rebounds) had five points in the spurt.

Nathan Benoit’s runner in the lane with 20 seconds left in regulation for the Dragons tied it.

“It wasn’t pretty,” said Cape Coach Jim Ray. “The most frustrating thing as a coach is we work so hard all season long and man, the nerves are overwhelming.”

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:30:54 +0000
NBA notebook: Prozingis wins skills competition Sun, 19 Feb 2017 02:45:21 +0000 NEW ORLEANS — Big men continue to reign supreme in the NBA All-Star skills competition Saturday night.

New York Knicks 7-foot-3 forward Kristaps Prozingis won it, beating Utah’s Gordon Hayward in the finals.

Those vanquished in earlier rounds included guards John Wall of Washington and Isaiah Thomas of Boston, both because they couldn’t make their initial 3-pointers required to close out the course before Hayward did.

Porzingis emerged from the big-men’s division that included the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.

Porzingis and Hayward were neck and neck until the end of the course, but Porzingis hit his 3 first to end it.

3-POINT SHOOTING: Eric Gordon of Houston dethroned Klay Thompson of Golden State as the contest champion.

Gordon’s score of 21 in a final-round tie-breaker defeated Kyrie Irving of Cleveland, the 2013 winner who had 18. They each finished with a score of 20 in the final round, meaning they each had to shoot 25 more balls to decide it.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league remains in a very good place, citing the continued international growth of the game and successes from a business standpoint.

Silver gave his annual All-Star Saturday night address, saying “the state of the league is as good as it’s ever been.”

A new seven-year collective bargaining agreement that assures labor peace for the foreseeable future is completed, the league is making forays into the eSports world and there’s never been more international players in the NBA than there are now.

D-LEAGUE ALL-STAR: Behind an MVP performance by Quinn Cook the East team edged the West 105-100.

Cook, the former Duke standout playing for the Canton Charge, led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including four of six threes. He also spread the wealth around with a game-high 12 assists.

Abdel Nader of the Maine Red Claws scored 16 points for the East, and Jalen Jones added five.

HALL OF FAME: Chris Webber, a career 20-point-per-game scorer in the NBA, and Rollie Massimino, the coach who led Villanova to a stunning upset of Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game were among the 14 finalists unveiled for this year’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

Other first-time Hall of Fame finalists include longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut women’s star Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas men’s coach Bill Self, and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:47:57 +0000
Wrestling: Marshwood pins down another Class A title Sun, 19 Feb 2017 00:31:40 +0000 ROCKPORT — Marshwood High reclaimed its Class A wrestling title in impressive fashion Saturday, just as four-time state champion Bradley Beaulieu predicted.

“I think back at the Spartan tournament (in early January), I said I thought we would win and we would not only win, we would blow it out of the water,” Beaulieu said.

Marshwood and Beaulieu were both emphatic in victory at Camden Hills Regional High School.

The Hawks scored 184 points, with runner-up Noble a distant second with 80.5. It’s Marshwood’s fifth title in six years. Defending champion Skowhegan placed third with 73.5 points.

Beaulieu pinned his way to the 138-pound title, after winning titles at 113, 126 and 132 the previous three seasons. He dropped North regional champion Noah Lang of Camden Hills at 3:02 of the final.

“I came in here and I wanted to prove to everyone that I’m the best wrestler in Maine, and to prove it I have to go out there and dominate everybody, and I think I did that,” Beaulieu said.

The brother tandem of Matt Thompson (120), a freshman, and James Thompson (195), junior, also won individual titles for Marshwood. Liam Cooney (113), David Spinney (126) and Matt Caverly (152) finished second, and 11 of the 12 Marshwood wrestlers who qualified for the meet placed in the top four.

Beaulieu was joined as a four-time champ by Skowhegan’s Cody Craig (106 pounds). Craig continued his streak of having never lost either in Maine or to a wrestler from Maine.

With Danny Buteau of Oak Hill winning a fourth title at the Class B meet, there are now 23 four-time state champions in Maine wrestling history.

Craig, the New England runner-up as a junior, had to scramble in his championship match, beating Noble freshman Sam Martel, 16-6.

“I don’t like getting scored on, especially getting put to my back. I’m not happy about that,” Craig said. “I’m feeling like I’ve kind of got to work a little harder for that New England title right now. I’ve never really been one to put much emphasis on the titles and the awards and the accolades as much as I am on my own improvement. But I like having the title, nonetheless.”

Robert Hetherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick claimed his 200th career victory. Hetherman pinned all three of his opponents, needing just 26 seconds in the 170-pound final against Isaac Plante of Sanford. It’s Hetherman’s second state title.

“Junior year, when I got my first one I was so ecstatic, and I never would have thought I’d get my 200th win at the state (meet),” Hetherman said. “When my coach told me the 200th win would be in the state final, I just felt I had to do it because it’s my senior year, and (I wanted) to go out with a bang.”

Other state champions were Leo Amabile of Massabesic at 113 pounds, Chris Solo of Deering at 126, Samson Sirois of Skowhegan (132), Austin Shorey of Noble (145), Quinton Richards of Nokomis (152), Sam Anderson of Sanford (160), Nic Mills of Cony (182), Matthew Carroll of Massabesic (220) and Zebulon Leavitt of Cheverus (285). It’s Shorey’s second state title.

Marshwood Coach Matt Rix said regaining the team title was far from a sure thing at the start of the season.

“Not at all,” Rix said. “We were kind of scrambling for what we were going to do with our upper weights. We had four guys who were all in the 170s.”

Those four sorted themselves out and earned a state title (Thompson), a second (Caverly) and two thirds (Dylan Strong at 170 and Austin Locke at 182).

The top four finishers in each weight class from both the Class A and Class B championships are eligible to compete next week in the New England qualifier at Marshwood High. The top three finishers there will represent Maine in the New England championships March 3-4 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 Hetherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick raises his arms in victory after pinning Isaac Plante of Sanford for his 200th career win at the Class A wrestling state championships Saturday at Camden Hills Regional High School. Hetherman won the 170-pound championship for the second year in a row, and Marshwood won the team title for the fifth time in six years.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:29:56 +0000
Wrestling: Wells captures Class B state title Sun, 19 Feb 2017 00:16:41 +0000 BUCKSPORT — Wells rode its depth to its first Class B state wrestling championship in 21 years Saturday at Bucksport High School.

The Warriors, the South regional champion, qualified 12 wrestlers for the state meet and 10 of them scored at the state meet.

Wells scored 100 points to easily win their first title since 1996. Ellsworth and Winslow tied for second with 73.5, followed by Mountain Valley 70, Foxcroft Academy 69 and Dirigo 63.5.

“We wrestled well today, all of my kids did,” Wells Coach Scott Lewia said. “They’ve worked all season, and you can’t ask for anymore than that.”

The Warriors had a 14.5-point lead over Ellsworth going into the consolation finals. They increased their edge to 23.5 after six of their wrestlers won in that round.

“That’s where we usually don’t do well is in that round, and it was like a perfect round,” Lewia said.

Added Foxcroft Academy Coach Luis Ayala: “(Wells has) been on top all year, and they came and proved today why they’ve been on top all year. We’ve gone to tournaments with them and they’ve done well, so we knew they were going to be tough to handle, and they really stepped it up.”

The Warriors’ only individual title came when Nolan Potter scored a first-round pin over Billy Brock, a two-time state champion from Foxcroft Academy at 182 pounds, in the 195-pound division.

“At the beginning of the year I didn’t think we had enough to win,” Lewia said. “I only have two seniors so I looked at this as a building year. About a month ago, I realized we could do it.”

Oak Hill’s Danny Buteau was named the meet’s outstanding wrester.

Buteau rolled to a 9-1 victory over R.J. Nelson of Foxcroft Academy in the finals of the 132-pound division to capture his fourth consecutive state championship. He became the only the 23rd wrestler from Maine to accomplish that feat.

Ellsworth’s Trent Goodman pinned all three of his opponents to run his record to 38-0 and capture the 170-pound title. He did not allow a point to be score against him this season.

Ellsworth’s Peyton Cole ran his record to 37-0 when he registered a 6-0 decision over Hunter White of Dirigo in the 152-pound final

Ryan Fredette, a junior from Winslow, won his third state title when he scored a second-period pin over Nolan Degroot of Dirigo in the 182-pound final. The previous two seasons, Fredette was the state champion at 170.

Mountain Valley’s Caleb Austin won the 126-pound title and increased his career win total to 202.

Other individual champions were Justin Wing of Dexter at 106, Brenden Bruns of Belfast at 113, Devon Vigue of Winslow at 120, Ethan Boucher of Mountain Valley at 138, Tyler Beam of Dexter at 145, Bryce Whittemore of Dirigo 160, Seth Padelford of Madison at 220 and freshman David Gross of Bucksport at 285.

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Major League notebook: Betts focuses on hard work Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:18:55 +0000 FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mookie Betts isn’t about to get caught up in the hype coming off his near-MVP season.

If you mention NBA star Stephen Curry, his eyes light up and he’ll chat about how much he loves Curry’s game and watching his Golden State Warriors.

Talk to him about his own play, and Betts just shrugs it off as hard work.

Last year, the 24-year-old became a major league star in his second full season, batting .318 with 31 homers and 113 RBI to finish second behind Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL’s MVP balloting.

He’s relying on his steady demeanor to guide him again this season.

“Yeah, I did pretty well last year, so obviously there’s going to be added expectations and added pressure from the outside,” he said when asked if he was reminded about his stellar 2016 a lot when he was home during the offseason. “But, I know from the inside, I’ve just got to be able to continue to work hard and just let whatever happened happen.”

The right fielder joined elite company in Red Sox history last year. He had two three-homer games, matching Hall of Famer Ted Williams as the only two Red Sox players in more than 100 years with a pair in the same season.

Betts always looks relaxed on the field, after using his quick, smooth swing, solid defensive skills and easygoing attitude to rise rapidly through Boston’s system. Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart played with him during two stops in the minors and knows how laid-back he is most of the time.

“He’s been that way since I met him,” said Swihart, who played with Betts in Class A and Double-A. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and he’s going out there every day and he’s proving it. That’s what made him get to the big leagues so quickly and that’s what made him stay for a long time.”

Coming off his first All-Star berth and Gold Glove in 2016, Betts had a simple answer for his success.

“You just know that you have to work. What got me to where I was last year? That’s just hard work,” he said, standing at his locker at the team’s spring training complex. “That’s pretty much what I’m going to continue to do.”

Manager John Farrell doesn’t think last season’s success will have any effect either.

“That’s always going to be case by case, but in Mookie’s situation, he’s such an attentive person,” Farrell said. “His aptitude is some of the best I’ve been around in the game. He’s that bright, he’s that advanced as far as him processing information and applying it in a moment.

“We’re talking about the elite in the game, and the driven and motivated. I don’t think Mookie’s putting added pressure on himself where he has to hit x-number of extra base hits. It’s more he has the ability to stay focused on today.”

Betts knows a lot is expected of him again, now that David Ortiz is retired, and he’s taking it all in stride.

“I’ve just got to try and find a way to do it,” he said. “That’s the only way.”

YANKEES: New York beat Dellin Betances in the year’s final salary arbitration case, and the relief pitcher will be paid $3 million rather than his $5 million request.

The decision gave teams an 8-7 edge in decisions this year, the most hearings since clubs won 10 of 16 decisions in 1994. Players won three of four cases last year.

BLUE JAYS: Slugger Josh Donaldson missed the team’s first full-squad workout because of a calf injury.

Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said the third baseman tweaked his right calf while running sprints a day earlier.

He was scheduled for an MRI and further evaluation. Donaldson injured the same calf last April but did not miss any significant time.

DODGERS: Clayton Kershaw will make his seventh straight opening-day start for the Dodgers, tying Don Sutton’s franchise record.

NATIONALS: Outfielder Bryce Harper says he knows “exactly why” his production dipped last season from his MVP-winning performance a year earlier – but he did not elaborate.

After saying he did know what happened to make him go from the youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history in 2015, to a .243 hitter in 2016, Harper evaded questions that tried to pin him down on the reasons.

]]> 0's Mookie Betts, who turned 24 in October, finished second in the MVP voting after batting .318 with 31 homers, 113 RBIs and 26 steals.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:36:08 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Yarmouth cruises into Class B South semifinals Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:48:59 +0000 Yarmouth High looked every bit the top seed in the Class B South boys’ basketball tournament Saturday afternoon, taking early control and running away for a 71-44 quarterfinal victory over No.9 Gray-New Gloucester at the Portland Expo.

Behind their inside players – 6-foot-7 senior Alek Medenica and 6-6 junior Nolan Hagerty – the Clippers controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Patriots 41-25, forced 19 turnovers and held them to just 29 percent shooting.

Medenica scored 22 points with 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocked shots while Hagerty added 10 points, eight rebounds, six steals and three assists.

“We limited them and the opportunities they had in the half-court,” said Yarmouth Coach Adam Smith. “I didn’t think we took care of the ball very well in the offensive end or I didn’t think we were focused well in the offensive end tonight.

“But defensively when you get five guys working that hard, good things happen. I was happy with that.”

Yarmouth (17-2) will play Oak Hill, a winner over Lincoln Academy, in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cross Insurance Arena. Gray-New Gloucester finished 10-10, with three of the losses to the Clippers.

The Patriots took a 3-0 lead on a 3-pointer by John Villanueva (10 points) but Yarmouth scored the next nine points to take control. Medenica scored the first seven as the Clippers began to show their defensive skills. With their big men controlling the inside, Yarmouth pressured Gray-New Gloucester’s shooters and didn’t give them any room to move.

