Sports – The Portland Press Herald Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:13:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NHL roundup: Capuano, former UMaine player, fired as coach of the last-place Islanders Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:09:28 +0000 Stuck in last place in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, ending one of the longest tenures in the NHL.

General Manager Garth Snow named assistant GM/coach Doug Weight as Capuano’s interim replacement in the hopes that a new voice could provide a spark for his struggling team. The Islanders are 17-17-8 and their 42 points are the fewest in the East, leading to Snow making the move for the short and long term.

“Obviously we’re not in a position where we want to be standing wise,” Snow said on a conference call Tuesday. “At the end of the day organizationally I don’t think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back.”

The Islanders went 227-194-64 in seven seasons under Capuano, a former UMaine player, and made three playoff appearances.

Last spring, Capuano led them to their first playoff series victory in 23 years.

They’re eight points back of the final playoff spot this season despite beating the Bruins 4-0 on Monday. Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of firing Capuano, who took the fall for New York’s underachieving performance.


BLUE JACKETS 4, HURRICANES 1: Brandon Dubinsky ended a 17-game scoring drought with two goals, Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist and Columbus won at home.

DEVILS 4, WILD 3: Beau Bennett scored with 2:17 remaining to lift New Jersey over host Minnesota.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, SABRES 3: Auston Matthews, Leo Komarov and Matt Martin each scored in a nine-minute span in the second period as host Toronto got its 10th win in 13 games.

STARS 7, RANGERS 6: Patrick Sharp scored twice, Jamie Benn and Patrick Eaves had a goal and two assists each and Dallas held on for a wild win at New York.

SENATORS 6, BLUES 4: Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone each scored twice as visiting Ottawa won. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan also scored for the Senators.

]]> 0 Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:09:28 +0000
Tuesday’s Maine college roundup: UNE women get off to a good start Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:03:29 +0000 Quincy, Mass. — Sam MacDonald scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half Tuesday night as the University of New England topped Eastern Nazerene 64-53 in women’s basketball.

The Nor’easters (10-5, 6-3 Commonwealth Coast Conference) used a 14-4 run to take a 33-23 halftime lead to top the Lions (11-4, 5-4).

UNE led 19-17 after one quarter and Kayla Torio put in a layup with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter for Eastern Nazarene to tie the game before MacDonald opened the run with a jumper as the Nor’easters took control.

Alicia Brown added 17 points for UNE.

Shelby Holmes led the Lions with 11 points.

HUSSON 76, COLBY 73: The Eagles (12-1) started the third quarter with a 12-5 run to open a 10-point lead and held off a late charge to defeat the Mules (7-7) in a nonconference matchup at Waterville.

Husson held a 61-50 advantage at the end of the third quarter and opened the final 10 minutes of play with a Kenzie Worcester 3-point jumper, but Colby closed with a 14-8 run to come up just short.

Worcester led all scorers with 28 points for the Eagles.

Haley Driscoll led the Mules with 18 points.


EASTERN NAZARENE 65, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 62: Christian Lynch had 22 points and six rebounds to lead the Lions (9-7, 6-3 CCC) over the Nor’easters (5-11, 3-6) at Quincy, Massachusetts.

Eastern Nazarene had a 36-35 lead at halftime, Drew Patno hit the opening shot of the second half to give UNE a 37-36 lead.

The Lions answered with an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.

Reserve David Muniz lead the way for the Nor’easters with 13 points.


ENDICOTT 5, BOWDOIN 1: Lexi Klein had a pair of third-period goals for the Gulls (13-2-1), who scored three unanswered goals and pulled away from the Polar Bears (8-5-2) in a nonconference game at Brunswick.

Courtney Walpole scored for Endicott with assists from Caroline Hughes and Jade Meier 14 seconds into the second period for the only goal heading to the final period.

Maggie Layo made the lead 2-0 from Klein and Nicole Demers 45 seconds into the third before Marissa Fichter scored for Bowdoin at 4:53 from Maegan Sheehan and Brigit Bergin.

Layo added a power-play goal for the Gulls.


COLBY 3, SOUTHERN MAINE 3: Brett Norman had a pair of goals and an assist to help the Huskies (6-10-1) salvage a tie in a nonconference game against the Mules (6-4-3) at Gorham.

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Tuesday’s high school roundup: NYA defeats Waynflete in boys’ basketball Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:57:48 +0000 Jake Malcom and freshman Te’Andre King combined for 23 points Tuesday night to lead North Yarmouth Academy to a 41-37 victory against Waynflete in a Western Maine Conference boys’ basketball game.

Waynflete (8-3) held a 15-13 halftime lead but NYA (6-4) used a 17-11 run in the third quarter to move in front.

Alex Saade had 13 points and Yai Deng added 10 for Waynflete, which has lost two straight after an 8-1 start.

FOREST HILLS 70, GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN 36: The Tigers (7-5), who nailed 12 3-pointers, led 38-14 at halftime and defeated the Lions (1-9) at South Portland.

Killian Patterson and Mason Jones each scored 11 points for Greater Portland Christian. Ethan Spaulding added 10.

YARMOUTH 91, WELLS 63: Gibson Harnett scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, including all five of his 3-pointers, as the Clippers (9-2) opened a 52-25 lead against the Warriors (7-4) at Wells.

Aleksander Medenica had 19 points for Yarmouth, Igor Nikolic added 14 and Nolan Hagerty 11.

Deandre Woods paced Wells with 20 points. Cam Cousins and Tyler Dewey each tossed in 11.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 53, LAKE REGION 48: Josiah Rottari scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Patriots (6-5), who used a 23-14 run to rally past the Lakers (5-7) at Naples.

Lake Region led 27-18 at halftime and 34-30 after three quarters. John Henry Villanueva had 13 points for Gray-NG.

SEACOAST CHRISTIAN 55, RANGELEY 34: Caleb LaCroix scored 19 points to lift the Guardians (7-5) over the Lakers (3-8) at Auburn.

Sky Archer added 12 points for Seacoast.


WAYNFLETE 45, NORTH YARMOUTH ACADEMY 40: The Flyers (6-5) took a 15-4 lead in the first quarter and held off the Panthers (5-5) at Portland.

Annika Brooks had a team-leading 15 points for Waynflete. Lydia Giguere added 11.

DEERING 51, NOBLE 23: Tasia Titherington and Delaney Haines combined for 17 points as the Rams (8-3) opened a 29-8 halftime lead against the Knights (0-11) at Portland.

Haines finished with a game-high 16 points for Deering. Titherington added 12 and Sidney Giroux tossed in nine.

BOOTHBAY REGION 58, WINTHROP 35: Page Brown hit 17 field goals and three free throws for 37 points to lead the Seahawks (12-0) over the Ramblers (6-5) at Winthrop.

PINE TREE ACADEMY 55, FOREST HILLS 46: Caitlin Logston scored 23 points, Patricia Lessard added 10 and the Breakers (6-2) outscored the Tigers (6-6) 29-16 in the second half at Augusta.

Alexandra Goodman had 25 points to lead the Tigers.

RANGELEY 51, SEACOAST CHRISTIAN 20: Natasha Haley scored 21 points to lead the Lakers (9-2) over the Guardians (2-10) at South Berwick.

Courtney Williams led the Guardians with 17 points.

]]> 0 Giguere of Waynflete drives to the basket Tuesday while defended by Lindsay Tufts of North Yarmouth Academy during Waynflete's 45-40 victory at home.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:07:15 +0000
Top 25 basketball: UConn coasts to 92nd straight victory Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:38:57 +0000 TULSA, Okla. – Katie Lou Samuelson scored a career-high 34 points Tuesday night to help No. 1 UConn beat Tulsa 98-58 for the Huskies’ 92nd consecutive victory.

Napheesa Collier had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Gabby Williams added 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Huskies (17-0, 5-0 American Athletic), who also won their 33rd straight road game.

Shug Dickson scored 21 points for Tulsa (5-13, 1-4).

The Huskies scored the first 14 points and held Tulsa scoreless for more than five minutes to start the game. Connecticut led 30-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Samuelson scored 23 points in the first half to help Connecticut take a 55-33 lead. Dickson had 15 points in the first half but the Golden Hurricane shot 38.7 percent.

(12) TEXAS 86, (20) OKLAHOMA 68: Joyner Holmes scored 20 points with 10 rebounds, and Ariel Atkins poured in 19 points before fouling out as Texas (13-4, 7-0) defeated Oklahoma (14-5, 5-2) in a Big 12 Conference showdown at Austin, Texas.

A Lashann Higgs layup sparked a 10-2 run as the Longhorns broke open the game in the final 4:36. Holmes scored eight points in the final quarter and Atkins six, including driving for a layup after stealing the ball.

(23) SOUTH FLORIDA 79, MEMPHIS 49: Maria Jespersen tied her career high with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, Ariadna Pujol had a double-double and Coach Jose Fernandez earned his 300th career win as South Florida (15-2, 4-1 American Athletic) cruised over Memphis (8-10, 1-4) at Tampa, Florida.

Pujol scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half, and finished with 10 rebounds and five assists. Laia Flores added 11 points and Kitija Laska scored 10 for USF, which has won seven of its last eight games.


(5) KENTUCKY 88, MISSISSIPPI STATE 81: De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points, Malik Monk added 14 and Kentucky (16-2, 6-0 Southeastern) beat Mississippi State (12-5, 3-2) at Starkville, Mississippi.

Kentucky looked like it would cruise to the win after building a 66-49 lead midway through the second half, but Mississippi State responded with 13 straight points to make things interesting down the stretch.

(6) BAYLOR 74, TEXAS 64: Johnathan Motley set career highs with 32 points and 20 rebounds for Baylor (17-1, 5-1 Big 12), which went ahead to stay with a big run before halftime on the way to a victory against Texas (7-11, 1-5) at Waco, Texas.

Nuni Omot, the junior college transfer playing in only his eighth game, had a season-high 14 points. He scored seven in the half-ending 16-4 run that put the Bears up for the first time.

(21) PURDUE 91, ILLINOIS 68: Center Isaac Haas had 24 points and six rebounds, and power forward Caleb Swanigan added 22 points and 10 rebounds as Purdue (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) dominated Illinois (12-7, 2-4) at West Lafayette, Indiana.

Haas scored 13 points in the second half when the Boilermakers led by as many as 27. Swanigan had a four-point first half but was almost unstoppable during the second half, accounting for 18 points and five rebounds.

]]> 0 Collier of Connecticut protects the ball as Liesl Spoerl, left, and Shug Dickson of Tulsa defend during the second quarter of UConn's 98-58 victory Tuesday night. The Huskies have won 92 consecutive games.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:58:39 +0000
Girls’ basketball: Yarmouth holds off Wells for 42-30 victory Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:16:08 +0000 YARMOUTH — Taking over when she needed to, point guard Sara D’Appolonia scored 18 points to lead Yarmouth to an important 42-30 victory against Wells in a Western Maine Conference girls’ basketball game Tuesday night.

The win vaulted the Clippers into second place behind unbeaten Gray-New Gloucester in the Class B South Heal point standings. The loss dropped the Warriors from second to fourth. Both teams are 7-4.

Yarmouth took early control when its zone defense made it difficult for Wells to run its offense. After the Warriors scored the first two baskets, the Clippers ran off 19 points to open a 19-4 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.

“We’ve been pretty good against the zone but we didn’t move the ball from side to side well,” Wells Coach Don Abbott said. “Their length made it difficult for us to get the ball into the low post and our shot selection wasn’t very good. We just couldn’t penetrate in the first half.”

“(Wells is) a great execution team,” Yarmouth Coach Chris Strong said. “They’re very good at getting the ball into the low post and the short corner, so we knew we needed to protect the low post.”

The Clippers sank 12 of 19 shots in the first half and held a 25-10 lead.

But the Warriors opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run.

“I’m never happy with the loss,” Abbott said, “but I was pleased with how (my players) responded in the second half.That’s something we can build on.”

D’Appolonia killed Wells’ momentum by hitting a 3-pointer with about a minute left in the third quarter to make it 30-22.

“We weren’t able to get it over the hump,” Abbott said.

Natalie Thurber sank a 3-poiner in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to pull Wells back within five points, but that was as close as it got. Yarmouth held the Warriors to five points the rest of the way.

“They clearly talked at half-time on how to adjust their offense,” D’Appolonia said. “We had to change it up and change our defense, and that seemed to work well for us.”

“We just made adjustments in the second half to counter their adjustments,” Strong said. “We just put more pressure on (their) guards. Our defensive principles are all the same. It’s just that we can adjust one player and it can make a difference.”

D’Appolonia scored 10 of her game-high total in the second half.

“Sara just makes thing happen,” Strong said. “Ball movement-wise. Finding the open player.”

“Part of being the point guard is to run the offense and get people to where they’re supposed to be,” D’Appolonia said. “I couldn’t do what I do without my teammates. They are the team, and I think we work really well together.”

Clementine Blaschke, a sophomore forward, scored eight of her 12 points for the Clippers in the second half.

Meg Schneider led the Warriors with 10 points.

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NFL notebook: Cowboys now ponder what to do with Tony Romo Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:40:27 +0000 FRISCO, Texas — Those closest to Tony Romo on the Cowboys aren’t ready to discuss the future of the Dallas quarterback, probably because they know the likely final answer.

After 156 games and franchise bests of 34,183 yards passing and 248 touchdowns, Romo’s career in Dallas appears to be over after he lost the job he held for 10 years to rookie sensation Dak Prescott following a preseason back injury.

The question is, what’s next?

“There’s several cards to be played,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show Tuesday. “Don’t think for one minute if you see something written or something said about what and where Romo is going to be relative to our team that there’s any credibility to it.

“There’s only one that can make that decision, and there’s been no decision made.”

Whether it’s a trade or release, Romo figures to have at least some say in where he goes because of his strong relationship with the Jones family and Coach Jason Garrett. And logic says it will be a playoff contender needing a quarterback.

Tight end Jason Witten came into the NFL with Romo in 2003 and is his best friend on the team. Romo and Witten didn’t appear in the locker room a day after a 34-31 playoff loss to Green Bay. But immediately after the Packers won, Witten was asked whether his friend had played his final game for the Cowboys and he recalled the only time Romo spoke publicly all season, when he read a five-minute statement that conceded the job to Prescott and didn’t take questions.

“I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll have a time to talk,” Witten said. “But I’m proud of him and how he handled that. Going back to when he had his press conference and the way he was able to kind of take the lead and eliminate the distraction for our football team. That wasn’t easy to do. I think we’re all better because of that.”

After declining to discuss the Prescott-Romo decision in detail all season, Garrett finally opened up when the season was over.

Garrett, who was Romo’s offensive coordinator for 31/2 seasons before taking over as head coach, said the difficulty was realizing how successful Romo was in the previous two seasons when he wasn’t out with a twice-broken collarbone in 2015.

Romo was 16-5 in his final 21 starts, including two playoff games in 2014.

49ERS: The search for a new coach has narrowed in on Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after the only other candidate remaining pulled out of consideration.

Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable’s agent, Doug Hendickson, tweeted Tuesday that Cable is “re-affirming” his commitment to the Seahawks and thanked the 49ers for their interest. That follows New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulling out on Monday and leaves Shanahan as the only remaining candidate.

JETS: Right guard Brian Winters is sticking with the Jets after they took a chance on him four years ago. Winters signed a four-year contract extension worth $29 million, including $15 million guaranteed.

BRONCOS: Coach Vance Joseph promoted secondary coach Joe Woods to defensive coordinator, replacing Wade Phillips, who left for the Rams.

BILLS: Coach Sean McDermott continues filling out his staff by hiring Rob Boras to coach tight ends.

Boras spent the past four seasons with the Rams.

WASHINGTON: The team interviewed outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky for its defensive coordinator job.

Other candidates include former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Bills assistant Rob Ryan and former Browns coach Mike Pettine.

Before rejoining Washington as outside linebackers coach under Joe Barry last season, Manusky served as defensive coordinator for the Colts, Chargers and 49ers.

PANTHERS: Wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl resigned so he can spend more time watching his sons play college football.

Proehl’s son, Austin, is a wide receiver at North Carolina. His other son, Blake, recently committed to play football at East Carolina.

]]> 0 Romo was hurt in the preseason and watched as Dak Prescott led the Cowboys to the NFC East title. Romo could be headed to a new team next year.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:08:33 +0000
NFC championship: Get ready for some offense Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:03:07 +0000 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The high-scoring offenses of the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers appear poised to provide a memorable send-off for the Georgia Dome.

Factor in the teams’ leaky defenses, and Sunday’s NFC championship game could surge past the unusually high over/under of 60½ points set by the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

The Falcons led the NFL in scoring. Even so, they know it won’t be easy to keep up with the scoring pace set by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

“It’s obvious they’ve got a stud at quarterback,” Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews said Tuesday. “We’ve played a lot of great teams with great players at quarterback. … Whatever it takes, we just have to put up as many points as we need to.”

Matthews said the weekly message from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is “I don’t know if we’re going to have to win 6-3 or 40-37.”

Of those alternatives, 40-37 appears to be the more likely target, in part because the Atlanta and Green Bay defenses don’t dominate the statistics like their offensive counterparts.

The game will be the Falcons’ farewell to the Georgia Dome, which will be demolished in the offseason. The Falcons will move into the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium next season.

The Falcons and Packers finished the regular season ranked 28th and 31st in pass defense. The Falcons allowed 25.4 points per game to rank 27th, only a few spots below the Packers (24.2) at 21st.

The Falcons beat the Packers 33-32 in Atlanta on Oct. 30. Atlanta led the NFL with 33.8 points per game.

Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry said the goal will be to prevent big plays.

“They are very explosive,” Perry said. “When we look at the film, we have to make sure we don’t give up those explosive plays. Everything lives off that.”

The Falcons advanced with a 36-20 divisional playoff win over Seattle last week. Green Bay’s offense also rolled in a 34-31 win over Dallas.

Despite the unimpressive season totals, Atlanta allowed fewer than 20 points in four of its last six regular-season games.

But none of those games were against Rodgers.

The Falcons have faced Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Drew Brees in their past three games.

Asked who compares with Rodgers, Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell had a quick answer.

