Sports – Press Herald Sat, 25 Feb 2017 18:48:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Maine’s smelts have bounced back in a big way Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:18:15 +0000 PORTLAND – Ice fishing for smelts is a winter tradition in Maine, where the small fish are fried and eaten whole.

Fishermen and fish camp owners say this smelt-fishing season has been a robust one after the mild winter last year produced hardly any smelts. The ice has been thick enough for fishing and smelts have been abundant.

Jim McPherson, owner of Jim’s Camps in Bowdoinham, said the season has been the best for smelt fishing at his camp in at least five years.

The fish came back this year, more than I’ve seen in the last few years,” McPherson said. “A lot of people caught their quota. I think the cycle is coming around and they are on the increase again.”

Smelts are part of many culinary traditions – from the use of their eggs in sushi to the practice among Italian-American families of incorporating them into Christmas Eve dinners. Maine’s rainbow smelts are particularly sought after.

But the nationwide catch has plummeted in recent years. And the stock as a whole in Maine remains far below historical levels, said Michael Brown, a biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Although still readily available to seafood lovers partly because of fisheries in California and the Great Lakes states, smelts have declined considerably there, too, since the 1990s.

Federal officials say contributing to the decline is the disruption of habitat, a lack of suitable places for the fish to spawn and warming waters with climate change.

To help rebuild the population, Maine has restricted smelt fishing. And sample studies show that larger smelt appear more abundant than in past years, Brown said.

“We remain optimistic that with the right fisheries management and environmental conditions that the coastal smelt population can continue to improve,” he said.

The state bans smelt fishing from March 15 to June 30 along the coast from the New Hampshire border to Owl’s Head, Maine. Maine also limits how many smelts can be fished along parts of the coast.

]]> 0 Cowper of Peabody, Massachusetts, walks from his ice fishing shack at Jim Worthing's Smelt Camp on the Kennebec River in Pittston while smelting in 2013. Fishermen and state regulators said the population of smelt appears to have made a comeback in 2017 after a down year in which few of them were caught.Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:23:53 +0000
Sports Digest: Red Claws win at Greensboro Sat, 25 Feb 2017 04:33:57 +0000 BASKETBALL

Red Claws pick up road win at Greensboro

Abdel Nader had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Maine Red Claws held on for a 120-109 win Friday night over the Greensboro Swarm at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Georges-Hunt was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 rebounds and six assists. Jalen Jones added 28 points for the Claws (23-14).

Cat Barber scored 31 points for the Swarm (12-25).


GOLDEN GLOVES: Katherine Zehr of South Portland won a 3-2 decision over Kendra Prather of Massachusetts in the featherweight class of the novice division at the New England Tournament of Champions at Lowell, Massachusetts.

The open division semifinals and finals are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.


WORLD CUP: Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and their American teammates pulled out of the Alpine combined race at Crans Montana, Switzerland, because of dangerous conditions on the course.

After Ilka Stuhec, Tessa Worley and Denise Feierabend all fell at nearly the same point in the opening super-G, the event was postponed and the start was lowered.

Feierabend was taken away on a stretcher because of a knee injury.

Federica Brignone, who was second after the super-G, overtok first-run leader Stuhec in slalom to win the event. Michaela Kirchgasser was third.


DUBAI CHAMPIONSHIPS: Top-seeded Angelique Kerber struggled with a knee injury during a 6-3, 7-6 (3) loss to seventh seed Elina Svitolina in the semifinals at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Kerber would have reclaimed the No. 1 ranking if she had won the Dubai title.

Svitolina will play 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who reached her second consecutive final with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

RIO OPEN: Second-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at Rio de Janeiro, where he is the favorite following No. 1 Kei Nishikori’s defeat in the first round.

DELRAY BEACH OPEN: Jack Sock moved into the semifinals in Florida by beating Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Top-seeded Milos Raonic beat Kyle Edmund 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and Donald Young and Juan Martin del Potro also advanced.


TRUCK SERIES: Kaz Grala, 18, won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, getting through a massive wreck on the final lap to become the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series.

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Friday’s college roundup: Maine falls in overtime in men’s hockey Sat, 25 Feb 2017 04:06:16 +0000 ORONO — Nolan Stevens scored just 12 seconds into overtime Friday night, lifting Northeastern to a 5-4 victory against Maine in a Hockey East game at Alfond Arena.

Maine (10-19-4, 4-15-2) built a 2-0 lead when Mark Hamilton and Brendan Robbins scored 46 seconds apart in the first period.

But the Huskies (16-12-5, 9-9-2) scored once in the first period and twice in the second for a 3-2 lead before Blaine Byron tied it early in the third.

After Northeastern took a 4-3 lead, Nolan Vessey tied it with 9:07 left in regulation.


SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS: Kate Hall of Casco, a sophomore at Georgia, finished fourth in the long jump and qualified for the 60-meter final at the conference meet in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hall’s best jump was 21 feet on her third attempt. Sha’Keela Saunders of Kentucky won with a jump of 22-41/2.

In the 60, Hall ran a personal-best time of 7.28 seconds to make Saturday’s final.

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Defending champ Isaiah Harris of Penn State was the fastest qualifier for Saturday’s 800-meter final in Geneva, Ohio.

Harris, a sophomore from Lewiston, won his heat with a time of 1 minute, 48.48 seconds.


CLAREMONT-MUDD-SCRIPPS 5, BATES 4: The Stags (5-3) scored three runs in the third inning and held off the Bobcats (2-3) at Claremont, California.

Jack Arend singled in John Dinucci for Bates in the seventh, and the Bobcats added three unearned runs in the ninth.

MAINE 6, CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE 3: Jonathan Bennett doubled in a run in the second inning and the Black Bears (1-3) went on beat the Blue Devils (2-1) at Delray Beach, Florida.

The Black Bears added two runs in the third and made it 6-0 in the fourth on a double by Hernan Sardinas.


BATES: Sadie James won the 5K classic at the Bates Winter Carnival and became the first Bates women’s Nordic skier to win an Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association race since 2003.

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Raptors rally to beat Celtics, 107-97 Sat, 25 Feb 2017 04:04:05 +0000 TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

]]> 0's Norman Powell collides with Boston's Marcus Smart and is called for charging in the first half of Friday night's game at Toronto.Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:04:44 +0000
NHL roundup: Capitals tie team record with 13th straight home victory Sat, 25 Feb 2017 03:55:31 +0000 WASHINGTON — Justin Williams and Tom Wilson scored Friday night as the Washington Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 to tie a franchise record with their 13th consecutive home victory.

Williams’ winner in the third period was his 19th goal of the season. Washington’s streak of home games with five-plus goals ended at 11, but Braden Holtby made 30 saves to pad the team’s lead atop the NHL.

Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t have a point but was arguably the Capitals’ best player against Edmonton. They have outscored opponents 64-20 during their home winning streak.

Leon Draisaitl scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season for Edmonton, which got 24 saves from Cam Talbot.

The Capitals had their most patchwork lineup of the season with injured regulars Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Oshie out along with Andre Burakovsky, who’s expected to be back in mid-to-late March. Washington is the league’s healthiest team this season with only 27 man-games lost to injury, but four players out at one time meant the NHL debut of rookie forward Riley Barber and season debut of defenseman Aaron Ness.

HURRICANES 3, SENATORS 0: Eddie Lack stopped 34 shots for his ninth career shutout to lead Carolina at Raleigh, North Carolina.

Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Viktor Stalberg scored, and Phillip Di Giuseppe had two assists to help Carolina snap a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) and move out of last place in the Eastern Conference.

FLAMES 4, PANTHERS 2: Chad Johnson made 36 saves at Sunrise, Florida, in his first start in five games to lead Calgary to its third consecutive victory.

Troy Brouwer, Mikael Backlund, Deryk Engelland and Sam Bennett had the goals for the Flames, who scored three straight in less than five minutes midway through the first period.


DUCKS-STARS: Anaheim acquired veteran forward Patrick Eaves from Dallas for a conditional draft pick.

Eaves has a career-high 21 goals and 16 assists in 59 games this season for the Stars. His 37 points also are already a career high in his 12 NHL seasons, and he is fourth in the NHL with 11 power-play goals.

CANUCKS: Defenseman Troy Stecher was diagnosed with mumps and several other players have shown symptoms of the highly contagious virus.

The team said defensemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, and forwards Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund have shown symptoms. The players with symptoms immediately were tested and quarantined for a five-day period or until test results prove negative.

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Boys’ basketball: Portland wins AA North title Sat, 25 Feb 2017 03:49:22 +0000 AUGUSTA — In a game loaded with well-known players, it was unheralded Portland sophomore Simon Chadbourne who stepped to the forefront Friday night in the Class AA North boys’ basketball final at the Augusta Civic Center.

A slender reserve, Chadbourne made his first four 3-point attempts, including two in the third quarter when top-ranked Portland pushed a one-point lead to 11 en route to a 66-53 win against No. 2 Edward Little.

“Tonight he made them and all the credit goes to him. He shot and he made them,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “Simon got us going. Simon got us in the game. Simon gave us confidence and everybody fed off Simon.”

Defending state champion Portland (18-2) advances to the state final at 9:30 p.m. next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center against South Portland (17-3). It will be a rematch of last year’s first Class AA final, won by Portland in double overtime.

Portland and South Portland split during the regular season, with Portland winning the season opener 61-54 at South Portland, and the Red Riots taking the rematch in the penultimate game of the season at the Expo, 74-69.

“Match made in heaven,” Russo said. “I think you couldn’t ask for a better matchup in terms of excitement.”

Chadbourne finished 4 of 4 from the floor for 12 points. Charlie Lyall added 11 points. Griffin Foley led Portland scorers with 14 points, and junior point guard Terion Moss had eight points and was named the regional MVP.

Chadbourne’s fourth 3-pointer was a third-quarter buzzer beater, coming shortly after drawing an offensive foul on Edward Little’s C.J. Jipson, who specializes in doing that to other players.

“I kind of just get left open, and when I’m open I have to hit my shots, and that’s kind of what I did tonight,” Chadbourne said. “They focus on Terion, Griffin and Charlie, and I’m just wide open and they find me.”

“We know about Simon. Simon’s our secret little weapon. We know he can shoot,” said Lyall, Portland’s senior center. “Teams don’t cover him. He’s skinny. He’s not super tall. But he can shoot.”

Lyall scored all of his points in the second half, with three baskets coming after offensive rebounds. He controlled the paint along with Clay Hardy (seven points).

“I think I play my best basketball in the playoffs,” Lyall said. “I feel like this is when I come alive and I was angry. This was not going to be my last game, was pretty much what was going through my head.”

Lyall’s signature play was at the defensive end, when he blocked successive shots to ignite a fast break converted by Foley that finished a quick 7-0 run for a 51-36 lead with 5:52 remaining.

Moss started the run with a three-point play in transition and Hardy scored on a fast break with an assist from Moss.

“In practice we’re running at 94 feet, and we’re taught to just keep pushing it and pushing it and taking it right to (the basket),” Hardy said. “We play fast.”

Edward Little (18-2), which beat Portland 76-70 in the regular season, didn’t get closer than 12 the rest of the way.

“They scored but they earned every basket,” Russo said. “We played great individual and team defense.”

The first half was a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest. Edward Little got the early jump behind Samatar Iman (21 points), a quick 6-1 guard. Portland looked in a bit of trouble down 13-7 with Moss on the bench.

The Bulldogs responded with three straight 3s to close the quarter, the first by Foley and then two straight from Chadbourne to take a 16-13 lead. Chadbourne’s second 3-pointer was a buzzer-beater after Pedro Fonseca pushed the ball up the court and dished it off to the trailing shooter.

Portland held a 24-23 lead at halftime as both team’s defenses locked down on the top scoring threats. For Portland’s defense, Foley guarded 3-point specialist Darby Shea (seven points), Fonseca slowed Iman, and Hardy kept Jarod Norcross Plourde (12 points) in check.

“We were just keying in on defense, making sure we watched the backdoor cuts because we know they like to do that a lot,” Hardy said. “My goal was to lock Plourde up and to limit him to under 10 because he’s a great offensive player. He’s big for them on the boards.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 24: Portland's Terion Moss goes in for a shot during the third period of their game against Edward Little Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 during the Class AA North basketball regional finals at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. (Staff photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer)Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:16:59 +0000
Golf roundup: Palmer takes lead at Honda Classic Sat, 25 Feb 2017 03:14:11 +0000 PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ryan Palmer has reason to believe that better days are ahead, with his golf game and at home.

Palmer made seven birdies Friday on another day of ideal scoring conditions at PGA National for a 5-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead with PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan (67) going into the weekend at the Honda Classic.

Rickie Fowler was a shot back at 8-under after his second 66, and Anirban Lahiri was another stroke behind after a 68.

Starting a new year packed with uncertainty over matters far more important than golf, Palmer returned from a four-month break and missed the cut in his first four events. He signed up for the Genesis Open last week only because his game needed work, and he saw enough go right to find some momentum going into Florida.

The long break was to be at home with his wife, Jennifer, who is recovering from breast cancer.

She was diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer in late July while he was at the Canadian Open, and had surgery about five weeks later. Palmer’s season ended in September, and he spent the rest of the year helping her cope with chemotherapy and at home with their two children.

“I watched a few tournaments,” Palmer said. “There were times when she said I should have gone and played. I was going to play Vegas and I was going to play Malaysia, but after that, there was no way I could play golf. Enjoyed time at home, took care of the kids. But it was a lot of hard times, for sure.”

LPGA: Heavy washed out most of Friday’s play in the LPGA Thailand.

Play was called for the day at 3:45 p.m., and 13 players didn’t start the second round, including leaders Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Amy Yang of South Korea, who shot 6-under 66 on Thursday.

EUROPEAN TOUR: England’s Paul Waring topped the Joburg Open leaderboard at 12 under after 12 holes of the second round when play was suspended because of darkness in Johannesburg.

South Africans Darren Fichardt and Dean Burmester were 11 under, but Burmester still had three holes to play.

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:30:22 +0000
Earnhardt’s return comes at critical time for NASCAR Sat, 25 Feb 2017 03:04:59 +0000 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The good news for NASCAR is that all signs indicate Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a legitimate shot to win the Daytona 500.

A victory for NASCAR’s most popular driver, in his return to racing after a concussion sidelined him the second half of last season, would be a massive boost for the sagging series. Earnhardt’s star power has been one of the bright spots of Speedweeks, and his strength on the track has been obvious every time he’s behind the wheel of his Chevrolet.

Earnhardt was part of a Hendrick Motorsports qualifying sweep for Sunday’s season-opening race. Chase Elliott won the pole, and Earnhardt will line up next to him on the starting grid. Elliott added a win in a qualifying race, and Earnhardt led 53 of 60 laps in a second qualifying race before he was passed at the end.

So the Hendrick cars have speed, the drivers aren’t cowering from the Toyota teamwork that dominated last year’s race, and they are ready to go bumper-to-bumper with the Team Penske fleet.

It means Sunday could be a strong opening day for NASCAR, particularly if Earnhardt can pull off his third victory in “The Great American Race.” He’s not ready to call himself a favorite, and thinks he’ll have his hands full with the Joe Gibbs Racing group and Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

“Watching the last several plate races, I think the Gibbs guys have the market cornered on the favorite,” he said. “The Penske guys are really strong. So I think it’s their race to lose. The Hendrick cars are going to be up there trying to mix it up.”

NASCAR needs Sunday to go off without a hitch.

The series is under heavy scrutiny because of sliding attendance and television ratings, and the title sponsor deal with Monster Energy is a fraction of what NASCAR was looking for when it began shopping naming rights almost two years ago.

NASCAR celebrated its deal with Monster in a Las Vegas announcement and has hitched its wagon to the hope that Monster can attract younger fans and raise the excitement level at all events. But there was little signage around the track during Speedweeks, and one of the few indications Monster is the new sponsor were the scantily-clad women around for some of the pomp and circumstance. There’s been no television advertising, and NASCAR was the subject of a critical examination in the Wall Street Journal.

NASCAR has countered with a JGR announcement that defending race winner Denny Hamlin and FedEx have signed long-term extensions, while Team Penske locked in Logano and Shell-Pennzoil through 2023.

“People are talking about the health of the sport, and this is a watershed moment,” Roger Penske said of an extension that took nearly a year to complete with Shell.

In an effort to add excitement to the racing – something both the television partners and Monster wanted – all events will be run in segments this year. It means the Daytona 500 won’t exactly be a 500-mile race of attrition, but will instead be cut into three parts. There are points on the line for each segment, giving drivers incentive to race hard for the entire race, and one final long push to the checkered flag.