“They really locked in on our shooters, we have guys who can really make some shots,” said Patriots’ Coach Ryan Deschenes. “We usually make eight to 10 3s a game and they held us to four. So we tried to go inside-out early on and get our bigs involved.

“But they’re just so big and so long and so strong.”

It was 15-8 Yarmouth after one quarter. The Clippers expanded it to 36-15 at the half as Medenica and Hagerty combined for 11 second-quarter points. Yarmouth also forced 16 of Gray-New Gloucester’s turnovers in the first two quarters.

Gibson Harnett added 15 points for the Clippers, along with four steals.

“I was worried about this game, I was worried how we would start, how we would come out,” said Yarmouth’s Smith. “So I was happy with how we played for 32 minutes and how it worked out for us,”

“We fell short last year so it’s redemption time,” said Medenica. “The team’s excited. We’re ready to go into these next three days of practice and lock in for Thursday.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 Gloucester guard #15, John Martin, drives past Yarmouth defender #5, Igor Nikolic in the Class B South quarterfinal Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at the Portland Expo.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 19:32:14 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Oceanside edges Nokomis Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:48:14 +0000 AUGUSTA — Third-seeded Oceanside overcame a poor first quarter and held on in the closing minutes of its Class A North boys’ basketball quarterfinal Saturday, posting a 53-49 win over sixth-seeded Nokomis at the Augusta Civic Center.

Nokomis (11-8) couldn’t get a good look at the basket on two late possessions with a chance for a go-ahead bucket, and Oceanside’s Cooper Wirkala made a pair of free throws with less than three seconds remaining.

Michael Norton Jr. scored 27 points for Oceanside (16-3), the reigning regional champion.

Josh Smestad led Nokomis with 22 points, while Zach Hartsgrove added 17.

Nokomis took command early, racing out to an 18-8 first-quarter advantage, but led by a scoring surge from Norton, the Mariners fought back. Oceanside was up 24-22 at halftime, and then 40-35 after a fast-paced third quarter.

Nokomis wasn’t deterred, fighting back to take a 44-42 lead on a layup in traffic by Smestad with 3:45 remaining.

“I love it,” Smestad said of playing in the clutch. “That’s kind of been my role. … They have a lot of confidence in me and that really brings (out) the confidence in me. I know they trust me, and I can finish and I can do what I need to do.”

Oceanside answered, as a Norton basket put the Mariners up 46-44. Norton fouled out moments later, but Oceanside still was in front 51-49 with 22 seconds left. Smestad drove into the paint but had to settle for a floater that was off the mark, leading to an Oceanside rebound and trip to the free-throw line.

Trevor Reed missed both shots, giving Nokomis another chance with 13 seconds left. Hartsgrove tried a jumper from the wing that the Mariners contested, and it grazed off the front rim.

“They missed a couple free throws, and you’re thinking ‘Here’s some tournament magic, here’s the first buzzer-beater of the tournament,'” Nokomis Coach Ryan Martin said.

After falling behind in the first quarter, Oceanside got six points apiece from Norton and Jack Lombardo in the second quarter and took the lead by halftime.

“We didn’t do all that we had talked about,” Oceanside Coach Matt Breen said of his team’s slow start. “We had some people switching, some people not switching, and they were just getting some easy buckets. … They really started to pick up the defense playing as a unit.”

Oceanside’s semifinal opponent Wednesday will be seventh-seeded Cony (11-9), which upset No. 2 Hampden Academy, 60-48.

]]> 0' Joshua Smestad, 2, and Oceanside's Cooper Wirkala, right, go for a rebound during a Class A North semifinal game on Saturday at Augusta Civic Center.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:38:29 +0000
Girls’ hockey: St. Dom’s caps perfect season Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:22:22 +0000 LEWISTON — When asked about the goals she scored Saturday in the girls’ hockey state championship, Avery Lutrzykowski couldn’t recall the details.

That’s because the sophomore forward for St. Dominic Academy notched three goals and three assists in a 10-2 victory over Falmouth at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“I don’t know if I remember all of them,” said a giddy Lutrzykowski. “I knew once we scored, the flood gates would open. And they did.”

The title is the Saints’ second straight and third overall – the most for any school since the sport became sanctioned by the Maine Principals’ Association before the 2008-09 season. They finished their season 21-0.

Five players scored for St. Dom’s. Lutrzykowski and Kristina Cornelio each notched a hat trick, Alexis Kesaris added two goals, and Alexandra Hammerton and Emma Theriault got one apiece. Isabella Frenette totaled three assists.

The Saints raced to a 3-0 lead just a few minutes into the game. It was 5-0 after one period.

“We were just really comfortable – the nerves weren’t really high,” St. Dominic Coach Paul Gosselin said. “They went to business and that was it. I’m just extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

The Yachtsmen finished 16-5. They have lost in three state finals.

“I’m sure it was a bit of nerves, but I think it had more to do with how quickly they got that first goal,” Falmouth Coach Rob Carrier said. “The sequence of those three goals just dug us into a hole we couldn’t get out of.”

The Saints scored three goals in 61 seconds early in the first period. Lutrzykowski kicked off the scoring three minutes into the game, skating around Falmouth’s net before firing a shot through traffic.

Theriault added to the lead just 30 seconds later, then assisted on a goal by Kesaris, and it was 3-0 with 10:56 left in the first period.

Cornelio tacked on two more goals before the end of the period – the first assisted by Lutrzykowski, the second on a power play.

Five minutes into the second period, Frenette set up Cornelio for another goal. Falmouth got on the board at 8:13 when Rachel Morse capitalized on a power play, assisted by Kayla Sarazin. But Kesaris answered with 2:42 left in the period to make it 7-1.

The Saints added to their lead just nine seconds into the final period, with Lutrzykowski again scoring on a Hammerton assist. Then it was Hammerton’s turn to score, before Lutrzykowski completed her hat trick with a short-handed unassisted goal.

Falmouth’s Mary Hyland scored the final goal with 34.4 seconds left, assisted by Stone Carmichael and Devon Sarazin.

“That’s a phenomenal team,” Carrier said. “If it was easy to beat them, somebody would have.”

There was plenty to smile about for the Saints – but one St. Dominic player had another reason behind her joy. Michela Avondetto, an Italian exchange student who plays forward, had a surprise visitor outside the locker room before the game: her dad.

“It was exciting, I didn’t expect that at all,” said Avondetto, a senior. “He’s truly proud.”

While his daughter and her teammates posed for pictures on the ice with the trophy, Luca Avondetto stood by the rink’s exit, beaming and clutching an Italian flag. He arrived Saturday morning in Portland. The pair hadn’t seen each other since Christmas.

“I was crying, and she was shouting,” Luca Avondetto said of their reunion while laughing. “It was perfect.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0 Cornelio, center, of St. Dom's celebrates her first-period goal with Alexandra Hammerton, left, and Emma Theriault in the girls' hockey state championship game Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Cornelio and Avery Lutrzykowski each recorded a hat trick in a 10-2 win over Falmouth.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:27:28 +0000
Class B track: Greely girls, MDI boys win state titles Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:37:34 +0000 LEWISTON — Greely distance coach David Dowling smiled at Chloe Smith after she finished eighth in the 2-mile run at the Class B state meet Saturday. Smith, a junior, was crying as she told Dowling over and over she was sorry for missing seventh place and the one point she would have scored.

Smith was terrified the missed point would cost the Rangers their first state title since 2008 in a hotly contested meet at Bates College. As it turned out, Greely edge Mt. Desert Island with a balanced team effort, finishing with 62.2 points to 53 for the Trojans. Old Town was third with 39.2 points.

The boys’ meet also was close almost until the end. But when Giovanni McKenzie won the triple jump for MDI, the Trojans pulled away from the pack with 58 points, ahead of Greely’s 38.5 and Old Town’s 36.

Greely’s head coach, John Folan, collected his 11th girls’ indoor track state title in 24 seasons. He said the joy from Saturday’s meet was simply being in the hunt for another title, not necessarily the prize.

“What I’m most proud of is that every year we are near the top, we put in a consistently good effort,” Folan said.

The team got a lift from senior captain Katherine Leggat-Barr, who finished third in both the mile (5 minutes, 15.02 seconds) and 2-mile (11:47.09), and sophomore Carolyn Todd, who took fourth in both events (5:29.80 and 11:55.06).

“We said yesterday to just run for the team,” Leggat-Barr said. “On the last lap, when you’re tired, just run for the team. It’s an amazing feeling.

The Rangers also collected points from Maggie McCormick, who took third in the pole vault (8-6); Zoe Lambert, who was third in the long jump (16-2 1/4); Lauren Williams, who finished second in the high jump (5-0); Elizabeth Brown, who took fifth in the high jump (5-0); and Skylar Cooney, who was fourth in the 55-meter hurdles (9.24).

Their 800 relay was seeded fifth but ran 1:53.58 for third place.

Smith improved on her seed by one position to finish fifth (5:42.07) in the mile and also ran a leg on the third-place 3,200 relay team (10:18.40).

“I was overcome with emotion,” Smith said of being distraught after the 2-mile. “This is the most selfless team I have ever been on. Everybody does everything for everybody else. It is amazing.”

Folan noted that the tandem of Leggat-Barr and Todd helped offset the performance of MDI senior Tia Tardy, who scored 28 points by winning the mile (5:04.95) and 800 (2:18.58) and taking second in the 2-mile (11:43.69) behind Yarmouth’s Abby Hamilton (11:21.24).

Olivia Damboise of Old Town was the other girls’ double winner, capturing the pole vault (9-9) and triple jump (35-0 1/4).

In the boys’ meet, MDI was powered by McKenzie, who won the triple jump (42-8), and Noah Hutchinson, who took the high jump (6-2).

The Trojans also got eight points from their second-place 800 relay team (1:37.05). Griffin Maristany was fourth in the 200 (23.70) and second in the 400 (52.35), Liam Higgins was fifth in the 400 (53.95) and Josh Bloom placed fifth in the 800 (2:05.72).

MDI collected 12 points in the shot put from Micah Hallett (second, 40-10 1/4), Samuel Hoff (fifth, 40-1 1/2) and Gilbert Isaacs (seventh, 39-9).

“We’ve wanted this for a long time,” said McKenzie, who missed the finals at last year’s state meet.

“We just kept believing. I knew if I scored 10 points for my team in the triple jump, that would help us win. This is my first (individual) state title. But it’s means more to win for the team than myself.”

Yarmouth’s Luke Laverdiere captured both the 2-mile (9:49.73) and mile (4:24.35). In the sprints, Michaiah Robinson of Washington Academy won the 200 (22.83) and 400 (50.83).

Correction: This story was updated at 10:37 a.m. on Feb. 19 to correct Greely coach John Folan’s record. 

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

Twitter: FlemingPph

]]> 0 Leggat-Barr, right, embraces teammate Carolyn Todd, and Yarmouth's Anneka Murrin after finishing the mile in the Class B indoor track and field state championships Saturday at Bates College. Murrin placed second, followed by Leggat-Barr and Todd, who helped Greely win the team title.Sun, 19 Feb 2017 16:30:08 +0000
Boys’ swimming: Old Town wins Class B state title Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:17:48 +0000 ORONO — Old Town senior Jacob Ketch stood on the starting block awaiting his anchor leg of the 200-yard medley relay, the opening race of the Class B state championship meet Saturday.

A few decades ago, the Coyotes were dominant in Maine high school swimming and diving. They won 14 straight Class B titles between 1985 and 1998.

But since then there had been only one state championship, in 2003. Ketch knew the dry spell could end and he could set the tone by winning the first race.

Problem was, two lanes away, Mount Desert Island was swimming a lot faster than its seed time.

“Actually I looked to the left and I thought we had the lead,” Ketch said. “Then I look to the right and I see MDI ahead of us. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to have to swim pretty fast if I want to pull this off.’ It ended up being very close.”

Ketch managed to catch MDI anchor Hutchin Gerrish at the wall to win by two- hundredths of a second, in a school- record time of 1 minute, 40.46 seconds, set by an all-senior quartet that included Nick Gould in backstroke, Noah Burr in breast and Nate St. Jean in butterfly.

Old Town added another Ketch-anchored relay, in the 200 free, that set school and meet records in 1:29.57. The Coyotes wound up clinching the title before the final 400 free relay, in which they placed fourth.

“We had to gamble somewhere so I took a little bit of a gamble on that (medley) relay and MDI made us work for it,” Old Town Coach Dave Ploch said. “They swam hot. MDI was phenomenal.”

Old Town finished with 327 points in the meet at the University of Maine. Ellsworth edged Morse for the runner-up trophy, 280-278, by taking third in the 400 free relay to Morse’s fifth.

“The guys did an awesome job,” said Ellsworth Coach Jim Goodman, who saw his team claim three individual titles. “Tight races all over the place.”

Cape Elizabeth finished fourth with 261 followed by MDI (242), Belfast (166) and 15 others.

Ellsworth sophomore Camden Holmes, who won the 100 free in 48.27 and 200 free in 1:49.76, was Performer of the Meet.

A strong case could be made for MDI sophomore Liam Sullivan, who won the 200 individual medley by more than four seconds in 1:57.41 and set the only individual meet record. Sullivan won the 100 breast, also by more than four seconds, in 58.47 to beat by a tenth the 26-year-old mark set by Bruce Crock of MDI in 1991.

The only other individual double winner was Gould, the Old Town senior who took the 100 butterfly by two seconds in 52.22 and 100 back by three in 53.07.

“We were seeded ahead by probably 10 points,,” Gould said, “but we knew we needed to gain a little more if we wanted it, because everyone else wanted it, too.”

Other individual winners, all seniors: Morse’s Tucker Banger (21.84 in the 50 free), Ellsworth’s Sam Alvarado (4:58.98 in the 500 free) and Nate Hayward of Wells (355.50 points in diving).