“Nobody. It’s just that simple,” Campbell said. “The things that he can do, it’s just amazing to see.”

The Falcons are led by MVP candidate Matt Ryan , the All-Pro who ranked second in the NFL in yards passing and TD passes. Atlanta’s offense featured depth, as Ryan threw scoring passes to a record 13 players during the season, and balance with running back Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Atlanta’s offense provides nice support for its defense, but cornerback Jalen Collins insisted he doesn’t want to have to rely on that strength.

“You don’t go in the game thinking you’re going to give up hundreds of yards and a bunch of points,” Collins said. “We’re looking forward to trying to limit the points as best we can and give our offense an opportunity to put points on the board.”

]]> 0 of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, Matt Ryan of the Falcons, left and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers will meet Sunday in the NFC championship game. Plenty of points are expected.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:11:45 +0000
Home remains the place to be for Patriots Wed, 18 Jan 2017 01:56:37 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have had what seems like an annual spot in the AFC championship game over the past decade.

But the fact that this year’s game is at home could factor into whether they are able to make a return trip to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots became the first team since the 1970 merger to advance to the AFC title game in six straight seasons with their victory against the Houston Texans last week.

The Patriots are 5-1 at home in AFC championship games, with their lone loss coming in 2013 against the Baltimore Ravens in Ray Lewis’ final trip to Foxborough.

While being at home doesn’t guarantee victory, playing the game at Gillette Stadium is welcomed by a team that has been on the road in two of their past three trips to the AFC title game. Both of those road games ended in losses to Denver, including a 20-18 defeat last season.

“It’s the energy. You get out there and everyone is really energetic. The fans are really intense,” receiver Chris Hogan said Tuesday.

“At the end of the day it’s another football game, and I just have to approach it like that, just the way I’ve been approaching every single game this year. Go out there, play my best, play good football and try to help this team win as much as I can.”

Special teams captain Matt Slater acknowledged that New England’s performance against the Texans could have been better but said no one is taking anything for granted about this latest shot at a Super Bowl berth.

“Anytime you win a playoff game, whether you play well or not, if you win the game that’s all that matters,” Slater said.

“I think we all appreciate the opportunity that we have. Could we have played better? Certainly. But we could also be at home.”

The Steelers – and Coach Mike Tomlin specifically – can expect to get an even more hostile reception than usual from the Patriots’ fans.

This comes after Tomlin was broadcast using a expletive to describe the Patriots during a postgame speech to his team following Pittsburgh’s divisional-round win over Kansas City.

Unbeknownst to Tomlin, the speech was aired on a social media livestream by Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown.

Tomlin apologized Tuesday for his use of “regrettable” language, but said he’s not worried about it having an impact on his team’s preparations this week.

“We are in the AFC championship (game). You aren’t going to creep in the back door of New England and win a football game, and creep out of there with an AFC championship,” he said

“I’m not worried about our team’s ability to deal with the potential distractions.”

Slater said he continues to have respect for Tomlin and didn’t think his comments would serve as any extra motivation.

“At the end of the day the only thing that is going to matter is what we do in between those white lines on Sunday,” Slater said. “What is said or what is done off the football field, it really doesn’t matter. It’s about executing on Sunday.”

Notes: Hogan said he’s “feeling good” after leaving Saturday’s victory in the third quarter with a thigh injury. He said he could have come back into the game but the decision was made with the training staff for him not to go back in. “Just had a little minor setback in the game but I’m working back every single day and feeling better every day,” Hogan said.

]]> 0 running back Dion Lewis leaves Houston's Benardrick McKinney in his wake on the way to the first of three touchdowns Saturday night in the AFC playoffs at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won, 34-16.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:03:41 +0000
Boys’ basketball: Portland beat Deering, 63-44 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 01:36:01 +0000 Efficient 3-point shooting and Griffin Foley’s elusiveness paved the way for Portland to defeat rival Deering 63-44 Tuesday night in a battle of AA North top boys’ basketball teams before a large crowd at the Portland Expo.

Foley led all scorers with 20 points. He repeatedly hurt Deering by getting behind the defense for fast-break layups in transition thanks to long outlet passes.

“I just saw people getting rebounds so I just took off,” Foley said.

Foley also adeptly sliced through the Deering defense and converted a variety of short-range floaters over or around outstretched hands.

“That’s all team effort. Spreading the floor and having people in slots everywhere. That really helped drag out the defense and just created lanes for everyone else to drive it,” Foley said.

Portland improved to 10-1 and should move into second in the Class AA North standings behind unbeaten Edward Little. Deering is 8-3 after splitting a four-game stretch against top AA contenders. The Rams, who did not make a 3-point shot, were 7 of 21 from the floor in the middle two quarters with nine turnovers as Portland stretched a 17-13 first-quarter lead to 50-33 entering the fourth.

“To be 8-3 we’re still right in it to determine our destiny,” said Deering Coach Todd Wing. “I’m not a genius when it comes to the Heal points but with our strength of schedule I think we can still compete for a top-two finish.”

Portland had won its five games since the holiday break by an average of 31.8 points.

“This game we knew we had to come out with a lot of intensity and come out and play basketball like we usually do,” said Portland junior point guard Terion Moss.

Moss scored 16 points, making four of his six 3-point attempts, including his first three. At one point he had nine points on four shots.

“Coach says make the team first and if you have an open look score the ball and that’s what I usually do,” Moss said.

As a team, Portland was 6 of 8 from behind the arc in the first half, forcing Deering to get out of its 2-3 zone.

“Versus Sanford they didn’t make any of their first shots of their possessions,” Wing said. “Of course they come out and splash 3s and we had to get out of (the zone) and it was a little bit deflating.

Deering center Raffaele Salamone scored a team-high 10 points but was frustrated by Charlie Lyall, who had five blocked shots. After the Rams had seven second-chance points in the first quarter, that offensive well dried up thanks to the rebounding of Lyall, Clay Hardy and Trey Ballew, with Moss also helping out.

Six of the Bulldogs’ final seven regular-season games are against teams that entered Tuesday’s action with at least eight wins, starting Friday at Cheverus. Unbeaten Thornton Academy, the AA South league-leader, is at the Expo next Tuesday.

“If we don’t come to play every game we’re going to drop some ones that we shouldn’t,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “I don’t think the kids will do that intentionally and that’s my job to keep them up and focused and ready.”

]]> 0 Foley takes a shot on a fast break during Portland's 64-44 win over Deering on Tuesday. Foley scored 20 points to help the Bulldogs improve to 10-1.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:13:40 +0000
Sports Digest: Ligety to miss rest of World Cup season Wed, 18 Jan 2017 01:16:49 +0000 SKIING

Back surgery sidelines Ligety for rest of season

Ted Ligety will miss the rest of the ski season because of back surgery, denying him a chance to win a fourth straight giant slalom title at the world championships.

The 32-year-old American has five world titles, including three in giant slalom from 2011, ’13 and ’15. The next world championships will be Feb. 6-19 in St. Moritz, where Ligety won in February 2014 in the last World Cup race before the Sochi Olympics.

Ligety expects to compete next season and defend his Olympic giant slalom title at the Pyeongchang Games.


MAJORS: First baseman Wil Myers and the San Diego Padres finalized an $83 million, six-year contract, the largest deal in the team’s history.

Myers, 26, hit 28 homers and drove in 94 runs last season and also stole 28 bases.

n Texas Rangers reliever Jake Diekman is expected to miss at least half the season after upcoming surgery to treat colitis, a digestive condition.

n The Rangers agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training for the oft-injured Josh Hamilton, 35.

Hamilton was released in August, closing the books on a $125 million, five-year deal signed with the Angels.

n A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista is staying with the Toronto Blue Jays after agreeing to an $18 million, one-year contract with mutual options for more years.


VOLLEYBALL: Kayley Cimino of Greely was named the Gatorade Maine Volleyball Player of the Year.

Cimino, a senior setter and right side hitter, led the Rangers to a 17-0 record and the Class A state championship this season. Cimino recorded 180 kills, 124 assists, 82 service aces and 23 blocks.

Cimino, who is the third player from Greely to receive the award, was the Maine Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year and was a three-time first team All-State selection.


NEW JERSEY: Supporters of legalized sports gambling in New Jersey and several other states were handed a small victory when the U.S. Supreme Court delayed a ruling on whether it will take up the states’ challenge to a federal ban.

The court invited the solicitor general to file a brief on behalf of the government, which means a decision on whether the court will hear the challenge could take several more months.


RUSSIA: A Russian skier who is suspended after being implicated in a doping inquiry could face further sanctions after it emerged he has continued to compete.

Maxim Vylegzhanin won three silver medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi but was suspended last month by the International Ski Federation after he was accused of being one of 12 medalists whose doping samples were allegedly swapped for clean ones.

Despite his suspension, Vylegzhanin has carried on competing in Russian events, winning two races this month organized by a regional member federation of the Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation.

FIS says this appears to break its rules on suspensions, and could result in Vylegzhanin serving a longer ban if he is found guilty of a doping offense.

– From staff and news report

]]> 0 Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:13:34 +0000
Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin upset that his profanities were live-streamed Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:47:21 +0000 PITTSBURGH — The father in Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech that wide receiver Antonio Brown’s opted to livestream on social media after a taut playoff victory against Kansas City.

The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with a team star forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts.

Tomlin called Brown’s decision to broadcast more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh’s giddy locker room to the world – a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities – “foolish,” ”selfish” and “inconsiderate.”

“Not only is it a violation of our policy, it’s a violation of league policy, both of which he knows,” Tomlin said Tuesday.

“So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won’t punish us.”

Tomlin took responsibility for his choice of words, though he was unaware of being filmed.

During Tomlin’s brief remarks he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day’s head start on the Steelers by beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh topped Kansas City, 18-16.

“The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, it’s something that I personally embrace,” Tomlin said. “It’s something that we as a team and organization embrace. So that’s why the language, specifically, in terms of the content, is regrettable.”

So is the action of the talented if sporadically diva-like Brown. The former sixth-round pick has evolved from raw project into one of the NFL’s best receivers.

This season he became only the second player in league history to post four consecutive 100-catch seasons.

The player who – for reasons he hasn’t disclosed – occasionally refers to himself as “Ronald” also has a devoted social media presence, with more than 1.5 million following on Instagram and another 650,000 on Facebook, many of whom got an eyeful and an earful.

While Tomlin has “very little concern” about the content of the video, he has plenty of concern over Brown’s lack of judgment.

“You wear on your teammates when they routinely have to answer questions about things that aren’t preparation or football-related,” Tomlin said.

“It’s our desire for him and for everyone to be great teammates, as well as great players. He is a great player. He is a hardworking player. He is respected, largely, in the locker room for those things. But incidences such as this don’t help him in that regard.”

The Steelers have grown accustomed to Brown’s flights of fancy, whether it’s posing for the Mannequin challenge while meeting with reporters, wearing eye-opening (and fine threatening) cleats or his over-the-top touchdown celebrations.

The fallout this time around has been mixed. Long snapper Greg Warren said Monday “AB is AB, he can do what he wants to do.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed disappointment in Brown during Roethlisberger’s weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.

Either way, the fact they were forced to respond to questions about Brown before the biggest game of the season only reinforces Tomlin’s point, though Tomlin stressed Brown is hardly the only athlete capable of becoming a distraction.

]]> 0 Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers used profanity in describing the New England Patriots, not realizing his star wide receiver was allowing the world to listen in.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:19:34 +0000
Baseball Hall of Fame election day has arrived Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:34:47 +0000 NEW YORK — The cloud of steroids hovers above Hall of Fame voting, much like it shrouded baseball in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Tim Raines, in his 10th and final year of eligibility, appears likely to gain election along with Jeff Bagwell when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting is announced Wednesday night. Ivan Rodriguez, eligible for the first time, and Trevor Hoffman also could make it.

But along with focusing on the electees, many will study the vote totals of tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has risen from 37.6 percent in 2013 to 45.2 percent last year.

This year, Bonds is on 62.8 percent of the 219 ballots obtained by Ryan Thibodaux and posted on his Hall of Fame vote-tracker and Clemens on 61.9 percent. That is about half the total, so both project likely to fall short of the 75 percent needed.

But they are gaining momentum.

Peter Gammons of the MLB Network who joined the BBWAA in 1972, voted for Bonds and Clemens for the first time. He differentiates between players suspected of steroids use before the start of testing with penalties in 2004 and those suspended for drug violations.

“I judge players by their eras and who they played against,” he said Tuesday. “Clemens and Bonds, they were the best pitcher, player of their eras. And while I wrestled with it, I just decided that how do I know who did and who didn’t? … I finally just decided, you know what, they’re so great that they should be in the Hall of Fame because it’s a museum of baseball history.”

The election of former Commissioner Bud Selig by a veterans committee in November impacted the decisions of some because he presided over the era. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago also voted for the pair for the first time.

“I was hoping that Bonds and Clemens maybe would speak up a little more, talk about what they had done, why they had done it, their feelings on the integrity of the game, their feelings on the Hall of Fame,” Miles said Tuesday. “With the veterans committee electing Bud Selig to the Hall of Fame, I thought it was high time that the standouts from the so-called Steroid Era should join him up on the stage this July.”

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted last year on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz thinks just the passage of time and change in voting pool leads to a difference of perspective.

“Writers come and go. New writers are given the opportunity to vote that may not have covered an era 20 years ago,” he said. “When it is strictly circumstance and evidence that you do not know or don’t have firsthand and you’re just following the rumor-ville, then that’s a difficult proposition to put in a writer, to be judge and jury.”

Manny Ramirez, however, appears to be viewed differently. Suspended twice for drug violations after testing with penalties began in 2004, he is tracking at 23.5 percent in his first ballot appearance. Sammy Sosa, also alleged by some to have used steroids, is tracking at 9.3 percent.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, received 24.3 percent of the vote in his first ballot appearance in 2008. He jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 69.8 percent last year and is on 89.8 percent of the vote-tracker’s ballots, set to join Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only members of the Hall representing Montreal. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season.

“If I get in, that’s the team I deserve to go in for, regardless if they no longer have a team,” Raines said last week.

“That was the team I played with and I’m real comfortable with that.”

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time, has increased from 41.7 percent in 2011 to 71.6 percent last year, falling 15 votes short when Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected. Bagwell is tracking at 88.5 percent this year.

“I just want to get it over with,” Bagwell said. “This is the first year I’ve kind of been keeping track of it and just kind of looking. So I’m excited about it.”

Rodriguez is tracking at 78.3 percent in his first ballot appearance, but the vote-tracker’s percentages have been higher than the final totals in recent years. Vladimir Guerrero, also on the ballot for the first time, is tracking at 71.7 percent.

Hoffman, on 67.3 percent of the ballots in his first appearance last year, is tracking at 72.6 percent. Only five pitchers who were primarily relievers are in the Hall: Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage.

]]> 0 Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has risen from 37.6 percent in 2013 to 45.2 percent last year in Hall of Fame voting. This year he is tracking at 61.9, which would be short for election.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:25:08 +0000
Tom Caron: Patriots’ wake-up call was disguised as a win Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 The Houston Texans put a scare into the New England Patriots Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. Deep down inside, Bill Belichick probably couldn’t be happier.

The final score will go into the history books as a one-sided blowout, which is what we all expected. The Patriots were monumental 16-point favorites and covered that spread with a 34-16 win.

It was the scariest 18-point win we’ve ever witnessed.

Belichick will spend this week reminding them the lessons of Saturday night, that you can’t expect to win an NFL playoff game unless you are completely prepared and ready to go. Usually, that lesson is taught through a loss. Seldom do these teachable moments come along in the playoffs without getting eliminated.

The Patriots survived to play another day, despite giving up three turnovers to a Houston team that hung around until the fourth quarter. Brady threw two interceptions – as many as he had thrown all season.

“We’ll never turn the ball over as much as we did and think it was a great game,” Brady said Saturday night.

Julien Edelman, who caught eight of Brady’s passes for 137 yards, was more blunt.

“We can’t play like that,” Edelman told reporters after the win.

This game was perilously close to going the other way. If Houston had a more competent quarterback – Brock Osweiler threw three second-half interceptions – we might be talking about one of the biggest upset losses in New England history today.

Instead, we’re talking about preparations for an AFC championship game in Foxborough this weekend, the sixth straight conference championship game for the Patriots.

Instead, we’re on to a home game with Pittsburgh. Patriots fans who felt overconfident heading into this past weekend are a lot more concerned about the game ahead. No one thought the Texans had a chance to win. And the Patriots played like they believed showing up Saturday night would guarantee them a win over an inferior opponent.

The next game will pit New England against a better opponent, but not necessarily a better defense. Houston had the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL. Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus made life tough for Brady all night long.

“He was rattled,” Clowney told reporters after the game.

Those are fighting words here in New England, and the Texans put up more of a fight than expected. Belichick wasn’t rattled on the sideline, and after the game said “we have to coach better.”

Strong words from the man many call the greatest NFL coach of all time. He’s coached his defense to the point that it’s now playing the best it has all year – and that’s after the unexpected trade of Jamie Collins to Cleveland. Belichick will spend this week crafting a game plan that he hopes is good enough to get the Patriots to the Super Bowl in Houston on Feb. 5.

He’ll also spend plenty of time looking back at the lessons learned from the first half of the Houston game. Belichick will make sure his team shows up ready to play better football this Sunday.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

]]> 0 England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes questions from members of the media during a news conference before a scheduled NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:51:17 +0000
Australian Open: U.S. entries get off to strong start Tue, 17 Jan 2017 04:29:21 +0000 MELBOURNE, Australia — Shelby Rogers thoroughly dominated the No. 4 player in the world, Simona Halep. A teary-eyed CoCo Vandeweghe battled nausea to outlast another top-20 veteran, Roberta Vinci.

And the grande dame of the women’s tour, 36-year-old Venus Williams, refused to cede the spotlight for at least another match at the Australian Open, beating Kateryna Kozlova in the first round of her 73rd career Grand Slam tournament, an Open-era record.

It’s been a fast start for many of the 32 Americans in the men’s and women’s singles draw in Melbourne – both the old guard and the unproven youngsters of the next generation. Thirteen won their first-round matches on Monday, compared to six losses – two of which were to American opponents.