It’s a risky move for NASCAR, but one embraced publicly by drivers. Some fans, particularly longtime watchers, are horrified at the gimmicks NASCAR is using, but a rising crop of young drivers are eager to give it a try.

“I think you have a group of guys coming along that are going to put their signature on this sport,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “The sport’s gone through some changes. We’re looking at a new format. Some of us older guys, when they talk about changing the format, we look at each other, ask questions. These young drivers, they go, ‘OK.’ It’s kind of no big deal to those guys.

“I think that says a lot about how they approach it, how they look forward to it. So I think it’s pretty bright when you have an attitude like that.”

The starting grid Sunday will look a lot younger, but the car owners who pay for the talent don’t seem to mind.

“I love to watch the young guys. I don’t know whether it makes me feel young again, I don’t know what it is,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “It’s just fun to watch those guys mature, grow, come up through the ranks. I’ve never seen the level of talent that we have today. I think these guys adapt so much faster. I think it’s due to video games, simulators, all that.

“The level of the young guys that you see coming along that have the talent that they have, it’s super exciting.”

]]> 0 Earnhardt Jr., a two-time Daytona 500 champion, will start from the front row Sunday after qualifying second behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:12:11 +0000
Boys’ basketball: South Portland rallies to win AA South title in OT Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:46:24 +0000 When Thornton Academy built a nine-point halftime lead and maintained it midway through the third quarter of the Class AA South boys’ basketball final, the Trojans had figured out a way to handle South Portland’s pressure.

But the Red Riots figured out a way to come back.

South Portland rallied to tie the game, then pulled away in overtime for a 71-61 win Friday night at Cross Insurance Arena.

The top-seeded Red Riots upped their defensive effort and hit clutch shots in the end.

“We weren’t rotating as well as we do,” South Portland Coach Kevin Millington said of his defense early on. “But, really, Thornton’s great … We just had to grind. That’s all.

“They’re warriors, these guys. Been that way all year.”

South Portland (17-3) will play Portland in the state championship game for the second straight year, at 9:30 p.m. next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Ansel Stilley led South Portland with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Ruay Bol – the Vinall Trophy winner as the tournament’s top player – scored 18 points and Riley Hasson added 17, eight of them in overtime.

Hasson made the big play in regulation, with 1:27 left and South Portland down 58-55. He drove, spun and hit a turnaround jump shot while being fouled, and his free throw tied the game.

“Things like that, I kind of throw it up in practice, kind of as a joke,” Hasson said of the jumper. “I put it up and it went in.”

David Keohan scored 21 points for second-seeded Thornton (17-3), including seven in the first quarter.

South Portland beat Thornton during the season with a lot of pressure. The Trojans were ready this time, working the ball up for layups.

“They pressed and we handled their press,” Trojans Coach Bob Davies said.

Thornton took a 30-21 halftime lead, shooting 48 percent.

South Portland went back to a half-court defense in the second half, but Thornton guard Austin Boudreau (17 points) hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter. He didn’t score after that, as South Portland put Liam Coyne on him and made sure he had help.

The Red Riots finished the third quarter with an 11-2 run to close within 46-45. Stilley, at 6-foot-2, was huge underneath, grabbing eight rebounds in the second half.

“(Thornton) was hurting us inside and we needed that,” Millington said.

The game went back and forth in the fourth quarter. The Trojans had their chances but missed their last three free throws – including two after Hasson’s tying three-point play.

Thornton got into foul trouble. Guard Evan Christensen fouled out at the end of regulation and Keohan fouled out in overtime.

In overtime, the Red Riots went right to Hasson and he sank a 3-pointer for a 61-58 lead. Keohan made a layup but Stilley answered with a putback. Then the Trojans turned the ball over when Hasson drew a charging foul, and Hasson drove in for a layup at the other end.

“With that kid, he’s such a winner,” Millington said. “He might not be the best shooter in the world, but if you got one shot to make that’s important, he’s going to make it every time. He loves the moment.”

Moses Oreste added six points and seven rebounds, and Edward Buckley had seven points.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 24: South Portland senior Ansel Stilley (#24) and senior Moses Oreste (#10) celebrate with classmates after leaping into the stands after beating Thornton Academy in the Class AA South boys basketball regional final. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:47:49 +0000
NFL notebook: Winston calls comments on girls ‘poor word choice’ Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:05:14 +0000 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jameis Winston is back in the spotlight – and not in a positive light – for what he described as a “poor word choice” in comments about women during a talk to Florida grade school students.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, who was accused of raping another student while at Florida State University but never charged, spoke for nearly 40 minutes to third through fifth graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg during an appearance this week.

When some of the students started getting fidgety, Winston told boys in the audience to stand up and girls to sit down, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston told the children. “But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken.”

The quarterback went on to say, “But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong.”

Asked later about the speech, Winston said he was attempting to interact with a young boy in the audience who didn’t appear to be paying attention. He said he didn’t want to single him out so he asked all the boys to stand.

“During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some,” said Winston, who has been active in numerous community and charitable endeavors since entering the NFL.

CHIEFS: Kansas City signed veteran running back C.J. Spiller, providing depth behind Spencer Ware in a move that could mean Jamaal Charles will be cut in a cost-saving move.

The Chiefs would owe Charles more than $6 million this season, a big price tag for a back who lost most of last year to knee surgery. They would not incur a salary cap hit by letting him go.

GIANTS: Long snapper Zak DeOssie, the team’s longest-tenured player, signed a new contract and will be back for an 11th season.

49ERS: San Francisco agreed to a four-year contract with free-agent defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who was released by Miami just over a week ago. first reported the deal, saying Mitchell would get a $16 million deal with $5.5 million paid in the first year.

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Major league notebook: Cubs’ Maddon happy to be reunited with closer Davis, in new role Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:44:25 +0000 MESA, Ariz. — Wade Davis was a promising starting pitcher when he made his major league debut for Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays almost eight years ago. Then he was a reliever, and then a starter again and then a reliever.

Now he gets the ball from Maddon once again – only this time as the closer for the Chicago Cubs.

Much has changed for Davis over the years, and not much at the same time.

“The only way he’s changed is he is a relief pitcher,” a chuckling Maddon said. “He was a starter when I first met him. He’s the same cat. He’s very deliberate in his methods and even conversationally.”

That’s just fine with Maddon, who is hoping for more of the same from Davis after a dominant run with Kansas City. While the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees spent big money on closers over the winter, the World Series champions acquired Davis in a trade with the Royals for outfielder Jorge Soler.

So far, the transition looks like one of Davis’ relief appearances: smooth and efficient.

“It’s been pretty easy,” said Davis, who will make $10 million this season in the final year of his contract. “Everybody’s been really easy to get along with and get to know and the staff has been really good, so it’s been easy to get acclimated to all the stuff.”

Davis, a third-round pick in the 2004 draft, was a starter for his first three seasons in Tampa Bay. The Rays used him as a reliever in 2012, and he went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 54 appearances.

But that was his final year with the Rays, who traded the 6-foot-5 right-hander to Kansas City. The Royals put Davis back in the rotation before returning him to the bullpen late in the 2013 season.

Smart move.

Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland combined for an overwhelming relief presence as Kansas City made consecutive World Series appearances, winning it all with Davis on the mound in 2015. Davis went 19-4 with 47 saves and 1.18 ERA over his final three seasons with the Royals.

 The Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to an $11.85 million, two-year contract that includes a club option for 2019. The deal announced Friday supersedes a $5.5 million, one-year agreement from earlier this month.

Strop went 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 54 appearances last year.

BRAVES: Former Kansas City Chief defensive back Sanders Commings agreed to a minor-league deal.

An outfielder who hasn’t played baseball since high school in Georgia, Commings faces long odds to become one of the rare players to make it to both the NFL and Major League Baseball.

He was drafted out of high school by the Diamondbacks but chose to play college football at Georgia.

Commings was a fifth-round pick by Kansas City in the 2013 NFL draft. He was released after two injury plagued seasons with the Chiefs.

INDIANS: Outfielder Michael Brantley took regular batting practice for the first time in training camp this year, a significant step in his latest comeback from a shoulder injury.

Brantley had been limited to soft-toss workouts, but was able to take full cuts against normal pitches Friday.

The 29-year-old played in just 11 games last season as he was unable to make a full recovery following offseason surgery on his right shoulder. He had another operation in August to relieve tendinitis in his biceps.

RED SOX: Michael Conforto and Gavin Cecchini homered for the Mets, and Seth Lugo pitched two scoreless innings in New York’s 3-2 victory over Boston at Fort Myers, Florida.

Red Sox starter Henry Owens allowed two runs and three hits in two innings. Hanley Ramirez hit a leadoff double in the seventh for Boston’s first hit and scored on Brian Bogusevic’s two-run homer with one out.

]]> 0 Sox starting pitcher Henry Owens allowed two runs in two innings Friday as Boston fell 3-2 to the New York Mets in a spring training game at Fort Myers, Florida.Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:47:57 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Oxford Hills tops Deering in overtime to win AA North title Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:42:03 +0000 AUGUSTA — Top-seeded Oxford Hills sank all nine of its free throws in overtime to capture the Class AA North girls’ basketball championship Friday night with a 46-41 win against No. 3 Deering at the Augusta Civic Center.

Jadah Adams, a sophomore center, and Julia Colby, a freshman guard, scored 13 points apiece to lead the Vikings (19-1) to their first regional final since they played for the Class A championship three years ago.

Deering’s Tasia Titherington, a senior guard who led all scorers with 21 points, received the Red McMann Award as the regional’s most valuable player.

The Vikings will play defending state champion Gorham (20-0) next Saturday night in Augusta.

“(Deering) battled all year and I’m just happy we played them tough,” Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier said. “(If we) play them 10 times, we may win five. We just got lucky twice with them.”

In their regular-season meeting, Oxford Hills won 37-34 when Colby’s shot from midcourt beat the final buzzer.

“We played them tough during the regular season,” Deering Coach Mike Murphy said. “Both teams don’t give an inch, obviously. I’m proud as hell of the effort we had.”

The Vikings built a 16-7 first-quarter lead, mainly on the inside play of Adams. She scored their first 10 points and dished off to Colby after an offensive rebound for a 3-pointer that made it 15-5.

Deering rallied in the second quarter, however, closing to within three points. Titherington led the charge by sinking 7 of 9 free throws and driving the left baseline for a hoop with less than a minute left in the first half to cut the deficit to 21-18.

Adams, meanwhile, was assessed a technical foul and a blocking foul with 1:44 left in the half. Saddled with three fouls, she sat out the rest of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.

Deering opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to move into a 27-23 lead. Titherington then completed a three-point play to make it 30-24, but Maighread Laliberte cashed in a rebound and Erin Eastman hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, leaving Deering with a 30-29 lead.

The teams combined for only seven points in the fourth quarter, when Oxford Hills took a lot of time off the clock by running a delay offense.

The Vikings turned the ball over twice, and one of those turnovers led to a fast-break basket by Mandy Mastropasqua that tied the score at 33-33 with 1:40 left. Deering missed two hurried shots in the final 10 seconds of regulation.

Adams, who hadn’t scored a point since the first quarter, completed a three-point play in overtime to snap a 35-35 tie and give the Vikings the lead for good.

]]> 0's Tasia Titherington drives to the basket while being guarded by Krystin Paine of Oxford Hills during the first quarter of the Class AA North final Friday in Augusta. Oxford Hills beat Deering 46-41 in overtime.Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:54:40 +0000
Press Herald sports writer earns national honors Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:05:08 +0000 Portland Press Herald sports writer Steve Craig earned national honors Friday in the 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors contest.

Craig placed in the top 10 of the explanatory writing category among papers sized 30,000 to 75,000 for his story on the difficulty school administrators face in finding qualified applicants for coaching positions.

It’s the second consecutive year Craig has won APSE honors. Last year he placed in the top 10 for beat writing.

The Press Herald also won honorable mention honors from APSE for its daily sports section. The award category includes more than 100 daily newspapers from across the nation.

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:22:16 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Gorham holds off South Portland for second straight Class AA South title Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:30:30 +0000 Championship games are not always decided by star players.

On a team with Emily Esposito and Mackenzie Holmes – two of the state’s top five players – Michelle Rowe carved her name into Gorham High’s championship lore Friday night.

Rowe made three game-changing plays in the final 50 seconds to help top-ranked and undefeated Gorham hold off second-seeded South Portland 46-44 in the Class AA South girls’ basketball championship game at Cross Insurance Arena. Rowe, a junior forward, made a steal with the score tied, hit two foul shots to break the tie and then assisted Esposito on what turned out to be the winning basket.

“Michelle made three championship plays at the end,” said Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume. “She did a number of different things for us at the end to really help us win that game.”

The win was defending Class AA state champion Gorham’s 41st in a row and lifted the Rams (20-0) into the state championship game against Oxford Hills at 6 p.m. next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

“This means everything,” said Esposito, a senior guard who is going to Villanova. “I was thinking about this game this morning and thought if we won, it would be sweet. Then I thought if we lost … I couldn’t even think about that, I got sick to my stomach. I couldn’t fathom losing.”

Esposito, who led the Rams with 17 points, was named the winner of the Edward “Red” McMann outstanding player/sportsman award for the second consecutive year. She suffered an injury to her right knee in the game’s final second after a collision with South Portland’s Meghan Graff but said afterward, “I’m OK.”

The win didn’t come easily. South Portland’s defense was exceptional, forcing 19 turnovers. And the Riots came out hitting 3s to build an early eight-point lead. An 8-0 run late in the second quarter pushed South Portland into a 26-22 halftime lead.

Then …

“We know how important the first three minutes of the third quarter are,” said South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson. “And they owned the first three minutes. And that hurt us.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Kaylea Lundin and Esposito put the Rams ahead. South Portland got its last lead at 29-28 on a foul shot by Katie Whitmore with 5:41 left.

With contributions from Courtney Brent and Holmes (12 points, seven rebounds), Gorham built a 42-36 lead with 5:04 remaining. But South Portland came back.

A jumper by Lydia Henderson and four consecutive foul shots by Eva Mazur (15 points, five steals) tied it at 42 with 3:09 left.

Then Rowe made her steal in front of the Riots’ bench with 50 seconds left. “Just got in the passing lane and got lucky, I guess,” said Rowe. She was fouled on her shot and calmly swished both free throws for a 44-42 lead with 44.2 seconds left.

“It’s just a free throw and I shoot it every day,” she said. “This one’s no different from any other one.”

After a South Portland miss, the Rams had the ball at midcourt following a timeout. Rowe inbounded the ball and passed to Esposito for a layup that made it 46-42 with 23 seconds left.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Rowe. “To be able to do this two years in a row is something not many teams get to do.”

]]> 0 celebrates after beating South Portland 46-42 in the Class AA South girls' basketball regional final Friday at Cross Insurance Arena.Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:54:48 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Messalonskee prevents Oceanside repeat in Class A North Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:19:43 +0000 AUGUSTA — Oceanside Coach Matt Breen said he tried to find a silver lining with his team trailing by 10 at halftime of its Class A North boys’ basketball final Friday against Messalonskee.

“In the regular season when we played them, we were down 13 at the half and we came back (to win),” Breen said. “The worrisome part was we just could not get anything to drop. And that continued.”

While fifth-seeded Messalonskee ramped up its game behind senior guard Nate Violette’s 14-point third quarter, No. 3 Oceanside’s starters couldn’t get a single basket. The Eagles rolled to a 61-40 win at the Augusta Civic Center to claim the school’s first boys’ basketball regional title.

“Throughout the week, Coach (Peter McLaughlin) would stop us at practice and have us look at the wall and say, ‘Hey, you know what I hate about this place? There’s no banner up there for boys’ basketball,'” said Violette, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “So there’s going to be one there now.”

Messalonskee (16-5) will return to the ACC for the state final at 2:45 p.m. next Saturday against the winner of Saturday’s South final between Greely (20-0) and defending state champion Falmouth (15-5).

Violette was named the outstanding player of the regional. James Kouletsis contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Griffin Tuttle added 10 points and six rebounds.

Oceanside (17-4), the defending North champion, was in trouble immediately.

Messalonskee raced to a 16-2 lead, with two inside hoops from Cole Wood, 3-pointers by Violette and Griffin Tuttle and a defense that shut down the Mariners’ strong desire to drive into the lane.

With Violette on the bench because he had two fouls, Oceanside trimmed the margin to 24-14 by halftime. The Mariners made frequent trips to the free-throw line and played better interior defense but still struggled offensively, shooting 2 for 15 in the first half.

“There was a time where we missed four out of five foul shots and then we missed a layup in transition,” Breen said. “Those are big plays when you’re struggling, but we just weren’t able to get it going tonight.”

Unlike the regular-season meeting, Oceanside didn’t get rolling in the third quarter, prompting Breen to go with an all-reserve lineup.