Hayward, a two-time Class B champ, was the only male diver to qualify for the state meet. On Monday, there will be 17 female divers in the Class B finals.

“Last year I went up against a senior from MDI,” Hayward said. “That was nice because we pushed each other to do better. This year I went into it knowing I wouldn’t have any competition, which is a letdown because it’s my senior year.”

Because Wells has no swim team, Hayward practices with Kennebunk.

“They made me feel like I had a team here,” he said. “I may have been the only diver but I had my team backing me up.”

MDI won the concluding 400 free relay, but Old Town clinched the meet after the breast stroke thanks to a 47-point lead over Morse and 49 over Ellsworth.

Last month, Old Town lost a senior swimmer to cancer, a disease Aaron Ricker fought for seven years. On Saturday they wore his initials on the sleeve of their dark green T-shirts. His parents, David and Carlene, were in the stands.

“Ever since our friend Aaron passed away, we’ve been swimming and striving to do well for him,” Ketch said. “I feel like we’ve made him proud by winning.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


This story was updated at 11:35 p.m. on Feb. 18 to correctly identify the Performer of the Meet as Camden Holmes of Ellsworth.

]]> 0 Gould of Old Town swims the butterfly leg of the 200-yard medley relay Class B boys' swimming state meet on Saturday at the Wallace Pool in Orono. Old Town won the statew title, its first since 2003.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:35:25 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Lincoln Academy ousted by Oak Hill Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:05:12 +0000 Lincoln Academy took eight shots in the first quarter and missed them all.

“The first quarter killed us,” Lincoln Coach Ryan Ball said. “That’s where we lost the game, no question.”

The Eagles tried to recover but Oak Hill withstood the rally, beating Lincoln 59-46 in the Class B South boys’ basketball quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at the Portland Expo.

Oak Hill took a 17-3 first-quarter lead, only to see the Eagles come back and close to 26-22 at halftime, then 36-35 after three quarters.

But Lincoln never caught up as the Raiders pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Guard Evan Boston led Oak Hill with 28 points. Keyden Leeman scored 21 for Lincoln, and teammate Cody Tozier added 17.

Fourth-seeded Oak Hill (11-8) advanced to the semifinals Thursday at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Raiders will play No. 1 Yarmouth.

Lincoln finished at 6-13.

While Lincoln struggled in the first quarter, turning the ball over four times and shooting 3 of 6 from the foul line, the Raiders were rolling. Oak Hill shot 54 percent, made two turnovers, and outrebounded the Eagles 12-4 in the first quarter.

“The first quarter we came out and everybody was just clicking,” Oak Hill Coach Tom Smith said.

Oak Hill was hampered when 6-foot-4 Marcus Bailey got into foul trouble early and often. He played only 12 minutes.

“We had the opportunity we wanted,” Ball said. “They had all kinds of foul trouble.”

But the Raiders also had other weapons, especially Boston, a 5-6 dynamo who darts down the court while able to quickly pull up from the outside. He scored nine points in the first quarter.

“We lost (Bailey) and that’s our big guy. We needed to pull it together as a team,” Boston said. “I wanted my players to step up and play as a team. Luckily I was hitting some shots.”


“He stepped up real big for us,” Smith said. “It was a moment he wanted and he took advantage of it.”

Lincoln solved Oak Hills’ 1-3-1 defense briefly in the second and third quarters. The 6-4 Tozier began to hit shots, and the 6-1 Leeman battled inside and out.

Leeman’s 3-pointer closed it to 36-35 to end the third quarter.

But Oak Hill took off in the fourth, led by Boston’s drives to the hoop. The Eagles could not keep up.

“We’ve had that problem all year – the quick guard we cannot stop,” Ball said. “His quickness … we just don’t have it.”

Darryn Bailey led Oak Hill inside with nine rebounds and seven points. Guard Austin Noble added eight points and seven rebounds.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Academy's Cody Tozier, right, and Oak Hill's Darryn Bailey battle for a loose ball under the basket during a Class B South quarterfinal Saturday at the Portland Expo.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:15:46 +0000
Boys’ basketball: A.R. Gould advances in Class D South Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:18:31 +0000 AUGUSTA — Seventh-seeded Temple Academy played well in its first-ever tournament appearance but had no answers for A.R. Gould’s Tyrese Collins and Gage Barton.

Collins scored 36 points, and Barton added 19 points and 16 rebounds to lead the second-seeded Bears to a 76-63 victory Saturday morning in a Class D South boys’ basketball quarterfinal. A.R. Gould (16-3) will face No. 3 Valley in the semifinals Wednesday.

Bradley Smith led Temple (8-11) with 36 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to offset A.R. Gould’s speed and quickness.

“They’re more athletic than we are,” said Temple Coach Thomas Simmons, whose team lost twice to the Bears during the regular season. “They’re quicker than we are. They’ve got a good ball club.”

The Bears pulled away early in the fourth quarter when Collins scored eight straight points, six off Temple turnovers, to make it 64-49. The Bereans turned the ball over 25 times, struggling more in the second half when the Bears switched from a zone defense to man-to-man.

“We’re very athletic and we’ve got good hands, so if we’re not in foul trouble, we should take good gambles,” A.R. Gould Coach Chad Sturgis said.

Collins, a 5-foot-5 guard who averaged 25 points this season, scored most of his points on power drives to the basket or pull-up jumpers.

Smith, a 6-3 forward, kept his team close in the first half with 21 points on a variety of power moves inside.

“I’ve got to give credit to this team,” Smith said. “Even though the score didn’t show it, we played one of our best games. I’m glad I got a chance to go out with a bang and I’m happy my teammates were there for me.”

Temple led 37-36 late in the first half after Smith converted a pair of offensive rebounds, but A.R. Gould’s Issak Aliyow (15 points, eight rebounds) followed a layup with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 41-37 at the break.

Joe Xu contributed 11 points and a team-high 15 rebounds for the Bereans. His three-point play in the closing seconds of the third quarter drew Temple to within 54-46.

Collins scored 17 points in the final quarter, matching Temple’s total.

“This is our third year (in the Maine Principals’ Association) and we got (into the tournament),” Simmons said. “That’s a pretty big deal, I think. A lot of teams take 10 or 15 years to get in.”

]]> 0 Collins, left, of A.R. Gould races to a loose ball in front of Micah Riportella of Temple during a Class D South boys' basketball quarterfinal Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. A.R. Gould won 76-63 and will play Vinalhaven in the semifinals.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:04:37 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Wells tops Maranacook in Class B South Sat, 18 Feb 2017 16:29:20 +0000 Wells struggled with Maranacook’s pesky defense in a Class B South boys’ basketball quarterfinal game Saturday morning at the Portland Expo.

But the Warriors had no difficulty shooting and rebounding. Maranacook did, and Wells eventually pulled away for a 44-29 rout of the Black Bears.

The Warriors committed 18 turnovers, but also shot 43 percent compared to Maranacook’s 20 percent). Wells also outrebounded the Black Bears (45-17).

“They didn’t have an answer for us inside and we capitalized,” said 6-foot-3 Deandre Woods, who led Wells with 17 points and eight rebounds.

His 6-4 teammate, Cameren Cousins added 13 points and eight rebounds.

“I like my bigs,” Warrior Coach Troy Brown said.

Third-seeded Wells (14-5) advanced to the semifinals for the first time in Brown’s nine years. Wells will play Thursday’s semifinals at the Cross Insurance Arena, against No. 2 Spruce Mountain (16-3).

No. 6 Maranacook finished at 7-12. Silas Mohlar led the Black Bears with nine points, all on 3-pointers.

Two of Mohlar’s shots accounted for six of the Black Bears’ points in the first half, as Wells led 19-9. The lead could have been bigger but Wells lost the ball eight times in the second quarter.

“We have to definitely cut down on turnovers,” Brown said. “I thought we gave the ball away quite a bit. We gave them some extra opportunities.”

But the Black Bears did not take advantage. Maranacook showed poise with its offense – only seven turnovers – but the Black Bears could not operate inside, and they missed open outside shots.

“We should be right in that game,” Maranacook Coach Rob Schmidt. “Our defense was solid. When you hold a team to under 50 …

“But when you shoot 20 percent from the field, you’re not going to be in a lot of games.”

Wells pulled away in the third quarter. Guards Riley Dempsey, Owen Berry and Tyler Dewey helped control the ball better, and the Warriors dominated inside. Maranacook kept missing and fell behind 37-13, heading into the fourth quarter.

Wells and Spruce Mountain met once this year, a Phoenix 59-51 win on Dec. 30.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:06:57 +0000
Friday’s college roundup: Maine falls in overtime in men’s hockey Sat, 18 Feb 2017 03:59:29 +0000 NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Jace Henning scored 3:39 into overtime Friday night to cap a comeback from a three-goal deficit and lift Merrimack to a 4-3 victory against Maine in a Hockey East game.

Chase Pearson had a goal and two assists for the Black Bears (10-18-3, 4-14-1). Daniel Perez and Blaine Byron also scored for Maine, which led 3-0 with 9:09 left in the second period.

Merrimack (13-13-5, 7-7-5) scored once in the second period and twice in the third, including the tying goal with 1:32 left.

TUFTS 3, BOWDOIN 1: Brian Brown had a goal and an assist for the Jumbos (10-9-3, 8-7-1 NESCAC), who scored twice in the first period to beat the Polar Bears (8-14, 5-11) at Brunswick.

Thomas Dunleavy brought Bowdoin within 2-1 with 16:52 to play from Mitch Barrington.

COLBY 2, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 1: Kevin Doherty and Kienan Scott scored for the Mules (12-6-4, 10-4-3 NESCAC) against the Camels (4-16-2, 2-13-2) at Waterville.


ST. MICHAEL’S 3, SOUTHERN MAINE 2: Jillian Witwicki scored with eight seconds left as the Purple Knights (4-19, 4-12 New England Hockey) overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit and beat the Huskies (6-17-1, 4-11-1) at Gorham.

After Riley Kirk gave USM a 1-0 lead at 5:52, Katherine O’Brien tied it at 8:16 of the second period. Jensen Hamblett’s power-play goal nine minutes later put the Huskies ahead 2-1, but Erin Dwyer tied it again with 3:35 remaining.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 3, PLYMOUTH STATE 2: Mary Wirth scored the go-ahead goal on a power play 14:08 into the second period as the Nor’easters (9-13-2, 6-9-1 New England Hockey) beat the Panthers (8-14-2, 4-11-1) at Biddeford.

Cassandra Connolly gave the Nor’easters a 1-0 lead, but Kelsey Roy and Julie Nagel answered for Plymouth State. Abby Kinens tied it from Cassandra Connolly and Marykate Drinkwater.

BOWDOIN 1, TRINITY 1: Olivia White scored the tying goal 12:41 into the first period for the Bantams (8-12-3) in a tie with Bowdoin (12-7-4) at Hartford, Connecticut.

Maureen Gleason scored from Kimmy Ganong for the Polar Bears.

White scored unassisted nearly 10 minutes later to tie the game. Sydney Belinskas made 37 saves for Trinity, while Kerri St. Denis stopped 26 shots for Bowdoin.


WINTHROP 12, MAINE 5: Babe Thomas triggered a six-run first inning with a two-run double as the Eagles won an opener at Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Christopher Bec and Jonathan Bennett singled in runs in the top of the first to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead, but Thomas’ two-run double tied it. Bec went 3 for 5 with a run, and Bennett drove in two runs for Maine.


(25) DRAKE 64, INDIANA STATE 45: Brenni Rose scored 14 points, and Drake (21-4, 14-0 Missouri Valley) defeated Indiana State (12-12, 6-7) at Terre Haute, Indiana.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:04:07 +0000
NHL roundup: Blue Jackets top Penguins in overtime Sat, 18 Feb 2017 03:59:02 +0000 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brandon Dubinsky scored just over a minute into overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Friday night.

Dubinsky lifted a shot over Matt Murray as he skated into the slot to win it for the Blue Jackets after a fast, taut game amid a playoff atmosphere at sold-out Nationwide Arena.

Sergei Bobrovsky had 38 saves, and Ryan Murray scored in the second period as Columbus moved within a point of Pittsburgh for second place in the rough Metropolitan Division.

Matt Murray made 37 saves and Ian Cole scored for the Penguins, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Penguins lost for the first time in four games.

An intense, entertaining first period ended without a goal. Pittsburgh outshot the Blue Jackets 15-11, clanging the crossbar and the post with shots while Bobrovsky held tight as the Penguins swarmed and bumped him around. The Blue Jackets got some great looks, too, but also couldn’t penetrate.

After Sidney Crosby bounced a slap shot off the post to start the second period, the Blue Jackets struck. William Karlsson pushed the puck in front of the goal and Ryan Murray finished it with a backhander from the slot with 1:33 gone.

The Penguins tied it 6:13 into the period when Cole zinged a wrister from the left point past the glove of Bobrovsky, who was screened by one of his defensemen.

Brandon Saad looked as though he might end it when he got a breakaway with 38 seconds left in regulation, but he shot the puck directly at Matt Murray.

The Penguins said before the game that defenseman Olli Maata will miss six weeks after surgery for a hand injury sustained Thursday night.

HURRICANES 2, AVALANCHE 1: Mikko Rantanen scored at 4:23 of overtime, and Colorado snapped a five-game losing streak with a road win.