On Tuesday, Serena Williams added to the America’s success, beating Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3 in her quest for her 23rd Grand Slam title.

The power-hitting Rogers scored the biggest upset Monday.

Newly confident after her surprising run to the French Open quarterfinals last year, the 24-year-old South Carolina native outplayed Halep with an aggressive, all-court game, winning 6-3, 6-1.

Vandeweghe fell to her knees with nausea while trailing in the second set of her match against Vinci, but after an extended medical timeout and a couple sips of a soft drink, she recovered to break back and finish off a 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory.

Also Monday, Roger Federer returned from a six-month layoff to beat fellow 35-year-old Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, and Andy Murray advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:29:21 +0000
NBA roundup: Warriors rout the Cavaliers in rematch Tue, 17 Jan 2017 04:05:01 +0000 OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State’s 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks – and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas.

76ERS 113, BUCKS 104: Joel Embiid scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and visiting Philadelphia won for the fourth time in five games.

Embiid had 12 rebounds. He made four of nine shots and 13 of 18 free throws.

WIZARDS 120, TRAIL BLAZERS 101: Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as host Washington took a page from Portland’s playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th straight home victory.

PACERS 98, PELICANS 95: Jeff Teague finished with 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as host Indiana won for the fifth time in six games.

All-Star center Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 16 points despite missing the final 19 minutes after hurting his right hip and left thumb.

Team officials said X-rays were negative.

HAWKS 108, KNICKS 107: Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, to lead visiting Atlanta.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games to reach the midpoint of their schedule at 24-17.

NUGGETS 125, MAGIC 112: Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 30 points, Emmanuel Mudiay dished out a career-best 13 assists as Denver won at home.

Jokic also grabbed 11 rebounds and Kenneth Faried scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who hit a season-high 58.4 percent from the floor and had 33 assists.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:09:14 +0000
Monday’s girls’ roundup: Fast start lifts OOB to basketball win Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:58:05 +0000 OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Old Orchard Beach jumped to an eight-point lead after the first quarter and held off Freeport to earn a 44-41 win in a girls’ basketball game Monday.

Samantha Donnell led the Seagulls (5-4) with 11 points. Tiffany Leclair scored 10 points, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. Brianna Plante added eight points and five steals.

Taylor Rinaldi led Freeport (8-3) with 18 points

EDWARD LITTLE 64, MT. ARARAT 31: Jordyn Reynolds had 10 of her 16 points in the second quarter as the Red Eddies (10-2) broke the game open with a 23-7 run and beat the Eagles (2-9) in Auburn.

Reynolds grabbed a game-high nine boards for Edwards Little. Grace Fontaine added 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Piper Norcross contributed 14 points and Jade Perry added 11.

Nikki Bradstreet led Mt. Ararat with nine points.

SCARBOROUGH 50, WESTBROOK 32: Sophie Glidden had all the Red Storm’s points in the first quarter as they opened a 13-4 lead and handled the Blue Blazes (3-8) at Westbrook.

Glidden finished with a game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers, for Scarborough (9-1).

Julie Martel led Westbrook with 15 points, and Mikayla VanZandt tossed in nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

FALMOUTH 41, KENNEBUNK 31: Junior guard Grace Soucy scored 10 points as the Yachtsmen (6-6) beat the Rams (6-6) at Falmouth.

Falmouth went on a 10-0 run in the second to pull away. Abigail Ryan added nine points for the Yachtsmen.

Marran Oakman scored 13 points for Kennebunk.

GREELY 55, FRYEBURG ACADEMY 37: Brooke Obar had seven of her 13 points in the second quarter as the Rangers (10-1) used a 17-9 run and handled the Raiders (6-5) in Fryeburg.

Anna DeWolfe had a game-high 20 points for Greely, and Isabel Porter added 12 points, all from behind the 3-point arc.

Nicole Bennett and Mackenzie Buzzell each had 10 points for Fryeburg.

SOUTH PORTLAND 65, PORTLAND 28: Maggie Whitmore scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half as the Red Riots (8-2) took a 36-10 halftime lead and cruised past the Bulldogs (0-11) in South Portland.

Whitmore also grabbed seven rebounds, and Meghan Graff added 19 points, four assists and three steals.

Taylor Sargent scored nine points for Portland.

MASSABESIC 48, BIDDEFORD 24: Kenzy Ouellette had 13 of her game-high 21 points in the second half as the Mustangs (1-10) beat the Tigers (1-10) at Biddeford.

Emily Stinson had eight points for Massabesic.

Grace Martin had 13 points to lead Biddeford.

GORHAM 70, MAINE GIRLS’ ACADEMY 42: Mackenzie Holmes scored 18 points and Emily Esposito had 14 as the Rams (11-0) opened a 42-20 halftime lead over the Maine Girls’ Academy (4-7) in Gorham.

Holmes finished with 24 points and Esposito had 16. Kaylea Lundin added 11 for Gorham.

Madison Legassey had 19 points and Jill Joyce added 10 for the Lions.

YORK 42, CAPE ELIZABETH 15: Nina Howe scored all nine of her points in the first half as the Wildcats (9-3) opened a 28-8 lead over the Capers (0-10) in York.

Reilly Smedley had 11 points for York.

Brooke Harvey’s nine points led the Capers.

FOREST HILLS 41, GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN 22: Patricia Lessard and Caitlin Logston scored 13 points each to lead the Tigers (6-5) over the Lions (1-7) in South Portland.

Alexandra Lessard added nine points for Forest Hills.

Aubrey Viekman led Greater Portland Christian with 11 points.


GREELY 8, CAPE ELIZABETH/WAYNFLETE/SOUTH PORTLAND 1: Emilee McGillicuddy and Sarah Johnson each had two goals and an assist as the Rangers (11-1) beat Cape Elizabeth (5-7) in Falmouth.

Courtney Sullivan added a goal and an assist for Greely. Kylie Rogers, Jayme Morrison and Ellie Schad each added a goal. Nica Todd had nine saves.

Kate Ginder scored and Abby Joy made 42 saves for the Capers.

]]> 0, ME - JANUARY 16: Falmouth forward Hadley Wiggins (C) and forward Madison Lux battle beneath the boards for a rebound during girls basketball action at Falmouth High School on Monday, January 16, 2017. Kennebunk forward Alaina Schatzabel is at left. (Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer)Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:54:00 +0000
Monday’s boys’ roundup: Falmouth hockey rallies to win over Lewiston Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:52:06 +0000 LEWISTON — Marcus Cady scored the winning goal in the third period as the Falmouth boys’ hockey team rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Lewiston in a Class A boys’ hockey game Monday.

Jeromey Rancourt and Alex Rivet scored in the second period as Lewiston (8-1) took a 2-0 lead. Theo Hembre got Falmouth (7-0-1) within a goal late in the second period.

Hembre scored again in the third period to tie the game, before Cady scored the winning goal on a rebound of a shot by Reece Armitage.

Lewiston goalie Jacob Straut recorded 19 saves. Spencer Pierce stopped 48 shots for Falmouth.

YORK 6, PORTLAND/DEERING 3: Andrew Bertolini scored twice as the Wildcats (7-1) beat the Bulldogs (6-2) in Dover, New Hampshire.

The Wildcats closed the game with five straight goals to earn the win.

GORHAM 4, BRUNSWICK 3: Carter Landry scored with 3:54 left in the third period to complete a hat trick and lift the Rams (4-6) over the Dragons (2-7-1) at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Landry also scored to tie the game with 5:23 remaining.

Mike Eno scored two goals for Brunswick.

Brunswick goalie Riley Kirk recorded 22 saves. Noah Bird stopped 25 shots for Gorham.

SOUTH PORTLAND/FREEPORT/WAYNFLETE 2, WINDHAM/WESTBROOK 0: The Red Riots (4-5-1) scored twice in the second period and defeated the Blue Blazes (3-6) at the University of Southern Maine Ice Arena in Gorham.

Gus Lappin and Owen Patrick each scored for the Red Riots.

Windham goalie Sean White recorded 33 saves. Joe Grant stopped 20 shots for South Portland.


FALMOUTH 63, KENNEBUNK 54: Colin Coyne had 19 points and went 9 for 9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter as the Yachtsmen (10-2) beat the Rams (4-8) in Kennebunk.

Jack Bryant had 17 points for the Yachtsmen, and Michael Simonds added 15 points.

Zack Sullivan scored 20 points for Kennebunk.

WESTBROOK 49, BONNY EAGLE 32: The Blue Blazes (9-3) used a 16-8 run in the second quarter to steadily pull away from the Scots (3-8) at Westbrook. Nemieceo Loureiro had 19 points for Westbrook. Zac Manoogian added 14 points.

William Hendrix led Bonny Eagle with 11 points, and Connor Sirois chipped in eight points.

GORHAM 44, SCARBOROUGH 38: Jason Komulainen’s 14 points led the Rams (3-8) past the Red Storm (1-11) in Scarborough.

Nick Fiorillo had 12 points for Scarborough.

GREELY 72, FRYEBURG ACADEMY 41: Ryan Twitchell scored 16 points to lift the Rangers (11-0) by the Raiders (7-4) in Cumberland.

Jordan Bagshaw added 13 points for Greely. Cody Gullikson lead Fryeburg with 11 points.

TRAIP 58, POLAND 55: Angelo Succi scored 18 points and Charlie Driscoll had 14 to lead the Rangers (5-7) past the Knights (3-9) in Kittery.

Nate Chouinard scored 26 points for the Knights. Caleb Hodgkin added 12.

WINDHAM 67, SANFORD 60: Mike Gilman scored 31 points for the Eagles (8-3) as they held off the Spartans (4-7) at Sanford.

Nick Curtis added 20 points for Windham.

Brad Bouchard had 17 points for Sanford. Matt Romano chipped in 16 points and Ethan Belanger added 11.

SEACOAST CHRISTIAN 54, VINALHAVEN 42: Marlon Bernardo scored six points in the second quarter and eight in the third as the Guardians (6-5) beat the Vikings (5-7) in South Berwick.

Caleb La Croix and Sky Archer scored 11 each for Seacoast Christian.

FREEPORT 47, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 44: Ethan Sclar scored 12 points and Connor Dostie had 11 to lead the Falcons (3-7) to a victory over the Seagulls (5-5) at Freeport.

Ian Regan had 15 points for Old Orchard Beach.

MARSHWOOD 67, BIDDEFORD 64: Dawson Casey’s 3-pointer was the difference as the Hawks (5-6) broke away in the fourth to beat the Tigers (5-6) in South Berwick.

Casey finished with 23 points. Cole McDaniel added 19 points and Benjamin Beers 16 for Marshwood.

Kyle Norton scored 25 points and DeSean Cromwell had 15 for the Tigers.

LAKE REGION 45, WAYNFLETE 37: Tyler Walker and True Meyers each had eight points in the second half as the Lakers (5-6) pulled away from the Flyers (8-2) in Poland.

Walker finished with 14 points for the Lakers, and Meyers added 10 points.

Yai Deng scored 10 points for Waynflete.

WINTHROP 59, BOOTHBAY 45: The Ramblers (12-0) hit 12 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter on their way to a win over the Seahawks (6-6) in Boothbay Harbor.

Jacob Hickey scored 24 points for Winthrop.

Kyle Ames scored 20 points for Boothbay.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:28:26 +0000
Thomas has another big 4th quarter to carry Celtics past Hornets Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:10:41 +0000 BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas’ 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He’s been putting up big final quarters of late – scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams had 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight – all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7½ minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period.

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown addressed the crowd before the game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Without notes, he quoted King in saying: “The day our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about things that matter.”

]]> 0 guard Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket past Charlotte guard Kemba Walker in the first quarter of Monday night's game in Boston. Once again, Thomas was the Celtics' go-to guy in the fourth quarter.Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:17:28 +0000
Monday’s college roundup: Cold-shooting UMaine loses to Hartford in men’s basketball Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:06:35 +0000 WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Jalen Ross scored 19 points, Jason Dunne added 10 and Hartford snapped a five-game losing streak with a 54-44 men’s basketball victory over Maine on Monday.

Ross, who ranks second in the America East Conference with 20.9 points per game, had 11 points in Hartford’s 33-29 first half to finish in double figures for the 33rd straight game. Hartford has won 11 of the last 14 against the Black Bears.

Vincent Eze had 13 points and nine rebounds for Maine (5-15, 1-4). Wesley Myers, averaging 26.8 points in conference play, added 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

Maine was held to 32 percent shooting and lost its ninth game in the last 10.

MT. IDA 72, ST. JOSEPH’S 61: The Mustangs (11-5, 7-2 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) used an 11-1 run early in the second half to handle the Monks in a win at Standish.

Ian Mileikis led all scorers with 15 points for the Monks. Quinn Richardson-Newton chipped in with 13 points and grabbed nine boards.

(1) VILLANOVA 76, SETON HALL 46: The Wildcats rushed to an 18-point lead in the first half and kept their foot on the gas in the second in a win at Philadelphia.

The victory was the 1,700th in program history at Villanova (18-1, 6-1 Big East), and 47th in a row at the Pavilion, a school record.

(7) CREIGHTON 72, XAVIER 67: Cole Huff got a pivotal rebound and made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left as the visiting Bluejays (18-1, 5-1 Big East) had to rally for a win.

(9) NORTH CAROLINA 85, SYRACUSE 68: Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams earned his 800th career victory as Isaiah Hicks scored 20 points in a win at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

(13) BUTLER 88, MARQUETTE 80: Kelan Martin scored 22 points and the Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) rallied from an 18-point deficit for a win at Indianapolis.

POLL: Villanova returned to No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll, leapfrogging Kansas after a week out of the top spot.

The Wildcats (17-1), who fell to third last week after five weeks as No. 1, moved back on top following No. 1 Baylor’s loss in its only week ever as a top-ranked team.


ST. JOSEPH’S 85, ANNA MARIA 64: Kelsi McNamara had 30 points, going 10 for 16 from the field, and added six boards three assists and blocked a pair of shots to lead the way for the Monks (13-2, 7-0 GNAC) at Paxton, Massachusetts.

McNamara hit eight 3-pointers, breaking the school’s single-game 3-point field-goal record.

Emily Benway had 17 points and had seven rebounds for the Monks, and reserve Hannah Marks tossed in 11 points.

(4) MISSISSIPPI STATE 73, MISSISSIPPI 62: Victoria Vivians scored 23 points as visiting Mississippi State set a school record with its 19th straight win to start the season.

TENNESSEE 71, (6) NOTRE DAME 69: Jaime Nared hit a tie-breaking jumper with 10 seconds left as Tennessee erased a 15-point, second-half deficit for a win at home.

POLL: Fresh off its record-breaking 91st consecutive victory, UConn remains the No. 1 team. The Huskies (16-0) routed SMU on Saturday to best their NCAA mark and stay as the unanimous choice atop the poll.

Baylor, Maryland, Mississippi State and South Carolina follow the Huskies.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:26:26 +0000
Boys’ basketball: York knocks off Cape Elizabeth Tue, 17 Jan 2017 02:20:17 +0000 CAPE ELIZABETH — Trevor LaBonte’s big night sparked York to a 50-36 win over Cape Elizabeth in a Class A boys’ basketball game Monday night.

LaBonte had a double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

“We moved the ball real well. I was just the beneficiary of good ball movement,” said LaBonte, who also blocked three shots.

Cape Elizabeth had to play without its leading scorer, Finn Bowe, who is out indefinitely with a broken leg.

“We wish (Bowe) were out there with us, he’s a heck of a player,” LaBonte said. “That’s a big loss for them.”

Bowe suffered the injury in the Capers’ 54-45 win over Lake Region on Saturday.

“You’re taking 20-plus points out of the lineup and we have to (replace that) by committee,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Jim Ray said. “We have to figure out how that committee is going to function.”

LaBonte’s frontcourt mate Jackson McCarty also had a double-double for York, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

“(LaBonte and McCarty) move well, almost like two guards down there moving with each other,” said York Coach Randy Small.

York (7-5) dominated in the post, especially on the offensive end. The Wildcats scored 15 second-chance points and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

“(LaBonte and McCarty) complement each other so well,” said Ray.

Added LaBonte, “Jackson and I have great chemistry. This is our second year playing together and we just know where the other is. I find him, he finds me, it’s great.”

Cape Elizabeth (8-3) fell behind quickly as York scored the game’s first six points. The Capers trailed 15-5 at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams scored nine points in the second, giving the Wildcats at 24-14 lead at halftime.

“We played extremely well on the boards,” Small said. “We were aggressive and never really let (Cape Elizabeth) in the game. Because if they’re in the game, they’re going to make it close.”

The Wildcats came out strong in the second half, outscoring the Capers 17-10 in the third quarter to go up 17.

Quinn Hewitt led Cape Elizabeth with 12 points and Nat Spicer had eight points off the bench.

“I’m confident (in replacing Bowe’s production). I have good kids, they’re coachable and they will work hard,” said Ray.

The Capers’ bench outscored the Wildcats’ bench 12-0.

Reid Hogan added 10 points for York.

“We’ll take the win,” said Small. “We’ll be happy on the bus ride but being around so long, I’m going to have my nose in the book tomorrow morning getting ready for Greely. So it will be fun.”

]]> 0 ELIZABETH, ME - JANUARY 16: York senior Trevor LaBonte runs the ball through Cape Elizabeth's Quinn Hewitt (#12) and Jacob Allen. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:41:09 +0000
Sports Digest: McIlroy has rib injury, pulls out of Abu Dhabi Championship Tue, 17 Jan 2017 02:12:53 +0000 GOLF

Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from the Abu Dhabi Championship, which starts Thursday, citing a rib injury.

The European Tour said Monday the second-ranked McIlroy underwent tests after he was hurt during the SA Open, revealing a stress fracture.

The Northern Irishman played with the injury for the final three rounds in Johannesburg, where he lost in a playoff to Graeme Storm.

The tournament is headlined by Americans Dustin Johnson and defending champion Rickie Fowler.


MAJORS: The Royals and Danny Duffy agreed to a $65 million, five-year contract that will keep the popular left-hander in Kansas City.