“It was just one of those things where we were stagnant and everyone was struggling and you’ve got to try something,” Breen said.

Amos Anderson made the Mariners’ first 3-pointer and fourth basket of the game with 2:02 left in the third quarter.

Jack Lombardo and Trevor Reed (3-pointer) also scored for Oceanside, but the subs couldn’t keep pace with Violette, who made two 3s. The first became a four-point play with a foul shot, and the second beat the buzzer to give Messalonskee a 46-26 lead after three quarters. The lead maxed at 59-31.

Oceanside senior captains Sam Atwood and Nate Raye, the two returning starters from the regional championship team, and starter Michael Norton Jr. were held to seven combined points. Cooper Wirkala led Oceanside with 16 points.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 24: Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin and the Eagles bench celebrate after time ran out in the Class North championship game on Friday Feb. 24, 2017 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Staff photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:05:31 +0000
Nordic skiing: Mt. Blue, Maine Coast Waldorf defend titles in Class A and C Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:55:53 +0000 WATERVILLE — John Wooden, the Hall of Fame basketball coach at UCLA, created an entire pyramid of success.

Clair Polfus, coach of the Mt. Blue Nordic team, prefers something a bit more simple.

“We have a three-point philosophy,” she said, and proceeded to list each point.

1. Smile.

2. Ski hard.

3. Pass the person in front of you.

Oh, and for championship meets, there’s an addendum.

Glitter. Dab some above each cheek bone like football eye black to allow sunlight to sparkle off a radiant face.

“That’s like the extra special jet fuel that pushes them down the trail,” Polfus said.

Friday morning at Quarry Road Trails, no other team covered the trails faster than the school from Farmington, whose boys and girls each won a second straight Class A Nordic state championship.

Seniors Tucker Barber and Julia Ramsey took home individual honors in Friday’s freestyle competition after each won Thursday’s classical race over the same 5-kilometer rolling course that included two loops with a steep hill near the end.

“It was a lot faster,” Barber said after finishing in 15 minutes, 8.0 seconds to lead a Mt. Blue contingent that also placed third (Isaiah Reid), fifth (Nolan Rogers) and 15th (Samuel Smith). “But still hot, though.”

Indeed, morning temperatures climbed above 50 degrees for a second day as zinc oxide and sunglasses replaced hand warmers and balaclavas. Mt. Blue’s two-day total score of 41 points easily outdistanced that of runner-up Falmouth at 109. Oxford Hills was third at 127, followed by Leavitt (142), Deering (143), Portland (206), Fryeburg Academy (216) and Greely (337).

Barber sported a dab of yellow glitter under his left eye and blue glitter under his right. He said he regretted not wearing the stuff Thursday.

“The girls are all into it,” he said. “It’s hard to turn down that much enthusiasm. I figured it’s the last state race of my career, might as well make it glittery.”

Caleb Niles of Deering was second with a time of 15:13.4.

“The snow was pretty good at first,” said Niles, whose team required a ghost skier to fill out its score, “but as it got worn down from everybody skiing on it and the sun hit it, it got a little bit sloppier.”

The girls’ race started an hour after the boys, at 11 a.m. Ramsey completed two circuits in 18:57.6 to win Class A and Morse High sophomore Jenny Wilbraham was second in 19:05.0. Meghan Charles was third, Gretchen Huish seventh and Grace Andrews 11th to give Mt. Blue a freestyle score of 22 and a two-day total of 35 points. Runner-up Deering finished with 88 and Fryeburg Academy was third at 101, followed by Leavitt (184), Falmouth (234), Camden Hills (249), Oxford Hills (252), Greely (292) and Edward Little (313).

“Going up all these hills twice (Thursday) and having to do it another time (Friday), you start to feel the burn,” Ramsey said.

On Thursday, the fastest individual times belonged to Barber and Ramsey. On Friday, a pair of Class C skiers earned that distinction.

Waynflete senior Willson Moore skated through two loops in 14:39.4, with Maine Coast Waldorf teammates Tucker Pierce (14:45.4) and Nick Neveu (15:04.4) taking second and third, all three in times quicker than that of Barber.

“That was definitely my goal coming in (Friday),” said Moore, who was third overall in classical, first in Class C. “In the past, I’ve been stronger in classic, but over the end of this season, I’ve started putting in better performances in skate.”

Completing Maine Coast’s scoring were Dylan Wu (13th) and Eli Gundersen (14th) for a freestyle total of 32 and a two-day score of 51 that resulted in the small New Gloucester school’s fifth consecutive state title. Fort Kent was second at 96, followed by Telstar (125), Orono (154) and six other teams.

Maine Coast junior Olivia Skillings turned in the fastest time for any girl on Friday, 18:26.9, nearly a minute ahead of Class C runner-up Isabelle Jandreau (19:23.3) of Madawaska. Louise Ahearne (third), Fiona Libby (eighth) and Wilson Haims (12th) completed the scoring for Maine Coast, which extended its Class C Nordic winning streak to seven years.

“We’re a really close-knit team, which makes such a huge difference,” Skillings said. “And our coach (John Tarling) keeps it really fun and relaxed, so everyone actually enjoys what they’re doing instead of being like, ‘Oh shoot, I have to go race again.’ “

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Andrews and Julia Ramsey, teammates from Mt. Blue High, embrace after Ramsey won the Class A Nordic ski freestyle state championship at the Quarry Road trails in Waterville Friday. (Staff photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:49:40 +0000
Nordic skiing: Maranacook sweeps Class B team titles Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:39:02 +0000 CARRABASSETT VALLEY — The conditions were soft as temperatures soared into the 50s by the start of the Nordic ski races Friday morning at at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.

But Maranacook High skied tough, sweeping the girls’ and boys’ titles at the Class B Nordic state championships for the first time since 2009.

The Maranacook girls ended Yarmouth’s six-year reign, scoring 43 points to the Clippers’ 55 in the two-day event. The two teams tied during Friday’s 5-kilometer freestyle race, but Maranacook held the overall edge after winning Thursday’s classic race. Freeport was third with 111 total points.

In the boys competition, Maranacook had 45 to Freeport’s 60. Yarmouth was third with 128 points.

Yarmouth’s Grace Cowles won the girls’ freestyle race in a 17 minutes, 11.3 seconds. Yarmouth’s John Lane won the boys’ race in 14:07.

“We had individuals who won both races, and in the girls’ championship we tied (Maranacook) in the (freestyle). You can’t do much better than that,” said Yarmouth Coach Bob Morse. “And we had four girls in the top 10. That’s amazing.”

For the Maranacook girls, it was a hard-fought victory that required individuals to dig deep – and the team to dig deep into the lineup. They got a lift from freshman Maura Taylor, who placed third among the Black Bears skiers and seventh overall (18:07.4).

Junior Laura Parent led Maranacook with a second-place finish in the freestyle (17:15.1) and a first place finish in the classical on Thursday.

Abigail Despres, the second skier in for the Black Bears, placed fourth in the freestyle (17:56.6) and Madison Taylor finished 12th (18:48.4) for a team total of 25 points Friday.

“This is the first time I’ve ever raced in a T-shirt, but we are pretty good skiing in adverse conditions,” Parent said of the soft snow. “I thought it was tough. I know I’m strong in classical, but I knew I had to ski really well today. We’ve been working super hard for this title for years.”

After Parent the squad has shared scoring duties swapping places through the season, said

Maranacook Coach Steve DeAngelis sweeping the girls’ and boys’ state titles was special.

“We knew we’d be good,” said DeAngelis, now in his 34th year coaching Maranacook. “But last year the girls put four in the top 10 and we still didn’t win.”

In the boys race, Maranacook again got a lift from a freshman. Carter McPhedran, Maranacook’s fourth skier, placing eighth in the freestyle (15:26.5).

“That’s hard for a freshman to do. And he’s (a skinny) guy,” DeAngelis said. “We ended this season with a lot of kids improving.”

The boys team was led by Zach Holman, who took second in the freestyle (14:16.7) after winning the classical race on Thursday.

Mark McLaughlin was Maranacook’s third scorer in the freestyle, taking seventh overall (15:24.4).

“A day like this is hard if you don’t have people to support you,” DeAngelis said. “You have to want to do it for the team. These teams have supported each other all season.”

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:45:59 +0000
Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:08:25 +0000 LOS ANGELES — The Boston Bruins figured their road swing against the NHL’s three tough California teams would be a strong indication of their ability to contend for a playoff spot.

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy thinks the Bruins are leaving the Golden State in great shape.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored their 26th goals of the season, and the Bruins improved to 5-1-0 under Cassidy with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in his second start since Christmas for the Bruins, who nursed an early lead to their first win in Los Angeles since March 24, 2012. The Bruins won two of three in California, with a competitive loss to Anaheim sandwiched between wins over the Sharks and Kings.

“It’s not easy to do in this league, playing big, heavy teams like this back-to-back,” said Cassidy, who played under Kings coach Darryl Sutter with the IHL’s Saginaw Hawks and Indianapolis Ice from 1988-90. “We did what we had to do. These are three tough buildings to win in, and I know the Bruins have had their struggles out here.”

Pastrnak punctuated a strong all-around game with his seventh power-play goal of the season early in the second period. Dominic Moore ended his 26-game goal drought with an empty-net score, and David Krejci added another empty-netter with 7.2 seconds left.

“This trip is a really good indicator of how we match up against certain types of teams,” Marchand said. “They play a really difficult style of game … and we responded to it really well.”

Boston’s unbeaten start under Cassidy ended one night earlier in Anaheim, but the Bruins responded with another strong defensive game in front of their backup goalie. Khudobin was solid in just his ninth start of the season for the Bruins, who have relied heavily on All-Star Tuukka Rask in net.

“I got tired in the second, and (the Bruins) picked it up for me,” Khudobin said. “And then (Los Angeles) didn’t have many shots in the third period. Perfect game for me.”

Kevin Gravel scored his first NHL goal and Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of eight. Los Angeles’ playoff hopes have taken a hit during the rough stretch including just five goals in its last four games.

“Can’t chase the lead,” Sutter said. “(Giving up an) early goal is just a constant theme. Chase the lead. Put some production on the top end of your lineup to overcome that.”

The Kings have a home-heavy schedule down the stretch, but they’ve lost seven of 11 at Staples Center.

After Marchand put the Bruins ahead early on a 2-on-1 rush, Gravel scored on a rebound of rookie Adrian Kempe’s shot. Gravel’s goal was the defenseman’s first of his 45-game career with the Kings, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2010.

“It was a long time coming on that one,” Gravel said. “I had nothing but net to shoot at, so I just basically tapped her in. Obviously, I want that one to come in a win, but the first goal is a special moment, for sure.”

Pastrnak reclaimed the lead for Boston early in the second. He broke his stick on the one-timer, but the changeup effect on the puck fooled Budaj just enough. The 20-year-old Czech forward tied Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in power-play goals.

Los Angeles managed just one shot in the first 15 minutes of the third period, and Moore sealed it with 1:02 to play on his first goal since Dec. 20.


Boston F Riley Nash was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He scored 10 points while playing in all 60 games for the Bruins this season, but had just one assist in the last eight games. … Sutter coached his 1,263rd game, passing Jacques Lemaire for sole possession of 13th place in NHL history. … Jeff Zatkoff was the Kings’ backup goalie. Los Angeles placed Zatkoff on waivers earlier in the week, but didn’t send him to the AHL after he cleared.


Bruins: At Stars on Sunday.

Kings: Host Ducks on Saturday.

]]> 0, 24 Feb 2017 18:54:36 +0000
Ready for ‘Tom Brady: The Movie’? Fans are divided and foes say they’ll take a pass Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:11:57 +0000 BOSTON — A new book and a major motion picture are in the works about the New England Patriots’ star quarterback and the “Deflategate” suspension he overcame to earn an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl ring.

But Patriots Nation seems ambivalent, and Tom Brady’s foes say they’ll take a pass.

“The Tom Brady movie is such a bad idea! The dude is so uninteresting and has everything,” said Trevor Twidwell, a Kansas City Chiefs fan from Tucson, Arizona, capturing dislike for Brady and the Patriots outside New England.

Bestselling author Casey Sherman and Boston writer Dave Wedge are collaborating on the book under the working title “Let’s Go!” – Brady’s rallying cry. The pair co-authored “Boston Strong,” which helped inspire “Patriots Day,” a 2017 Lionsgate release starring Mark Wahlberg about the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Sherman’s novel, “The Finest Hours,” about the Coast Guard’s 1952 rescue of 30 crewmen aboard a sinking tanker off Cape Cod, also was made into a movie released by Walt Disney Pictures last year starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck.

Sherman is working with Academy Award-nominated screenwriters Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson on the book and film about Brady “and his team’s miraculous come-from-behind win” in the Super Bowl in February.

After serving a four-game suspension for his role in the use of underinflated footballs during the 2015 playoffs, Brady returned to lead the Patriots to their fifth NFL championship with a stunning 34-28 comeback win in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons.

Sherman, a native New Englander, likens it to Muhammad Ali’s epic upset of George Foreman in the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” fight.

“Both men, both athletes had to overcome challenges off the field and outside the ring to achieve sports immortality,” Sherman said.

But the movie, targeted for release in 2018, already is being panned. And not just by those who take a cynical view of Brady’s looks and supermodel wife, or think the Patriots are cheaters.

“The worst movies are cheesy and predictable,” said Boston sports commentator and blogger Alex Reimer. “The real-life drama of the Patriots storming back from a 25-point deficit in Super Bowl 51, and then accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Roger Goodell, was enough on its own.”

Brady himself won’t have a hand in the film, agent Don Yee told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“We wish the people involved the best of luck on this project, but we are not involved,” he said.

Unflattering memes and amusing casting suggestions, meanwhile, are circulating on social media. Among the actors some say should play TB12: Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Josh Duhamel and Timothy Olyphant.

Some fans like Melanie Hawes say Brady’s season is a box office natural — even if “people either love the Patriots or hate them.”

“As soon as the game ended, I turned to my friend and said, ‘I can’t wait for this game to be made into a movie,'” said Hawes, 22, a graduate student from Plymouth, Massachusetts. “Everyone can agree that that Super Bowl was historic. That game deserves a movie.”

]]> 0, 24 Feb 2017 20:37:54 +0000
Athletes of the Week, Feb. 24 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:00:50 +0000 GIRLS

Caitlin Tycz

Caitlin Tycz, Brunswick swimming: The senior set a state record in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:50.35 and a Bowdoin College pool record of 53.67 in the 100 butterfly at the Class A state meet. Tycz also swam on the winning 200 freestyle relay. She qualified for All-America in the butterfly for the fourth straight year.


Emma Gallant, Cheverus track: The freshman won the 200 meters (26.48 seconds) and 400 (58.86) at the Class A state indoor track championships. She also finished third in the 55-meter dash (7.48).

Olivia Tighe, Cape Elizabeth swimming: A sophomore, Tighe won back-to-back events, the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle, and swam on two state-record relays to lead the Capers to their first Class B title. She was Performer of the Meet.

Tasia Titherinton, Deering basketball: The senior guard helped lift the Rams into the Class AA North final, scoring 18 points, nine in the final quarter, in a 46-40 win over Edward Little. She also scored 17 points during a 51-47 quarterfinal win over Lewiston.


Sam Rusak

Sam Rusak, Scarborough track: The senior won three events to lift Scar-borough to its seventh Class A indoor state title in nine years. He won the 200 meters in 22.99 seconds, the high jump (6 feet) and capped the meet by establishing a state record in the pole vault (16 feet, 3 inches).


Bradley Beaulieu, Marshwood wrestling: The senior became a four-time state champion and was named outstanding wrestler of the Class A meet after pinning all three opponents, including North regional champ Noah Lang of Camden Hills in the 138-pound final.

Riley Hasson, South Portland basketball: Stepping in at point guard for the first time in his career because of an injury to Deandre White, the junior scored 12 points with 10 rebounds and four assists in a 78-53 win over Scarborough in a Class AA South semifinal.

Shane Moore, Cheverus swimming: A senior, Moore set a meet record in the 50-yard freestyle (21.28 seconds) and won by two seconds in the 100 free (46.64) to help the Stags win their fifth straight Class A state title. Moore also swam on the winning 200 free relay and was named Performer of the Meet.

]]> 0, 23 Feb 2017 21:59:11 +0000
UNE’s inside game produces women’s basketball victory Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:14:07 +0000 BIDDEFORD — It took a while but the game plan for the University of New England women’s basketball team finally worked Thursday night.

And because it did, the Nor’easters are back in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game.

Pounding the ball inside against a smaller opponent, UNE wore down Eastern Nazarene for a 75-59 victory at Alfond Arena.

