December 23, 2013

High school notebook: Biddeford well aware of Thornton Academy’s streak

The Tigers will have to wait until February for another chance to beat their biggest rival.

From staff reports

Thornton Academy ran its winning streak against Biddeford in boys’ hockey to six Saturday with a 4-2 victory. Not that any of the Tigers needed to be reminded, but Biddeford Coach Rich Reissfelder said it is a topic he addresses, particularly with his seniors.

“They haven’t beaten (the Trojans) since they were freshmen,” Reissfelder said. “It definitely weighs on them. It’s a motivation, and hopefully it’s not something that’s a burden.”

One of those seniors, Nik Lemieux, was the last to leave the ice Saturday, lingering to have a conversation with a pair of Trojans. The players are all very familiar with each other, with many of them skating together in the offseason.

“A lot of it’s bragging rights,” Thornton Academy senior Taylor Browne said. “We like to come out here in front of our friends and family and put on a show for them.”

There will be another opportunity to do that Feb. 1. Reissfelder said that game, with playoff implications becoming more focused, will likely draw an even livelier crowd than the one that packed the arena Saturday.

Meanwhile, he offered his young team some perspective after the Tigers fell to 2-3.

“It’s a long season. This was only Game 5; we still have 13 more plus the playoffs,” Reissfelder said. “The effort wasn’t in question; the effort was outstanding, considering we were short-handed there on the bench (after losing Ricky Ruck to an early injury). We were good enough to win; we’ve just got to find a way to win.”

The Trojans (2-2-1) also felt desperate for a victory, Browne said after scoring the game-winning goal.

“We needed this win to lead us through the holiday break and give us momentum going into next year,” he said.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Before Friday’s game between Portland and South Portland, an advance scout for Scarborough said he had seen Portland’s win earlier in the week against Gorham. What impressed Bob Beaulieu about the Bulldogs was the way they played with high energy throughout the game.

That was again a factor in a tough 50-46 win against the Red Riots. Portland came out hard, forcing 14 first-quarter turnovers, and was still making hustle plays at the end of the game. South Portland, which used seven players, never buckled to the pace, but the Riots’ 5-of-27 second-half shooting suggests Portland’s constant pressure led to a level of fatigue.

Portland used 11 players for significant minutes. Freshman guard Abi Ramirez brought quick hands and feet off the bench. Kate Johnson, a junior varsity call-up, kept the pace going in the second half. Sydney Fredrick stepped in for foul-plagued senior starter Brianna Holdren, scored four key points and was constantly in motion on offense.

Portland is 5-0 after going 7-11 and missing the playoffs last season.

“It’s not like last year where we had two designated players, me and Elizabeth (Donato), where we needed to score,” Holdren said. “I had four fouls in the (third) quarter and the bench came in and did a (heck) of a job to get us back in that. Sydney Fredrick played a (heck) of a game. It was just amazing. She made some key plays.”

– Staff Writers Mark Emmert and Steve Craig contributed to this report.

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