Duffy will make $5 million this year, $14 million in 2018, $15.25 million each in 2019 and 2020 and $15.5 million in 2021.

 Outfielder Michael Saunders and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on a $9 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Saunders’ deal was first reported by

A 2016 AL All-Star with Toronto, Saunders hit a career-best 24 homers and batted .253 with 57 RBI last season.

 Outfielder Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays are “working really hard” to bring him back to the club, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press.

The sides are discussing one-, two- and three-year agreements.

Bautista hit 22 homers with 69 RBI last year while batting .234 in an injury-slowed season.


U.S. MEN: LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe has replaced Seattle’s injured Stefan Frei on the training camp roster leading to exhibitions against Serbia and Jamaica.

Rowe has never played for the U.S. team. Coach Bruce Arena left the Galaxy in November to start his second stint with the Americans.

CHINA: The governing body of Chinese soccer plans a series of measures in response to what is termed “irrational” spending by clubs on transfer fees and player salaries, amid concerns that foreign stars are crowding out local talent and harming the country’s goal of becoming a global force in the sport.

Spending by Chinese clubs on players such as Argentina’s Carlos Tevez has drawn global attention, raising fears among some that domestic players will be denied opportunities.


FORMULA ONE: Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will race alongside three-time champion Lewis Hamilton with team Mercedes this season.

Bottas, 27, will fill the seat left by world champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement.

With Bottas moving on, Felipe Massa will come out of retirement to race.


2024 GAMES: Organizers trying to land the Summer Olympics for Los Angeles would include a new football stadium in the games’ ceremonies.

The NFL stadium being built in Inglewood near Los Angeles International Airport would be used for ceremonies along with Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as part of the committee’s concept to create a “new games for a new era,” LA2024 said.

The stadium is expected to seat 70,000 spectators for a Hollywood-produced spectacle of musical performances and a live viewing and virtual reality experience of all ceremonies at the NFL stadium.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:37:35 +0000
Girls’ hockey: Scarborough sharp in shutout of Cheverus Tue, 17 Jan 2017 01:51:16 +0000 LEWISTON — Coach Caitlin D’Amour was at home taking care of her infant daughter, but the Scarborough girls’ hockey team played like she was still behind the bench.

The Red Storm played a solid game, beating Cheverus 3-0 Monday afternoon at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“I am really proud of the girls,” said Scarborough assistant coach Jill Doherty. “They were composed. They played the systems. They were communicating. You really can’t ask for more out of your girls than to have a performance like that.”

It was the sixth consecutive win for the Red Storm (10-1-1).

The defending South champions took control of the game in the first period, building a 2-0 lead.

Courtney Brochu, a sophomore defenseman, opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game when she intercepted a clearing pass at the left point and sent a shot along the ice that deflected off the stick of Cheverus defenseman Abby Enck inside the near post.

Less than 10 minutes into the period, Lily Nygren finished off a rush down the right side by sending a rising shot from the circle under goalie Anna Smith’s glove into the left side of the goal.

“The first period was a tough period for us,” said Cheverus Coach Scott Rousseau said. “They played like a team that knew it was going to win and we played like a team that hoped it was going to win. We committed a few uncharacteristic turnovers.”

Rousseau, a former coach of Falmouth boys’ team in his first season with the Stags, liked how his team played during the first 10 minutes of the scoreless second period.

“We were phenomenal, and we really took it to them,” he said. “For a young team we showed a lot of growth and we flipped the switch.”

Cheverus (5-7) held an 8-1 edge in shots during that segment of the game.

“We had good scoring chances, but their goalie held the fort for them,” Rousseau said.

Five minutes into the period, Scarborough goalie Lucca Sterrer stopped Abby Lamontagne after she got a step on a defender while gliding through the left circle.

Three minutes later, she brushed the puck away when Caitlin Wolff tried to put a backhander in from just outside the crease.

“Cheverus certainly tested her skills,” Doherty said. “She showed up every time and made some nice saves.”

Sterrer made 20 saves to post her fourth shutout of the season.

“Lucca had a real solid performance,” Doherty said. “She had good angles. She challenged the play. She stayed focus the whole game.”

During the last four minutes of the second period, Cheverus killed off the first power play of the game, holding the Red Storm without a shot on goal.

The Red Storm completed the scoring less than a minute into the third period when Lauren Topchik finished off a four-shot flurry with a shot from the slot.

With less than 10 minutes left in the game, the Stags went on their only power play of the game when Wolff was tripped up on a breakaway, but Sterrer used her pads to redirect two long-range shots while they skated with a man advantage.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:44:54 +0000
NFL notebook: Steelers downplay Tomlin’s description of Patriots Tue, 17 Jan 2017 01:43:15 +0000 PITTSBURGH — Antonio Brown wanted to let the world in on the party when he live streamed the giddy celebration in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room after an 18-16 playoff win over Kansas City.

The All-Pro wide receiver also happened to catch Coach Mike Tomlin indelicately describing the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh’s opponent in the AFC Championship game.

Tomlin’s word choice – an expletive – didn’t bother his players as Brown’s decision to throw back the curtain on what is usually a private moment.

“Personally I’d like some of that stuff sacred,” long snapper Greg Warren said Monday. “But this is a changing world, a changing environment. I can’t be some old guy stuck under a rock, that’s for sure.”

Brown’s 17-minute video collected more than 900,000 views in a few hours before being removed (though it lives on through YouTube).

It included players dancing and Tomlin – who was out of the shot and unaware it was being filmed but who could be heard clearly in the packed locker room – beginning his postgame speech by telling his team to “say very little moving forward” then adding “we spotted those (expletive) a day and a half.”

TV RATINGS: Green Bay’s 34-31 win over Dallas was seen by an average of 48.5 million on Fox, the most-viewed NFL divisional playoff game ever.

The game Sunday had a 26.1 rating and 46 share, the network said Monday, the highest-rated NFC divisional game since 1997. The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a program, and the share is the percentage watching a telecast among those homes with TVs on at the time.

FALCONS: Coach Dan Quinn says All-Pro receiver Julio Jones will play in the NFC championship game despite a lingering foot injury that limited him during a divisional-round victory over Seattle.

CHIEFS: Coach Andy Reid doesn’t believe the holding penalty on left tackle Eric Fisher that cost Kansas City a tying 2-point conversion against Pittsburgh on Sunday should have been called.

After watching film of the decisive play in the Steelers’ 18-16 playoff win, when Fisher appeared to pull Steelers pass rusher James Harrison to the ground with about three minutes left, Reid came away with the same opinion as Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

In the 90 seconds that Kelce spoke to reporters before the Chiefs’ communications staff cut him off, the tight end ripped into referee Carl Cheffers and his crew. Kelce openly questioned the integrity of the officials and said Cheffers “shouldn’t be able to wear a zebra jersey every again.”

“He shouldn’t be able to wear it at Foot Locker,” Kelce said, adding a few expletives.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:57:09 +0000
On Football: Patriots-Steelers should provide a memorable AFC championship game on Sunday Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:42:58 +0000 The Pittsburgh Steelers might not be the team many New England Patriots fans wanted to see in the AFC championship game – Pittsburgh’s offense is scary dangerous and its defense hits with thunder – but even Roger Goodell could not have hand-picked a better matchup.

These are two of the best franchises in the NFL today, consistent winners with some of the league’s most recognizable players.

Historically, the Steelers and Patriots are emblematic of NFL success.

They’ve each appeared in an NFL-high eight Super Bowls, so we’re guaranteed one of them will set a record after Sunday’s AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.

The Steelers have won a record six Super Bowl championships, four coming in a six-year period from 1975-80. The Patriots have won four Super Bowl championships, all since 2001.

The teams have met twice before in the AFC championship game, both at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, with the Patriots winning each time (24-17 and 41-27) and each time going on to win the Super Bowl (2001 and 2004).

These franchises have been studies in stability. The Steelers have had only three head coaches since 1969: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and, since 2007, Mike Tomlin. The Patriots have had only Bill Belichick since 1999.

And then there’s the players.

Pittsburgh has Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown on offense, the ageless James Harrison and rising stars Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier and Sean Davis on defense. The Patriots have Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis on offense, Dont’a Hightower, Malcolm Butler, Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich on defense.

The game promises to be memorable.

It’s not going to be easy for either team. And that’s what’s going to make this game great.

Most Patriots fans were hoping that the offensively-challenged Kansas City Chiefs could get past the Steelers in Sunday night’s late AFC divisional playoff. But as well as the Chiefs played defensively – especially in the red zone where they forced the Steelers to kick six field goals – their offense simply couldn’t muster enough and Pittsburgh advanced with an 18-16 victory.

Yes the Patriots defeated the Steelers 27-16 on Oct. 23, but Pittsburgh didn’t have Roethlisberger than afternoon at Heinz Field. He was out with a knee injury and the Patriots faced Landry Jones.

There’s just a little bit of difference between what Roethlisberger brings to the Steelers’ offense and what Jones brings.

Roethlisberger’s ability to shake off defenders and prolong a play by scrambling puts a lot of pressure on a defense, especially in the red zone.

“That’s when it becomes really difficult and I think Roethlisberger right now is very mobile, very healthy,” said Matt Patricia, the Patriots’ defensive coordinator on Monday. “(He’s) a guy that showed even again (Sunday) night that just slight bit of movement or a slight bit of ability to maybe evade the rush or stand in there just a little bit longer gives his guys enough time to get open in those situations and certainly the red area is a big part of that.”

Bell, who has set the Steelers’ single-game playoff rushing record in each of the last two weeks, is capable of carrying an offense himself, his patient pick-out-the-hole-at-the-line style causing all kids of problems for a defense.

And Brown has the ability to take any pass all the way for a touchdown, as he showed in Pittsburgh’s wild-card win over Miami.

There aren’t many offenses that can invoke the fear the Steelers do.

One of them will be on the other sideline. Brady struggled against the speedy Houston Texans’ pass rush in the divisional round, completing only 18 of his 38 passes. But he still can pick a defense apart, as he’s shown so often against Pittsburgh. In 11 career games against the Steelers, he’s 9-2 with 26 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Three times he’s thrown four touchdowns against them.

The Steelers have a young, aggressive secondary but, according to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, they aren’t reckless.

“They’re aggressive, but they’re very intelligent in terms of when they take their chances,” he said.

He sees a lot of improvement in Pittsburgh’s defense since the regular-season game.

“They’re not going to make many mistakes,” said McDaniels. “They’re not going to give you many opportunities to have easy yards. You’re going to have to earn everything you get.”

The Patriots know they have to play better than they did in their 34-16 divisional round win over Houston.

The Steelers aren’t going to be in awe of them, even at Gillette Stadium where they’ve won only once – in 2008, with Matt Cassel quarterbacking the Patriots – in five games. No, you can expect a little extra in every tackle, a subtle jab in the piles, a little trash talk between every play.

It’s not going to be easy.

Then again, with a berth in the Super Bowl at stake, it shouldn’t be easy.


]]> 0, 16 Jan 2017 23:54:39 +0000
Winslow/Gardiner girls find goalie in Demers Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:47:49 +0000 HALLOWELL — Midway through last winter, Chris Downing realized he’d better start grooming his goaltender of the future. When he asked for volunteers, Cassie Demers stepped forward.

The junior on the Winslow/Gardiner girls hockey team has continued to take steps forward, emerging into a bona fide netminder for the playoff-bound Black Tigers. When considering that last season was the first time Demers had ever been on skates, it makes her development all the more impressive.

“She came in this summer and worked hard on it, and she’s been working hard on it ever since,” Downing said. “She actually goes out and finds extra ice time whenever she can so she can practice.

“She’s just a great kid. She’ll do whatever you ask her to do.”

One might wonder what would ever possess a right-minded individual to willingly volunteer to occupy the goalie position for the first time at the high school level, but Demers insists she never had a “what have I gotten myself into” moment — not last year when she got her first taste of game action at the junior varsity level, and certainly not this winter as the Black Tigers have gotten out to an 8-5-0 start to rank fourth in the North region.

“I’m beyond happy with where I am. I just love it,” Demers said.

Demers was happy to volunteer to learn the position last season. She felt like the goaltender position would be a natural one for her.

“I’m a catcher in softball, so it’s still about fast reflexes and always trying to make sure I’m keeping the puck in front of me,” Demers said, agreeing that tracking pucks in traffic is similar to following foul balls off bats in the spring. “My teammates have been really supportive and encouraging. They’re always telling me ‘good job’ and showing me the things I can work on.”

In the team’s most recent game, an 8-3 win over Yarmouth/Freeport at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault on Monday afternoon, Demers was stellar against one of the speediest teams the Black Tigers have played this season. In a second period in which Winslow/Gardiner took control of the game, Demers made three point-blank stops on Clippers captain Katie Clemmer.

Demers’ confidence might be rising with every save and every victory between the pipes, but Downing believes its actual technique that’s made the most difference in his goalie’s overall performance.

Asked to compare her efforts against Yarmouth/Freeport to a 7-0 loss to Edward Little in the season opener, Downing didn’t even have to think about it.

“There’s no comparison at all,” he said. “How’s that? There’s really no comparing the two.

“One thing is that she’s now coming out to challenge the shooter and not sitting back in the crease, and the second thing is she’s following the puck much better. It used to be that she’d lose it, but she’s learning how to follow the puck,” Downing added.

Asked to assess her learning curve, Demers points to the often-overlooked skill that is most inherent to playing hockey: Skating.

“Actually learning how to skate has been the biggest thing,” Demers said. “Goalie skating is different than regular skating. First I had to go from regular skating to goalie skating, which is actually a lot easier for me. And then there’s getting up and down with all that equipment on.

“I feel like I’ve become a lot more mobile on skates, and it’s easier for me to get up and down and easier for me to see the puck. I’ve just gotten so much more confidence in myself.”

The Black Tigers have won three straight, including an overtime victory over Gorham/Bonny Eagle. Twice this season, Winslow/Gardiner has won games in overtime and once more they’ve grabbed a win in the final minute of regulation.

You can’t post victories like those without a few key stops from your goalie along the way.

“I try not to focus on anything (except) that my goal is to stop the puck,” Demers said. “I don’t care how fast they are or how big they are. I’m going to stop the puck.

“I’ve learned that if I stay low, I have a better chance of stopping it. I know my teammates are there, and I have confidence in them that they’ll be there if I can’t get there.”

That confidence is reciprocal. Her teammates trust her, too.

“She’s a team player, and that’s the most important thing,” Downing said. “We’ve got eight wins under our belt. We haven’t seen that here in I don’t know how long.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Demers has helped the Winslow/Gardiner girls hockey team to an 8-5-0 start to the season.Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:47:49 +0000
Lowly Islanders beat Bruins in Boston again, 4-0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:38:47 +0000 BOSTON — Nikolay Kulemin scored two of New York’s three second-period goals, Thomas Greiss made 32 saves for his first shutout this season and the Islanders beat the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday.

Josh Bailey and Jason Chimera also scored for the Islanders, who have lost 13 of 19 road games this season (6-9-4), but defeated the Bruins twice in the TD Garden.

Chimera has scored in three consecutive games for New York, which entered the game with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.

Boston starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was pulled after two periods. He gave up three goals on 15 shots. Backup Zane McIntyre gave up the other goal.

The Bruins lost at home against one of the league’s worst teams for the third time this season. On Dec. 8, Colorado came in with the league’s poorest record and beat Boston. The Islanders were also last in the East when they won 4-2 on Dec. 20.

After a scoreless and penalty-free opening period, the Islanders moved ahead 1-0 at 13:18 of the second. Kulemin took Casey Cizikas’ pass in front of the net and slipped a wrist shot past Rask.

They made it 2-0 less than 2 minutes later when Bailey took a seemingly harmless shot from the bottom of the right circle and the puck slipped between Rask’s left pad and the post. It snapped a 14-game goal-less stretch for the winger.

New York increased the lead to 3-0 late in the period. Rask stopped Cizikas on a clean breakaway, but the center collected his rebound and passed it to Kulemin, who fired a wrister past Rask at 18:38.

The Bruins left the ice to a smattering of boos after the second period. After pulling Rask, Boston barely mustered any threat to score.

Chimera scored an unassisted short-handed goal on a breakaway.

Boston’s Brad Marchand hit the left post with a backhand a few seconds before Kulemin’s first goal.

]]> 0 Kulemin of the Islanders scores one of his two goals against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask during a 4-0 victory Monday afternoon at TD Garden.Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:13:48 +0000
UMaine women knock off Hartford as Blanca Millan scores 23 points Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:03:02 +0000 BANGOR —– Maybe the University of Maine women’s basketball team turned the ball over too much in the first half, losing it 13 times.

But look at the rebounding edge for the game – 45-24

Let’s talk passing – 22 assists on 28 baskets.

And the defense and shooting came through as the Black Bears handed the University of Hartford its first America East loss, 73-62 Monday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Center.

Maine shot 51 percent, led by freshman guard Blanca Millan’s career-high 23 points. And Millan’s defense was also key as Maine held the Hawks to 35 percent shooting.

“Give credit to Maine. They’re a very tough team,” said first-year Hartford coach Kim McNeill, whose Hawks dropped to 12-5, 3-1 in America East.

Maine improved to 10-10, 3-2.

“They get after you on defense,” McNeill said. “They get in your face. They were tougher than us. The rebounding goes along with the toughness piece, especially when there is one of them, and three of us, and they come up with the ball.”

Maine had six players with at least four rebounds, led by 5-foot-10 guard Tanesha Sutton’s nine.

“We emphasize rebounding,” Sutton said. “Everyone is like, ‘I want it. I want it.’ That’s what I’m thinking.”

Sutton scored 12 points, and forward Laia Sole added 10, six of those coming on press-breakers as the Black Bears dribbled through the Hawks’ pressure defense and found Sole open underneath.

“We tried to focus on keeping it in the middle and push it up the court,” said Sutton, who paced Maine with six assists.

Maine led 29-25 at halftime.

The Black Bears were dominating in most phases – except for those 13 turnovers.

“A lot of those were self-inflicted,” said associate head coach Amy Vachon, who continues to direct the team with head coach Richard Barron on medical leave since Jan. 6 with an undisclosed illness.

Maine made only three turnovers in the second half before the subs entered in the final minutes.