The Nor’easters (23-5) will seek a fifth straight conference title and another Div. III NCAA tourney berth when it meets Western New England (19-8) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Biddeford. UNE lost 78-55 at home to Western New England on Jan. 3.

After leading by one point at halftime, the Nor’easters got the ball inside to 6-foot-4 Alicia Brown on almost every possession thereafter.

Brown finished with a career-high 33 points, 21 in the second half.

She added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“We got decent looks around the rim (in the first half) but we just weren’t finishing,” said UNE Coach Anthony Ewing. “(Brown) did a good job posting up strong and absorbing contact. She was unbelievable. She had a huge game. She put us on her back offensively for sure.”

Eastern Nazarene – whose tallest player, 5-11 Michelle Detwiler, was mired in foul trouble – had no answer.

“We knew they’d go to (Brown). She’s a fantastic player,” said Lions Coach Sacha Santimano, whose team lost to UNE 64-53 and 78-68 in the regular season. “We knew they’d send the ball inside. I would have.

“Early on we did a good job but then we got tired. We don’t have a lot of size.”

The Lions (18-9) hung in for a half by hitting 6 of 12 3-pointers and only trailed 32-31.

But the inside play of the Nor’easters and 0 of 6 on 3-pointers in the second half did them in.

UNE never trailed in the second half, and an 11-3 run midway through the third quarter turned a three-point lead into a 49-38 advantage.

Nine of the points were from in the paint or foul shots from plays down low.

The other two came from a long jumper by Sam McDonald (5 points, 10 rebounds) after Olivia Shaw pulled down an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to the wing.

“We all can contribute down low and that makes us a threat if (opponents focus on me),” said Brown.

Midway through the final quarter, Eastern Nazarene cut the lead to nine points before UNE turned up the pressure on defense, scoring eight straight points to put it away.

“Every game we try to search out our run. And we do that with defense,” said Ewing. “You can’t go on a meaningful run without getting stops.”

]]> 0 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:27:19 +0000
NBA roundup: Rockets soar past Pelicans Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:08:56 +0000 NEW ORLEANS — The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans’ tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn’t keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players’ first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists.

PISTONS 114, HORNETS 108: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons prevailed in overtime.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit’s last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte’s final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

CAVALIERS 119, KNICKS 104: LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double, leading host Cleveland over New York.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

SEVEN DEADLINE-DAY trades were put together by the 3 p.m. deadline Thursday – but no late blockbusters.

Toronto landing P.J. Tucker from Phoenix gives the Raptors another outstanding on-the-ball defender.

But contenders mostly stayed quiet. An earlier agreed-upon trade of note was officially completed, the one that sent Lou Williams to Houston from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Perhaps the most interesting moves Thursday were not trades at all. Dallas put five-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams on waivers, and a source said that when Williams clears he plans to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which would give LeBron James the extra playmaker he covets.

Of the players traded Thursday, only Roy Hibbert – traded for the second time this month, this time from Milwaukee to Denver – has been an All-Star.

Philadelphia kept Jahlil Okafor and instead moved Nerlens Noel to Dallas as part of the deal that sent Andrew Bogut to the 76ers.

The backlog of big men in Philadelphia – Noel, Okafor, Joel Embiid, newly acquired Tiago Splitter and No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons presumably at some point – made it seem like moves were going to happen, and Noel wound up being the one to go.

“Gonna miss my best friend,” Embiid said, “but I’m happy for him.”

So whether players stayed or went, when 3:01 p.m. arrived there was plenty of exhaling around the league.

“We’re professionals,” said Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio, the subject of many rumors. “But we’re human beings, too. We have feelings.”

And in Indiana, Paul George finished practice with the same teammates he’s played with all season.

After almost a week of speculation about George’s future, the Pacers stood pat at the deadline.

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Thursday’s high school roundup: Greely wins finale in boys’ hockey Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:08:19 +0000 FALMOUTH — Greely jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period and likely earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the Class B South boys’ hockey playoffs with a 4-1 win Thursday over Kennebunk at Family Ice Center.

Andy Moore and Jake MacDonald each had a goal and an assist, and Quinn Molloy and Jackson Williams also scored for Greely (12-6).

Brendan Whitten scored in the third period for Kennebunk (11-5-1).

The teams are expected to meet again Tuesday in a regional quarterfinal at Family Ice Center.

CAPE ELIZABETH 4, YORK 4: Ben Ekedahl scored a power-play goal with 1:33 left in regulation to help the Capers (12-5-1) end the regular season with a tie against the Wildcats (15-2-1) at Dover Ice Arena.

Joe Graziano’s short-handed goal gave York a 4-2 lead with 3:34 left, but Phil Tarling answered 21 seconds later with his second goal of the third period.

Tom Carr and Dalton McCann also scored for York. Sean Agrondia was the other goal scorer for Cape.

WINDHAM/WESTBROOK 6, MARSHWOOD/TRAIP/SANFORD 4: Tanner Smith and Derek Corbett each scored twice, and the Eagles (6-12) overcame an early three-goal deficit against the Hawks (4-14) at USM Arena.

Cam Morrison and Jack Gresh also scored during a four-goal second period as the Eagles turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

Henry Honkonen collected two goals and two assists, as he and linemates Jarid Tomblin and Evan Cole combined for all four Marshwood goals.


FOREST HILLS 33, RANGELEY 29: Caitlin Logston scored 12 of her team’s first 19 points and finished with 17 as the fifth-seeded Tigers (12-8) upset the No. 1 Lakers (16-4) in a Class D South semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Rangeley, the defending regional champion, was 0 of 14 from 3-point range. Forest Hills led 25-23 after three quarters and held on despite not making a field goal in the fourth quarter.

VINALHAVEN 66, TEMPLE 49: The second-seeded Vikings (16-4) used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to break open a close game against the third-seeded Bereans (14-6) in a Class D South semifinal.

Vinalhaven’s Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ashlyn Littlefield added 15 points, and Cheyenne Bickford got 10 of her 12 points in the third quarter.

Kiara Carr scored 17 points for Temple.

]]> 0 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:28:29 +0000
NHL roundup: Flames remain hot with win in Tampa Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:04:05 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — Sean Monahan scored his 100th NHL goal, Brian Elliott made 23 saves, and the Calgary Flames beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Thursday night.

Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists, and Mikael Backlund also scored to help the Flames improve to 7-2-1 over their last 10 games.

Tampa Bay, which entered with a seven-game points streak (5-0-2), got goals from Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots.

After Blacklund scored 5:04 into the second, Monahan put the Flames up 2-1 just 1:21 later on his 20th goal this season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Monahan, at 22 years and 134 days, is the sixth-youngest active NHL player to reach 100 goals. The five to do it quicker are Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane.

Elliott, 7-2-1 against Tampa Bay, made an extended pad save on Brayden Point midway through the second.

Hamilton and Kucherov both had power-play goals late in third.

Namestnikov had the lone first-period goal. He has a goal in three straight games.

Braydon Coburn got his first assist in 41 games on Namestnikov’s goal

ISLANDERS 3, CANADIENS 0: Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders won at Montreal.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders’ third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost Coach Claude Julien’s 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts.

RANGERS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1:Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the Rangers continued a strong February with a victory at Toronto.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal.


PENGUINS-HURRICANES TRADE: Pittsburgh acquired veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey from Carolina in exchange for minor-league forward Danny Kristo and a draft pick.

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Major league notebook: Farrell’s patience tested by Castillo’s mistake Fri, 24 Feb 2017 03:38:41 +0000 FORT MYERS, Fla. — In their first exhibition, the Boston Red Sox beat Northeastern 9-6 at JetBlue Park on Thursday, but Triple-A outfielder Rusney Castillo gave Manager John Farrell reason to lose patience with the man John Henry paid $72.5 million to acquire.

In the third inning, Castillo didn’t run out a one-out grounder to short. With two disappointing seasons under his best, he’s already off the 40-man roster despite his $72.5 million, seven-year contract.

Farrell was quoted in the Boston Herald as saying Castillo lost track of the number of outs, but regardless of how many, he still should have run out the grounder.

Pablo Sandoval saw his first action since last April and went 1 for 2 with a double while playing third base.

Sam Travis belted a three-run homer for the Sox, as did Mitch Moreland.

Brian Johnson started for the Sox and went two innings, walking one and striking out three.

YANKEES: Scheduled opening-day starter Masahiro Tanaka threw 74 pitches off a bullpen mound and during a simulated game in preparation for his first spring-training appearance next week.

The Japanese right-hander threw 30 pitches over two innings against Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter in the simulated game. He gave up a single to Headley, walked a batter and induced a double play from Carter.

Tanaka was a concern at the start of spring training last year after arthroscopic surgery in October 2015 to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.

RANGERS: Josh Hamilton was back at camp in Arizona and feeling confident after an examination in Texas showed no significant structural damage to his surgically repaired left knee.

Hamilton said he was concerned when he felt a sudden pain when doing some running drills Tuesday.

 Rangers international scout Jose Luis Felomina died in his native Curacao.

The team said Felomina died following a long illness. He was 50.

PHILLIES: Pete Rose is on the ballot for the Philadelphia Phillies’ wall of fame, his first association with the team since he was banned from baseball in 1989.

]]> 0 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:45:07 +0000
Sports Digest: Black Bears renew rivalry with Georgia Southern Fri, 24 Feb 2017 03:31:09 +0000 FOOTBALL

Black Bears, Ga. Southern to renew rivalry in 2019

The University of Maine will play Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Georgia Southern in 2019, the Black Bears announced Thursday. The game will be held in Statesboro, Georgia, on a date yet to be specified.

Georgia Southern, which competes in the Sun Belt Conference, completed its third year at the FBS level in 2016. Maine competes with smaller Division I football programs in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Maine and Georgia Southern have met three times before, all in the NCAA playoffs. The Eagles won all three, most recently a 35-23 quarterfinal victory in 2011.

HIGH SCHOOLS: The National Federation of State High School Associations has again stiffened rules in the name of safety.

New regulations are eliminating the blindside block and onside kicks.

A hit on any player who is not carrying the ball and “does not see the blocker approaching” is now punished with a 15-yard penalty.

NFHS also banned “pop-up” kicks, or kicks in which, “the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee,” the rule states.


D-LEAGUE: The Atlanta Hawks signed Red Claws forward Ryan Kelly to a contract for the rest of the NBA season.

Kelly was with the Hawks earlier this season but was waived on Jan. 6.

In seven games with Maine, Kelly averaged 27 points and 7.3 rebounds.


NASCAR: Chase Elliott won the first Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway while defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin won the second of the 150-mile qualifying races for Sunday’s season opener.


ECHL: The Alaska Aces of the ECHL will shut down after this season.

Terry Parks, the managing partner, said the Anchorage-based minor league team is losing money, sponsorships are down $600,000, and attendance is down 1,500 spectators per game.


PREMIER LEAGUE: Leicester fired Claudio Ranieri, nine months after the Italian coach guided the club to an improbable league triumph.


PGA: Cody Gribble and Wesley Bryan returned to a familiar course at Palm Beach Gardens, each shooting a 6-under 64 to share the Honda Classic first-round lead.

EUROPEAN TOUR: American Paul Peterson birdied four of his last five holes to shoot a bogey-free 9-under 62 before play was suspended because of a waterlogged course in the first round of the Joburg Open in Johannesburg.

LPGA: Ariya Jutanugarn and Amy Yang both shot 6-under 66 in the first round to take a share of the lead at the LPGA Thailand at Pattaya.


DELRAY BEACH OPEN: Defending champ Sam Querrey reached the quarterfinals by hitting 13 aces and winning 24 of 25 first-serve points in a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jared Donaldson.

OPEN 13: Top-seeded Gael Monfils and No. 2 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals in Marseille, France.

RIO OPEN: Fourth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta reached the quarterfinals of the clay-court event, defeating Victor Estrella Burgos, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

– Staff and news service report

UPDATE: This file was corrected on Feb. 24 at 8:45 a.m. to show the correct name of the ECHL.

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:45:19 +0000
St. Joseph’s women win in double OT, reach conference final Fri, 24 Feb 2017 03:28:22 +0000 STANDISH — Kelsi McNamara scored a game-high 31 points while playing 46 of a possible 50 minutes Thursday night as St. Joseph’s College defeated Johnson & Wales 91-90 in double overtime to reach the Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s basketball final.

The top-seeded Monks (23-4) will be home against second-seeded Emmanuel (20-7) in the championship game Saturday. The winner will advance to the Div. III NCAA tournament.

McNamara hit two key shots for the Monks – 3-pointers in the final minute of both regulation and the first overtime – to extend the game.

In regulation, St. Joseph’s trailed by three points before McNamara found open space on the right wing and banked in a 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to make it 69-69.

“My teammates got me the ball and I just trusted myself to shoot it,” said McNamara.

In overtime, her 3-pointer with 18.7 seconds remaining made it 78-78.

“We found a way at the end of regulation and that first overtime of throwing in what seemed to be almost impossible 3-point shots,” said Monks Coach Mike McDevitt.

With just under 30 seconds left in the second overtime, McNamara was fouled on a drive and hit both free throws to put St. Joseph’s ahead 88-87.

“I can’t understand how (McNamara) had the energy down the stretch,” said McDevitt. “But what Kelsi has is a courage and a will to win. She may be one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever coached.”

“We trusted each other to make big shots and big free throws, and that’s what saved us,” said McNamara.

Emily Benway, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, added two free throws to extend the Monks’ lead to 90-87, and Julia Champagne added a free throw to offset a Wildcats basket.

“Julia (Champagne) and Emily Benway saved us with those free throws,” said Abbie Eastman of the Monks.

“I bet every other team does not shoot as many free throws as we do. (Our success at the line) is from a lot of practice,” said Champagne, who finished with 14 points.

Eastman kicked off the scoring in the first overtime, nailing a 3 just under one minute in to give St. Joseph’s a 72-69 lead.

The Monks led 74-73 before Raquel Pederzani hit two free throws with 1:12 left as Johnson & Wales regained a 75-74 lead.

Pederzani finished with 18 points and 12 assists.

“I don’t think one team lost that game. I think a very good team won that game,” said Johnson & Wales Coach Corey Boilard. “I’ve never been a part of a great game like that.”

The Monks tied it again at 75-75 on a Benway free throw with 41.5 seconds remaining in overtime.

Pederzani then came up huge again, banking a 3-pointer from the right wing with 26.7 remaining in overtime as Johnson & Wales seized the lead, 78-75.

Then came McNamara.

St. Joseph’s played Emmanuel once in the regular season, coming away with a 75-64 victory at home on Feb. 8.

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:37:12 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Unbeaten Winthrop knocks off NYA Fri, 24 Feb 2017 03:04:57 +0000 AUGUSTA — Undefeated Winthrop likes to put on pressure.

North Yarmouth Academy handled it for a while, but eventually the Ramblers ran away with this game and beat the Panthers 52-29 Thursday night in a Class C South boys’ basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

After leading 10-9 in the first quarter, the Ramblers scored the first 10 points of the second, grabbed a 26-11 halftime lead and were never threatened.

“We couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm,” NYA Coach Jason Knight said.

NYA’s 6-foot-3 freshman center, Te’Andre King, was the Panthers’ only offensive threat, scoring 19 points. Guard Jacob Hickey led Winthrop with 16 points and 6-8 center Cam Wood added 15.

Top-seeded Winthrop (20-0) moves on to the South final at 8:45 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Madison (17-3). Fourth-seeded NYA finishes at 15-5.

Winthrop’s Jacob Hickey gets smashed between North Yarmouth Academy defenders Jake Malcom, left, and Davis Newell in the first quarter. Staff photo by Amber Waterman Thomas

Winthrop has a habit of winning by a lot. Entering Thursday’s game, the Ramblers’ average victory margin was 23.

Thursday’s game was close for a quarter. Both teams played swarming defense, with the Panthers paying particular attention to Hickey. The Ramblers worked the ball inside to Wood – or Wood put back rebounds. He scored seven of his points in the first quarter.

“They didn’t have an answer for Cam,” Winthrop Coach Todd MacArthur said. “With his size and his presence, we need him.”

NYA countered with King, whose inside drives kept the Panthers close.

“Te’Andre has been a huge addition to our team,” Knight said. “The first quarter, we played well.”

But Winthrop’s persistent pressure got to NYA. The Panthers made eight turnovers in the second quarter and shot 1 of 8 (a King layup).

“Defense is what we hang our hats on,” MacArthur said. “I don’t think, offensively, we played very well. But, defensively, that’s something special, when you hold a team like that under 30.”