]]> 0 day after passing 1,000 points with a three-point game, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, right, was held in check Friday night by Brandon Dubinsky, left, and the Blue Jackets. Dubinsky's overtime goal gave Columbus a 2-1 win.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:59:43 +0000
Friday’s high school roundup: Freeport advances in Class B South girls’ basketball Sat, 18 Feb 2017 03:52:28 +0000 FREEPORT — Regan Lynch scored 15 points to lead four double-digit scorers, and eighth-seeded Freeport jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter as it beat No. 9 Lisbon 64-37 in a Class B South preliminary-round girls’ basketball game Friday.

Caroline Smith added 13 points and Taylor Rinaldi and Jessica Driscoll each had 11 for Freeport (12-7), which led 22-2 after one quarter. The Falcons move on to play top-seeded Gray-New Gloucester (17-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday at the Portland Expo.

Valerie Doucette and Kaylin Le each scored seven points for Lisbon (9-10).

HAMPDEN ACADEMY 46, LAWRENCE 39: Bailey Donovan scored 21 points to lead the fifth-seeded Broncos (12-7) over No. 4 Lawrence (12-7) in a Class A North quarterfinal in Augusta.

MESSALONSKEE 67, GARDINER 56: Sophie Holmes poured in 33 points and the top-seeded Eagles (19-0) finally pulled away in the fourth quarter against the eighth-seeded Tigers (12-8) in a Class A North quarterfinal in Augusta.


CENTRAL 49, WINSLOW 41: The third-seeded Red Devils (16-3) overcame a 10-point second-half deficit, using a 15-0 run to finish off No. 6 Winslow (15-5) in a Class B North quarterfinal in Bangor.

Ethan Mailman scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Central.


MARSHWOOD/TRAIP/SANFORD 6, POLAND/GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER/OAK HILL 5: Henry Honkonen scored three goals to lead the Hawks (4-12) over the Knights (7-6-1) in Dover, New Hampshire.

Eli Janetos, Donovan Robillard and Chase Gagnon each added a goal for Marshwood, while Evan Cole had two assists.

GREELY 5, BRUNSWICK 2: Freshman Jake MacDonald had a goal and two assists to help the Rangers (10-5) beat the Dragons (2-11-1) at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.

Brunswick’s Michael Deveaux scored the only goal of the first period.

It was 2-2 going into the final period, but Greely got goals from Matt Dubbert, Matt Kramlich and Peter Lattanzi to pull away.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:54:20 +0000
Sports Digest: Patriots tight ends coach reportedly headed to Alabama Sat, 18 Feb 2017 03:36:47 +0000 FOOTBALL

Patriots tight ends coach reportedly off to Alabama

Alabama will name Brian Daboll its offensive coordinator, ESPN reported Friday.

Daboll has spent the past four seasons with the New England Patriots, the last three as the team’s tight ends coach. He was previously with the Patriots as wide receivers coach from 2002-06.

Overall, the 41-year-old has coached 17 seasons in the NFL, including stints as offensive coordinator with three teams.

Daboll will replace Steve Sarkisian, who coached the Crimson Tide offense for just one game – the national title game loss to Clemson. Sarkisian was hired as the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

• Patriots receiver Michael Floyd pleaded guilty to second offense extreme drunken driving and was sentenced to 24 days in jail.

The former Cardinals player entered the plea in Scottsdale City Court in Arizona on Thursday. He was arrested Dec. 12 and released by the Cardinals shortly after.

Floyd also was sentenced to 96 days home confinement, ordered to undergo alcohol counseling and fined $5,000.

 Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis turned himself in to Pittsburgh police following charges alleging he was involved in a fight with two men last weekend.

A docket sheet filed Thursday says Revis faces counts of aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and terroristic threats over the altercation.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: After an incident involving a military airplane delayed the race, Marcel Hirscher won the giant slalom title Friday at the world ski championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The decisive second run was pushed back 30 minutes after a monoplane in a Swiss Air Force formation display team’s training exercise struck the cable of a moving overhead television camera.

The camera, for filming racers through the finish line, fell into the area where skiers stop. No one was hurt.

Hirscher, who led after the first run, held off unheralded Austria teammate Roland Leitinger by 0.25 seconds. Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway was another surprise medalist in third, trailing Hirscher by 0.71.


QATAR OPEN: Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will face second-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the final at Doha after both were forced to play back-to-back matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals because of rain earlier.

Wozniacki swept past Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig 6-1, 6-2. Pliskova hit a career-best 21 aces to beat third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

ARGENTINA OPEN: Top-seeded Kei Nishikori started finding his footing on clay, defeating No. 6 Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 6-4 to reach the semifinals at Buenos Aires.

WORLD TENNIS TOURNAMENT: Top-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia and defending champion Martin Klizan of Slovakia both lost in the quarterfinals at Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Cilic fell 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5) to sixth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Klizan was soundly beaten 6-3, 6-3 in one hour by fourth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.


WNBA: The Dallas Wings traded Odyssey Sims to the Los Angeles Sparks for the No. 4 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft. The Sparks also receive the 11th pick in the draft, which Los Angeles had traded to Dallas before last season.

Sims was the Wings’ leading scorer last season, averaging 14 points while starting 30 of 34 games.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:48:42 +0000
Celtics’ Stevens getting well-earned reward Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:26:44 +0000 NEW ORLEANS — Brad Stevens was preparing to have this weekend off. A family trip was in the works, likely to someplace relatively close to home, like New York or Washington.

The getaway is still happening.

The days off have been canceled.

Stevens has never been to an NBA All-Star Game, but that’s about to change. Boston’s fourth-year coach will lead the Eastern Conference side in New Orleans this weekend, a perk that comes with his team sitting at No. 2 in the East and with Stevens well on his way to having the Celtics improve their record for the third consecutive season.

“My 11-year-old son is really excited,” Stevens said. “My 7-year-old daughter is just as excited, but for different reasons. She hasn’t gotten the basketball bug like my 11-year-old. She’s just looking forward to hanging out with our staff’s other kids. We’re excited, and to spend that moment together and share that moment together, I think it is the best part about this for our staff and our family.”

Stevens and the Celtics’ staff got the nod because of the league rule preventing a coach from having to accept All-Star responsibilities in consecutive seasons. Cleveland leads the East, which means Tyronn Lue would have been in line for the job – but he and the Cavs’ staff had the All-Star gig in Toronto last season.

Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas said he thinks Stevens and his staff deserve the spotlight.

“That says a lot,” Thomas said. “That says we’re winning, we’re doing pretty good – and for them to get there, I’m happy. I’m happy for them.”

The Celtics were 25-57 in Stevens’ first season but have gotten better ever since. They went 40-42 in his second year and made the playoffs, then were 48-34 last season and got Stevens his first two playoff victories.

This year, they’ve won 11 of their last 13 games going into the All-Star break and are on pace for the franchise’s best record since the 2010-11 season. Many players around the league, including some of the ones Stevens will coach this weekend like LeBron James, have long said from afar how impressed they’ve been with the job he’s done.

“At the end of the day, you do this job because you really like working with your team and like the chance to compete as an organization,” Stevens said. “If somebody gives you accolades, that’s nice to hear, but it’s not the end-all, be-all for me.”

Stevens came to the Celtics from Butler, where he went to consecutive NCAA championship games. It’s a daunting leap from the college level to the NBA, especially for a first-time pro coach, even moreso when that first-timer is taking the reins of a storied franchise like the Celtics.

He’s rarely seemed flustered.

Stevens usually walks the sideline calmly, rarely raising his voice. His intellect is well-known, but that cool demeanor is something that University of Miami Coach Jim Larranaga – whose son Jay is an assistant on Stevens’ staff – thinks sets Stevens apart.

“Brad Stevens is headed to the Hall of Fame,” Larranaga said. “You see what he did in college – amazing. But when he goes to Boston, takes a team that trades away its best players … is starting over almost from scratch, and he’s built it to second place in the East only behind Cleveland, the world champions? He’s an amazing coach.”

Other than asking his video staff to get some things together, Stevens had not done any All-Star planning until after the Celtics’ game Thursday night against Chicago, meaning his All-Star break, which was already going to be busy, started later than just about everyone else’s.

Stevens’ schedule for this weekend is loaded with community-service events and media responsibilities, plus family time. He’s not sure how much time he’ll have to socialize with players while in New Orleans.

“I like the idea of obviously getting the chance to be around them as they’re getting ready to play a game and see what they’re like in a game,” Stevens said. “I’ve admired the way these guys have played for a long, long time. These are some of the guys in the league you lose sleep at night trying to figure out how to slow down. It’s pretty neat when a lot of those guys are under one roof.”

In other words, it’s going to be a memorable family vacation.

]]> 0 most of his players who are enjoying some time off for the NBA All-Star break, Celtics Coach Brad Stevens will be busy this weekend leading the Eastern Conference stars.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:36:09 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Greely routs Kennebunk Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:23:00 +0000 When a team scores 76 points, the first thought is it had a great offensive game.

But after top-ranked and unbeaten Greely High roared past eighth-seeded Kennebunk 76-31 in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal Friday night at the Portland Expo, all the Rangers stressed was defense.

“Total team effort,” said Coach Travis Seaver. “And I can’t talk enough about our defense. I mean, holding a varsity club to 12 points (in the first half) … The big thing for us is we wanted a big defensive effort.

“And we got it.”

The Rangers scored the first 14 points of the game. They forced 10 Kennebunk turnovers in the first quarter en route to a 22-5 lead and another six in the second. Greely led 44-12 at halftime.

“Defense is a big part of our game,” said guard Jordan Bagshaw. “I think the biggest reason why we win games is our defense. We do drills in practice, about half the practice, working on defense. We execute on defense and do a great job every game.”

Greely (19-0) will play fourth-ranked York, which defeated Westbrook, in the semifinals, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Rangers swept the Wildcats this season, 77-51 and 61-42.

Kennebunk (8-12) had lost to Greely 73-48 on Feb. 6.

Bagshaw and Matt McDevitt each scored 17 points for Greely. Ryan Twitchell added 13.

“We knew how good they were, we played them not too long ago,” said Rams Coach Barrett Belanger. “We went in with the mentality of taking away Bagshaw and McDevitt. And I think at the start the other guys (on Greely) did a nice job getting dribble-penetration on us.

“They were just tougher around the basket. Bigger, a little faster. That’s the difference between a lot of kids with experience and a young group getting here for the first time. I think that showed at the opening, that we were a little too tight at the start.”

The Rangers weren’t about to let Kennebunk get anything at the start. The Rams’ first seven possessions included two misses and six turnovers. Meanwhile, Greely got running, which is something the Rangers do well.

Baskets by McDevitt, Twitchell and Bagshaw were followed by a 3-pointer by Zachary Brown, and it was 9-0 just 2:19 into the game

After a Kennebunk timeout, Bagshaw hit a short jumper and – following Kennebunk’s sixth turnover – McDevitt swished a long 3-pointer to make it 14-0.

Cameron Lovejoy of Kennebunk (12 points) hit a 3-pointer to end the run but the Rangers were in high gear.

“When shots fall you can’t ask for anything more than that,” said Bagshaw, who had eight points in the first quarter.

Greely never slowed down. John Kane scored seven in the second quarter to help expand the lead.

Seaver was especially pleased that the Rangers never let up their intensity.

“This is the tournament and I’m trying to get these guys to understand anything can happen in the tournament,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job handling that atmosphere and that uncertainty.

“These guys are pretty focused and we’re ready to move on to the next one.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:22:14 +0000
Major league notebook: Strasburg aims for season-long health Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:20:58 +0000 WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — That Stephen Strasburg is at spring training with the Washington Nationals, ready from the get-go after missing the end of last season, does not necessarily excite him.

“I don’t think that’s been the issue in past years. Minus my Tommy John year, I’ve always been here Day One,” Strasburg said. “Question is, I guess, Day 162 – or whatever it is with those off days.”

The right-hander’s 2016 came to an early end because of an injury, the second time in his career that he has not participated in a Nationals postseason. Now Strasburg wants to be around come October, and is hoping a change in his offseason fitness regimen – running longer distances during the offseason – will help him make it through all of next season without a problem.

“It’s kind of corny, but they say the season’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” said Strasburg, who threw all of his pitches in a 10-minute bullpen session on Thursday, the first workout day for Nationals pitchers and catchers.

He said he ran 6-7 miles every Sunday, and about 3-4 on Wednesday at home in California, sometimes running on the sand, sometimes on a road that ran along the beach.

“For a guy my size, it takes three or four days to recover from it,” the 6-foot-4 pitcher said. “But I think as long as I was able to do it, but then once I started to get more into throwing every day, I tapered it down, so I did a little bit less – more sprint-type cardio, but on a daily basis.”

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft had Tommy John surgery in August 2011, then was shut down by the Nationals late in 2012 to protect his repaired elbow. Last season, he started 13-0 with a 2.51 ERA, but went on the DL with elbow soreness in August after allowing 19 earned runs in 112/3 innings over three outings. He left his first start back in the third inning and did not pitch again.

COMMISSIONER ROB Manfred says he can’t offer a prediction on how likely it is that baseball will be altering the strike zone this season.

Manfred discussed that and other potential rule changes Thursday at the Tigers’ spring training complex, which was hosting a Grapefruit League media day. Manfred says there are ongoing discussions with the players’ union, and it’s not clear what changes might be made for 2017.

“It’s been a long winter for both sides on labor,” Manfred said, “and fatigue can actually play a role in how many agreements you can reach, but at this point I just don’t feel comfortable making a prediction.”

MLB has studied whether to lift the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to the top of the kneecap. Any change for 2017 would require an agreement with the players’ association.

Manfred has pushed for faster games since he became commissioner two years ago, although he said raising the bottom of the strike zone isn’t really a pace-of-play issue.

“We’re not suggesting that we change the strike zone to shorten the game. We’re suggesting that we change the strike zone to get more action in the game,” Manfred said.