“We made some adjustments,” Vachon said.

Once the Black Bears got the ball up the court, they worked on passing around the Hawks’ zone defense.

“They did a good job getting it to the high post and opening up shots,” McNeill said.

Millan hit 9-of-12 shots, including two 3-pointers.

“When all the team is having fun, you start having fun, too,” said Millan, one of three freshmen from Spain.

“The second half was so good. You shoot and it was like, ‘OK, this is going in.’ ”

In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Hartford had the ball, down 54-47. Millan stole the ball and raced down court for a layup with 5 seconds left, and a 56-47 lead. The Hawks never got closer.

For most of the game, Millan covered senior all-conference guard Deanna Mayza, who scored 12, four points under her average, on 4-of-13 shooting.

“Blanca not only had 23 points … she is really defensively playing outstanding right now,” Vachon said.

Maine was coming off a disappointing 55-41 loss at Stony Brook last Saturday.

Now the Black Bears go back on the road to play Thursday at New Hampshire (14-3, 4-0), the only team still unbeaten in conference play.

Maine is 1-8 in opposing teams’ venues.

“We need to play better on the road and I think we will,” Vachon said.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:15:57 +0000
McDaniels to remain as offensive coordinator for Patriots Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:44:40 +0000 Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, confirmed in a conference call Monday morning that he will remain with the Patriots.

McDaniels had been a candidate to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, but multiple media reports early Monday indicated that he had withdrawn his name from consideration.

In the conference call, McDaniels said, “I was really impressed with (San Francisco CEO) Jed York and … the people that came from the 49ers’ organization, they did a great job with their presentation and, again, humbled to be included in that conversation. At this time it’s just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year’s playoffs and finish off the year, however it turns out.”

The Patriots (15-2) will play the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) in the AFC championship game at 6:40 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl. New England, which defeated Pittsburgh 27-16 on Oct. 23, is playing in its sixth consecutive AFC title game, an NFL record.

McDaniels, in his 13th season with the Patriots’ organization, had also interviewed for the head coaching positions in Jacksonville and Los Angeles during the Patriots’ bye weekend. Both those teams made hires last week.

McDaniels, 40, is in his second stint as Patriots offensive coordinator. He first joined the organization in 2001 and was offensive coordinator from 2006-08. He then left to become coach of the Denver Broncos, where he complied an 11-17 record and was fired after 12 games in his second season.

He rejoined the Patriots in January of 2012, helping them in their playoff run. After Bill O’Brien left to become head coach at Penn State, McDaniels was again named offensive coordinator for the 2012 season.

“I’ve always said how grateful I am for this opportunity to work here for Mr. Kraft and his family and to coach under Bill (Belichick) and with a lot of great guys on our staff and have the privilege to work the players that we get to work with each day,” said McDaniels. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m very thankful to be here and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh.”

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had also interviewed for the head coaching positions in Los Angeles and San Diego, both of which have been filled.


]]> 0 England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, right, needed to overcome Tom Brady's suspension. He did and is in the running for his second head coaching job.Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:19:15 +0000
Patriots notebook: Players marvel at run of AFC title games Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are in the midst of a run of success that has even their own players in awe.

The Patriots advanced to an NFL-record sixth consecutive AFC championship game with a 34-16 victory Saturday night over the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots were previously tied with the Oakland Raiders, who played in five consecutive AFC championship games from 1973-77.

“I think it’s special to be a part of history,” said Matthew Slater, New England’s special teams captain. “I think that speaks to this franchise and the way it’s built, from the top down, with the Kraft family and obviously Coach (Bill) Belichick.

“But to have that consistency, it’s really hard to put into words.”

Safety Duron Harmon, who had the last of three New England interceptions Saturday, and linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who had the first of three sacks, both spoke of the work the Patriots put in each day to get better.

“It’s truly a blessing to be in this organization,” said Ninkovich, who joined the team as a free agent in 2009 and has never missed the playoffs. “Being in a place where there’s consistency, where you know what you’re going to get year in and year out with how hard you work and all the things you put into it … We work tremendously hard and I think we’re successful because of how hard we work.”

Harmon added, “It’s really a testament to this organization, the work that we continue to put in, how hard the coaches continue to push us. It’s very rarely done and I’m just excited to be part of this.”

Belichick, as usual, seemed unimpressed. Asked after the game about the achievement, he said: “You’re one of four teams that’s left after the weekend, but again, I mean, I don’t really care about the other five years right now, or however many years it’s been. The only thing that matters is this year, this team, and what we have an opportunity to do.”

The Patriots have only won two of the previous five AFC title games, losing twice on the road in Denver and once at home against Baltimore. They are 5-1 at home in AFC championship games. Sunday’s game will be at Gillette Stadium at 6:40 p.m., against the Chiefs or Steelers.

LUCKY 13? This is New England’s 13th trip to the AFC championship game, third most by any franchise. The Patriots are 8-4 in those games.

In Tom Brady’s 15 years as the Patriots’ starting quarter (not including 2008, when he missed all but one quarter because of a knee injury), the Patriots have advanced to 11 AFC championship games. Belichick holds the NFL record for most postseason wins (24) by a head coach – four more than Tom Landry. He was 1-1 with Cleveland and is 23-9 with the Patriots.

RUTGERS HAT TRICK: The three second-half interceptions by the Patriots on Saturday were all made by former Rutgers University players. Devin McCourty was drafted in the first round in 2010. Logan Ryan and Harmon were each drafted in the third round in 2013.

McCourty made a phenomenal play for his interception, dropping into deep coverage while reading Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler’s eyes and then breaking for the pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins. Ryan got his interception off a ball that tipped off Hopkins’ hands. Harmon got his on a ball that was overthrown.

“It was a big day for Rutgers, just how we planned it,” said Ryan.

Harmon said once the other two got their interceptions, he knew he couldn’t be left out.

“The whole sideline, I told them I was going to finish it off,” he said. “I couldn’t let Logan and Dev get one and not me. I told them I was going to get one. And it happened.”

VINCE WILFORK, the outstanding and popular nose tackle who played his first 11 seasons with the Patriots and the last two with the Texans, said after the game that “I think I have played my last NFL game.”

He added that he will take some time to sit back and decide if he really wants to retire. “I will see,” he said. “It doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed every bit of my career.”

The Patriots showed Wilfork on their giant videoboards at the end of the game and the crowd responded with loud cheers.

After the game, Brady and his wife, Gisele, were seen talking to Wilfork’s wife, Bianca, in the tunnel under the stadium.

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On Football: Lewis, Patriots driven to be even better Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England’s Dion Lewis had just become the first player to rush for a touchdown, catch a touchdown pass and return a kick for a touchdown in an NFL playoff game.

But after the Patriots’ 34-16 victory over Houston on Saturday night, Lewis was more focused on what he did wrong and what he needs to do to get better.

Despite his historic performance, his speech, his posture and the look on his face all suggested he had done something wrong. And in his eyes, he had.

Forget that Lewis, making his playoff debut, left Houston linebacker Benardrick McKinney grasping at air as Lewis skittered past him for a 13-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, or that he return a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown later in the quarter.

What Lewis cared most about was that he fumbled twice, losing one on a kickoff that Houston turned into a quick touchdown to pull within 14-13 in the second quarter.

“I feel like this was my worst game ever, actually,” he said, when asked about the three touchdowns.

How so, a puzzled reporter asked?

“The fumbles,” said Lewis, his voice low. “I put my team in a bad position. I don’t think this was my best game.”

And that reaction is why the Patriots are playing in a sixth consecutive AFC championship game next weekend.

Despite his touchdowns, what Lewis will remember – what he will focus on in practice this week – is his mistakes. The lost fumble was eating him up after the game and is sure to drive him as the Patriots prepare to host the winner of Sunday night’s game between the Chiefs and Steelers.

“I know what I’ve got to do,” he said. “It’s fixable. I know that. And I’m going to do whatever I can. Because if I don’t, I’m not going to play. I’ll get it fixed.”

This is a team that is driven to always get better, to learn from every mistake – no matter how slight – and to fix them. Yes, they’ll take the wins, no matter how ugly, especially at this time of year. But they strive to be better every game, every day.

“Let’s not get this thing confused or twisted,” said special teams captain Matthew Slater. “Dion played a heck of a game. Was it perfect? No. None of us played a perfect game. But we don’t win this game without Dion Lewis.

“But, again, we’re never complacent, never satisfied. We’re always looking to play better, to do better. I think that’s what makes this team go.”

Lewis obviously isn’t alone in that mind-set.

“That’s what makes an athlete,” said veteran linebacker Rob Ninkovich. “You’re not thinking about the good plays. You’re thinking about the bad plays.”


“You ask Tom (Brady),” said Ninkovich. “He’s going to tell you everything he did wrong, not the things he did well. I don’t even know what I did (two tackles, one sack, a quarterback hit and a pass defended). I probably messed up at least three plays. There’s always a handful of plays that you want back.”

Brady completed only 18 of 38 passes and threw two interceptions – after throwing only two in 12 games during the regular season. In his postgame press conference, he stressed the problems the Patriots had more than their successes.

“It was just very inconsistent for us all the way around,” he said. “We just didn’t do good enough in any area.”

And, still, the Patriots won. By 18 points.

The mood in the locker room was muted because the Patriots know they can play better, that they have to play better.

So the Patriots practice for perfection, knowing that they may never achieve it.

“You always want to be perfect,” said Ninkovich. “You try to be perfect in a game that’s almost impossible to be perfect. It is impossible to be perfect.”

But they try anyway, because that’s what drives them.

“We have to play better, we have to coach better than we did (Saturday), or there won’t be much left in our season,” said Coach Bill Belichick.

That message seeps through the entire locker room, to veterans and young players, to starters and practice squad players.

“We play for each other and hold each other accountable,” said rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts. “That’s the culture of our team … We know it’s the little things that get you wins in the playoffs.”

The Patriots have been the most successful team in the NFL for more than a decade now not just because they have Brady at quarterback and Belichick as head coach, though those two certainly have a lot to do with it.

No, they are successful because they don’t accept mistakes.

“We know in football there’s going to be mistakes, there’s going to be ups and downs,” said Slater. “But that doesn’t mean it’s OK with us when those mistakes happen.

“I feel we didn’t play our best football (Saturday), and I don’t think anyone feels (we did). But we won the game and we’re playing next week.”

Lewis will be ready. Of that you can be sure.

For him, there was only one redeeming quality in Saturday’s game.

“We won,” he said. “And that’s the most important thing.”

]]> 0 running back Dion Lewis leaves Houston's Benardrick McKinney in his wake on the way to the first of three touchdowns Saturday night in the AFC playoffs at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won, 34-16.Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:47:30 +0000
Steelers earn another shot at Patriots Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:31:04 +0000 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le’Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?

Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers’ 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game.

The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn’t play.

Spencer Ware’s 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed.

With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.

The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.

The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.

Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.

The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Pittsburgh’s answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell’s second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.

A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier.

The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger’s throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone.

Boswell’s fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh’s first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.

Kansas City’s Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.


Bell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). … Boswell’s four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. … Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.


]]> 0, 15 Jan 2017 23:33:03 +0000
No. 4 Halep upset on first day of Australian Open Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:14:34 +0000 MELBOURNE, Australia — Shelby Rogers caused the first upset of the Australian Open on Monday, beating fourth-seeded Simona Halep 6-3, 6-1 in the opening match on the center court.

Playing just her second main draw match ever at the Australian Open, the No. 52-ranked Rogers broke the 2014 French Open finalist’s serve four times on Rod Laver Arena. It was the second year in a row that Halep lost in the first round at Melbourne Park, and the fourth time overall.

Rogers made a surprising run to the French Open quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza last year, when she was ranked No. 108, but only advanced to the second round at one other tournament in 2016.

Her only previous win against a top 10 player was in 2014, when she beat then No. 8-ranked Eugenie Bouchard in Montreal, but the run at Roland Garros gave her confidence.

“The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I’m good enough,” Rogers said. “So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit.”

Halep, a two-time quarterfinalist in Australia, said she’d been hampered by pain in her left knee that was compounded by the pressure of the match.

“Definitely (Rogers) played well. I think she played very high standard,” Halep said. “She was aggressive, and she hit very strong.”

Unlike Halep, 13th-seeded Venus Williams improved on her first-round exit from last year to advance with 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over Kateryna Kozlova.

Seventh-seeded Muguruza saved a set point in the first set, needed a medical timeout and had to fend off three break-point chances at 1-4 in the second set before advancing with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Marina Erakovic.

Monica Puig raced through her opening match, beating Patricia Tig 6-0, 6-1. Duan Yingying was among the early winners with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Rebecca Sramkova.

Australian teenager Destanee Aiava’s milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to German qualifier Mona Barthel. The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student became the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a major.

Two seeded players lost early matches, with Varvara Lepchenko beating No. 19 Kiki Bertens 7-5, 7-6 (5) and former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic beating No. 26 Laura Siegemund 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori needed 3 hours, 34 minutes to advance, beating Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

There were two early retirements in the men’s draw. No. 10-seeded Tomas Berdych was leading 6-1 when Luca Vanni retired from their match, and Jeremy Chardy was leading 4-0 when Nicolas Almagro retired with an injured right calf muscle.

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Golf roundup: Thomas shoots 72-hole record Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:58:41 +0000 HONOLULU — Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history.

Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a 59 as he earned his second straight win. He two-putted for birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253.

Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

“It’s been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable,” Thomas said before going to sign his historic card.

Make that two weeks.

The 23-year-old from Kentucky won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua last week by three shots, then destroyed the full field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots. Thomas is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

“I felt like I was trying to win a tournament for second place,” Jordan Spieth said.

That honor went to Justin Rose, who closed with a 64 to finish alone in second. Spieth shot a 63 to finish alone in third.

The first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour was a one-man show.

Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead, and no one got closer than five shots all day.

His only nervous moment was an 8-foot par putt on the sixth hole when he was five shots ahead. He made that, and the rest of the day was a Pacific breeze.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Graeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to win the SA Open at the Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg.

]]> 0 Thomas hits a drive during the final round of the Sony Open on Sunday in Honolulu. Thomas set a PGA record for lowest 72-hole score.Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:11:57 +0000
NHL roundup: Hall’s OT goal lifts Devils to victory Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:54:54 +0000 VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Taylor Hall scored 1:28 into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Skating on a 2-on-1 with Damon Severson, Hall held the puck and beat Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom through the legs.

Kyle Quincey scored the tying goal with 3:03 left in the second period and Cory Schneider stopped 21 shots to help the Devils win their second straight after losing four in a row.

Loui Eriksson scored for the Canucks and Markstrom finished with 20 saves for the Canucks, losers of four straight after winning six in a row coming out of the holiday break.

WILD 3, BLACKHAWKS 2: Jason Pominville scored in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves and Minnesota beat host Chicago to grab sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference.

Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart also scored as Minnesota earned its fourth straight win and improved to 17-1-1 since Dec. 4. The Wild also beat the Blackhawks for the eighth straight time.

CAPITALS 5, FLYERS 0: Justin Williams and Matt Niskanen each scored two goals, Philipp Grubauer stopped all 24 shots he faced and Washington extended its winning streak to nine in authoritative fashion by crushing Philadelphia in Washington.

The Capitals lead the NHL with 63 points. Despite a sluggish start, the Capitals came alive with four goals on seven shots in the first seven minutes of the third period to turn the game into a laugher.

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Sports Digest: Powell loses in his UFC debut Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:52:27 +0000 South Berwick native Devin Powell lost his UFC mixed martial arts debut by unanimous decision Sunday night in Phoenix.

Drakkar Klose of South Haven, Michigan, also making his UFC debut, won all three five-minute rounds on all three scorecards, controlling Powell by being able to consistently gain the advantage in clinches along the edge of the cage. Klose also had large advantages in total strikes (46-7) and significant strikes (25-7).

Klose, who trains in Arizona, improved to 7-0-1 as a professional. Powell, who lives in Wells and trains out of his own gym in Somersworth, New Hampshire, is now 8-2 as a professional fighter.


WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Christine Scheyer of Austria upset the prerace favorites to win a downhill in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, while Lindsey Vonn placed 13th in her first race in nearly 11 months.

Not being able to push out of the start gate as usual, Vonn was more than half a second off the lead at the first split and finished 1.54 behind Scheyer.

“I have a little start routine with my poles and I couldn’t really do that with my right hand,” Vonn said. “I also kind of lost grip on my pole after the last jump.”

The four-time overall champion, who holds the women’s record of 76 victories, hadn’t raced since February last year because of a knee injury and a broken right arm. The fracture in her right upper arm also damaged nerves, which is still limiting mobility of her hand.

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Henrik Kristoffersen’s hot streak in slalom extended to a fourth win, and Marcel Hirscher was runner-up again, in Wengen, Switzerland.

Defending a first-run lead, Kristoffersen was slower than Hirscher at the last time check but the Norwegian raced through the final gates for a 0.15 seconds winning margin.

Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.63 back in third.

Kristoffersen leads the slalom standings ahead of Hirscher, who has been runner-up in three of his rival’s victories.

Still, Hirscher extended his clear lead in the overall standings, with Kristoffersen rising to second.

Kristoffersen also won last Sunday at nearby Adelboden and completed back-to-back wins at the Swiss venues for the second straight year.


HOUSTON MARATHON: Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro pulled away from Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atanfu to win with a time of 2 minutes, 12.05 seconds. Ondoro is the first Kenyan runner to win the race since David Cheruiyot in 2008, snapping a streak of eight years where an Ethiopian runner won.

Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa earned her first marathon victory, taking the women’s title. Assefa defeated the defending champion, Biruktayit Degefa, with a time of 2:30:18.


PREMIER LEAGUE: Pep Guardiola endured the heaviest league defeat of his coaching career as Manchester City was thrashed 4-0 by Everton in Liverpool, dropping the visitors further out of title contention.

Manchester City is in fifth place, 10 points behind leader Chelsea.

SPANISH LEAGUE: Sevilla scored two late goals to grab a 2-1 win at home, ending Real Madrid’s 40-game unbeaten streak and moving within one point of its rival atop the standings.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead by converting a penalty kick in the 67th minute, but Sevilla tied it on an own goal by Sergio Ramos in the 85th.