North Yarmouth Academy’s Jake Malcom attempts to block Cameron Wood’s shot in the first quarter. Staff photo by Amber Waterman Thomas

Making matters worse for NYA was senior guard Haven Cutko getting into foul trouble. He fouled out with 5:56 left in the third quarter. Eventually, four Panthers would foul out.

“My point guard is on the bench with fouls. That makes it hard to get some rhythm going and get into an offensive flow,” Knight said. “That’s a large credit to Winthrop, Coach MacArthur and their defense. They’re very aggressive.”

Hickey did not score a basket in the second quarter, but he drew fouls, hitting 8 of 8 free throws.

Senior forward Jake Malcom scored eight points for NYA.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: KevinTHomasPPH

]]> 0 by Amber Waterman Thomas North Yarmouth Academy's Jake Malcom attempts to block a shot by Cameron Wood of Winthrop in the first quarter of the Class C South semifinal on Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center.Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:16:27 +0000
Boys’ basketball: No. 1 Yarmouth rolls by Oak Hill in Class B South semifinals Fri, 24 Feb 2017 01:59:22 +0000 Perfect? Just about.

Top-seeded Yarmouth came out fast and never let up, overpowering fourth-seeded Oak Hill 79-49 in a Class B South boys’ basketball semifinal Thursday night at Cross Insurance Arena.

The Clippers scored five seconds into the game, put up 30 points in the first quarter and forced 31 turnovers in advancing to the regional championship game for the second consecutive year.

“To come out on this floor with that kind of play in the first eight minutes was more than I could have expected,” said Yarmouth Coach Adam Smith. “I knew I was going to get the effort. I just didn’t know how well we would jell and play on this floor in the semis.

“The energy was so good, and in high school guys will feed off that energy. I think it affected Oak Hill and made us rise in our game a little bit. It was a perfect situation for us.”

Yarmouth (18-2) will play third-seeded Wells (15-5) in the regional championship game at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at CIA. The Clippers beat the Warriors twice in the regular season, 91-63 and 69-52.

Oak Hill finished 11-9.

The Clippers were on their game from the opening tip, which was converted into a 3-pointer by Gibson Harnett. They never let up, harassing the Raiders, breaking up passes and hitting shots.

It was 30-7 after one quarter, with Yarmouth recording an assist on 10 of its 14 baskets.

“That’s one of our better first quarters this year,” said junior forward Nolan Hagerty. “Shots were falling, we were playing great defense, we were everywhere, hands up. Just like we practiced.”

Oak Hill Coach Thomas Smith called two timeouts in the first quarter to try to slow the Clippers, but the Raiders couldn’t get a handle on the flow of the game. “I think they were a little shell-shocked,” Smith said of his players.

He added that Yarmouth’s size – Hagerty is 6-foot-6, Alek Medenica 6-7 – was a huge difference, as were turnovers. The Raiders had 20 in the first half. “I thought it was more than that,” said Oak Hill’s Smith.

Oak Hill had worked on closing off the inside to Yarmouth. But the Clippers shot so well from the outside – they were 6 of 14 on 3-pointers – that strategy didn’t work.

“They are really quick and they can shoot,” said Oak Hill’s Smith.

Harnett scored 12 points in the first quarter, then Medenica scored 12 in the second as Yarmouth opened a 44-21 halftime lead. Medenica led Yarmouth with 23 points (in just 15 minutes), while Harnett had 19. Hagerty also had a strong game with nine points, nine assists, seven rebounds, six steals and two blocked shots.

Yarmouth showed great teamwork as well, assisting on 23 of its 32 baskets.

“You don’t know when that’s going to happen,” said Yarmouth’s Smith. “We work on it and work on it in practice. Tonight, everything worked for them, and when it clicks, it goes throughout the team, that unselfish play and style.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0, MAINE - FEBRUARY 23: The Yarmouth boys basketball team celebrates as they take an early lead that they'd never relinquish vs. Oak Hill in the Class B South boys basketball semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena, Wednesday, February 22, 2017. (Staff photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:01:13 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Madison dethrones Waynflete Fri, 24 Feb 2017 01:48:56 +0000 AUGUSTA — Third-seeded Madison stayed steady down the stretch Thursday night to pull out a 53-47 victory against seventh-ranked Waynflete in a Class C South boys’ basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Madison (17-3) will play top-ranked Winthrop (20-0) at 8:45 p.m. Saturday at Augusta. The last time the Bulldogs played for a regional title was in 1986.

The loss ended the Flyers’ reign as regional champions. The game marked their sixth consecutive appearance in the semifinal.

“It was a game of inches,” Waynflete Coach Rick Henry said. “The kids played really well. It was one of those games where you lose and you think you played pretty well. My kids can walk out of here with their heads held high because of what they accomplished.”

In the fourth quarter, the score was tied or the lead changed hands eight times before Sean Whalen completed a three-point play to send Madison into a 50-47 lead with 1:53 remaining. Whalen, who had 11 points, sank two free throws with six seconds left to nail it down.

“We just kept our composure, played tough and took care of the basketball down the stretch,” Madison Coach Jason Furbush said.

The Flyers (15-6) started off strong.

After Mitchell Jarvais of Madison opened the scoring by hitting a 3-pointer after 10 seconds, the Flyers ran off the next dozen points to take a 12-3 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs finished the quarter with a 6-1 run to cut into Waynflete’s lead.

“We came out tight at the start of the game, kind of nervous and we settled for shots we don’t typically shoot,” Furbush said. “We settled for a lot of 3s and didn’t take much time off the clock.”

The Flyers nursed a three-point lead for most of the second quarter, but the Bulldogs finished the half with a rush, ending it with a 10-3 run. Jarvais, who had 16 points, sent them into a 32-28 lead when his fourth 3-pointer of the game beat the buzzer.

The Bulldogs maintained a five-point edge for most of the third quarter.

With 1:59 left, Asker Hussein of Waynflete converted an offensive rebound while colliding with Alex Morales of Madison, who was an assessed a technical foul after saying something to one of the officials following the play. Jack Meahl sank one free throw. On the resulting possession, Christian Brooks hit a shot from the right corner to make it 39-39.

“I tried to pick it up and be more of a leader in the fourth (quarter) because I would have felt very bad if (the technical foul) had been a deciding factor in the game,” Morales said. “I tried to be more of a leader just to try and make up for that.”

With 4:12 left to play, the Flyers took a 42-39 lead when Hussein, who scored 11 points, drove left for a layup and sank a free throw.

Morales, who had a game-high 18 points, hit a 3-pointer and put in a fast-break layup to send the Bulldogs into a 44-42 lead with 2:50 left.

Waynflete moved into a 45-44 lead when Brooks, who scored a team-high 13 points, converted a three-point play with 2:37 left.

Justyn Stinson, a sophomore reserve, sank a 3-point shot from the left to propel Madison into a 47-45 lead with 2:10 left.

Meahl scored a fast-break layup to tie it with 1:56 left, but the rest of the game belonged to the Bulldogs.

]]> 0 Brooks, left, of Waynflete and Mitch Jarvais of Madison battle for a loose ball during their Class C South boys' basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Madison won, 53-48.Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:09:25 +0000
Wrestlers will battle for spots in New England championships Fri, 24 Feb 2017 01:14:32 +0000 The state’s top high school wrestlers will face off Saturday for the right to represent Maine at the New England championships March 3-4 in Providence, Rhode Island.

The fourth annual New England qualifier meet will be held at Marshwood High. Each eight-man weight class is filled by wrestlers who placed in the top four at last Saturday’s Class A and Class B championships.

Wrestling on three mats begins at 9:30 a.m., with the finals expected to start around 4 p.m.

The most intense bouts are often the consolation finals that determine the third and final qualifying spot in each weight class.

Four-time state champion Cody Craig of Skowhegan (106 pounds) has the chance to become the first to win four New England qualifier titles. No other senior enters as a three-time winner.

Five other wrestlers are returning New England qualifier champs. Returning to the same weight class are 200-win wrestlers Caleb Austin of Mountain Valley at 126 pounds and Robert Hetherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick at 170. Marshwood’s four-time state champ, Bradley Beaulieu, won qualifying titles at 126 as a sophomore and 132 last season. He’s now at 138 pounds. The Ellsworth tandem of Peyton Cole (152) and Trent Goodman (170) were the 138 and 160 champs last season.

Austin could be challenged by Class A champ Chris Solo of Deering, while a bout between Hetherman and Class B champ Goodman could be the marquee final.

At 132 pounds, four-time champion and current Class B winner Danny Buteau of Oak Hill will have a tough battle ahead against a deep Class A group that includes champ Samson Sirois of Skowhegan, runner-up Jake Martel of Noble and Marshwood’s Kyle Glidden.

At 160 pounds, Sanford’s Sam Anderson, who placed third at 182 last season, is coming off an impressive win at the Class A meet. Dirigo’s Bryce Whittemore is the Class B titlist. He placed third at 152 last year.

Host Marshwood has 10 wrestlers in the meet, including brothers and state champions Matthew Thompson at 120 pounds and James Thompson at 195.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:49:07 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Wells rallies, edges Spruce Mountain Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:58:50 +0000 When the game is on the line, Wells boys’ basketball coach Troy Brown knows which player he can count on most.

With his team down by a point and 17 seconds left in a Class B South semifinal Thursday night against Spruce Mountain, Brown called a timeout and set up a play for Owen Berry.

“(Owen) is a gamer,” Brown said. “I thought we’d have a better opportunity of getting him to the rim if we weaved one time, and he could try to turn the corner. But he didn’t even turn – he just took it.”

Berry, a senior forward, hit a jumper in traffic with 8.8 seconds left, giving No. 3 Wells a 53-52 win over the second-seeded Phoenix at Cross Insurance Arena.

The victory sends the Warriors (15-5) to their first regional final since 1984, when Brown played on a team that won back-to-back state championships. Wells will play top-seeded Yarmouth on Saturday.

“Being a senior, I didn’t want this to be the last game,” said Berry, who scored 15 points. “I wanted the ball.”

Spruce Mountain, which defeated Wells 59-51 during the regular season, ended its season at 16-5. The Phoenix made 11 3-pointers and set a tournament record for most 3s in two straight games with 23. The previous record of 21 was set by Mountain Valley in 1994.

“We’ve got some great shooters – I don’t put the shackles on them,” Spruce Mountain Coach Scott Bessey said. He smiled before adding, “I would have liked one more.”

Caulin Parker set the tone early. The 6-foot-2 senior forward opened the game with a 3-pointer and hit another a minute later to give the Phoenix a quick 6-2 lead. Parker finished with 14 points, including four 3s.

“Boy they can shoot – holy smokes,” Brown said. “We came in tonight knowing we had to defend the 3.”

Wells answered with 3-pointers by Tyler Dewey and Berry and took an 11-10 lead on a three-point play by Berry. Austin Darling scored four straight points for the Phoenix, but a 3-pointer by Berry and a Matt Sherburne jumper put the Warriors ahead 16-14 after one quarter.

Spruce Mountain outscored Wells 20-7 in the second quarter, getting seven points from Darling to grab a 34-23 lead.

Darling was held scoreless in the second half, however.

“He’s quick, just very good. We were trying to keep him in front,” Berry said. “Our defense was starting to get stops..”

Tyler Dewey gave the Warriors the spark they needed with three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half. The senior guard finished with 12 points – all from 3s.

“I don’t think they were ready for him,” Brown said. “That gave the kids whatever it took to say ‘Hey, we’re definitely not done.'”

Andrew Shaw connected on three 3-pointers in the third quarter to keep Spruce Mountain ahead, 47-40. But the Warriors opened the final quarter with seven straight points to tie the score. After a 3-pointer by Parker, Wells tied it again with a free throw by Cousins and a layup by Deandre Woods.

Dempsey then gave Wells a 51-50 lead with a free throw, before a Parker layup with 25.7 seconds left put Spruce Mountain back in front.

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0 players celebrates after their 53-52 win over Spruce Mountain in a Class B South boys' basketball semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena.Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:03:34 +0000
Celtics reject offers at NBA trading deadline Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:42:36 +0000 WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics went into Thursday’s trade deadline armed with the assets to make a major deal and put pressure on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

But any potential deal will have to wait.

For the second straight year Boston’s roster will go unchanged heading into the second half of the season, despite what Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, said were tempting discussions with several teams.

“We had a lot of conversations. There are things that we could do to improve our team, but nothing that’s good enough to do,” Ainge said.

Ainge entered the day in an enviable position thanks to a roster loaded with young talent and two first-round draft picks he holds from Brooklyn over the next two drafts.

Boston has the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets this summer. Brooklyn currently has the worst record in the NBA. If it remains there, that pick would hold the highest odds of becoming No. 1 overall in the draft lottery.

While he wouldn’t discuss specifics of what deals were on the table, Ainge said the potential of having the top draft pick this summer played a role in discussions with teams Thursday.

“We’re trying to upgrade our team. But it’s a delicate balance of short-term goals and long-term goals,” he said. “Obviously both are important.”

Point guard Isaiah Thomas, who set the Twitter world and NBA rumor mill abuzz this week with cryptic emoji tweets of peering eyes and an hourglass, said he was intrigued by the idea of adding another All-Star like Paul George of Indiana or Jimmy Butler of Chicago.

“For sure. Those are All-Star type players, superstars that can change your organization,” Thomas said. “Like I’ve always said, I’ll roll with the guys I’ve got in this locker room until something changes. I always mean that.”

Even before the deadline passed, Coach Brad Stevens said he expected minimal changes to his roster.

“I don’t think that when you’re in a position where you’re playing at a pretty good level that you should anticipate much change,” Stevens said after his team practiced early Thursday afternoon. “At the end of the day I think that my job is try to focus on the 15 guys that are here.”

He has yet to see what a fully healthy group can do.

Boston’s starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson has played in just 21 of 57 games this season. They are 16-5 in those games but will begin the second half Friday in Toronto still not injury-free.

Bradley has been out since Jan. 18 with a sore right Achilles tendon. He was a partial participant in Thursday’s practice but isn’t expected to play against the Raptors.

Considering how well the Celtics have played through injuries this season, Ainge said he’s confident the roster can compete for the East title as is.

“We won’t put a ceiling on this team but we haven’t seen the best of this team,” Ainge said. “We like the depth of the team. We like the youth of the team. We like the energy and enthusiasm of our team.”

]]> 0 AINGEThu, 23 Feb 2017 20:47:39 +0000
Girls’ basketball: OOB shuts down No. 1 Richmond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:27:43 +0000 AUGUSTA — A tight Old Orchard Beach defense hampered unbeaten Richmond and its inside game. The Bobcats needed other weapons. They had none.

Old Orchard Beach dominated the second half and beat top-seeded Richmond 38-24 in a Class C South girls’ basketball semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Seagulls trailed 17-14 with 3:56 left in the first half but took over from there.

Old Orchard Beach went on a 23-0 run over the next 16 minutes and 31 seconds, tying the game before halftime and jumping ahead 37-17 with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter.

“We played very good defense,” said junior forward Meghan LaPlante, who is listed on the roster at 5-foot-9 but plays as if she’s much taller.

LaPlante led OOB with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

No. 4 Old Orchard Beach (13-8) will play in the South final at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Monmouth Academy (18-3).

Richmond, which beat the Seagulls twice during the regular season, finished at 19-1.

Guard Mackenzie Abbott led Richmond with nine points, but the Bobcats’ 5-9 center, Sydney Underhill-Tilton, who averaged 17.5 points a game, was held to five, all in the first half.

“We focused on double-zero (Underhill-Tilton) a lot,” junior point guard Brianna Plante said. “She is a great player and we doubled down on her.”

When Underhill-Tilton did get the ball, she had LaPlante and 6-2 center Maggie Strohm swarming her.

“We knew coming in that she was probably going to be double-teamed,” Richmond Coach Mike Ladner said. “We needed to make our outside shots.”

Not only did the Bobcats miss from the outside, but in a tightly officiated game – 22 fouls in the first half – Underhill-Tilton got into foul trouble. She picked up her fourth foul with 4:48 left in the third quarter and left the game. She returned with 5:38 remaining in the fourth and fouled out two minutes later.

“That stuff doesn’t get called during the regular season with two officials,” Ladner said. “But kudos to the officials; they did a good job. It’s a tighter game, that’s all.

“She got in foul trouble and our offense usually runs through her. When she’s not there, it makes it tough. It forces us to shoot from the outside, and we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the outside today.”

Richmond shot 16 percent, including 1 of 15 in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Seagulls were heating up. They shot 40 percent, and of their 12 field goals, five were 3-pointers from four players – Emily Greenlee, Samantha Donnell, Kaitlyn Cote and Plante (two).

Richmond senior guard Meranda Martin said this was a different Old Orchard Beach team than the one the Bobcats beat by 15 points last month.