When it comes to the pace of play, Manfred sought to clarify that it’s not the length of a game that’s the issue.

“Pace of game is different than time of game. Pace relates to dead time caused by batters stepping out, pitchers not working quickly, trips to the mound,” he said. “We’ve never set a goal in terms of time of game. What we want is a well-paced game.”

RANGERS: Third baseman Adrian Beltre reported to spring training with a strained left calf muscle that will sideline him about three weeks and keep him out of the opening round of the World Baseball Classic.

DODGERS: First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is taking a two-week break from hitting to heal tendinitis in his right elbow. Gonzalez said he still hopes to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic next month.

GIANTS: Versatile infielder Aaron Hill agreed to a minor league contract and will receive a $2 million, one-year deal if he is added to the 40-man roster.

ORIOLES: Reliever Brad Brach became the first player to beat Baltimore in salary arbitration in 22 years. He was awarded $3.05 million instead of the team’s offer of $2,525,000.

RAYS: Reliever Tommy Hunter agreed to a minor league contract and will have an opportunity to earn a job in a revamped bullpen.

]]> 0 Strasburg's 2016 season came to an early end because of an injury. It was the second time in his career he has missed the chance to pitch in the postseason for the Washington Nationals.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:54:41 +0000
New England ski areas have a season to celebrate Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:10:23 +0000 BURKE, Vt. — The gods have answered the call of skiers, snowmobilers and dog mushers, dumping mounds of snow in northern New England following little snow last season during the warmest winter on record in some spots.

The biggest snowstorms of this season, followed by days of flurries, have unloaded more than 2 feet of snow – higher amounts in the mountains – in the past week across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

“I haven’t seen skiing this good in Vermont in over 20 years,” said Tom Luxon, of Norwich, on Thursday as he was leaving the slopes at Burke Mountain.

Brian Thompson drove five hours from New Haven, Connecticut, to experience the powder.

“It’s just been unreal,” he said of the conditions at Burke.

The snow bounty comes just a year after the region suffered one of its mildest winters. Due to the warmer conditions, ski resorts were left scrambling for enough snow. Ice fishing derbies and snowmobiling events had to be postponed, moved or canceled.

This year couldn’t be more different.

A series of storms in the last week has pummeled the region. The Maine town of Eastport reported 69 inches in a 10-day period while the state’s largest ski resorts, Sunday River and Sugarloaf, reported record-setting snowfalls for February, with 4 feet in the last week. Burke Mountain reported 20 inches overnight Wednesday-Thursday.

In the Moosehead Lake region in Maine’s snow belt a sled dog race that had to be canceled last year went on this month as scheduled.

“Obviously with no snow it’s a challenge, but this year there was plenty,” said Karen Lewsen, of Greenville, Maine. “We’ve had 80 inches of snow.”

Visits to Cannon Mountain Ski Area in Franconia, New Hampshire, are up by 65 percent, and snow cover is three times what it was last year at this time, spokesman Greg Keeler said.

“It’s completely different. People are excited. We have been busy,” Keeler said, adding that the Christmas week numbers were some of the biggest in the resort’s history.

The dramatic rebound has helped some resorts begin to recover from a disastrous year in which skier and snowboard visits were down, including 32 percent in Vermont.

But it also served to highlight the growing challenges that come with being part of the ski business at a time when the climate is changing.

Some resorts are preparing for warmer winters while also saving energy costs and making better quality snow by adding energy efficient snowmaking that allows them to make snow at higher temperatures and at a lower cost, said Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. That allows the ski areas to start making snow earlier and to extend their seasons, he said.

“Obviously, it’s always a good feeling when you are having a good winter and it’s snowing. You roll with what you are dealt with,” Keeler said. “I wouldn’t assume next year will be like this year. The best you can do is to make investments like energy efficient snow guns like we do so that we are able have more flexibility as to when we make snow and how much we make.”

]]> 0 biggest storms of the winter so far have dumped feet of new snow on places such as Burke Mountain Resort in East Burke, Vt., where conditions for skiing and snowboarding were described as the best in 20 years. Ski areas across northern New England are celebrating.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:32:43 +0000
Golf roundup: Australian leads after two rounds of LPGA event Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:23:52 +0000 ADELAIDE, Australia – Sarah Jane Smith shot a 6-under 67 in tough, windy afternoon conditions Friday at Royal Adelaide to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Women’s Australian Open.

The Australian had a 36-hole total of 9-under 137.

American Lizette Salas shot 70 to move into a four-way tie for second. She was joined by Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand, who also shot 70, Marissa Steen of the United States, who had a 71, and Caroline Hewwall of Sweden, who birdied her final three holes for a 69.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it,” Smith said of her chance to win her national championship. “Obviously, it would be a dream come true and something that every young Australian thinks about.”

PGA: Wind, rain and the snap of a large tree limb were enough to stop play in the second round of the Genesis Open at Los Angeles.

Sam Saunders remained atop the leaderboard without hitting a shot. Jhonattan Vegas joined him at 7-under par.

“We could have played a bit more, but why? It’s going to get nothing but worse,” said Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of competition. “We wanted to get them out of there when trees started snapping.”

EUROPEAN: Brett Rumford of Australia shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds in the World Super 6 at Perth, Australia.

Rumford had a two-round total of 13-under 131. David Bransdon was second after a 64.

CHAMPIONS: Miguel Angel Jimenez had a late eagle and closed with a birdie for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Doug Garwood and Scott Parel in the Chubb Classic at Naples, Florida.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:25:02 +0000
Red Sox owner: Focus is on fourth ring Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:19:07 +0000 FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry called it strange not to see David Ortiz at the team’s first full-squad workout this year and knows only one achievement will satisfy the team’s management, players and fans.

“We really are focused on that fourth ring like we were that first,” Henry said Friday. “Anything short of that is, I think we would say, limited success.”

Ortiz joined the Red Sox before the 2003 season and retired last fall after helping the Red Sox win their first three World Series titles since 1918.

“I’ve been thinking about that all week and it is strange,” Henry said. “We miss him at our level. We lost someone that was at the top of his game and was a huge presence, but that just increases your challenge this year. It’s a part of life. You move on.”

Werner said they’ve had discussions about what role the 41-year-old will have with the club.

With Boston coming off an AL East title and a Division Series loss to Cleveland, Werner spoke to the Red Sox and “made a reference to Tom Brady and the Patriots and what we can take from that in terms of hard work and practice.”

Henry said last year’s ending was frustrating after Boston was swept by the Indians.

“We didn’t finish our business last year,” he said. “It was a disappointing way to finish.”

Henry said Ortiz’s retirement helped lead the Red Sox to trade top prospects to the White Sox for ace left-hander Chris Sale.

“With David leaving, I think there was a feeling that we should do something. I think our offense has been strong and will be strong this year,” Henry said. “When this opportunity came up, it was hard to give up two of the best prospects in baseball, but I think we all agreed that this is a rare opportunity.”

Since taking over the Red Sox, Henry and Werner have renovated Fenway Park, which opened in 1912. Seats were added above the Green Monster and over the right-field roof, and space for concessions has been expanded.

Now, Henry thinks it’ll be the team’s home for decades.

“It’s been sort of built to last,” he said. “It’s been built to last for at least 30 years, if not 50 years.”

Werner discussed his role on baseball’s pace-of-play committee. The average time of a nine-inning game last year was just over 3 hours.

“I’d be for less commercial breaks because I think that increases the ratings, and in the end I think is a good idea,” he said.

The commissioner’s office also may try to cut the time managers have to decide whether to challenge umpires’ calls.

“Nobody would call it instant right now,” Werner said. “We have a directive right now to New York to see if all calls can be within 2 minutes. We have a directive that the manager decides or not within 30 seconds. We’re trying to get the game to be under 3 hours.”

NOTES: Blake Swihart is working to become a full-time catcher again after moving to left field last year and missing the final four months of the season with an injured left ankle. “I’m getting back into the swing of things,” he said. “I watched a lot of baseball when I was hurt. I was able to learn a lot and get a lot of knowledge.”… Manager John Farrell said LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, who hurt his right knee in winter ball in Venezuela, had “increased energy” from two days ago. … Farrell on the first day: “I think we all left Game 3 with a bitter taste in our mouth. That hasn’t vanished.”

]]> 0, 17 Feb 2017 20:23:25 +0000
NBA notebook: Feuding stars won’t discuss each other Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:05:32 +0000 NEW ORLEANS – Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had plenty to say at their first All-Star appearance.

Just not about one another.

Reunited on the Western Conference All-Star team, the former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates – until Durant left for Golden State last summer – will have to practice together Saturday and play together Sunday night.

If either of them expects it to be awkward – particularly after the way they jawed at one another in a recent regular-season game – they weren’t discussing it Friday.

Westbrook smirked and responded to questions about any potential awkward interaction with Durant or the other Warriors with thoughts on New York City’s Fashion Week.

“Man, you know what? Fashion week has been great. You seen fashion week? You been paying attention to fashion week?” Westbrook responded to a question about Durant. “Man. There’s a lot of great-looking things at fashion week, man. I’m looking forward to new collections. It’s been good, man.”

Two questions later came this gem from Westbrook:

“Man, you see the new public school clothing? Crazy, dog. They got like the new Jordan hoodie. … It’s crazy man. A lot of new, great things at fashion week I’ve seen, man.

“What other designers? Gucci? The new Gucci stuff is dope. Good stuff, man.”

For his part, Durant was curt, vague or sometimes critical of the media for obsessing over things that aren’t important, not to him anyway.

Durant used a total of five words to respond to his first question about the opportunity to play with Westbrook again:

“I’m excited to be here.”

Later, Durant said more directly, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

OFFICERS WITH the National Basketball Players Association said the problems between Charles Oakley and the Madison Square Garden chairman, James Dolan, could impact decisions future free agents make about playing for the New York Knicks.

Oakley was removed from MSG earlier this month, pulled away by security guards, handcuffed, arrested and eventually banned from entering the arena. That ban has since been lifted, but the long-strained relationship between Oakley – a very popular player when he was a Knick – and the team remains tenuous at best.

“I think it’s kind of a personal thing,” said NBPA vice president Anthony Tolliver of the Sacramento Kings. “I think some guys, for sure, notice it and some of those guys have made it known that it will affect them. Other guys, maybe not.”

Added NBPA secretary-treasurer James Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers: “It’s kind of self-evident.”

AARON GORDON isn’t giving any hints on what he’ll do for an All-Star dunk contest encore.

The runner-up in last year’s contest, Gordon is likely considered the favorite Saturday night. The Orlando Magic forward lost a dunk-off a year ago to Zach LaVine of Minnesota, who is injured and not defending his title.

“You’re going to have to wait until Saturday to see my ideas,” Gordon said. “It’s going to be innovative. It’s going to be technologically oriented. It’s going to be original and creative. You’ll see.”

Gordon will go up against DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns.

THE NBA warned that Texas could be overlooked for future events because of a proposed “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.

The Texas legislation is similar to a North Carolina law that prompted the league to move the All-Star Game out of that state. It would require people to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

The NFL issued similar warnings.

]]> 0 Gordon of the Orlando Magic, who finished second in the event a year ago, says he has original and creative ideas as he prepares for the NBA slam dunk contest that will be held Saturday night as part of All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:26:31 +0000
Boys’ basketball: York edges Westbrook Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:41:32 +0000 The pressure kept building as Westbrook and York traded baskets and defensive plays.

With 2:33 left, a timeout was called with York leading 41-40. Wildcats Coach Randy Small gathered his players and liked what he heard.

“In the huddle,” he said, “I had all five (players) say ‘we’ve been here before. We know what to do.’ ”

And they did. York never surrendered that tenuous lead and beat the Blazes 47-44 on Friday night in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Trevor LaBonte led York with 15 points. Reid Hogan scored 12.

Zac Manoogian led Westbrook with 19 points. His last-second 3-point try over the outstretched hands of two defenders bounced off the back of the rim.

Fourth-seeded York (12-7), which lost in overtime in last year’s quarterfinals, advances to meet top-ranked Greely (19-0) in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena.

This game was tight from the start. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was 31-31.

“Hats off to Westbrook. They played hard,” said Small, still remembering a 67-60 loss last month at home to the fifth-ranked Blazes (13-6). “They beat us by seven and it seemed like 40.”

Small made a switch, looking ahead to this game.

“We put in a zone defense about two weeks ago. I’ve never run a zone,” Small said. “But Westbrook beat us (last month) with their penetration.”

The Wildcats indeed put a stop to easy baskets underneath. Even when York didn’t score for the last six minutes of the second quarter, Westbrook couldn’t make a big run, leading 22-19 at the half.

“We missed some opportunities there, missed some shots,” Westbrook Coach Dan LeGage said. “But I was proud of the way the guys performed defensively.”

Both teams tried to hold down the others’ big scorers. Manoogian, a 5-foot-10 guard, was hot early, hitting a 3-pointer and three jumpers in the first quarter.

The Wildcats contained him from there.

“We knew he was going to get his 18 to 20 points,” Hogan said. “But if we limited him, we knew we would have a good shot to win.”

LaBonte, a 6-6 forward, was held to four points in the first half but drove to the basket more.

“We wanted to limit his touches,” LeGage said.

“He got loose in the second half and asserted himself a little bit more … and some of their other guys made some nice shots, too.”

Hogan began the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. A LaBonte layup and Alex Nickerson 3-pointer made it 39-33 – the largest lead of the game.

Westbrook kept coming back but never caught up.

Jackson McCarty of York went to the foul line with 16 seconds left and the Wildcats up 45-44. He made one and missed the second, but Westbrook was called for a lane violation. McCarty missed again but York tied up the ball on the rebound – and the possession arrow gave York the ball.