Stevan Jovetic scored the winner from outside the penalty area two minutes into injury time.

– Staff and news service report

]]> 0 Vonn competes for the first time in nearly 11 months during a World Cup downhill race Sunday in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria. Vonn, coming back from a knee injury and a broken arm, finished 13th.Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:07:00 +0000
Route to Super Bowl now goes through Georgia Dome Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:31:25 +0000 ATLANTA — Matt Ryan and the high-scoring Atlanta Falcons will have one more game in the Georgia Dome after all.

The Falcons will host the NFC championship game Sunday against Green Bay, thanks to the Packers’ 34-31 win over top-seeded Dallas in Sunday’s divisional playoff game.

Ryan continued his hot streak of turnover-free passing while leading Atlanta to a 36-20 win over Seattle in Saturday’s first divisional game.

The MVP candidate threw for 338 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Seahawks. It was Ryan’s fifth straight game without an interception, leading to a five-game winning streak. He has 14 touchdown passes in that span.

Ryan and the NFL’s top-scoring offense impressed cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks.

“They do a lot of things well,” Sherman said. “The quarterback gets the ball out, he doesn’t turn the ball over, so that will do it.”

Ryan was in top form in leading Atlanta to a 33-32 home win over Green Bay on Oct. 30. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Falcons (12-5) have leaned on Ryan and their balanced offense in pursuit of their second Super Bowl appearance and first championship. Ryan kept the offense moving against Seattle even as All-Pro receiver Julio Jones aggravated a toe injury.

Jones spent much of the second half on the sideline, but still had a game-high six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown in his highly anticipated matchup with Sherman.

Jones’ status will be closely watched this week. He missed two games this season because of the sore toe. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches, including six for touchdowns.

Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that Jones’ injury was “no concern at the moment” but acknowledged “it’ll be sore.”

Added Quinn: “I anticipate him being ready to rock next week.”

Jones was not available for postgame interviews, adding to speculation about the severity of the injury.

Ryan has a large list of targets other than Jones. He completed passes to eight receivers against the Seahawks.

Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for seven catches for 102 yards, including a 14-yard scoring catch by Coleman.

“The ability for them to add another receiver to our offense has been critical for us. It really has,” Quinn said.

Coleman had 11 carries for 57 yards, and Freeman rushed 14 times for 45 yards and a TD.

The NFC championship game will be a dramatic final bow for the Georgia Dome, which will be demolished as the Falcons move into their new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season.

The Falcons regularly play before sellout crowds, but they rarely open games with the stands full as fans battle Atlanta traffic. On Saturday, most in the crowd of 71,155 were there well before the opening kickoff.

“From the opening kickoff, the dome was rocking,” Ryan said. “That’s got to be as loud as it’s ever been in here.”

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NFL notebook: 49ers interview former Raiders coach Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:50:56 +0000 SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers interviewed Seattle offensive line coach and former Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable for their head coaching vacancy on Sunday.

Team CEO Jed York met with Cable as part of his search for replacements for fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke following a 2-14 season that tied the worst mark in franchise history.

Cable coached a line that struggled this season in Seattle, but he helped the Seahawks develop a strong running game his first five seasons with the Seahawks. Seattle was knocked out of the playoffs Saturday with a 36-20 loss to Atlanta.

Cable became interim head coach of the Raiders after Lane Kiffin was fired four games into the 2008 season. He kept the job after the season and finished with a 17-27 record in two-plus seasons. He was fired after 2010, despite leading the Raiders to an 8-8 record that was their best in eight years.

Cable does come with baggage. In Oakland, Cable was accused of punching assistant coach Randy Hanson and breaking his jaw during an argument in 2009. No criminal charges were filed and a civil case was eventually settled in arbitration.

He was also accused of domestic violence by an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend, but was not arrested or charged in those cases. Cable did acknowledge to striking his first wife with an open hand.

The 49ers have the only head coach opening left in the NFL after five other vacancies have been filled.

Three coaches who interviewed with York have already taken jobs elsewhere, with Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay getting hired by the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott getting the job in Buffalo, and Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn taking over the Chargers.

Vance Joseph was hired in Denver before he could interview with San Francisco.

The only other candidates remaining besides Cable are New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. McDaniels and Shanahan can’t be hired by San Francisco until their seasons end.

The Patriots and Falcons are in the conference title games.

BILLS: Despite concerns raised after sustaining season-ending neck injuries in consecutive years, starting safety Aaron Williams is preparing to resume his playing career, the player’s father told The Associated Press.

“He’s leaning toward coming back,” Anthony Williams said by phone. “We’ll take it slow and go from there.”

Williams said his son intends to make a formal announcement in the near future.

He was more definitive in a note posted on his Twitter account earlier in the day. In referring to Buffalo’s hiring of Sean McDermott as head coach, Anthony Williams wrote: “Excited about the new HC (head coach) and Aaron coming back to be part of the team that finally brings playoffs and a SB (Super Bowl) to the deserving BLO fans.”

Aaron Williams’ future has been in question since he was sidelined by a blindside hit to the head by Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry in Buffalo’s 28-25 loss at Miami on Oct. 23.

Williams was briefly hospitalized and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list two weeks later.

A few days following the game, Anthony Williams told The AP he intended to have his son consult with his family and wait until January to determine whether to retire.

The sixth-year player’s 2015 season was cut short after being hurt attempting to make a diving headfirst tackle. Williams missed the final 11 games of that season and had neck surgery, during which doctors shaved two disks to alleviate nerve damage.

RAMS: Joe Barry, Washington’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons, has agreed to terms to become linebackers coach and assistant head coach, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Barry, 46, was fired Jan. 5, along with two other assistants, after Washington’s defense finished 28th in the NFL for the second consecutive season.

Barry has been part of NFL staffs with the 49ers, Buccaneers, Lions and Chargers.

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Sunday’s NBA roundup: Harden gets another triple-double in Houston’s win Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:49:39 +0000 NEW YORK — James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.

Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.

Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.

RAPTORS 116, KNICKS 101: DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Norman Powell added 21 and Toronto used a dominant third quarter to beat New York in Toronto.

DeRozan also had five rebounds and five assists before coming out late in the third quarter. Toronto outscored New York 27-8 in the third to take a 96-62 lead.

The Raptors improved to 27-13, taking the lead for good late in the first quarter. They led by 38 points in the third in winning their third straight game overall and fifth in a row against the Knicks.

DeMarre Carroll added 20 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 18 points.

HAWKS 111, BUCKS 98: Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and host Atlanta beat Milwaukee.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 21/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.

Dunleavy had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.

MAVERICKS 98, TIMBERWOLVES 87: Wesley Matthews scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 17 as Dallas won at home.

J.J. Barea scored 15 points for Dallas, and Deron Williams had 13 points and 10 assists.

Gorgui Dieng scored 21 points and Andrew Wiggins had 19 for the Timberwolves, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Dallas broke open a two-point game by closing the third quarter on an 11-4 run, then Barea scored his team’s first nine points of the fourth quarter. His bank shot in the lane with 8:01 to go extended the Mavs’ lead to 88-76.

Seth Curry then scored the next five points with a 3 and a fast-break layup to give Dallas its largest lead.

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Sunday’s college roundup: Bowdoin finishes strong in women’s basketball win Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:45:33 +0000 WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Bowdoin closed the game on an 8-1 run to beat Williams 54-47 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference women’s basketball game Sunday.

The Polar Bears went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final 23 seconds, including four by Marle Curle, to secure the win. Abigail Kelly also scored four points in the final minute, including a pair of foul shots.

Curle finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Kelly added 10 points off the bench for Bowdoin (12-2, 2-1), and Lydia Caputi had eight rebounds.

Lydia Zaleski scored 15 points, and Devon Caveney and Kristin Fechtelkotter each had 10 for Williams (11-5, 1-3).

(2) BAYLOR 92, KANSAS 43: Kalani Brown scored 16 points, Nina Davis added 15 and the Bears (17-2, 6-0 Big 12) throttled the Jayhawks (6-11, 0-6) in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Bears (17-2, 6-0 Big 12) ran out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes.

(5) SOUTH CAROLINA 84, LSU 61: Alaina Coates had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Gamecocks (15-1, 5-0 SEC) again overcame the absence of All-American A’ja Wilson, beating the Tigers (14-4, 3-2) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

(9) LOUISVILLE 63, (14) MIAMI 59: Mariya Moore scored 24 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, to lead the Cardinals (16-4, 4-2 ACC) over the Hurricanes (14-4, 3-3) in Louisville, Kentucky.

(11) OHIO STATE 61, PURDUE 56: Stephanie Mavunga scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and posted her 35th-career double-double, Tori McCoy had 12 points and the Buckeyes (15-5, 5-1 Big Ten) overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Boilermakers (12-7, 3-2) in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Mavunga finished with 12 rebounds.


(22) CINCINNATI 55, EAST CAROLINA 46: Kyle Washington had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bearcats (15-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference) beat the Pirates (9-10, 1-5) for their eighth straight win, in Greenville, North Carolina.


AMHERST 4, BOWDOIN 0: Alex Toupai recorded a hat trick as the Purple & White (7-4-2, 3-3-2 NESCAC) beat the Polar Bears (8-4-2, 3-3-1) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Brenna Sullivan added a goal for Amherst, while Sara Culhane and Katie Savage each had two assists.

Kerrie St. Denis made 37 saves for Bowdoin.

]]> 0 Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:47:52 +0000
On Baseball: Bonds, Clemens can wait for Hall of Fame induction Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:45:09 +0000 The names we should hear when the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class is announced on Wednesday are Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell, and maybe newcomers Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Vlad Guerrero.

But during the voting process, the players we kept hearing about were Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling.

Clemens and Bonds represent the dilemma in the Hall voting. They are obviously two of the greatest players, but their names are synonymous with performance enhancing drugs.

Curt Schilling’s credentials are less clear-cut. He is also vocal in his opinions – always conservative, sometimes tasteless.

Clemens and Bonds make voters uncomfortable. Chances are good, that both were great without the PEDs, although their statistics would be less inflated.

But while both have been connected with using enhancers – through independent reports and court cases – they’ve never been disciplined by Major League Baseball – as others have, including Manny Ramirez, who is on the ballot for the first time this year, but has no chance after two failed drug tests.

This year, there has been a jump in support for Clemens and Bonds.

To reach the Hall of Fame, players need to receive 75 percent of the votes from the approximate 435 eligible voters – 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Last year – the fourth time both Bonds and Clemens were on the ballot – they received 44 and 45 percent of the vote, respectively. This year, with nearly half of the ballots made public, Bonds has 64 percent, Clemens 63.5 percent – according Ryan Thibodaux, who tracks Hall of Fame voting ( from writers who have made their ballots public.

The hefty increase in support for Bonds and Clemens is, in part, because former commissioner Bud Selig was voted into the Hall last month. Selig’s election came via a 16-person panel of voters, not the BBWAA.

Selig was the commissioner when PED use was at its peak. Now we are hearing from sports writers that if Selig gets in, so should Bonds and Clemens.

That makes little sense, but it appears Selig’s induction gives writers an excuse to do what they’ve wanted to do all along, which was to vote for Bonds (762 home runs, 1.051 career OPS and seven MVP awards) and Clemens (354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young awards).

Bonds and Clemens are not likely to get into the 2017 class. Maybe next year, or the year after.

I would prefer it happens in 2022 – the 10th (and final) ballot for each of them. Maybe that sounds petty, but their actions tarnished the game. For that, they can wait.

In Schilling’s case, his numbers are less convincing. His 216 wins are tied for 85th all-time, and his career ERA is 3.46. But Schilling was a power pitcher with control – his 3,116 strikeouts ranks 15th, and his strikeout/walk ratio (4.4) is third-best all-time.

Schilling’s greatest value was in the postseason, with an 11-2 record, 2.23 ERA and three World Series titles.

Schilling received 52 percent of the votes last year, his fourth time on the ballot. This year, according to Thibodaux’s tracker, Schilling has not moved much, sitting at 53 percent. Compare that to pitcher Mike Mussina (270 wins, 3.68 ERA), who has gone from 43 percent last year to 61 percent.

Why is Schilling stuck? He will argue that sportswriters don’t like his politics – especially when sharing his views on talk radio, Twitter and the internet.

Schilling may not be gaining ground because of how his expresses his views. Last fall, Schilling re-tweeted out a picture of a T-shirt that read “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.” Schilling referred to the shirt as “so much awesome.”

When Schilling was criticized for encouraging jokes about lynching, he defended it as simply “sarcasm.”

I don’t think Schilling was really advocating lynching. But he was foolish. Should he lose Hall of Fame votes because of that? No.

It’s hard to tell if Schilling’s holding pattern in the voting is because of his mouth or his win total. I believe the strikeouts and the postseason excellence make Schilling a better candidate than what his vote totals are.

Maybe more time is needed. If voters can ignore Bonds’ and Clemens’ discretions, maybe they can tune out Schilling long enough to analyze his impact.

]]> 0, 15 Jan 2017 21:49:39 +0000
HIGH SCHOOL SWIM NOTEBOOK: Messalonskee racking up swimmers for state meet Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:18:28 +0000 One recent result that may have jumped out at the eyes of Maine high school swim fans was the victory the Messalonskee/Lawrence boys swim team had over Brunswick on Dec. 30.

The victory was tremendous in multiple ways. One, it snapped a 30-meet win streak for the Dragons, dating all the way back to 2013. It was also a shot of confidence for a team that already has 12 swimmers who have qualified for states.

For the boys, the qualifiers are Edmund Couture (all individual events), Martin Gaurnieri (all individual events), Nate Perkins (all but the 100 breaststroke) Nate Ruel (200 free, 100 free, 500 free), Taylor Croft (all but two individual events) and Zoli Nagy (50 free, 100 free).

For the girls, qualifiers are Sophia Libby (all individual events), Olivia Roy (all individual events), Emily Larsen (200 free, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke), Leah Smith (all but the 100 backstroke), Sarah Cole (100 backstoke) and Gabby Pierce (200 free, 200 IM, 100 backstroke).

Messalonskee/Lawrence isn’t finished with qualifiers just yet, as coach Beth Prelgovisk believes more swimmers will advance within the last two meets of the regular season. That possibility also gives the swimmers focus for those last two meets, insteading of using tunnel vision directly for the Kennebec Valley Atheltic Conference and state meets.

“I’ve had (the swimmers) do a variety of events, to see where they are right now and where I think they are going to be in the next month,” Prelgovisk said. “Then I can start lining up where I feel like we can get the most points at KVACs and get as many swimmers as I can to qualify for states.”

The team’s final two regular season meets are no cakewalks. Messalonskee/Winslow will have a meet against Cony on Jan. 20 before wrapping up against Waterville/Winslow on Jan. 27.

“Those are going be great meets,” Prelgovisk said. “Especially our Waterville meet, that’s going to be our senior meet and their senior meet. The swimmers (of both teams) have grown up together, practiced together on club teams. They’re just great friends and it’s going to be an exciting meet, because there’s going to be some close races. We’re going to try to match them up and there’s going to be some challenges ahead of them and some exciting races to watch.”

• • •

A loss to Brunswick on Friday notwithstanding, the Waterville/Winslow boys and girls swim teams are on a roll this season.

Before Friday, the boys team enjoyed an undefeated season, while the only other loss for the girls team was against Cony, perhaps the strongest girls swim team in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conferece, possibly the state.

“I think we’ve had a really strong run so far,” Waterville/Winslow coach Justin Giroux said. “The loss to Brunswick actually doesn’t bother me at all, because they’re a really good team. A lot of the kids had their best swims of the entire year.”

For example, John Reisert — one of the strongest swimmers on the boys side — dropped his 500-meter freestyle time by 10 seconds.

“He was super motivated, he’s been training like crazy,” Giroux said. “I knew he had it in him, and he shined.”

The team also had a strong night from Winslow swimmer Jake Witham, who qualified for the state meet in the backstroke and set a school record in the process.

If anything, Giroux said, the recent meets against Cony and Brunswick provide a measuring stick for Waterville going forward toward the KVAC and state meets.

“We’re going to be going up against those teams at KVACs,” Giroux said. “It’s great to compete with those great teams before we get to that big meet. It does show us where we’re at, how much better we can become.”

On the girls side, Giroux said he has been very impressed with the progression of junior Sophie Weston, as she hit state qualifying times at the Brunswick meet.

“She’s really starting to shine, she’s been working hard,” Giroux said.

With the way the teams have been competing, it’s safe to say Waterville/Winslow will be a team to watch nearing the end of the regular season.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

]]> 0 Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:21:46 +0000
High School Basketball: As numbers dwindle, officials forced to work back-to-back games Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:15:15 +0000 Frustration spilled out of Skowhegan Area High School girls basketball coach Mike LeBlanc after Thursday’s loss to Nokomis. Not because his team lost, he knew the Warriors were a very good team and also didn’t expect his Indians to run the season undefeated. LeBlanc’s frustration was directed at the officiating situation.

With a shortage of basketball officials this season, two officials worked not only the varsity game between Skowhegan and Nokomis, but the preceding junior varsity game, too.

“I don’t think it’s fair to us or Nokomis to have officials do both games, with an 8-0 team and a 7-1 team. We should have had different officials,” LeBlanc said. “I’ve already spoken to (the officials). They did a fine job. I just don’t think it’s fair they’re doing that to certain teams. That’s twice we’ve had that.”

This basketball season, the issue that frustrated LeBlanc is becoming more common. Throughout the state, high school and junior high school basketball has seen a drop into the number of officials. It’s a problem that’s been building for a few years, Peter Webb, the state basketball commissioner said. The lack of officials hasn’t reached a critical point yet, Webb said, but the problem is trending that way.

“Right now, it’s a concern. If it changes more, we’re talking about putting it in the issue category,” Webb said.

At its peak a few decades ago, the state had approximately 700 officials to work varsity, junior varsity, and middle school games. Now, there are just under 500 working officials in Maine, Webb said.

“We’re best off with 600, 650 officials,” Webb said.