“They were a lot stronger than they were during the regular season. Give them kudos,” Martin said. “They made their shots and in the third quarter we couldn’t make anything.”

Old Orchard Beach, which survived a schedule that included Class B opponents, will play Monmouth for the first time this year.

“We play a tough schedule,” Coach Dean Plante said. “The regular season is a bit of a grind but it helps in the long run. Maybe we’re built for the postseason.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Orchard Beach lost twice to Richmond during the regular season, but the third time was the charm for the Seagulls, who defeated the No. 1 seed Thursday to reach the Class C South final.Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:42:18 +0000
Nordic skiing: Mt. Blue, Maine Coast Waldorf take early leads Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:30:55 +0000 WATERVILLE — After the boys of Maine Coast Waldorf had completed their classical race on Day 1 of the Class C Nordic state championships Thursday at sunny Quarry Road Trails, they offered a bit of advice to the female members of the team.

“They told me to use less kick (wax) so I could have a stronger glide,” said junior Olivia Skillings. “What happened to them is that they had too much kick and couldn’t pick up speed on the downhills.”

It wasn’t as if the Maine Coast boys had gone off the tracks in their race. They placed four skiers among the top eight to take a commanding lead in the two-day event that concludes with Friday’s freestyle race. Still, the Maine Coast girls took heed and did even better.

Led by Skillings, they swept the top four places Thursday and are poised to win their seventh straight Class C Nordic title Friday.

“We’ve been blessed,” Maine Coast Coach John Tarling said. “We’ve had good, dedicated parents and skiers who are committed. They want to improve and they work at it. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, that’s for sure. It takes a lot of energy.”

With temperatures cresting 50 degrees and abundant sunshine, conditions were prime for snow angels but less than ideal for fast times. And finding the right wax combination? Good luck.

“It was a tricky day,” Tarling said. “The conditions are so varied. You really have to have a good combination of skis that have glide but have enough kick to get up the hills, because there’s a lot of striding on this course.”

About 250 skiers from Class C and Class A slogged around the two-lap course – a total of 5 kilometers – going off at 15-second intervals through rolling hills for two kilometers before climbing what the locals call “Hero’s Hill,” and then coming down into the stadium area before taking a second lap.

“In your mind, you know you have that massive hill right at the finish,” Mt. Blue senior Tucker Barber said. “So you obviously have to go hard when you can, but you’ve got to know that at the end, you’ve got that guy waiting for you.”

Barber turned in the day’s fastest time, regardless of class, at 17 minutes, 56.2 seconds. As the Sassi Memorial champion, he was particularly interested in seeing how he stacked up against two of the best skiers from Class C, seniors Willson Moore of Waynflete and Tucker Pierce of Maine Coast. Moore and Pierce skipped the Sassi – an all-comers race in Rumford in late January – in favor of an Eastern Cup event in Vermont.

Moore won the Class C race Thursday with a time of 18:41.2. Deering senior Caleb Niles, the runner-up in Class A, finished in 18:28.5.

“I like it when we get to race together,” Barber said. “It helped me that the (Class) C people were here. I pictured them in front of me, even though it was intervals.”

Barber led a 1-3-6-7 finish for the Cougars, the defending Class A champion. Mt. Blue’s total of 17 points was considerably ahead of second-place Falmouth at 60. Oxford Hills was third with 63, followed by Deering (71), Leavitt (72), Portland (95), Fryeburg (111) and Greely (172).

Pierce, who has been under the weather this week, dropped to third behind teammate Nick Neveu, with Dylan Wu taking sixth and Eli Gundersen eighth to give Maine Coast 19 points in the Class C boys’ standings. Fort Kent is in second at 55, followed by Telstar (63), Orono (83), Waynflete (105), Boothbay (106) and four other schools.

Behind Skillings in the Class C girls’ race were teammates Louise Ahearne, Fiona Libby and Wilson Haims, giving Maine Coast a score of 10. Orono is second with 40, followed by Madawaska (86), Waynflete (90), Monmouth (115) and seven others.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race this warm,” said Libby, a senior. “Two years ago, we were in Presque Isle and it was negative 30. This is 80 degrees warmer.”

Ahearne was only six seconds behind the 23:14.0 turned in by Skillings. Three girls from Class A managed to go faster, with Mt. Blue senior Julia Ramsey edging Deering senior Ewa Varney by less than two seconds in 22:53.3.

Varney started seven minutes later than Ramsey, and so was able to hear splits along the course to judge her speed in relation to Ramsey’s.

Near the finish, however, Varney accidentally poled against her boot instead of the snow and wobbled slightly before catching her balance.

Meghan Charles of Mt. Blue was third in 23:11.3. The Cougars also placed fourth and fifth to rack up 13 points to second-place Deering’s 40. Fryeburg is third at 54, followed by Leavitt (88), Falmouth (120), Oxford Hills (122), Camden Hills (136), Greely (151) and Edward Little (159).

The Class B Nordic meet got under way Thursday at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, where Maranacook leads Freeport’s boys by 14 points and Yarmouth’s girls by 12. Zach Holman of Maranacook and Yacob Olins of Freeport were the two fastest boys, and Laura Parent of Maranacook and Grace Cowles of Yarmouth were the two fastest girls.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 - ME - FEBRUARY 23, 2017 Mt. Blue High School's Julia Ramsey, rubs snow on her face to cool down after finishing the girls 5k classic during the Class A and C high school nordic championships at Quarry Road Recreation Area in Waterville on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:56:33 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Gray-NG survives Lake Region scare Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:24:14 +0000 Trailing by a point entering the fourth quarter Thursday, Mike Andreasen had a simple question for his top-ranked Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team.

“Coach said to us, ‘Do you want to go home or do you want to keep playing?'” said center Skye Conley. “That woke us up a bit.”

Gray-New Gloucester clamped down defensively in the final period to rally past fifth-seeded Lake Region 33-29 in a Class B South semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Patriots held the Lakers to three points in the final quarter and pulled ahead in the final 2:09 to advance to the regional final for the second consecutive year.

“We have four seniors,” said Andreasen. “They didn’t want this to be their last game.”

Gray-New Gloucester (19-1) will play sixth-ranked Lincoln Academy in the Class B South final for the second consecutive year. The Patriots won last year, 45-30. Lake Region finished 13-7.

This was a tight game throughout. Gray-New Gloucester’s biggest lead was six (21-15, which was the halftime score) and Lake Region’s biggest lead was three (10-7 early in the second).

The Lakers made a run in the third quarter, scoring the first six points to tie the game at 21. Then they moved ahead 26-23 on a 3-pointer by Kristen Huntress with 1:09 left in the third. Two foul shots by Conley with 14 seconds remaining pulled the Patriots within 26-25 entering the fourth – only the second time this year Gray-New Gloucester trailed going into the fourth.

“It was very stressful having it a one-possession game most of the game,” said Conley, who led the Patriots with 12 points. “We knew we had to keep trying to play our game, try to get some momentum going our way.”

Lake Region controlled the tempo in the third as the Patriots struggled to get anything going.

“Ball movement was good in (the third),” said Lakers Coach Paul True. “I thought we played a little more inside-out, which helped create more opportunities near the basket and on the perimeter.”

Those opportunities vanished in the fourth quarter as the Patriots held the Lakers to one basket – a 3-pointer by Chandler True with 5:28 remaining – that tied the game at 29.

Gray-New Gloucester only scored eight points in the fourth, but that was enough because of its defense. Conley gave the Patriots a 30-29 lead with a foul shot with 2:09 remaining. Then she blocked a shot on Lake Region’s next possession. That set up a sneak-away layup by Brianna Jordan (four of her seven points in the fourth) off an in-bounds play at half-court, giving Gray-New Gloucester a 32-29 lead with 51 seconds left.

Conley then got the rebound of a Lake Region inside miss. Alicia Dumont hit one foul shot with 18.8 seconds left to seal it.

“We just happened to make a few more plays than them,” said Andreasen. “It’s that simple.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 builds on the Gray-New Gloucester bench during the closing seconds of the Patriots' Class B South semifinal win over Lake Region at Cross Insurance Arena on Thursday. (Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer)Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:46:52 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Monmouth ousts Boothbay in Class C South Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:53:47 +0000 AUGUSTA — After his team played Boothbay twice during the regular season, Monmouth Academy Coach Scott Wing had a good read on the Seahawks during their Class C South girls’ basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Wing knew which players his team needed to stop, and his group followed the game plan to the letter as the third-seeded Mustangs beat the second-seeded Seahawks, 39-30.

“Today was just a picture-perfect execution of our defensive game plan,” Wing said. “For a bunch of 5-6, 5-7 girls to take away their inside game was pretty awesome, but they paid attention in practice and executed everything we wanted to do.”

The Mustangs (17-3) advanced to the regional final for the first time since 2008. They will play Old Orchard Beach at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Augusta.

Boothbay, the defending regional champion, finished 18-2.

The key for Monmouth was shutting down Boothbay’s inside game, featuring 6-1 sophomore Faith Blethen and 5-11 junior Page Brown.

“We definitely slowed offensively,” said Boothbay Coach Tanner Grover. “I don’t know if it was our lack of execution, Monmouth’s defense or unfriendly rims, but we definitely had a poor offensive night, however you want to spin it.”

Against the Mustangs’ sagging man-to-man defense, the Seahawks sank only 15 of 56 shots (27 percent).

“They played off of our non-shooters and focused on our scorers inside,” Grover said.

“Monmouth’s a good team. The had a good (defensive) scheme and they stuck with it.”

The Mustangs shot slightly better, sinking 37 percent of their shots (10 of 27). Much of their scoring edge came from the foul line, where they sank 16 of 20 free throws (80 percent).

“As a team, we’re about 68, 69 percent (shooting free throws), which is pretty good when you consider all of the kids who shot free throws during the year,” Wing said.

Monmouth held a 19-14 lead at halftime.

Tia Day, a junior guard who scored 21 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Mustangs open a 13-8 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter. Two free throws from Abby Ferland and another outside shot by Day stretched the lead to 19-12.

Boothbay rallied in the third quarter, and the Seahawks carried a 25-23 lead into the fourth. With 4:12 remaining, the Seahawks still held a 27-26 advantage, but they were unable to sustain their momentum.

The Mustangs went into the bonus with 3:39 left and took advantage at the free-throw line.

Brown led Boothbay with 12 points.

During the regular season, the teams split two games. On Dec. 22, the Seahawks won 44-37 in Boothbay Harbor. On Jan. 21, the Mustangs downed the Seahawks 49-36 in Monmouth.

]]> 0's Page Brown, left, and Monmouth's Abbey Allen scramble on the floor for a loose ball as other players close in during a Class C South semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Boothbay won, 39-30. (Photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer)Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:24:57 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Lincoln Academy heads to Class B South final Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:16:44 +0000 Brie Wajer sparked the Lincoln Academy girls’ basketball team to a berth in the Class B South final for the second straight year – and did so while scoring her 1,000th career point Thursday.

Wajer scored 24 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Eagles in a 62-52 semifinal victory over Poland at Cross Insurance Arena. No. 6 Lincoln Academy (15-5) will play top-seeded Gray-New Gloucester for the regional title at 1 p.m. Saturday at CIA.

“We pulled out the win – that’s the biggest thing,” said Wajer, a senior guard. “The 1,000 points was obviously the icing on the cake.”

No. 7 Poland, which upset second-seeded Wells in the quarterfinals, ended its season at 12-8. Nathalie Theriault led the Knights with 18 points and Sarah Moody scored 13.

Despite trailing by double-digits several times, Poland always found a way to climb back into the game.

“It’s a big task coming back from 14 – especially with that Wajer girl making every shot,” said Poland Coach Michael Susi. “I thought we played her as best as we humanly could. She did not get an easy basket all night.”

Theriault, a junior guard, opened the game with a steal, which she turned into a three-point play. While charging the basket, Theriault collided with Lincoln Academy’s Dorothy Hodous, who was taken to the hospital after a hard fall.

Seven minutes later, the Eagles lost Kaitlyn Feltis to a knee injury for the remainder of the game.

Theriault continued her quick start, scoring eight points in the first three minutes. Moody, a junior guard, added another basket from behind the arc for the Knights’ biggest lead of the game at 11-4 with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

But Poland got into foul trouble early – committing 11 fouls in the first quarter – and had to sit starters Theriault, Jessica Seeley and Morgan Brousseau for much of the first half.

“It’s a different game if we don’t lose three starters to foul trouble,” Susi said. “We’ve got to play smarter in those situations.”

Cagney O’Brien, who scored 14 points, kicked off a 14-point run for Lincoln that would last into the second quarter. Wajer scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Eagles end the quarter ahead 14-11.

Moody ended the Knights’ scoring drought with a 3-pointer that cut Lincoln’s lead to 18-14. But the Eagles then scored another 10 consecutive points that increased their lead to 28-14 with 3:00 remaining in the half. Freshman Eleanor Mathews hit a 3 at the buzzer for Lincoln, which entered halftime up 35-23.

Halfway through the third quarter, Wajer drove into traffic and threw up a shot. The ball bounced off the backboard and through the net for a 41-32 lead, triggering wild cheers from spectators. The game was paused to recognize Wajer’s 1,000-point milestone.

“I said to her, ‘Nice job getting to 1,000, let’s go get the win,'” said Lincoln Coach Kevin Feltis.

The Knights stuck with the Eagles in the second half, outscoring them 14-11 in the third quarter to enter the final eight minutes down just 46-37. A Moody 3-pointer to start the fourth cut Lincoln’s lead to 46-40. It was the closest the Knights would get to closing the gap.

“Those kids are scrappers – they don’t give up,” Majer said of Poland. “They’re going to be great in the future.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0 Academy's Brie Wajer pushes the ball up the court against Poland's Alexandria Grondin during a Class B South semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. Wager scored her 1,000th career point in the Eagles' 62-52 victory. (Staff photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer)Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:27:10 +0000
UMaine locker room fight led to broken jaw, police report says Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:46:37 +0000 University of Maine men’s basketball coach Bob Walsh said he’s “very disappointed” after a locker room fight that left one player with a broken jaw and five players suspended.

According to a University of Maine police report, Marko Pirovic suffered a broken jaw from a punch thrown by Wes Myers after practice on Feb. 14.

Three of the suspended players – onlookers to the fight – were reinstated Tuesday, while Pirovic and Myers remain suspended.

“I’m obviously very disappointed,” Walsh said Thursday. “It’s not good and there’s an obviously negative effect, short term. But I don’t think it’s reflective of who we are or the kids we have.

“Our guys will certainly learn from this.”

Myers, a junior guard who transferred from Niagara University, was the team’s leading scorer (16.9 points a game). Pirovic, a senior forward from Ontario, was a regular player, starting six of 28 games.

Pirovic, whose jaw was wired shut after surgery, is done for the year. Myers’ future is less certain. He’s still enrolled at the university but it’s unclear if he will be allowed back on the team.

“I hope so,” Walsh said. “For now he’s suspended indefinitely.”

The Black Bears are enduring a difficult season (6-24) and have one remaining regular-season game – Saturday in Binghamton, New York – and then the America East Conference tournament next week.

The other three players, Ilija Stojiljkovic, Jaquan McKennon and Dusan Majstorovic, were suspended for covering up the incident, according to Walsh.

When Pirovic was injured, players lied about what happened. According to the police report, “initially Marko, Wes and the other players present decided to say that Marko fell in the shower to avoid any consequences.”

According to the report, Pirovic was listening to music, which Myers wanted turned off. The two players began arguing and then fighting. The fight ended immediately when Pirovic’s jaw was broken.

Pirovic hurried to see one of the trainers, Ryan Taylor. He noted the jaw injury, along with loose or missing teeth, and called for an ambulance.

The players told Taylor that Pirovic fell in the shower.

Walsh said he found out about the incident soon after it occurred.

While the police report stated that Walsh “indicated that he was unaware of any issues between the players that would lead to an assault,” Walsh explained later that he simply knew of no reason why Myers would hit Pirovic.

Police visited Pirovic on Feb. 16. Although he was unable to talk, he provided a written statement confirming how the injury really happened.

According to the report, Pirovic indicated “that this is a common occurrence that got out of hand and that no one was at fault. He stated that he had no interest in going further with this case as both men were to blame.

“As noted in Marko’s written statement, ‘At this point, I want this all (to) be over …'”

Initially, the five players were suspended for the Feb. 15 game at New Hampshire, as well as the final home game last Sunday – a day when the seniors were honored before the game. Pirovic was not invited to take part in the ceremony.

Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Myers, left, playing earlier this season against Duke, has been suspended indefinitely from the University of Maine men's basketball team after breaking a teammate's jaw.Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:18:23 +0000
Bruins’ post-Julien win streak ends with 5-3 loss to Ducks Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:44:15 +0000 ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rickard Rakell is perhaps the only Anaheim Ducks forward who should feel good about his offensive game lately, and even he was mired in a five-goal goalless streak when the surging Boston Bruins visited.

Rakell came through with two scores in a game that reminded the Ducks they can still fill a net on occasion.

Rakell scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:34 to play, and the Ducks snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks, giving him 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

The Ducks had scored just five goals in their previous four games during an up-and-down February, and they had just four goals in 258 minutes before Kase scored early in the second. They can’t afford much of a slump in the Pacific Division race with San Jose and Edmonton, but the Ducks are keeping pace.

“It was nice to get the bounces tonight,” said Rakell, who tapped home a loose puck for the game-winning goal. “We’ve been having a tough time over the last couple of games to get something going. It was nice that we were able to help the team.”

The Ducks killed five Boston power plays, but Frank Vatrano slipped behind Manson and scored on a breakaway with 8:25 left.

Rakell then scored after the puck deflected off Corey Perry, who had two assists. Cogliano got credit for an empty-net goal with 48.7 seconds left when Torey Krug hooked him to the ice with a clear path to the net.

“Five is a nice number, but three is the better number,” Anaheim assistant coach Paul MacLean said. “Our defensive game was a real big reason why we ended up winning the game. We had a couple of goal posts that helped us as well.”

The Bruins hadn’t lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots as Boston lost to Anaheim for the seventh straight time.

“I thought we played hard to get back into the game against a good hockey team that defends well,” Cassidy said. “I think the guys are frustrated. The positive with that is we knew we could have won that hockey game if we just took care of a few things here or there. Nothing worse than going out of a game thinking you had no chance. We definitely had our chance.”

Bernier started his second straight game in place of John Gibson, a late scratch with a lower-body injury. He made a handful of jaw-dropping saves, including a diving stop of Patrice Bergeron with his stick.

“You don’t want to make those saves, because it means you’re out of position,” Bernier said.

Forward Nic Kerdiles made his NHL debut for the Ducks, becoming the first player from Orange County to suit up for Anaheim.

Kerdiles lived in Irvine for most of his childhood and regularly attended games at Honda Center before the club drafted him in 2012. The 23-year-old scorer missed several months earlier this season with a concussion, but has played 10 outstanding games for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Matt Beleskey returned to the Bruins’ lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch in two of the previous three games. The longtime Ducks forward, who got a $19.8 million contract from Boston after scoring a career-best 22 goals for Anaheim in 2014-15, hasn’t had a goal in 17 games since Nov. 19.


The Ducks recalled Jhonas Enroth from San Diego to back up Bernier. Enroth, acquired from Toronto in December, has suited up for five NHL teams in just over two years. … Boston F Tim Schaller was scratched for the second time in three games. … Chara played his 798th game for the Bruins, the most by a European player in franchise history.


Bruins: At Kings on Thursday.

Ducks: At Kings on Saturday.

]]> 0, 23 Feb 2017 05:53:01 +0000
NHL roundup: Detroit defenseman likely moving as trade deadline nears Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:09:47 +0000 DETROIT — Brendan Smith was planning to spend his bye week in Florida, trying to relax. It might be tough for him to truly get away.

The Detroit Red Wings defenseman, potentially an unrestricted free agent this summer, acknowledged he planned to keep an eye on Twitter because he may be a player the franchise moves this week ahead of the Wednesday NHL trade deadline.

“If something happens, my agent will let me know or I’ll see it on social media,” Smith said Tuesday. “You guys are pretty quick on it.”

Trades have been made at a slow trickle in recent days and weeks because a vast majority of teams in the league are at least in contention for a spot in the playoffs and they don’t want to give up too soon. Clearly, buyers outnumber sellers, and salary-cap constraints make it tough for many teams to make moves.

“These next seven days are going to be crucial with what you’re looking at,” New York Islanders interim coach Doug Weight said. “And I think a lot of teams are going to sway one way or another with the next six or seven points that are available. I think it’ll be a late, active trade deadline because of the situation.”

Detroit General Manager Ken Holland is expected to explore joining the minority, trying to deal at least one of his players with expiring contracts for draft picks because the franchise’s postseason streak seems to be destined to stop at 25.

The 28-year-old Smith, a feisty player, might be available if a team is willing to give up a third-round pick as Calgary did to acquire a comparable player, defenseman Mike Stone, from Arizona on Monday. Thomas Vanek, a 33-year-old winger, has 15 goals and 23 assists this season and is 5 for 5 on shootouts, possibly making him attractive to a team that hasn’t fared well after overtimes, like Washington. The Red Wings, though, may want to re-sign him and would likely balk at late-round offers for a player who has been a pleasant surprise.

Here’s a look at some other players, and teams, to watch over the next week:

KEVIN SHATTENKIRK: The St. Louis Blues are in a solid position to make the playoffs, but they seem to be willing to trade the high-scoring 28-year-old defenseman instead of risking losing him in free agency.

MATT DUCHENE: Colorado, easily the team with the fewest points in the league, is looking to rebuild and hopes to shed two players and their contracts along with one that will be a free agent this summer.

Duchene, a 26-year-old center, and Gabriel Landeskog, a 24-year-old wing, each have at least two-plus years remaining on their deals and that might make them difficult to trade. Jarome Iginla, a 39-year-old wing, is easier to trade because teams will basically be renting him for the rest of the regular season.

PATRICK EAVES: The 32-year-old wing is in demand. He’s having the best year of his career, making just $1 million this season. And, he’s available because Dallas likely won’t make the playoffs. The Stars are also willing to deal 35-year-old winger Patrick Sharp, 35-year-old defenseman Johnny Oduya and 30-year-old Lauri Korpikoski.

BEN BISHOP: After losing in the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup finals the last two years, Tampa Bay has struggled this season. Instead of losing games and assets, the Lightning are listening to offers for their 30-year-old goaltender and 32-year-old center Brian Boyle with expiring contracts.


OILERS 4, PANTHERS 3: Kris Russell scored the third goal of the night by Edmonton’s defensemen with 7:58 left, lifting the Oilers over host Florida to snap the Panthers’ five-game winning streak.

Russell’s goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goal-less in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defensemen Oscar Klefbom and Eric Gryba also scored for Edmonton, as did forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell’s goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 career points.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip.

The Panthers trailed for 93 seconds on their five-game road trip. They trailed for the final 14:42 of the first period alone in this one, after Klefbom’s unassisted goal opened the scoring.

]]> 0 Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith is also at the center of trade talks as playoff-bound teams could use his offensive capability. An unrestricted free agent this summer, his days in Detroit seem numbered.Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:22:51 +0000
Wednesday’s college roundup: UMaine lifts suspensions on three men’s basketball players Thu, 23 Feb 2017 03:16:06 +0000 ORONO — Three of the five University of Maine men’s basketball players who were suspended Feb. 14 for what the school termed alleged violations of the student-athlete and university codes of conduct have been allowed to return to the team, according to a statement released Wednesday by the university.

The suspensions were lifted for Jaquan McKennon, Dusan Majstorovic and Ilija Stojilkovic. Wes Myers – the team’s leading scorer – and senior Marko Pirovic remain on suspension with one regular-season game remaining – Saturday at Binghamton.

Maine has a 6-24 record and is 2-13 in America East.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC: The men’s and women’s basketball teams qualified for the USCAA Division II national tournament at Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

The men’s team, which finished 23-6 in the regular season, received an automatic bid after winning the Yankee Small College Conference tournament. It is the fifth seed and plays fourth-seeded Penn State University-Greater Allegheny in the quarterfinals at 3:15 p.m., March 2.

The womens’ team (23-4) received an at-large bid after losing in the semifinals of the league tournament. It will be the fourth seed and will play Penn State University-Hazleton in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. March 2.

(3) KANSAS 87, TCU 68: Frank Mason III scored 20 points and Kansas (25-3, 13-2) pulled away in the second half to beat visiting TCU (17-11, 6-9) and clinch a share of its 13th consecutive Big 12 championship.

SYRACUSE 78, (10) DUKE 75: John Gillon hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer, and Syracuse upset visiting Duke as the Orange kept alive their postseason hopes.

Syracuse (17-12, 9-7 ACC) had lost three straight and needed another signature victory to go with its two top-10 wins to bolster its resume for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange have two games remaining, at Louisville on Sunday and at home to Georgia Tech on March 4.


(1) UCONN 90, (23) TEMPLE 45: Napheesa Collier scored a career-high 31 points and top-ranked UConn routed No. 23 Temple at Hartford, Connecticut, to extend its winning streak to 102 straight games.


BATES 13, CALTECH 6: Dan Trulli hit a two-run home run in a six-run sixth inning and the Bobcats (1-3) beat the Beavers (2-8) in Pasadena, California.

Trulli went 3 for 5 and drove in five runs, three on a bases-clearing double in the top of the third. Bates scored four runs in the third to take a 4-3 lead.

John Dinucci singled in Ryan McCarthy and Asher MacDonald, breaking a 5-5 tie in the top of the sixth. Brendon Canavan tripled home two runs, then Trulli followed with his two-run shot to extend the Bates lead to 11-5.

Dinucci went 3 for 3 with three RBI and three runs scored.

Cameron Carlson picked up the win for the Bobcats, pitching 12/3 innings of relief and striking out two.

]]> 0 Atkinson of Temple finds little room against Napheesa Collier of Connecticut during the first half of UConn's 90-45 victory Wednesday night in Hartford, Connecticut.Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:31:34 +0000
Sports Digest: Hungarian capital pulls out of 2024 Olympic race Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:26:58 +0000 OLYMPICS

Hungarian capital pulls out of 2024 Olympic race

Budapest will withdraw its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris in the race.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs confirmed the withdrawal to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The joint decision by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos and the Hungarian Olympic Committee will be formally voted on by the Budapest City Assembly, where Orban’s governing Fidesz party has a comfortable majority.

The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city in September.


OPEN 13: Daniil Medvedev upset eighth-seeded Benoit Paire 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the first round in Marseille, France, and defending champion Nick Kyrgios advanced to the quarterfinals.

The 21-year-old Medvedev rallied from a double break down in the decider after breaking his French opponent when Paire served for the match in the second set.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS: American teen Catherine “CiCi” Bellis captured her first career Top 10 win when she upset sixth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in third-round play.

The 17-year-old Bellis, ranked 70th, had lost her previous four matches against top-10 opponents.

RIO OPEN: Second-seeded Dominic Thiem reached the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Dusan Lajovic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Thiem is now the clear favorite to win his eighth ATP singles title after top-seeded Kei Nishikori was beaten in the first round by Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Thiem faces a quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman, who advanced with a 6-4, 7-6 (1) win over fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis

No. 5 Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 to secure a quarterfinal spot. He will face Nicolas Kicker, who defeated Arthur De Greef, 6-3, 6-3.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Sevilla was unable to capitalize on its dominant performance in a 2-1 win over Leicester in Seville, Spain, as Jamie Vardy scored a crucial goal – his first of the year – to keep the English champions alive in the Round of 16.

MLS: The LA Galaxy’s reserve team will hold open tryouts in England this summer in an attempt to find overlooked talent for the Major League Soccer franchise.

Players between 16 and 25 years old will be welcomed in London on May 31-June 1 and in Manchester on June 3-4.


NFL: The Chicago Bears hired three assistants, bringing in Zach Azzanni as receivers coach, Brandon Staley as outside linebackers coach and Derius Swinton II as assistant special teams coach.

 The Miami Dolphins signed six ex-players — quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino, cornerback Sam Madison, guard Larry Little, wide receiver Nat Moore and defensive end/linebacker Kim Bokamper — so they can retire as Dolphins.

Each player signed a contract, was added to the active roster, and then officially retired in a ceremony that was carried live on

• The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year deal.

Williams originally signed with Cleveland in 2014.

 Ed Garvey, the lawyer who led the NFL Players Association through strikes in 1974 and 1982, died at age 76 in Verona, Wisconsin, reportedly of Parkinson’s disease.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:38:27 +0000
Boys’ basketball: No. 1 Greely escapes York’s upset bid Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:22:27 +0000 Greely’s Matt McDevitt said after a pair of overtime games during the regular season that those tight contests were good preparation for playoff basketball.

Perhaps they were.

The top-seeded Rangers gave up an 11-point halftime lead Wednesday night against No. 4 York but didn’t panic, pulling out a 59-54 win in a Class A South semifinal at Cross Insurance Arena.

“When they got close, we started playing with our confidence again and got it back,” said McDevitt, who scored 16 points.

Top-seeded Greely (20-0) will face defending state champion Falmouth (15-5) in the regional final Saturday night. Falmouth, the No. 2 seed, lost senior point guard Colin Coyne to a broken leg in a 43-38 semifinal win Wednesday against Cape Elizabeth.

Greely has beaten Falmouth twice this season – 55-54 in overtime at Falmouth, and 61-44 at home in the regular-season finale.

No. 4 York (12-8) lost twice to Greely in the regular season, by 26 and 19 points. But behind the 3-point shooting of Reid Hogan (25 points, six 3s), the Wildcats came back from a 37-24 hole early in the third quarter and took a 41-40 lead on a scoop shot by Payton Small with 6:48 to play.

McDevitt answered with a 3-pointer and Greely never trailed again, though York twice missed free throws that would have tied the game.

“They were a different team this time. They came to play,” McDevitt said.

York was victimized by at least eight offensive foul calls. The last, with Greely leading 54-48, caused Hogan to foul out with 49 seconds remaining and brought York Coach Randy Small to his knees.

“We didn’t do anything wrong tonight,” Small said. “Everything we started on Saturday morning, from film work to preparation to game planning to execution, they did it to perfection tonight. Some things happened that were just out of our control.”

After McDevitt’s 3, Greely got key hoops from Ryan Twitchell (14 points) and Shane DeWolfe. York answered with two bullish inside baskets by Jackson McCarty.

Jordan Bagshaw (15 points) made a steal near midcourt and turned it into a three-point play with 3:41 left to put Greely ahead 50-46.

On the next possession, York ran its offense precisely for nearly a minute, but Greely continually cut off the lanes and covered shooters. With Hogan bottled up (one point in the fourth quarter), a shot in the paint by Trevor LaBonte (14 points) was blocked by McDevitt.

“I really think our defense stepped up in the second half, especially on Hogan,” Bagshaw said.

Greely led by at least four the rest of the way.

“Obviously those overtime games and close games are character builders, and they helped us down the stretch,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0, MAINE - FEBRUARY 22: Greely captain Matt McDevitt dives for the ball along with York captain Trevor LaBonte during second half action of a Class A South boys basketball semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena, Wednesday, February 22, 2017. (Staff Photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:46:02 +0000
NBA notebook: Trade value to be seen in homestretch Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:22:23 +0000 LeBron James, Steph Curry and the rest of the NBA have had a chance to catch their collective breath, kick their feet up for a few days and rest up after a frenetic first 31/2 months of the season.

The big stars had their fun in New Orleans. Those who weren’t chosen for the All-Star game got away for some beach time.

Coaches and executives took the time to engage in self-scouting and trade talks to figure out how they want to approach the last two months of the season.

When play resumes Thursday night, a few hours after the trade deadline expires, it will be a wild six-week sprint to the finish.

The eighth seed in the Western Conference is up for grabs as well as pretty much every seed in the East. The jockeying for position could turn the final hours before the deadline into a frenzy.

And though the league has been idle for a week, it will not look the same when the games return.

DeMarcus Cousins moved from Sacramento to New Orleans in a stunning trade. Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson cleaned house with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Houston Rockets have fortified their bench by adding Lou Williams, and big-name stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Derrick Rose are waiting to see if they will be on the move as well.

And let’s not forget Carmelo Anthony, though the Knicks’ All-Star has final say-so in a move.

With all the chaos and uncertainty flying around, James said there’s no reason to panic in Cleveland.

He assured Cavaliers fans before the break that the team was going to be just fine even if it wasn’t able to make any more moves, but injuries to Kevin Love and J.R. Smith have given other teams in the East confidence that the No. 1 seed can be had.

“As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance,” James said after it was announced that Love would miss six to eight weeks to recover from knee surgery. “We’re good. Kev is out for an extended period of time. JR’s been out. But I’m in the lineup, obviously we’ve got a chance against anybody.”

Hard to argue with the logic, considering James has appeared in six straight NBA finals. But that won’t stop the Celtics, Wizards and Raptors from giving chase. Boston is in second place, just two wins behind Cleveland, the surging Wizards have rocketed up the standings and are in third, and the fourth-place Raptors just acquired Serge Ibaka to bolster their defense and climb back into the hunt.