McCarty made one more free throw, with six seconds left.

Westbrook raced back up the court but its last, rushed shot was off.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Coach Randy Small hugs team captaines Reid Hogan and Cameron Smith after the Wildcats defeated Westbrook in a Class A South quarterfinal game Friday at the Portland Expo.Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:33:44 +0000
Auto racing notebook: NASCAR focuses on concussions Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:32:53 +0000 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is confident NASCAR took the right step Friday by beefing up its concussion protocol, adding a consistent screening rule at all venues.

“Good to see progress being made and implemented. Health and safety is top priority,” Earnhardt tweeted.

Earnhardt, long NASCAR’s most popular driver, was sidelined for the second half of last season with a concussion. Earnhardt missed the final 18 races with nausea, vision and balance issues after at least the fifth concussion of his career following a June wreck.

In the 16 years since his father’s death at Daytona, NASCAR has introduced a series of measures designed to keep drivers safe, from helmet and restraint systems to impact-absorbing SAFER barriers along concrete walls.

NASCAR made baseline concussion tests mandatory for all drivers in 2014, but expanded the protocol this year just nine days before the Daytona 500 with a consistent screening tool and additional neurological support in the hope of keeping drivers healthier.

KURT BUSCH is being sued for nearly $1.5 million by his former sports management company after he terminated his relationship with the agency last March.

A federal lawsuit filed this month in Michigan by the Sports Management Network claims that Busch owes $930,000 under the terms of an agreement dating to 2012. SMN is also seeking $540,000 for the 2018 season.

GREG BIFFLE won’t race full time this season. He has accepted a recurring role as a guest analyst on Fox Sports’ “NASCAR America” show.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:47:31 +0000
Girls’ hockey: St. Dominic, Falmouth to meet for state title Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:30:27 +0000 LEWISTON — Devon Sarazin describes the Falmouth High girls’ hockey season as one of peaks and valleys.

“No matter what happened in the game before, we kept pushing,” said Sarazin, a senior forward. “We’ve really come together lately. I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

For the third time in six years, the Yachtsmen (16-4) are playing for the state championship. At 3 p.m. Saturday they will face their toughest challenge in St. Dominic (20-0), the defending state champion, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Sarazin scored two goals Thursday in the South final against Scarborough. Falmouth’s 3-1 victory atoned for last year’s 5-2 loss to the Red Storm in the regional final. Scarborough edged Falmouth 3-2 in the regular season on Feb. 1.

“It’s all because of the seniors,” Falmouth Coach Rob Carrier said of Thursday’s victory. “They pressed hard, talked to the girls, kept them focused and really rallied the troops after the last time we played them.”

Falmouth boasts five seniors, including Caroline Proctor, who has helped anchor the defense. Opponents have averaged just 1.5 goals past goalie Allie Hurdman, also a senior.

Falmouth has averaged 5.5 goals this season but lost to St. Dominic 6-0 in a regular-season game Jan. 16.

“It’s going to come down to our ability to execute,” Carrier said of Saturday’s game. “We’re going to have to make sure we don’t get rattled by the stage.”

The Saints are no strangers to that stage. They’ve won two state titles (2011 and 2016), and a third would give them more than any other team in a sport that has staged championships since 2009. Falmouth lost in both of its earlier trips to the state title game, in 2012 to Greely and 2015 to Lewiston.

If St. Dom’s has any weaknesses, no team has figured out how to exploit them. The Saints are as strong on offense as they are on defense, averaging eight goals a game while allowing opponents less than one. Of their 20 wins, just two have been by one goal.

“We have a fast-skating club that likes to use the ice and make the play quick,” said St. Dom’s Coach Paul Gosselin. “They work hard and play as a group – they’re very unselfish.”

Kristina Cornelio is one offensive threat the Yachtsmen will be hard-pressed to stop. The sophomore forward has totaled seven goals in the playoffs – five in the Saints’ 6-2 regional semifinal win over Brunswick and two in the North regional title game, a 4-0 win over Greely on Thursday.

“The way we move the puck has been a strength of ours,” Cornelio said. “Our speed and smart plays are things we try to work on.”

St. Dominic’s ability to control games doesn’t allow goalie Payton Winslow to see much action. That might change Saturday. In their 9-0 regional semifinal win, the Yachtsmen outshot York/Traip Academy, 43-6.

“It’s honestly hard because I have to adjust to how many shots I’m getting,” Winslow said after Thursday’s win. “I had to focus more on what I had done wrong in other games.”

But if that game is any indication of Winslow’s dependability, she managed to get the job done, rejecting 22 of the Rangers’ shots on goal. She went five consecutive games in the regular season without allowing a goal.

For sophomore defender Isabelle Frenette – who notched a goal and an assist for the Saints on Thursday – her strategy for defending the state title is simple.

“Don’t change anything – keep doing what we’re doing,” Frenette said. “We just have to play our game.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:38:46 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Skowhegan rallies past Oceanside Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:09:16 +0000 AUGUSTA — It looked like the nerves may have been too much. The youngest team in the Class A North girls’ basketball tournament walked into the locker room at halftime of its quarterfinal, faced with the prospect of seeing its playoff journey confined to a quiet, quick exit.

Annie Cooke wasn’t ready to see it end that way. Neither were her Skowhegan teammates.

“We didn’t play too well in the first half. Not as well as we could have,” the sophomore forward said. “And I definitely think that we all thought we just need to pick it up. We need to get ready, we need to talk to each other, we need to be hyped up. And I think we did.”

The scoreboard said as much. Down eight points at the break, the Indians took command with a brilliant third quarter, rallying to defeat Oceanside 50-41 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Cooke and Mariah Dunbar led the second-seeded Indians (15-4) with 13 points apiece, while Cooke added 10 rebounds.

“I think they just finally got their feet wet a little bit and decided they can play, not go down without a fight” Skowhegan Coach Mike LeBlanc said.

No. 10 Oceanside, which got 11 points from Hope Butler, finished its season 8-12.

Skowhegan, which has an all-sophomore starting lineup and only one junior on its roster, found the poise to post perhaps its most impressive quarter of the year after a listless first half in which Oceanside dictated the pace of the game. The Indians made 8 of 11 shots in the third quarter, canning a pair of 3-pointers and turning a daunting deficit into a 41-34 lead.

“I think we were nervous, and I think we thought it was going to be an easier game than it actually was,” Dunbar said. “We picked our heads up a little more, we were more confident in the second half.”

After LeBlanc called a timeout 24 seconds into the second half with Skowhegan trailing 30-22, the Indians rattled off the next 14 points.

“I told the girls you need to shoot, or at least act like you can shoot,” LeBlanc said.

Cooke converted a three-point play after the timeout, and Alyssa Everett (nine points) followed with a pair of free throws. Then Cooke got a steal and Dunbar buried a 3, evening the score at 30. Cooke had a putback for the next basket, giving the Indians their first lead since the first quarter, and Everett stole the ball on the ensuing possession and took it the length of the floor for a 34-30 advantage.

“We definitely came together and played as a team, instead of just as individuals,” Cooke said. “I think we were playing more individually in the first half.”

The effort continued through the rest of the half, and though points were harder to come by in the fourth, Skowhegan made up for it on the defensive end, holding the Mariners to one field goal on 10 attempts.

Oceanside had a chance with 53.9 seconds left, down 48-41, but Sydney Ames (eight rebounds) rebounded a missed 3-point attempt and then another on the next possession to seal the game.

“That’s what we’ve been preaching to them all year,” LeBlanc said. “Our offense is not very good, because I’m not a very good strategic guy. We’ve just got to take care of the tempo, take care of the intensity level, play defense and let the defense take care of our offense.”

When that happens, young as they might be, the Indians always have a shot.

“That gave us a confidence boost,” Dunbar said of the win. “I think now, when we play here, we’re not going to be as nervous. We’re going to be more confident and know we can play our game.”

]]> 0's Annie Cooke, left, battles for a rebound with Alexis Mazurek of Oceanside during a Class A North basketball quarterfinal Friday at the Augusta Civic Center. Skowhegan advanced with a 50-41 victory.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:52:53 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Nokomis ousts Camden Hills Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:11:29 +0000 AUGUSTA — The Nokomis girls’ basketball team picked the right time to exact revenge.

Led by Chelsea Crockett’s 21 points and 10 rebounds, the No. 3 Warriors beat No. 6 Camden Hills 55-41 in a Class A North quarterfinal Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Warriors will meet No. 2 Skowhegan in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

It was sweet vengeance for Nokomis (15-4), which dropped a 76-53 decision to the Windjammers (11-8) on Feb. 2 after letting a large lead slip away.

Crockett said the team was confident Friday.

“The first time we played against Camden Hills, we came out with a 26-9 run,” Crockett said. “Then we just fell apart. We knew how to play them, because we came out so well the first time, and we knew we just had to play our game and relax.”

“We’re not a team that can go up and down the floor, we just can’t do it, and we’ve never done that,” Nokomis Coach Michelle Paradis added. “We really need to slow the ball down and keep it to a slow pace. We totally collapsed on defense the last time we played them and we tried to run up and down the floor with them, and that’s not anything that we’ve done all season.”

Nokomis led 14-12 after one quarter, thanks to 3-pointers from Crockett and guard Olivia Moore – who knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points – though the Warriors had some early turnover woes.

“(Crockett and Moore) have been (hitting shots) all season,” Paradis said. “It’s a big help when you have people who can shoot the ball, and more than one person who can shoot the ball, too.”

Nokomis extended its lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Windjammers 16-7, and went to the locker room with a comfortable 30-19 lead.

Camden Hills refused to go away quietly. Led by Charlotte Messer, who scored 14 points, the Windjammers cut their deficit to eight at the end of the third quarter and got as close as five in the fourth.

Then Crockett and Moore knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in a 20-second span, and the Warriors finished off the Windjammers at the free-throw line, nailing eight free throws.

“We knew that (Camden Hills) was a really good team, so we knew if we wanted to beat them we had to play solid defense and not exchange baskets with them,” Crockett said. “We just had to get a defensive stop, go down and score, get a defensive stop, and just keep going.”

Austin Taylor contributed eight points, and Gabrielle Lord added five points and five rebounds for Nokomis.

Kassandra Krul and Miae DeWaard each scored seven points for Camden Hills.

Nokomis beat Skowhegan 41-34 in a regular-season meeting Jan. 12.

“We still need to work on rebounding (before Wednesday),” Paradis said. “If we don’t make the shot, we don’t have a rebounder in there.”

]]> 0 Lord of Nokomis grabs a rebound in front of Kaylyn Krul of Camden Hills during a Class A North girls' basketball quarterfinal Friday at the Augusta Civic Center. Nokomis won, 55-41.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:51:52 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Glidden leads Scarborough past Thornton Academy Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:10:01 +0000 When the basketball season began, many figured the Scarborough High girls’ basketball team would be good, but no one – including members of the Red Storm – knew just how good.

Now we know.

With junior forward Sophie Glidden leading the way, third-seeded Scarborough turned back No. 6 Thornton Academy 42-38 in a Class AA South quarterfinal at the Portland Expo. Glidden scored 22 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds.

That enabled the Red Storm to hold on after the Trojans cut a 10-point deficit to one with 2:17 remaining.

“It’s been that way all year,” Scarborough Coach Mike Giordano said of Glidden. “She’s had a tremendous year. She’s kind of been the kid that gets us going. We rely on her to make the big shots in the big moments.”

Thornton Academy’s Alisha Aube goes to the basket against Scarborough’s Jocelyn F. Couture. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

Scarborough (16-3) will play No. 2 South Portland in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Cross Insurance Arena. The Red Storm defeated South Portland 46-40 on Jan. 3.

Thornton Academy finished 9-10, losing three times to Scarborough.

“This is really exciting for us,” said Glidden. “We knew going into the season that we would be competitive, but we didn’t think we’d be, what, 16-3, at this point. It feels good.

“We have the will to win. We want to win. We want to go out and compete in every game.”

Thornton Academy’s Isabella Robinson and Scarborough’s Brooke Malone try to control a rebound during the fourth quarter. Staff photo y Carl D. Walsh Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

This was a tight one for the most part. Thornton, with its 1-3-1 zone bothering Scarborough, had the early advantage. But the Red Storm hit three 3-pointers – two by Glidden and one by Madison Blanche – at the end of the second quarter to take a 27-20 halftime lead.

When Brooke Malone followed up her own miss for a three-point play with 5:54 remaining, Scarborough led 39-29. But Thornton’s defensive pressure, which forced 14 turnovers in the second half, brought the Trojans came back.

A 3-pointer by Alex Hart (12 points) with 2:17 remaining made it 39-38. After Blanche hit a foul shot with 2:00 left, the Trojans had three chances to tie it but missed each shot.

Glidden rebounded the final miss, was fouled and hit both free throws with 16.7 seconds left to secure the win.

“Just muscle memory,” she said. “I was confident I would make them both.”

The Trojans, who were led by Alisha Aube with 14 points, couldn’t quite complete their comeback.

Scarborough’s Lindsey Kelley and Kaylee Emma embrace in celebration after beating Thornton Academy. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

“We kept saying all along that we felt if we could chip away at it and keep it close, we could win it at the end,” said Thornton Coach Eric Marston. “I’m proud of the entire team. The game was a microcosm of our season – a little inconsistent, but when we pulled it together we were pretty good.”

The Red Storm, who play three freshmen regularly, never panicked, even when the Trojans were climbing back into the game.