It’s not a problem confined to the state’s most rural areas. Webb acknowledged that the Western Maine board, which provides officials to schools in Androscoggin, Cumberland, York, Oxford, and Sagdahoc counties, is in the best shape, in terms of the number of officials, but still has a shortage. Central Maine, serving Kennebec, Franklin, Lincoln and Somerset counties, and Eastern Maine, serving Hancock, Knox, Penobscot, Waldo, and Piscataquis counties, are down the most, Webb said.

“Those boards each could use 25 more officials,” Webb said.

The Downeast board of officials and Northern Maine board also have been affected by the shortage, Webb said.

T.J. Halliday has been a basketball official for 32 years, and now serves as head of the Central Maine board. At a fall meeting, Halliday asked for a show of hands.

“I asked those with five years or less experience to raise their hands,” Halliday said. “Fifty to 60 did. We’re taking a 20, 30 year veteran and replacing them with someone with much less experience.”

The state, particularly central Maine, has been hit by a number of veteran officials retiring in recent years, and with fewer newcomers stepping in, there are fewer officials qualified to work varsity games. Halliday said the problem was compounded in central Maine when the area’s two largest conferences, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Mountain Valley Conference, began scheduling games on the same nights.

“Part of the bigger problem is a concentration of games on particular nights. With boys and girls games on the same nights, it makes it harder to cover every game,” Halliday said.

Tom Hill, the athletic director at Messalonskee High School, said his girls program has had the same officials work both ends of a junior varsity-varsity doubleheader three times this season. Winslow boys basketball coach Jared Browne said his team has had refs work the double shift twice this season. Browne pointed out that each time, he felt the officials did a good job, with no glaring missed calls, but added that extra work could wear down officials working too much over the season.

“They have a tough enough job as it is, and to ask them to do two games, it’s not fair to them,” Browne said. “I think they’re doing a good job in a tough situation.”

Working back-to-back games happened in the past, Webb said, but it was rare.

“It’s probably happened several dozen times, and that’s too much,” Webb said.

While running the court for 64 minutes to work consecutive games is physically daunting, that’s not the biggest concern with back-to-back games, Halliday said.

“It’s not even the physical aspect. It’s the mental aspect. It’s hard to concentrate that long,” Halliday said.

Webb cannot point to one reason fewer people are showing interest in becoming an official, but he noted a few key points. First, it’s difficult. Prospective officials must first enroll in a class. The class runs five weeks in October and November and costs $60, Halliday said. From there, new officials must work their way up, progressing from low level games. If they’re competent there, they can advance eventually to varsity games. There are 26 people currently enrolled in the central Maine education program, Halliday said.

“We’ve had fewer and fewer people interested in taking the course. These numbers have been down over the last several years,” Webb said. “It takes time to take the course, time to get experience.”

Some take the course, not realizing how much goes into officiating a basketball game. It’s not as easy as it looks.

“Some of my former players have taken it, guys who are smart and know the game, and they say they’re barely getting 50 percent of (the questions),” Browne said.

Even veteran officials are required to attend classes and workshops each year, in order to learn new rules and brush up on old ones.

“They don’t realize the commitment that it is. There’s a lot of continuous education. It’s not a matter of each fall of getting out your suit and finding your whistle,” Webb said. “I’m not sure people who pursue it have the patience. They say ‘When are my games?'”

Webb added that in years past, 19-21 year old made up a greater portion of new officials. In recent years, however, that demographic has migrated to officiating less.

“That age group has been a void for a number of years,” Webb said.

There’s also the perception that officials take almost constant verbal abuse from fans and coaches. That viewpoint is not unwarranted. For example, during the Nokomis-SKowhegan varsity girls game on Thursday, a fan loudly questioned the sobriety of the officials. Halliday said most officials quickly grow a thick skin and tune it out, or in a loud gym, never hear the barbs in the first place. Halliday noted the crowd noise at a Cony-Gardiner boys game he recently officiated, and said all he heard was a roar.

“We are human. There’s no way to be perfect out there. There’s 10 moving parts in a small space,” Halliday said.

Sitting in the stands, though, among the insulters, you hear more, and that can make a potential official decline to give it a go.

“They go to games and hear the yelling. Officials are used to it. But for somebody thinking about becoming an official, they think ‘Why would I do that?'” Webb said.

Added Browne: “It’s a commitment. I know I can get vocal at times, and I think a lot of people don’t want that kind of pressure.”

The high school basketball season is compact. This season, opening night was Dec. 9, and the final day of the regular season is Feb. 9. Subtract Sundays (Maine Princiapal’s Association rules prohibit Sunday games), and that leaves just over 50 days in which to play the season. Factor in weather postponments, and games begin to stack up, making the officials shortage even more pronounced.

The lack of officials is a problem that doesn’t have a quick fix. Unless more people sign up to take the course, and stick with it to gain the experience to work varsity games, it’s a trend that will continue, Webb said.

“We have to do something to garner some attention. It’s a good time to look into becoming an official,” he said.

Browne said coaches, players and fans need to realize the officials who are working are doing the best they can in a tough situation.

“They’re all in it for the right reasons, and with this shortage, we all have to make the best of it,” Browne said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0 Buck officiates a game between Cony High School and Messalonskee High School on Saturday in Oakland.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:26:45 +0000
Packers slip past Cowboys with last-second field goal Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:13:59 +0000 ARLINGTON, Texas — Aaron Rodgers didn’t need another Hail Mary this time.

Maybe just call it a “Half Mary.”

Rodgers threw a 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Jared Cook on the sideline, and Mason Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal on the next play as time expired, sending the Packers to the NFC championship game with their eighth straight win while thwarting a Dallas rally in a 34-31 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs Sunday.

The throw on the run from Rodgers to Cook came on third-and-20 with 12 seconds left, and after the Cowboys tied the score twice in the final 4:08 after trailing by 18 in the first half and by 15 to start the fourth quarter.

“I love the opportunity to go out there and make plays,” said Rodgers, who threw for two touchdowns to give him 21 during the winning streak, although he threw his first interception during the run.

“I was disappointed we had a chance there at 28-13 to go up three scores and make it really difficult for ’em and I threw a pick there on third down. We were able to come down and have two good drives toward the end of the game.”

Dallas’ rally was led by rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in their playoff debuts, and the first two career postseason touchdown catches for star receiver Dez Bryant along with the first for 14th-year tight end Jason Witten.

“We’re not going to stop no matter what the score is, no matter the game,” Prescott said. “It shows the true character of this team.”

Crosby’s winner was the third field goal of more than 50 yards in the final 1:33 — two from Crosby and one from Dallas’ Dan Bailey. And Crosby had to make the winner twice after Dallas coach Jason Garrett called timeout before the first attempt.

“It’s kind of a blur right now,” Crosby said. “When we have 35 seconds on the clock and that our offense can move the ball into field goal range and a manageable kick, that’s just special.”

Rodgers, who sparked last week’s wild-card win over the New York Giants with another Hail Mary before halftime, is headed to an MVP showdown with Atlanta’s Matt Ryan next Sunday. It will be Rodgers’ third NFC title game — all on the road for Green Bay (12-6).

Cook, who had six catches for a team-leading 104 yards, kept both feet inbounds with a knee just above the ground out of bounds on the decisive play. The play was confirmed on review.

“I saw him rolling to the right it was underneath coverage in front of me,” Cook said. “If I got over the top of them, Aaron would put the ball in the right place. Put it right on the sideline with enough room to get my feet down. It was a heck of a throw by him.”

Prescott, whose 11-game winning streak during the regular season sent Tony Romo to the bench when he returned from a preseason back injury, rallied the Cowboys in a way that probably made Dallas’ 10-year starter proud.

The Cowboys (13-4) almost became the third team in the Super Bowl era to win in the playoffs after trailing by 15 in the fourth. The first was Dallas in 1972, when “Captain Comeback”, Roger Staubach, rallied the Cowboys in San Francisco.

Instead, top-seeded Dallas ended up with its fifth straight loss in the divisional round and a 21-year drought in trips to the NFC championship game.

In the same position nine years ago, the Cowboys lost to the New York Giants, the biggest disappointment of Romo’s tenure.

“I thought we were a team that was capable of taking this thing all the way,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I know we are now after that second half.”

Prescott — a fourth-round pick who was supposed to be the No. 3 quarterback before injuries changed everything — got Dallas’ rally going with a 40-yard touchdown toss in the first half to Bryant, the first playoff TD for the star receiver.

Then he set the stage for the first tying score on a 6-yarder to Jason Witten to get within 28-20.

After a 7-yard scoring pass to Bryant — who had nine catches for 132 yards — Prescott ran in the tying 2-point conversion with 4:08 to go.

Rodgers led the Packers to a go-ahead 56-yard field goal from Crosby with a big boost on a pass interference penalty against rookie Anthony Brown that wiped out an interception from Jeff Heath, whose pick earlier in the game helped Dallas rally.

The Cowboys answered with a 52-yarder from Bailey with 35 seconds remaining.


Green Bay’s win was the first by a road team after 12 straight home victories in the playoffs dating to last season. The Packers were the previous road team to win — over Washington in last season’s wild-card round.


Rodgers didn’t seem to miss receiver Jordy Nelson, out with a rib injury sustained in the win over the Giants. Rodgers found six different receivers, including a 34-yard touchdown to Richard Rodgers that was his longest since catching one of three successful Hail Mary passes from Aaron Rodgers in the past 13 months.


Prescott and Elliott missed a chance to become the first rookie QB-RB combo in the Super Era to win in a playoff debut. But both did their part. Prescott threw for 302 yards and was the first rookie QB in the Super Bowl era with three TD passes in a playoff game. Elliott, the NFL rushing champion, had 125 yards.


McCarthy passed Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren on Green Bay’s coaching victory list with his 10th postseason win.


Packers: At Atlanta in the NFC championship game next Sunday.

]]> 0, 15 Jan 2017 22:04:28 +0000
NFL: Patriots once again head to AFC championship game Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:05:44 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Short nights and short offseasons.

It’s the Patriot way.

New England has advanced to the AFC championship game for a record sixth year in a row and the 11th time in 16 seasons. With one more win, the Patriots (15-2) would play in their seventh Super Bowl since 2001.

But to find out who was still in their way, they had to wait until Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s also something they’ve grown accustomed to in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.

“It was a long night — or a short night, however you want to look at it,” Belichick told reporters on Sunday, about 13 hours after beating the Houston Texans 34-16.

“We have people on our staff that work on our next opponent, just like we always do. This one’s a little tougher because we’re working on two teams instead of one, but they’ve just worked harder and gotten it done.”

Brady completed 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns in the divisional-round victory over Houston, but he also threw two interceptions – as many as he had all season.

Dion Lewis had three touchdowns – one running, one on a pass reception and a 98-yard kickoff return – but fumbled another return and helped the Texans stay in the game.

So the Patriots don’t have to look too far to find things to work on this week.

“There are some things I could do a lot better on, protect the ball. I put my team in jeopardy,” said Lewis, who is the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a run, catch and kickoff. “We have a lot of work to do. We made a lot of mistakes. I’m glad we got a win, but in order to advance next week, we’ve got to play a lot better.”

Brady was also focusing on improving.

“I think we’ve just got to learn from it,” he said. “It was a lot of things, and then when you add our poor execution on top of that, then you add our turnovers on top of that, it doesn’t feel great because we worked pretty hard to play a lot better than we played.

“I give them a lot of credit, but we’re going to have to play better on offense. We expect to go out and have a good week and try to fix the things that we saw tonight, and then try to play better next weekend.”

Brady, 39, overcame his four-game “Deflategate” suspension to propel himself into the Most Valuable Player discussion while throwing for 28 touchdowns in the regular season and just two interceptions – the best ratio in NFL history. He has not missed the playoffs in a healthy season since 2002, and his 11 appearances in the conference title game is a record for any player.

Saturday’s win gave Belichick the record for coaching appearances in a conference championship, his 11th, breaking a tie with Dallas’ Tom Landry.

“It’s really a testament to this organization,” said New England defensive back Duron Harmon, who had one of three interceptions of Houston’s Brock Osweiler.

“The work we continue to put in, how hard the coaches continue to push us. It’s just a testament, it’s very rarely done, and I’m just excited to be a part of something like this because there’s not too many places that win like this.”

]]> 0 England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown by running back Dion Lewis during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff game Saturday against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Massachusetts.Sun, 15 Jan 2017 20:19:11 +0000
Yarmouth figure skater wins silver at nationals Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:44:38 +0000 Yarmouth High sophomore Franz-Peter Jerosch and his partner, Jade Esposito, won Intermediate Pairs silver medals at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Sunday afternoon in Independence, Missouri.

Jerosch and Esposito, of Newton, Massachusetts, placed second in Sunday’s free skate after winning Saturday night’s short program and finished second overall among 12 pairs with a score of 95.61 points.

A brother-sister team from Michigan, Ivan Mokhov and Masha Mokhova, won the free skate after placing second in the short program to win gold with 97.11 points. He’s 17 and she’s 10.

Jerosch and Esposito, both 15, had one wobble on the landing of their first of two throws, costing them a .80 deduction. They also lost .36 after downgrading a planned double flip-double loop combination into a single loop along with the double flip.

“A couple mistakes, but we gave it all we could,” Jerosch said by phone after the medals ceremony. “We fought for everything. I felt very happy leaving the ice. I know Jade did, too.”

Jerosch and Esposito are in their first year as partners, and practice three days a week, in either Maine or Boxborough, Massachusetts. They won the Eastern Sectionals in November and on Sunday placed nearly four points ahead of the bronze medalists, Isabelle Martins and Ryan Bedard of Chicago, who had 91.77.

Last year, Martins and Bedard won Juvenile Pairs while Jerosch and his former partner, Julia Curran of Westbrook, placed second.

“What they did for skating only three days a week and for being together for less than a year is phenomenal,” said Kristin Andrews, who coaches them when they practice in Maine. “There is nothing wrong with second place nationals. I’m super-duper proud of them.”

Jerosch and Esposito had taken a slight lead after the short program, 34.70 to 34.40 for the team from Lansing, Michigan.

“We knew that for us to win we would have to skate perfectly clean in (free),” said Jerosch, who skated 11th of the 12 teams, just behind the Mokhova-Mokhov siblings. “I only saw snippets of their program. I knew that when they came off the ice they had skated clean because they were really excited. But I was prepared. It didn’t really bother me that much.”

Pacific Sectionals champions Altice Sollazo and Paul Yeung of California entered nationals with the highest score of the three Sectional winners. They placed sixth in Sunday’s free skate after taking third in Saturday’s short program to place fourth overall with 88.87 points and earn pewter medals.

Jerosch said he will remain in Missouri until Thursday to watch skaters at the higher Novice, Junior and Senior levels. He and Esposito also plan to attend a seminar for skaters who hope to eventually represent the United States at international competitions.

]]> 0 Jerosch and partner Jade Esposito warm up Sunday before lacing on their skates. "They have a wonderful sense of maturity and a good friendship, which you see on the ice," said coach Kristin Andrews.Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:03:22 +0000
Thornton’s Michael Laverriere wins 46th Fitzpatrick Trophy Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:13:16 +0000 Thornton Academy quarterback Michael Laverriere fulfilled a longtime goal Sunday when he was named the 46th winner of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, given to the top high school senior in Maine football.

“After my freshman season, I got to witness this event,” he said. “Ben Lucas won that year, and I went home that night and I really set that as a goal that I wanted to win (the Fitzpatrick Trophy) my senior year.”

“(Thornton) always had a semifinalist or finalist, so the past four years I’ve gotten to come here. Those great players before me kind of set the example.”

Portland’s Dylan Bolduc and Brewer’s Trey Wood were the other finalists. Bolduc led Portland to the Class A North title, rushing for 1,464 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading the Bulldogs in tackles (134). Wood, a tailback/middle linebacker, became the first Brewer player to be named a finalist after he rushed for 2,014 yards and 27 touchdowns and recorded 83 tackles.

“It’s hard to get to the final three and it’s really an honor,” Bolduc said. “If you look at the past finalists, they’re all very talented players, and just to be at that level is an honor.”

The other eight semifinalists were also in attendance at the banquet at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. Each semifinalist was introduced and recognized for his achievements.

The Fitzpatrick Trophy, named for former Portland High coach and educator James J. Fitzpatrick, began in 1971 and is supported through a trust established by Julius “Yudy” Elowitch. A 1931 graduate of Portland, Elowitch played for Fitzpatrick and credited him as a key mentor. Elowitch, who died in 2005, went on to form Maine Rubber International.

Laverriere, a four-year varsity player who also played safety, is weighing college football offers from the University of Maine, Fordham, Assumption and Springfield.

Last fall, Laverriere carried the offense in his first season as the starting quarterback. He rushed for 1,384 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, as Thornton went 7-2. He completed 49 of 86 passes for 813 yards and seven touchdowns. As a safety, he was in on 63 tackles, five for a loss, while making three interceptions.

Thornton reached the Class A South semifinals, losing a thriller to Scarborough, 36-29. Laverriere put Thornton ahead for the first time with 1:44 remaining on a 19-yard touchdown run – his third of the game – and 2-point conversion, but Scarborough rallied to score the winning touchdown.

“Here at Thornton, we always judge players by how they play in the biggest games,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal. “In our three biggest games this year, one against (eventual state champion) Bonny Eagle and two against Scarborough, Michael averaged 260 yards of offense and scored nine touchdowns.”

Laverriere was also chosen as the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year, the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and the USA Today Maine Offensive Player of the Year.

As former University of Maine coach Jack Cosgrove paused before reading the winner’s name, Bolduc, Laverriere and Wood each sat quietly, looking straight ahead.

“I could feel my heart coming out of my shirt a little bit,” Laverriere said, allowing himself a small smile afterward. “It was pumping hard and I definitely felt it and was definitely nervous, but I’m glad I won.”

Laverriere pointed to Thornton’s state championships in 2014 and 2015 as the memories he would most cherish.

“Winning two state championships with my team, that’s quite an accomplishment, and I’m proud to represent Thornton Academy in that way.”

The last Fitzpatrick Trophy winner from Thornton was Art Leveris in 1991. Bob Giroux (1986) is the only other past Thornton winner.