Down the ladder in the East, seventh-place Chicago, eighth-place Detroit and 11th-place Charlotte are teams to watch near the deadline. If the Bulls trade Butler, a full-blown rebuild would be started in Chicago. The Pistons have floundered after a promising start and could look to move struggling point guard Reggie Jackson while the Hornets could try to acquire some help for Kemba Walker to jump back into the chase.

In the West, the top of the standings look a little more stable with the Golden State Warriors the clear favorites and third-seeded Houston with five more victories than the fourth-seeded Clippers. But five teams are within three wins of eighth-seeded Denver, though the Pelicans certainly pushed themselves to the forefront by landing Cousins.

Suddenly the 11th-seeded Pelicans arguably have two of the top 10 players in the league in Cousins and Anthony Davis, giving New Orleans an enormous frontcourt that should be cause for concern all the way to the Bay Area.

“We can wreak havoc on this league,” Cousins said. “Will it happen overnight? Probably not, but our potential is scary.”

There isn’t much time to waste. New Orleans has only 26 games left before the playoffs start, giving the two former Kentucky stars less than two months to get on the same page.

GOLDEN STATE is preparing to get some reinforcements for Thursday night’s home game against the Clippers, with center Zaza Pachulia and David West expected to play.

Pachulia has missed the last eight games with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder sustained when diving for a ball at Portland on Jan. 29. West suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City.

THE CLIPPERS have cleared Chris Paul for Thursday.

Coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday that Paul “looked great” in practice a day earlier and the only remaining hurdle is how comfortable he feels after another practice.

“Overall, he was pretty aggressive,” Rivers said of Paul’s first practice in four weeks on Tuesday.

Paul has been out since Jan. 16 after tearing a ligament in his left thumb and having surgery two days later.

]]> 0 Cousins should be anything but a big zero in New Orleans, as his addition gives the Pelicans a huge frontcourt.Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:29:36 +0000
Major league notebook: Players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walk Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:07:21 +0000 NEW YORK — There won’t be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players’ association has agreed to Major League Baseball’s proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

“It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. I know they’re trying to cut out some of the fat. I’m OK with that,” Cleveland Manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB’s proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

“As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes,” union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. “There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however.”

The union’s decision was first reported by ESPN.

“I’m OK with it. You signal. I don’t think that’s a big deal,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “For the most part, it’s not changing the strategy, it’s just kind of speeding things up. I’m good with it.”

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher’s slot to the plate.

RANGERS: Josh Hamilton has left spring training camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after he experienced pain.

The 2010 AL MVP, at spring training with a minor league contract, felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout Tuesday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations.

Hamilton has a $24 million salary this year, and the Angels pay the Rangers $22 million to cover most of it.

YANKEES: Manager Joe Girardi said 36-year old left-hander CC Sabathia, coming off arthroscopic knee surgery in October, likely will pitch in simulated games instead of spring training exhibitions during the first few times through the rotation.

Girardi said Sabathia has not had any knee issues but the team is able to control his routine better with a simulated game.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:31:01 +0000
Control has Red Sox pitcher Porcello in control Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:55:04 +0000 FORT MYERS, Fla. — The best game Rick Porcello pitched last season began with a 2-0 fastball down the middle of the plate to one of baseball’s most aggressive hitters.

Porcello had fallen behind Adam Jones of Baltimore with two sinkers below the strike zone, putting Jones in position to sit on a fastball and hit it hard. What Porcello threw next probably wasn’t exactly the pitch he wanted to throw, either.

But because Porcello had spent all season demonstrating an ability to hit all four edges of the strike zone – and because his sinker had such ferocious tail to it – Jones couldn’t just sit on a batting-practice fastball. He had to cover the entire strike zone. When he took a swing at what looked like an enticing pitch, he rolled a weak grounder to short. It was the first out of what wound up as an 89-pitch complete game.

“For hitters, it’s not just about looking for the fastball, it’s about looking for the fastball in a location,” Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said. “That’s why (Porcello) would do what he does with his fastball. His command of the strike zone is so good. It’s not just throwing strikes. It’s in, out, up, down. He can throw the four-seamer in to lefties. He can throw the four-seamer at them and bring it back. Not only does he widen his plate with his fastball, he can go up and down with the fastball.”

Porcello didn’t win the Cy Young Award a year ago by overpowering hitters. Each of the other top-five finishers in the voting induced more swings and misses. He finished in the bottom half of qualifying American League starters in strikeout rate.

What Porcello did so brilliantly was pitch in the strike zone with purpose.

He compiled the second-lowest walk rate in the major leagues (behind only Josh Tomlin). He threw the third-highest rate of pitches in the strike zone (behind only Danny Duffy and Bartolo Colon).

And while there’s a danger inherent in spending too much time in the strike zone, particularly for a pitcher without upper-90s velocity, Porcello thrived because he could spot his sinker anywhere in the strike zone. He could spot a sinker at the knees as easily as he could spot a four-seamer at the letters. He could execute a cutter on the inside corner as easily as he could a change-up down and away.

“It’s the mindset you get when you know you’re putting the ball where you want to and you don’t necessarily have to leave the strike zone to get guys out,” Porcello said. “That’s also part of just my mindset from when I came up to the big leagues – first and foremost, I want to establish my fastball to both sides of the plate and induce weak contact.”

“Command inside the strike zone with intent – to be able to move the ball around, to elevate pitches by design, change speeds – he epitomizes that,” Manager John Farrell said.

That Porcello could thrive without classic chase pitches was particularly remarkable in an era when hitters have regained their aggressiveness.

Swing rates across Major League Baseball declined steadily in the post-2002 “Moneyball” era as drawing walks and driving up pitch counts came into fashion. But swing rates across the game have climbed since 2010, in part of reaction to the increasing dominance of high-velocity pitchers, especially relievers.

No longer is it good strategy to take pitches early and risk falling behind in counts. No longer is it good strategy to try to get a starting pitcher out of a game. It now behooves hitters to jump on the first fastball they get and try to hit it hard somewhere.

Major League Baseball’s collective swing rate bottomed out at 44.8 percent in 2009, the first year Porcello pitched in the major leagues. Every single team compiled a swing rate of 45 percent or higher in 2016. The Red Sox, once the team defined by “Moneyball” hero Kevin Youkilis, swung at 46.1 percent of pitches – sixth-most in the major leagues.

“Guys are more aggressive now than they have been in years past,” Porcello said. “Right out of the gate, guys are swinging. It’s not like you’re getting a get-me-over, cookie fastball for strike one. You’ve got to start pitching and establishing from the get-go.”

It’s no longer enough to have a swing-and-miss breaking ball to utilize with two strikes. The only way for pitchers to get to two strikes these days is to pitch effectively in the strike zone from the start.

Both of the game’s Cy Young Award winners last season – Porcello and ex-Detroit teammate Max Scherzer, now with Washington – ranked among the top 10 pitchers in the game in frequency of strikes thrown.

David Price and Chris Sale, who join with Porcello this season as part of a formidable Red Sox rotation, ranked 10th and 13th in the major leagues, respectively, in frequency of pitches in the strike zone.

But while Scherzer ranked second in Major League Baseball in strikeout rate, Porcello ranked 34th. Porcello didn’t expect to miss bats. He expected to miss the barrel of the bat and get weak contact.

Pitching to contact can be less sustainable than pitching to miss bats. Porcello had a significantly lower batting average on balls in play (.269) than his career average before last season (.314). That’s an indication he might have benefited from a bit of good fortune and could expect some regression in his numbers.

But a pitcher who can stay off the barrel of the bat, as Porcello did a year ago, can have consistent success.

“Against more aggressive lineups, if you can identify their weaknesses and you can execute to those zones of the strike zone, you’ve got a chance to get some quick outs,” Porcello said. “Their whole philosophy is to be relentless. They’re not thinking about taking pitches and drawing walks. If you can expand and hit those zones you want to hit, you’ve got a chance to pitch deep into the game.”

]]> 0, 22 Feb 2017 20:59:54 +0000
Earnhardt may retire with a title Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:48:13 +0000 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Upon further review, hoisting a championship trophy is exactly how Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to end his career.

NASCAR’s most popular driver caused a stir on “The Dan Patrick Show” when he claimed he would immediately retire if he wins the title this year. The statement followed him to media day for the Daytona 500, and there was no question about it.

“Hell, yeah. I would definitely not want to come back and try to race anymore if I won the championship. I would be outta here,” he said. “That’s the last box I don’t have checked, really.”

Earnhardt is the son of Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, who won a record-tying seven championships over his career. As Earnhardt enters the 18th season of his Cup career, he’s still seeking his first title.

He’s said repeatedly that retirement is not on his radar, and at just 42 years old, he should have many years ahead in his career. But Earnhardt has had concussion issues and missed the second half of last season recovering from one. He is also newly married and says he is looking at life differently.

“To come back this year, win a championship, it would be hard not to hang it up,” he said. “This is the last year of my (contract). I would like to race more. But if I win the championship, I’d have to consider going out on top.”

Earnhardt qualified second for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500.

FAVORITES?: Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano teamed to win six of the last nine restrictor-plate races, and Logano won the exhibition Clash on Sunday.

It means Team Penske is a heavy favorite for Sunday, and eager for the 500 to arrive.

“I wish it was Sunday right now, I’m ready to go racing,” Keselowski said.

Austin Dillon called Logano, Keselowski and defending race winner Denny Hamlin the drivers to beat.

“As a race car driver you always look to be better at certain things,” Logano said. “When I first started speedway racing, I wasn’t very good at all and I’ve worked really hard at it to become better. I’m confident enough to say I’m the best race car driver out there, but I guess at the same time after the race I’m able to look back at the race and say, ‘Why did I do that? I screwed this up. I did that wrong.’ I’m able to still find a lot of things that I can be a lot better at.”

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:57:39 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Oceanside stops Cony Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:47:28 +0000 AUGUSTA — Third-seeded Oceanside remained under control until the very end to pull out a 67-61 win against seventh-seeded Cony in a Class A North boys’ basketball semifinal Wednesday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

The defending regional champions sank four free throws in the last two minutes to seal their victory over the upset-minded Rams.

The Mariners (17-3) will play No. 5 Messalonskee (15-5) for the regional title Friday afternoon.

Cony (11-10), which used its full-court pressure defense to roll to a 60-48 win over No. 2 Hampden Academy in the quarterfinals, pushed Oceanside to the limit.

“They run a lot of guys at you,” Oceanside Coach Matt Breen said. “We tried to rotate guys in and tried to use our timeouts to make sure my guys had enough legs at the end. We emphasize conditioning and it paid off tonight.

“They like to cause chaos. In the first half we did a bad job of guarding the basketball. We made some adjustments at halftime. To hold that team to 21 points in the second half was pretty good.”

Cony held leads of 20-17 after one quarter and 40-38 at halftime.

Freshman guard Simon McCormick’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer put the Rams ahead at the end of the first quarter. The Rams hit six 3-pointers in the second quarter to open up a 40-32 lead before Oceanside closed the half with six straight points.

The score was tied or the lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter, which ended with the Mariners ahead 53-50.

Mike Norton put in an offensive rebound and Sam Atwood sank a free throw early in the fourth to make it a six-point game, but the Rams reeled off the next six points. Then Oceanside answered with six straight points in less than a minute to take the lead for good.

Jordan Roddy, who led the Rams with 24 points, hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game and drove the lane for a layup to pull his team back to within a point with 2:50 left. But Cony didn’t score another point.

“They made plays and we didn’t at the end,” Cony Coach T.J. Maines said.

Norton paced Oceanside with 24 points. Atwood followed with 14, and Nate Raye and Cooper Workala each had 13. Austin Parlin scored 10 points for Cony.

The Mariners are headed back to the regional final despite the loss of seven players from last season’s championship team.

“I knew we had a chance to be good,” Breen said. “Our leadership has really stepped up and the younger kids came along a lot faster than I expected.”

]]> 0's Nate Parlin defends Nate Raye of Oceanside during a Class A North semifinal Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Oceanside won, 67-61.Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:36:20 +0000
Wednesday’s high school roundup: Semifinalists named for Mr. and Miss Basketball Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:40:48 +0000 Emily Esposito of Gorham, and the Greely tandem of Matt McDevitt and Jordan Bagshaw are among the Miss and Mr. Maine basketball semifinalists.

The awards honor the top high school seniors in the state, taking into account skill, leadership, respect for the game and sportsmanship. Three finalists for each award will be announced next week, and the winner will be announced March 10 at the Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star banquet in Bangor.

Esposito, who has committed to play at Villanova, led Gorham to the 2016 Class AA title and is a three-time Maine Sunday Telegram All-State player. Gorham has won 40 straight games heading into the Class AA South final Friday against South Portland. Other Miss Maine semifinalists announced Wednesday are Katie Butler of Bangor, Megan Peach of Dexter, Jordyn Reynolds of Edward Little, Morgan Dauk of George Stevens, Emi Higgins of Hermon, Rylee Warman of Houlton, Sophia Holmes of Messalonskee, Emily Lagerstrom of Presque Isle and Emma Alley of Stearns.

McDevitt, a 6-foot-7 forward, and Bagshaw, a guard, are both captains for Greely, the top seed in Class A South and one of only three undefeated boys’ teams in the state. Other Mr. Maine semifinalists are Cheverus guard Jack Casale, Falmouth guard Colin Coyne, Medomak Valley forward Cam Allaire, Mason Cooper of Lawrence, Riley Swanson of Mt. Desert Island, Nate Desisto of Orono, Justin Thompson of Schenck and Jacob Hickey of Winthrop.


MESSALONSKEE 70, HAMPDEN ACADEMY 31: McKenna Brodeur and Sophie Holmes each scored 16 points and the top-seeded Eagles (20-0) routed the No. 5 Broncos (12-8) in a Class A North semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Messalonskee built a 39-19 halftime lead with the help of 12 points from Brodeur, who also played a big role in shutting down Hampden’s 6-foot-4 center, Bailey Donovan. Donovan was held to four points after she scored 21 against Lawrence in the quarterfinals.

The Eagles made 16 of 26 shots in the first half and ended the half with a 15-0 run.

Ally Turner contributed 14 points for Messalonskee.

NOKOMIS 45, SKOWHEGAN 32: Sidney Moore scored 20 points and the third-seeded Warriors (16-4) limited No. 2 Skowhegan (15-5) to 23 percent shooting in a Class A North semifinal victory.

Olivia Brown added 10 points for Nokomis. Annie Cooke led Skowhegan with 12 points.


MESSALONSKEE 64, SKOWHEGAN 55: James Kouletsis made a tying basket with time running out in regulation, and the fifth-seeded Eagles (15-5) pulled away in overtime to beat the eighth-seeded Indians (11-10) in a Class A North semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Skowhegan, which stunned previously undefeated Medomak Valley in the quarterfinals, was on the verge of another upset with a five-point lead in the final minute of regulation. But a three-point play by Dawson Charles and a 3-pointer by Nate Violette put Messalonskee in position to tie it in the closing seconds.

Violette finished with 25 points, and Kouletsis and Chase Warren each scored 13 for Messalonskee.

Skowhegan’s Cameron Barnes scored 27 points. Garrett McSweeney added 12.


PORTLAND/DEERING 3, BIDDEFORD 2: Dominic Tocci’s goal with 2:22 remaining gave the Bulldogs (10-7-1) a win over the Tigers (10-8) in a regular-season finale at Biddeford Ice Arena.

Biddeford took a 2-1 lead on Brady Crepeau’s second goal of the game with 8:56 remaining, but Walter Lewandowski tied it just 23 seconds later.

Joe Herboldsheimer also scored for Portland, which is expected to host a Class A South quarterfinal next week as the No. 4 seed.

SCARBOROUGH 5, SOUTH PORTLAND/FREEPORT/WAYNFLETE 1: Eric Murray dished out three assists and the Red Storm (10-7-1) scored three goals in the third period to pull away from the Red Riots (7-11) at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Cam Smith had a goal and an assist, and Skylar Pettingill, Brett Rockey, Wyatt Palmer and Sam Neugebauer added a goal apiece for Scarborough, which led 2-1 going into the third.

Gus Lappin scored for South Portland off an assist from Max Winson.

YORK 6, GREELY 2: Julius Lundgren had two goals and an assist to lead the Wildcats (15-2) over the Rangers (11-6) at Family Ice Center in Falmouth.

Ryan Sullivan and Andrew Moore tallied third-period goals for Greely.

WATERVILLE 8, OLD TOWN/ORONO 7: Matt Jolicouer’s power-play goal with 41 seconds left lifted the Purple Panthers (17-1) to a win over the Coyotes (14-2-2) in Waterville.

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