“You’re going to get those moments and you hope you’re able to play through them,” said Giordano. “And we were able to today. What I told the kids was to stick together. They’re going to have those ebbs and flows in basketball games. Just hang together. And they did that today.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 players celebrate after their 42-38 win over Thornton Academy in a Class AA South girls' basketball quarterfinal Friday at the Portland Expo.Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:33:37 +0000
We need your input for 2017 Varsity Maine Awards Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:21:06 +0000 It’s not too late to place your nominations for the 2017 Varsity Maine Awards. But don’t wait too long. We’re taking entries through March 8.

The awards show, sponsored by the Maine Sunday Telegram, celebrates the best in high school sports – players, coaches, teams and even fans – from around the state. The show will be held on May 2 at the Costello Sports Complex at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

So who can make a nomination? Coaches. Teammates. Parents. Athletic directors. Neighbors. Grandparents. Anyone who wants to highlight the achievements of those involved in Maine high school sports.

Here is a look at some of the award categories. Do you know someone who fits any of these descriptions? Then let us know by making a nomination.


The best coaches can’t be measured by victories alone. Which one has made the biggest impact on students while forging a winning tradition?


We’re looking for an athlete who excels in the classroom. Who is tops among his or her peers when it comes to academic excellence?


Every team has one: We’re looking for an athlete who goes above and beyond to help younger team members succeed.


Talk about school pride: We’re looking for the No. 1 fan – whether it’s a parent, family member, student or booster who cheers on his or her team at home games and on the road.

Want to see the full list? Click here.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 09:21:06 +0000
Athletes of the Week, Feb. 17 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

Emily Ecker

Emily Ecker, Cape Elizabeth swimming: A freshman, Ecker was named Performer of the Meet in the North South-western champion-ships after breaking a 14-year-old state record in the 500-yard freestyle (4:58.95), a meet record in the 200 free (1:52.14) and leading off Cape’s victorious 400 free relay.


Grace Cowles, Yarmouth Nordic skiing: A senior, Cowles swept the classical and freestyle titles at the Western Maine Conference Nordic championships last Wednesday and Saturday at Starks Hill in Fryeburg.

Kiera MacWhinnie, Waynflete swimming: A senior, MacWhinnie was named Performer of the Meet in the South Southwesterns after winning the 100 free (56.89) and 100 backstroke (1:02.78).

Annika Brooks, Waynflete senior forward: Brooks had 12 points and seven rebounds in a 44-28 win over Traip Academy in a Class C South prelim. Last Friday, she scored 21 points in a 45-39 win over Sacopee Valley in the regular-season finale.


Robert Hetherman, Mt. Ararat/Brunswick wrestling: The Mt. Ararat senior roared through the Class A North regional 170-pound division with three first-period pins to help lead Mt. Ararat/Brunswick to the regional title. Hetherman now has 197 career wins and 119 pins. He’ll be favored to win the state championship Saturday at Camden Hills.


Alek Medenica

Alek Medenica, Yarmouth basketball: The 6-foot-7 senior dominated his final regular-season game, scoring 36 points Friday in a 69-52 home win against Wells (13-5). Medenica made 12 2-point baskets, three 3-pointers and three free throws. Yarmouth (16-2) is the top seed in Class B South. Medenica also had 12 points in a 79-40 win over Lake Region last week.

Shane Moore, Cheverus swimming: A senior, Moore was named Performer of the Meet at the North Southwesterns after setting pool and meet records in the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 56.31 seconds) and 100 breast stroke (58.58). He also lowered the school IM record that had stood for 26 years.

Nathaniel Hayward, Wells diving: A senior, Hayward won the South Southwesterns diving title Tuesday night in Cape Elizabeth with an 11-dive score of 353.25 points – nearly double that of his closest competitor and 10 points higher than that of the North Southwesterns winner.

]]> 0, 16 Feb 2017 23:52:56 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Windham upends Deering, 51-47 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 04:16:43 +0000 AUGUSTA — Windham High came up with key defensive stops and clutch baskets at the end to upset Deering 51-47 Thursday night in a Class AA North boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

The sixth-seeded Eagles (13-6) advance to Tuesday’s semifinals against No. 2 Edward Little (17-1). No. 3 Deering is done at 12-7.

Windham, despite its low seed, is the only team to defeat Edward Little, beating the Eddies 60-58 on Jan. 24.

The Eagles showed they’re capable of beating anyone – even Deering, which handled Windham 62-41 in a season opener.

Mike Gilman led Windham with 18 points. His two free throws with 1.2 seconds left clinched the victory.

Nick Curtis added 15 points and Dierhow Bol scored 10.

Jean Claude Butera led Deering with 12 points.

The Rams tried to pressure Curtis early, but both Butera and guard Darryl Germain picked up two quick fouls.

In the second quarter, Deering switched to a zone defense. The Eagles finished with six 3-pointers, two apiece by Gilman and Curtis.

Windham took a 12-9 first-quarter lead, as Deering made six turnovers. But the Eagles went cold in the second quarter and Deering edged ahead for a 22-20 halftime lead.

It was a back-and-forth game, with 18 lead changes and nine ties.

With 2:35 to play, Deering went ahead 44-43 on two Raffaele Salamone free throws.

Bol answered with an inside jumper and Windham led 45-44.

With 1:45 left, Bol stole the ball. Curtis missed a runner, but Bol rebounded and passed the ball out. Curtis then drove to the basket and dished to Bol for an easy layup and a 47-44 lead with 1:08 left.

Deering tried to go inside to Salamone, but Bol stole the pass. Deering pressured and got the ball back, and Orey Dutton hit a jumper with 35 seconds remaining.

Deering pressured again and fouled Chris Brown. Brown, who hit a 3-pointer earlier in the quarter, drained both foul shots for a 49-46 lead with 30 seconds left.

Deering missed its next shot but got the ball back when the rebound went out of bounds off Windham. The Rams called two timeouts trying to set up a shot, and their last play went to Salamone for an open 3-pointer that was off the mark. Butera was fouled on the rebound with two seconds left, then made one shot before purposely missing the second, but a lane violation gave Windham the ball.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0, 16 Feb 2017 23:31:34 +0000
NHL roundup: Crosby surpasses 1,000 in 3-point night Fri, 17 Feb 2017 04:14:15 +0000 PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby ended his march to 1,000 career points in typically unselfish fashion.

The Penguins star wasted little time before starting his quest for the next thousand.

The Pittsburgh captain fed Chris Kunitz for a first-period goal against Winnipeg on Thursday to become the 86th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, added an assist on Phil Kessel’s game-tying goal in the third and then put the winner past Connor Hellebuyck with 21 seconds left in overtime as the Penguins escaped with a 4-3 victory.

Crosby finished with three points to push his total 1,002. Evgeni Malkin also scored for Pittsburgh, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 44 shots for the Penguins, who improved to 6-0-2 since the All-Star break.

Patrik Laine scored his 27th for Winnipeg. Paul Postma collected his first and Dustin Byfuglien his eighth for the Jets. Hellebuyck made 35 saves, but couldn’t get a handle on Crosby’s 31st of the season and the 369th goal of his career.

Crosby insisted as the milestone approached that he’d be happy once it was out of the way so the focus could swing back to Pittsburgh’s chase of first-place Washington in the relentlessly competitive Metropolitan Division. His sprint to the mark turned into a slow jog during a rare two-game scoreless drought and inched closer with an assist in a victory over Vancouver on Tuesday to give him 999.

History came in typically symbolic fashion for one of the game’s best playmakers.

Crosby reached it in his 757th game – the quickest among active players –not with some breathtaking move, but by simply outworking an opponent. Crosby beat Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler to a loose puck in the left circle. Crosby collected himself, then slipped a pass to Kunitz wide open in the slot. Kunitz powered it into the open net, the 186th time the pair have factored in a goal together.

SENATORS 3, DEVILS 0: Mike Condon made 21 saves in recording his fifth shutout of the season, Dion Phaneuf scored on a power play and Ottawa won at Newark, New Jersey.

Phaneuf broke a scoreless tie with a rocket from the left point with 1:59 left in the second period.

Erik Karlsson scored on a point shot that crawled into the net and Kyle Turris shot into an empty net in the final four minutes to give the Senators their third win in four games.

ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 2: Andrew Ladd scored twice to lead the host Islanders past the crosstown-rival Rangers.

Anders Lee and Nikolay Kulemin also scored, and Thomas Greiss stopped 25 shots to help the Islanders improve to 8-0-2 in their last 10 at home. John Tavares had two assists.

Nick Holden and Jimmy Vesey scored for the Rangers, whose six-game winning streak was snapped.

SABRES 2, AVALANCHE 0: Sam Reinhart and Evander Kane scored, and Robin Lehner made 23 saves for his fifth career shutout as Buffalo won at home to move within three points of Toronto for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

BLUES 4, CANUCKS 3: Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen scored third-period power-play goals to lift streaking St. Louis at home.

Magnus Paajarvi and Jori Lehtera also scored, and Kevin Shattenkirk had three assists for the Blues, who won their sixth straight game.

WILD 3, STARS 1: Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 shots, Erik Haula had a goal and an assist and Minnesota won at home.

Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon also scored for the Western Conference leaders. Minnesota hasn’t lost consecutive games in over two months.


DUCKS: The league suspended forward Antoine Vermette for 10 games for slashing a linesman in apparent anger after a faceoff on Tuesday.

]]> 0 Crosby, rear, is surrounded by Penguins teammates after he earned his 1,000 career point by assisting on a goal by Chris Kunitz in the first period Thursday night. Crosby added another assist, and then scored in overtime to deliver Pittsburgh a 4-3 win at home against the Winnipeg Jets.Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:30:40 +0000
Thursday’s college roundup: SMCC advances in women’s basketball tournament Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:45:47 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — Kaylah Abdul scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made six steals to help Southern Maine Community College roll to a 69-44 win over UMaine-Machias in a Yankee Small College Conference quarterfinal on Thursday night.

Hannah Heald had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the second-seeded Seawolves (23-3), who closed the second quarter on a 14-2 run to open a 37-15 lead.

Alicia Ruth added 13 points for SMCC. Alicen Brooks scored 14 for the No. 7 Clippers (7-16).

PLYMOUTH STATE 59, USM 51: Alexa Srolovitz hit a 3-point jumper with 6:24 remaining to pull Southern Maine to within 45-43 but the Panthers closed with a 14-8 run at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Kayla Wyland had 13 points for Plymouth State (7-16, 4-9 Little East). Jackie Luckhardt scored 19 for USM (5-19, 4-9).

(3) MISSISSIPPI 58, GEORGIA 49: Ketara Chapel and Teaira McCowan each had 14 points and host Mississippi State (26-1, 12-1 SEC) rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Georgia (13-13, 5-8).

VIRGINIA 60, (4) FLORIDA STATE 51: Dominique Toussaint scored five of her 14 points in the final 1:27, including the go-ahead 3-pointer, and Virginia (17-9, 6-7 ACC) beat Florida State (23-4, 11-2) at home.

(7) NOTRE DAME 84, CLEMSON 80: Marina Mabrey scored 24 of her career-high 29 points in the second half to help the Fighting Irish (24-3, 12-1 ACC) hold on at Clemson (14-13, 3-11) for their eighth straight victory.


USM 74, PLYMOUTH STATE 70: Zach Leal and James Starks III each scored 19 points as the Huskies (9-15, 4-9 LEC) held off the Panthers (11-12, 5-8) at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Leal played all 40 minutes and had five rebounds and four assists, while Starks scored 14 in the second half. USM went ahead for good on a 3-pointer from Jalen Lincoln that made it 40-39 with 16:28 left.


CURRY 3, UNE 2: Shane Tracy and Tyler Vankleef scored in a span of 1:28 in the third period, pushing the Colonels (13-8-2, 10-4-2 Commonwealth Coast) past the University of New England (11-9-2, 7-7-2) at Milton, Massachusetts.

Dylan Bengston and Ryan Bloom scored for the Nor’easters.

]]> 0 Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:59:28 +0000
Bulls stun Celtics with late free throws, 104-103 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:42:51 +0000 CHICAGO — Jimmy Butler made two free throws with 0.9 seconds left to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 104-103 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

Butler’s clutch foul shots capped a memorable duel with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the NBA’s final game before the break. Butler and Thomas had 29 points and seven assists each.

Butler was touched on the right elbow by Marcus Smart on a turnaround jumper at the final horn, drawing a foul. Butler nodded his head up and down as an incredulous Smart danced up the court in disbelief.

Butler calmly drained each free throw, and Al Horford air-balled a baseline jumper on the Celtics’ last shot, giving Chicago (28-29) consecutive wins against Eastern Conference powers Toronto and Boston (37-20).

Bobby Portis had a season-high 19 points for the Bulls, who went 22 for 22 at the line. Robin Lopez had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Taj Gibson finished with 12 points and nine boards.

Thomas went 8 for 18 from the field and 9 for 9 at the line in his 41st straight game with at least 20 points, breaking the team record set by John Havlicek during the 1971-72 season. He made two free throws with 1:30 left to make it 103-100, but he was blocked by Butler on a layup attempt and missed a jumper down the stretch.

Kelly Olynyk had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who had won four in a row and 11 of 12. Terry Rozier made three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.

The Bulls played without guard Dwyane Wade and forward Paul Zipser due to injuries. Wade has been hampered by a bruised right wrist, and woke up Thursday with an illness. Zipser is dealing with left ankle tendinitis.

The break will give the 35-year-old Wade a couple weeks of rest between games.

“It’ll be two full weeks since he had the wrist injury, so again, hopefully we’ll get him back full strength when we return,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Avery Bradley remained out for Boston, and rookie forward Jaylen Brown missed his third straight game with a right hip strain. Bradley, who is averaging 17.7 points, hasn’t played in a month because of a sore right Achilles.