“Art Leveris was the last guy and my coaches have told me about what he was like,” Laverriere said. “He was a hard football player and they say I kind of play like him a little bit. It’s a great opportunity to bring this (trophy) back to Thornton.”

About 40 Laverriere supporters – family, friends, coaches and teammates – were in attendance, including his mother, Michele, his father, Chris, and his brother, Daniel, 16.

“He is a very quiet, reserved person off the field,” said Nick Bartholomew, Thornton’s center.

“But on the field he is the exact opposite of that. He’s one of the most passionate guys I’ve ever played with. Has a great love for the game and is probably the hardest worker I know.”

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Devin Powell’s big break puts him in UFC’s big-time cage tonight Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 One bad break helped lead to Devin Powell’s big break.

Powell, 28, has been fighting professionally in the mixed martial arts – a sport that combines techniques of wrestling and boxing with martial arts such as kickboxing, judo and karate – since 2012.

The South Berwick native has fought mostly in front of small crowds in northern New England, but on Sunday night he will have his biggest payday yet – more than $20,000 if he wins – for a nationally televised fight in Phoenix.

His breaks came in August. On short notice, Powell got a chance to fight in front of Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization.

White was in Bangor taping his YouTube show, “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight.” The premise of the show is that White goes to a small venue to watch a local mixed martial arts fight card. If a fighter impresses enough, he or she can get signed to fight in the UFC.

Early in the fight Powell made a positive impression on White and his two co-hosts, Matt Serra and Din Thomas, with his leg kicks and assertive style.

Then his opponent, Jon Lemke, caught him with a punch that grotesquely broke Powell’s nose.

Later Thomas would say, “It looked like his nose turned inside out, upside-down and folded to one side.”

As the blood flowed freely, Powell wiped it off and came back at Lemke, backing him up with kicks and punches. A Powell uppercut staggered Lemke, and within seconds Powell had applied a rear-naked chokehold for the submission win, causing Serra to jump from his seat shouting profane encouragement.

Soon, White and his camera crew were backstage offering Powell his first UFC fight. White liked him as a fighter. Even more, he liked the way Powell fought through adversity.

“I’m glad it happened. I’m glad my nose was broken,” Powell said after a recent workout. “It showed I could battle back from that adversity.”

Devin Powell spars with Muay Thai teacher Tim Hagan, one his main training partners, during a recent workout at his Nostos MMA training facility in Somersworth, New Hampshire.

Devin Powell spars with Muay Thai teacher Tim Hagan, one his main training partners, during a recent workout at his Nostos MMA training facility in Somersworth, New Hampshire. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Powell, who has an 8-1 record and the 155-pound New England Fights title, makes his UFC debut Sunday night on the undercard at the UFC Fight Night 103 at the 13,000-seat Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. His opponent is Drakkar Klose, another 28-year-old UFC newcomer with a 6-0-1 record, who trains in Arizona.

The three-round fight will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 as one of four preliminary bouts from 8 to 10 p.m. Powell has been told that his fight will be the last of the four, starting about 9:30 p.m.


UFC Fight Night routinely attracts more than 2 million viewers for its weekly shows, held at large arenas across North America. UFC’s best-known fighters, such as Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, have reached celebrity status transcending mixed martial arts.

Powell joins a short list of fighters from Maine who have appeared on a UFC card. Retired fighters Marcus Davis of Houlton, Mike Brown of Standish, and former heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia of Ellsworth each had multiple UFC fights. Tim Boetsch of Lincolnville is currently the No. 14 ranked middleweight with a 20-10 record. Boetsch will take a two-match winning streak into his Feb. 11 fight against Jacare Souza at UFC 208.

Powell was originally scheduled to fight Jordan Rinaldi, who withdrew before Christmas with an injury.

“This is going to be a huge fight with several thousand people, and I’m fighting a kid from Arizona so that’s something to take into account, too, but I’m definitely prepared for that jump,” said Powell, who lives now in Wells. “I’ve already fought in front of the big man (White). I didn’t have a training camp for it. This one I’ve had the best camp of my life and I’m stronger than ever.”

Powell and Klose have vastly different training situations.

Klose, who hails from South Haven, Michigan, trains at MMA Lab, a large gym based in Glendale, Arizona, that is home to several other UFC fighters.

Powell does his training at Nostos MMA, the “family-friendly” gym he’s owned and operated since May 2014. The gym boasts more than 100 students who cut across all age groups.

“Ninety percent of the people who train here just want to get in good shape and learn practical self-defense and have a fun, positive place for their families and children to be a part of,” Powell said.

The two-room gym is located between a beverage store and a pizza parlor in Somersworth, New Hampshire, just over the state line from South Berwick. One room has a partial cage where Powell focuses his training, at times having to work around rambunctious young children scooting through.

Powell spars with Muay Thai teacher Tim Hagan.

Powell has owned and operated the Nostos MMA, a “family-friendly” gym, since May 2014. The gym boasts more than 100 students who cut across all age groups. Here he spars with Muay Thai teacher Tim Hagan. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Powell’s training partners include former workout partners at various gyms – guys such as 42-year-old George Law, a BJJ brown belt whose own athletic claim to fame was being part of the Dover, New Hampshire, 1987 Little League World Series team.

“There’s a million guys who say they want to be a fighter,” Law said. “He’s one of the only ones to put in all the effort. Devin has unbelievable dedication and work ethic.”

Powell believes his close-knit team, headed by coaches Adam Rivera and Jay Mansfield and cornerman Keegan Hornstra, actually gives him an advantage, even though no one in the group has UFC experience.

“I believe my coaches are phenomenal, and I also get to have a lot of ‘me time,’ ” Powell said. “There are gyms with several hundred fighters who are phenomenal but they are also all fighting for individual time with their coaches. There are some gyms where you don’t have to seek out training partners. Everyone you get is going to be good. I’m just making sure I’m filtering through the best guys in the area and my coaches are putting in double sessions specifically with me every day.”

The name of Powell’s gym has meaning. Nostos is a Greek word, meaning homecoming or homeward journey (think Odysseus returning from the Trojan War).

For Powell, Nostos symbolizes breaking out of an unfulfilling job and coming “home” to a new life as a business owner, martial arts instructor and – for at least a few more years – a professional fighter. Powell lives with his fiancée, Carol Linn Hawkins, and his daughter, Clementine, who turns 5 the day after her father’s big fight.


It was while doing clerical work at the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that Powell realized he needed a positive outlet away from his monotonous job. That’s when he first stepped into an MMA gym.

Prior to that, Powell’s lone combat sport experience was as an 8-year-old when he tried wrestling for a couple of days.

“I went in and got matched up with DeeDee Rix and I got rag-dolled by a girl,” Powell said, laughing at the memory. “That was it for me.”

Deanna (Rix) Betterman, the daughter of longtime Marshwood High wrestling coach Matt Rix, went on to become one of the top female wrestlers in the United States, placing at World Championships and winning gold at the 2010 Pan American Games.

“He was absolutely a blank slate,” said Rivera, one of the coaches who has been in Powell’s corner for all of his amateur and professional fights. “He had never even had a fistfight as a kid. His first fight was in a cage.”

But when the once-aspiring guitarist, who graduated from Marshwood High in 2006, came to mixed martial arts as an adult, he quickly became a convert.

“I started out doing jujitsu tournaments and I did really well with them, beat some Brazilian kids,” Powell said. “My coaches just saw me show up every single day and get better and never stop. I was horrible when I started. So they asked me if I would fight and I took it.”

It was a broken nose that got Devin Powell's foot in the door. Officials were so taken with his scrappiness amid a fighting injury that he'll now strut his stuff at UFC Fight Night 103.

It was a broken nose that got Devin Powell’s foot in the door. Officials were so taken with his scrappiness amid a fighting injury that he’ll now strut his stuff at UFC Fight Night 103. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

He lost his first amateur fight, then won three straight and was ranked No. 1 among Northeast 155-pound amateurs when he turned pro in 2012.

He won his first fight, then lost his second. Powell was 3-1 when he opened Nostos MMA. His career idled with just one fight over the next 20 months before he went on a four-match win streak between February and August in 2016.

He won a decision at a New Hampshire-based Combat Zone show, claimed his New England Fights title with a first-round TKO over Jesse Erickson, in April, and then won a split decision over Tom Marcellino on a World Series of Fighting show at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut in June, as part of the undercard of an NBC telecast.

After the Marcellino fight, Powell was beat up and needed a rest from fighting and active training. His back ached and a foot was injured. When he got the call to fight in front of White, he was left with three weeks to prepare. Not ideal, but an opportunity he had to take.

“I knew that with my record and if I performed well I would definitely be capable of fighting at the next level,” Powell said. “When you get that chance to fight directly in front of (Dana White) and put on a show, that’s something you can’t say no to.”

Powell has a non-guaranteed, four-fight contract with the UFC. He’ll earn $10,000 for fighting, plus a $2,500 bonus from Reebok. The winner gets an additional $10,000. Powell’s largest previous payday was at the World Series of Fighting show when he earned $1,500 for the fight, $1,500 for the win and got a small percentage on the 100-plus tickets he sold.

“Regardless of what your deal is, in the UFC you can have one fight and be gone if you don’t perform,” Powell said. “The goal is to fight well enough to have four fights with them.”

Rivera said his fighter will win because Powell has multiple strong skills, including powerful leg kicks, “and I just personally have never seen anyone work as hard as he does.”

“I know that this is my last run,” Powell said. “I’m not fighting after I’m done with the UFC, whether it’s off of a winning or a losing streak. You have a life clock with fighting. So I have a couple of years left. But I can teach martial arts for the rest of my life.”


]]> 0, NH - JANUARY 7: Mixed martial arts fighter Devin Powell, a South Berwick native, will make his UFC debut on January 15th in Phoenix. Powell is currently the New England Fights 155-pound champion. (Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer)Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:05:27 +0000
Goodbye, bear man: Maine loses a Master Maine Guide Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Over the past five decades, Wayne Bosowicz became known as the dean of black bear guides and an ambassador of Maine’s forests. He was called a consummate conservationist, a savvy buisinessman and a knowledgeable naturalist.

But mostly, those who knew him – from state biologists to hunters, guides and the people of the North Maine Woods – say Bosowicz loved the wild animal he knew so well.

“He loved bears. There’s no question he loved bears,” said Craig McLaughlin, the director of the terrestrial division at Colorado Parks and Wildlife and a former Maine bear biologist.

“He wanted to make sure bears would be around in Maine for a long time. In the summer and fall he spent every day in the woods. It was his livelihood, but it was more than that, it was a way of life. He thought that bears made Maine a very special place.”

Bosowicz died Jan. 4 at age 73 after a long battle with cancer, a year after passing his world-famous business, Foggy Mountain Guide Service, on to his longtime guide, Brandon Bishop.

A founding member of the Maine Professional Guides Association, Bosowicz is credited with growing an organization that represents more than 1,200 Registered Maine Guides. After starting Foggy Mountain in 1964, he became one of the best-known Maine guides, catering to sportsmen and women from around the world. To everyone he addressed, Bosowicz would describe Maine’s woodlands as a beautiful, restorative place offering an experience unlike any other.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants. And he was one of the first,” said Don Kleiner, a guide of 30 years and director of the professional guides association.

“He had captains of industry and celebrities at his camp. And there were country singers. That’s not just because he was a well-known Maine guide. He treated everyone the same. I think that was a part of it.”

Former state wildlife director Ken Elowe lived a town over from Bosowicz and often stopped by Bosowicz’s camp in Piscataquis County. He said Bosowicz loved to share what he had learned about wildlife, but listened as well as he told stories.

“When he talked to you, you were the most important person, he was interested in what you were saying, and he always wanted to learn new things,” said Elowe, now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s assistant regional director for science in the Northeast.

“He is so well-respected because of his approach, his candor, his personality and his knowledge. I’m not saying other guides are not. But Wayne had a reputation for doing that in spades.”

During the Maine clear-cutting referendums of the 1990s, Elowe said guides and biologists clashed with foresters over how to manage the forest for wildlife and paper companies. Elowe said meetings were divisive. But he recalls how Bosowicz asked questions without being confrontational, and at the end of every meeting found common ground with opponents.

“He was always interested in bears, but also in conservation in general,” Elowe said. “He made a specialty of bear guiding very early on. And he was passionate about it. But he had a more holistic approach. He wanted to see people work together.”

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who chaired the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife when he was a state representative, said Bosowicz was a polite ambassador of hunting, even though he didn’t like how political hunting had become.

In the past 13 years, Maine voters have narrowly defeated two referendums that sought to abolish bear baiting.

“He was such a purist in his craft of hunting. He didn’t understand why people could be against it,” Dunlap said. “Why would people say this ancient art that he practiced was barbaric? But instead of attacking people, he would step back and let them have their viewpoint. He always had this very kind way of talking. Wayne was part of the solution.

“If you think of an earlier time, 1,000 or 10,000 years ago, what would Wayne Bosowicz be? He would be a heralded member of his community, someone who understood the habits of bears.”

McLaughlin, the former Maine bear biologist, kept in touch with Bosowicz after he left Maine 15 years ago. Just a few weeks ago, McLaughlin directed a colleague curious about bear with white paws to Bosowicz for his opinion.

“Without a doubt, I learned as much from him as he learned from me,” McLaughlin said. “He’d be the first to tell you he didn’t have any rigorous university training in wildlife management. But he collected information, and he’d share it with you. He was a homegrown naturalist in his own right. I really respected that and valued it.”

Bosowicz had hunters from around the world come to his two camps, in Sebec and north of Moosehead Lake at historic Pittston Farm.

Jenn Mills, co-owner of Pittston Farm, said she saw hunters with Bosowicz from England, Brazil, Australia, Russia and beyond.

“In the beginning I didn’t really know him,” Mills said. “Then I overheard a hunter talking one time to another hunter say, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s actually here. Wayne is actually here.’ He is Mr. Black Bear to the world. Everyone knew Foggy Mountain.”

Jeff Anderson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, came to hunt at Foggy Mountain eight years ago and was so enchanted by the Maine woods and his guide there, he returned every year since.

“I was originally supposed to go to Canada, but my guide there got sick. Wayne opened up his home to me. That’s how I ended up in Maine,” Anderson said. “He would help anyone who needed it. His fame never went to his head.”

Patti and Paul Bass of Venice, Florida, met Bosowicz eight years ago when Paul wanted to hunt bear for the first time. The Basses have hunted out west and around the world. But they have returned each year to Foggy Mountain to see their friend.

Last week, Patti Bass flew to Maine to attend a private service for Bosowicz.

“I would have gone from one end of the Earth to the other to be there,” Bass said. “One of the things he always said was, ‘Nothing is a problem.’ Paul and I say that every day now.”

Bishop said his friend will be remembered for the legendary guiding service he grew, but mostly for his love of bears.

“He is the bear man, there is no doubt about that,” Bishop said. “He knew bear inside and out. He lived his life around bear.”

]]> 0 Guide Wayne Bosowicz specialized in guided bear hunts for more than 40 years and gained a reputation as a man whose knowledge of bears and bear hunting was unsurpassed. Bosowicz died Jan. 4 after a long battle with cancer.Sat, 14 Jan 2017 18:58:35 +0000
Outdoors calendar Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 UPCOMING

Fireside Chat, 7 p.m. Feb. 3 in Freeport

Join ski historian Scott Andrews at L.L. Bean for a “fireside chat” about the history of Nordic skiing in Maine. Andrews has given talks about the rich history of Maine skiing since 2008. To learn more, go to

Moosehead Togue Derby, all day Jan. 27-29 in Greenville

The Moosehead Lake region will again host a togue derby that draws 1,000 to 3,000 fishermen. There will be cash prizes for the three biggest togue. Those who aren’t fishing can enter drawings for door prizes, including trips to Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida. Derby tickets are on sale at

Moosehead Sled Dog Race, 9 a.m. Feb. 4 in Greenville

The Wilderness Sled Dog Race will start at the Leisure Life Resort, with mushers and dog teams racing through 70 miles of forested mountain trails in the Moosehead region. Spectators can witness both the 70-mile race, which starts at 9 a.m., or the 30-mile race at 10 a.m. Both events are free for spectators. For more information call 695-2421 or go to

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Sunday’s NFL games at a glance Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 PACKERS (11-6) at COWBOYS (13-3), 4:40 p.m.

Outlook: It’s hot-as-Hades Aaron Rodgers for the Packers vs. super-rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott for the Cowboys. It’s a storied Green Bay franchise with more NFL championships than anybody visiting a Dallas club seeking its first Super Bowl invite in 21 years and trying to reclaim its “America’s Team” heft. Delicious! It also is the eighth postseason meeting between these teams, with the Cowboys up 4-3, but Green Bay having won the most recent meeting in 2014. Dallas handled Green Bay in Week 6, winning 30-16 at Lambeau Field, but the Packers roll in sizzling with seven consecutive wins by a combined 223-125, and Rodgers is 18-0 on TD/picks in that run. I trust Rodgers – a lot – and an outright upset would not surprise, especially if Jordy Nelson (ribs) is playing. Did I mention Jason Garrett is 1-4 vs. Green Bay? I still like Dallas, healthier than it’s been all year and at home. But Green Bay should keep it close.

Television: FOX

Prediction: Cowboys, 27-24

STEELERS (12-5) at CHIEFS (12-4), 8:20 p.m.

Outlook: The Steelers clobbered the Chiefs 43-14 in Week 4, the low point of Kansas City’s season. I know it’s tough to beat a quality team twice in one season, and the Chiefs will enjoy the revenge edge along with home field, just as Pittsburgh owned both vs. Miami last week. But the team I just saw handle the Dolphins is good enough to solve a very strong KC defense and move on. Give me swashbuckling Ben Roethlisberger over safe-guy Alex Smith. I also think Le’Veon Bell will be a huge factor, although expected wintry rain could be a joker in the deck. Another key will be Pittsburgh’s defense vs. TE Travis Kelce, and its special teams containing KC’s electric Tyreek Hill. I trust recent history. The Steelers are playoff-proven. KC, by contrast, is 1-8 in the postseason since last reaching the AFC title game in 1993.

Television: NBC

Prediction: Steelers, 24-20

– By Greg Cote, Miami Herald (Last week 3-1, season 159-95-2)

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