Gerald Green was questionable because of a bruised his left heel, but he entered in the first quarter and made two of the Celtics’ 10 3-pointers in the first half. Thomas went 3 for 6 from long range on his way to 15 points, helping Boston to a 58-52 halftime lead.

]]> 0's Gerald Green goes up for a shot against Chicago's Doug McDermott in the first half Thursday night in Chicago.Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:41:16 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Gorham stifles Sanford Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:35:43 +0000 Gorham High won only four games in the boys’ basketball regular season. Doesn’t matter. The Rams are 1-0 in the postseason and heading to the Class AA South semifinals.

Using a quick-reacting, modified 2-3 zone with some triangle-and-two mixed in, the sixth-seeded Rams held third-seeded Sanford scoreless for more than 12 minutes in the middle two quarters Thursday night in a 42-31 regional quarterfinal victory at the Portland Expo.

“It’s a zone with a little wrinkle,” said Gorham Coach Mark Karter. “They have two very good players in (Ethan) Belanger and (Brad) Bouchard, so our goal was to make sure we tried to neutralize them.”

Belanger scored a team-high 10 points but was limited to six shots. Bouchard scored the first two baskets of the game and didn’t score again, finishing with five points.

Worse, no Sanford player scored during a 12:23 stretch that changed a 17-9 lead for the Spartans into a 28-17 Gorham advantage.

“The goal of it for us was to take time off the clock and shorten the game,” said Jackson Fotter, who scored a game-high 11 points for Gorham. “Today, we knocked down free throws and got it done, but I would say defense was what did it for us.”

Gorham (5-14) didn’t exactly light it up, but two 3-pointers from Cameron Holmes (10 points, two blocks) keyed a 14-3 third quarter.

Sanford’s scoring drought was finally snapped by a Frank Veino free throw with 1:26 left in the third.

“I thought we came out and executed real well in the third quarter, and that’s something we’ve kind of struggled with throughout the year,” Karter said.

Gorham will meet second-seeded Thornton Academy (16-2) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Thornton Academy beat Gorham twice this season, 61-40 in Gorham and 62-54 in Saco. The first loss to Thornton was Gorham’s largest losing margin this season.

A year ago, Gorham was the second seed and fell to Massabesic 49-48, losing a 16-point advantage.

That this year’s team is back in the semifinals is a surprise to most.

“Throughout the year we played very well at times, but we’ve always had a three-, four- minute stretch that’s killed us,” Karter said. “Tonight, we didn’t have that stretch, and that’s kind of the difference in winning or losing.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:48:35 +0000
Sports Digest: Revis facing charges from alleged fight Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:32:42 +0000 FOOTBALL

Jets’ Revis facing charges after alleged street fight

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis faces five pending charges, including two counts of aggravated assault, after allegedly being involved in a fight with two men last weekend.

According to a Pittsburgh police statement and a court document, the 31-year-old Revis is also facing charges of robbery, terroristic threats and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault after the incident at 2:43 a.m. Sunday.

Revis’ lawyer, Blaine Jones, said in a statement Thursday that Revis was “physically assaulted while at that location by a group of at least five people.” He added that the Jets’ cornerback “feared for his safety” and sought medical attention.

Police said the alleged fight began when a 22-year-old man attempted to record Revis and Revis grabbed the man’s phone. An argument ensued, ending with another man helping Revis. Police said two others claimed they were punched and knocked out.

 The Dolphins put on hold their plan to release left tackle Branden Albert when another team expressed interest in a trade. No trade can be completed until the start of the league year March 9.

Miami did release four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Their departure, plus Albert’s, will save about $20 million in 2017 cap space.


PGA: Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer, played bogey-free at Riviera for a 7-under 64 and a two-shot lead at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles in what he called his best round on the tour.

Dustin Johnson, who has a chance to go to No. 1 with a win, was at 66 along with four others, while Phil Mickelson was among those at 67.

Many players were unable to finish because of a fog delay in the morning, and the bigger concern was a monster storm of rain and wind expected to arrive later Thursday.

LPGA: Playing for the fourth consecutive week, Katherine Kirk wasn’t showing any signs of fatigue after shooting an 8-under 65 at Royal Adelaide to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Women’s Australian Open.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Brett Rumford and Mark Foster shot 6-under 66s to lead after one round of the World Super 6 tournament at Perth, Australia, with 10 others a stroke off the lead.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Tessa Worley regained her giant slalom title, holding off hard-charging Mikaela Shiffrin at St. Moritz, Switzerland, to win gold.

Worley, the 2013 champion, finished 0.34 seconds ahead of Shiffrin, who was fastest in the second run as warm sunshine softened the snow.

Shiffrin was third-fastest in the morning run. She then used downhill-style skills to help make up time on a relatively flat final slope and take her first medal in giant slalom.


NASCAR CUP SERIES: The series set the stage lengths for races this season, part of a radical revamp designed in hopes of making every lap matter.

The new format opens with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. The stages in NASCAR’s biggest race are set to end on lap 60, lap 120 and lap 200.

The top 10 drivers at the end of Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be awarded points on a 10-through-1 scale. The third portion of the race will be for the overall victory.

 NASCAR also unveiled a revamped, two-level penalty system that could levy more punishments on race weekends, including loss of practice time, loss of pit selection, an end of field penalty and even the loss of track access.

]]> 0 Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:39:47 +0000
Girls’ hockey: St. Dom’s shuts out Greely in North final Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:02:28 +0000 LEWISTON — In a regional final rematch Thursday night, St. Dominic again defeated Greely to capture its second straight girls’ hockey North title.

St. Dom’s shut out Greely 4-0 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee and will take a 20-0 record into its bid for a repeat state championship.

The Saints will take on Falmouth (16-4) in the state final at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Colisee.

Greely ended its season with a 17-3 record – all three losses were to St. Dom’s. The Saints beat Greely 5-4 in last year’s regional championship game.

“Greely is a good team,” St. Dominic Coach Paul Gosselin said. “We’ve had a couple close games with them. When it comes to playoffs, it always gets a little bit tighter.”

The Saints beat Greely twice in the regular season – first in their opener on Nov. 26 (8-0) and again on Feb. 2 (3-2).

This time the teams appeared evenly matched through the first period, which St. Dominic finished with an 8-6 edge in shots on goal.

“For some reason when we don’t score five goals in the first period, people ask us what’s wrong,” Gosselin said with a chuckle. “I guess it’s a good thing to be asked that.”

Greely’s Ellie McGillicuddy, left, and Courtney Sullivan, battle with St. Dominic’s Alexandra Hammerton during the first period. Staff photo by Joel Page

St. Dominic entered the regional final averaging eight goals a game but was stymied in the first period by Greely goalie Veronica Todd, who stuffed the Saints on five breakaways throughout the game.

“After the first couple breakaways we got a little down on ourselves,” said Isabelle Frenette, who notched a goal and an assist. “The nerves kind of settled after that first goal.”

The Saints took the lead with 11:18 left in the second period when Kristina Cornelio scored her first of two goals with a slap shot from the point on a Frenette assist.

“I was down low and I knew they were going to crash on the person with the puck,” Frenette said. “So I just let it go back to her.”

“That first goal was crucial,” Cornelio said. “I think that opened the floodgates, and we got our momentum from that.”

Less than two minutes later, Frenette added another goal – unassisted and short-handed – to make it 2-0 with 9:39 left in the period.

Greely threatened to close the gap. With less than two minutes remaining in the second, Courtney Sullivan fired off a shot that St. Dominic goalkeeper Payton Winslow blocked, before Victoria Lattanzi tried to put away the rebound. But Winslow made another save to keep the Rangers scoreless.

Greely goalie Payton Winslow makes a save during the second period. Staff photo by Joel Page

“Usually the teams we play aren’t as strong as Greely,” Winslow said. “So I have to adjust to how many shots I’m getting compared to other games.”

The Rangers fired off five shots on goal in the opening six minutes of the final period while allowing the Saints just two.

But Avery Lutraykowski of the Saints sealed it with 4:29 left. She wove through Greely defenders and tapped the puck past Todd for an unassisted goal.

Cornelio scored the final goal on a Katya Fons assist after the Rangers pulled their keeper with 1:52 remaining.

St. Dom’s outshot Greely, 28-22. Todd finished with 24 saves and Winslow totaled 22 for the Saints.

“It’s tough sometimes because we have some games where there are not a lot of shots,” Gosselin said of Winslow. “But she made the big saves when we needed her.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

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Boys’ basketball: Oxford Hills edges Cheverus in overtime thriller, 53-50 Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:00:01 +0000 AUGUSTA — Nothing came easy. But then, in a playoff game, nothing should.

Fifth-ranked Oxford Hills defeated No. 4 Cheverus 53-50 Tuesday night in overtime in the Class AA North boys’ quarterfinals, a scintillating game that wasn’t decided until the final 35-foot shot by Will Shibles rattled out of the basket, allowing the Vikings a collective sigh of relief.

“No one should have lost that game,” said Scott Graffam, the coach of the Vikings.

The winning points were scored at the foul line, two by Cole Verrier with 27.1 seconds left to break the 10th and final tie, one by Matthew Fleming with 6.1 seconds left.

It was close throughout, with 16 lead changes. The largest lead was seven, 39-32 by Oxford Hills, after a 9-0 run to close out the third quarter. Cheverus’ Jack Casale personally wiped that deficit out by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter.

“It’s unfortunate somebody had to lose,” said Cheverus Coach Ryan Soucie. “I was proud of the way they battled back to tie that game.”

The Vikings (13-6) will play top-ranked Portland in the regional semifinals at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Cheverus, which was missing three key players, finished 11-8.

The Stags were without Jesse Matthews, who got two technical fouls in the Stags’ final regular-season game and by rule had to sit out, and Noah Johnson and Patrick Foster, both injured.

Matthews’ absence allowed the Vikings to control the inside, especially on the offensive end. Atreyu Keniston had a career-high 16 points for Oxford Hills, grabbing five offensive rebounds. Colton Carson added four offensive rebounds.

“When we found out Matthews wasn’t playing, we decided to go with a bigger lineup,” said Graffam. “When we played them the first time (a 55-44 Cheverus win), they just left Matthews in the middle and kept Fleming from getting to the middle. This time we were able to get the ball to one of our post players and if he had a bad matchup, he could either just drive or dish it. ► That was an adjustment we made early in the game. ◄ ”

Still, the Vikings couldn’t shake the Stags. Each time Oxford Hills took a lead late in the fourth, Cheverus responded. A basket by the Vikings’ Fleming (13 points) was countered by a 10-footer from Matt Duchaine. Verrier (13 points) scores inside, only to see Owen Burke (11 points) counter with two foul shots to tie it at 43. Two free throws by Keniston with 1:25 left were matched by a 10-foot floater by Shibles 17 seconds later.

Carson hit a foul shot with 10.2 seconds left to give Oxford Hills a 46-45 lead. Casale, who scored 25 points, tied it with one foul shot with three seconds left.

There were two more ties in overtime, the last with 2:07 left on two Casale foul shots. The Stags were called for a three-second lane violation with 53.2 seconds left, leading to two foul shots by Verrier with 27.1 seconds left. Fleming hit one foul shot with 6.1 seconds left to secure it.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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Major league notebook: Kushner family tables talks to buy Marlins Fri, 17 Feb 2017 01:45:35 +0000 MIAMI — The Kushner family, which has close ties to the White House, put the brakes on its negotiations to buy the Miami Marlins because of a report team owner Jeffrey Loria may be nominated by President Trump to become ambassador to France.

Joshua Kushner, whose older brother is an adviser to the president, has a preliminary agreement to buy the Marlins. But in a statement released late Wednesday by Kushner’s brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer, the family expressed concern the sale might “complicate” the ambassadorship appointment.

“Although the Kushners have made substantial progress in discussions for us to purchase the Marlins, recent reports suggest that Mr. Loria will soon be nominated by the president to be ambassador to France,” the statement said. “If that is true, we do not want this unrelated transaction to complicate that process and will not pursue it. The Kushners remain interested in purchasing a team and would love to buy the Marlins at another time.”

The New York Post reported Wednesday that Loria, a New York art dealer, is likely to be the next French ambassador. The report named him as one of four people selected by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for top diplomatic posts.

Loria is a longtime major contributor to the Republican National Committee, which Priebus led until taking the job with Trump. Fundraising records show Loria gave $125,000 last fall jointly to the Trump campaign and RNC.

It has long been a presidential tradition to reward generous political donors with plum ambassadorships.

The statement from the Kushners was the first public confirmation of their negotiations with Loria.

“Our family has been friends with Jeff Loria for over 30 years, been in business together, and even owned a Triple-A baseball team together,” the statement said, referring to an Oklahoma City club.

Joshua Kushner, 31, is a New York City businessman and investor and part of the real estate family that also includes Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.

Marlins officials haven’t commented. Team president David Samson said he will speak Friday about the status of sale negotiations.

Other parties are also interested in the team, and Loria might reopen negotiations with them.

RANGERS: Mike Napoli has officially joined the team for a third time. Napoli, who was re-introduced by the Rangers on Thursday morning, received an $8.5 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2018. The 35-year-old set career highs with 34 homers and 101 RBI with Cleveland last year.

NATIONALS: Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is dealing with pain from a broken knuckle on his pitching hand that arose late last year and may not be ready for opening day.

Scherzer said the injury to the bottom knuckle on his ring finger is “essentially healed,” but bothers him when he throws.

ROYALS: Authorities in the Dominican Republic told the Kansas City Star the toxicology report on pitcher Yordano Ventura following his fatal car crash will only be released to his family and attorneys.

The results are an important piece in determining whether the Royals are obligated to pay the rest of Ventura’s contract, which is valued at $20.25 million.

BLUE JAYS: Mat Latos agreed to a minor league deal.

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