Saturday, May 25, 2013
From staff reports
Seven wrestlers from Maine placed among the top six in their weight class at this weekend's 48th annual New England High School Wrestling Championships in Providence, R.I.
Josh Britten, 3, was the leader in guiding Yarmouth to its first state since 1968. Britten had 29 points as the Clippers beat Gardiner 65-53 Friday in Bangor.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Lake Region’s Tiana-Jo Carter, left, defends Presque Isle’s Meredith Stewart in Friday’s Class B state title game. Presque Isle pulled out a 49-47 win in Bangor.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Brent Waterman of Belfast went 4-0 to capture the 132-pound championship and junior Danny DelGallo of Gardiner went 3-1 to finish as runner-up in the 138-pound division.
Fourth-place finishers included previously unbeaten Connor Sheehan of Fryeburg Academy at 113 and Rhett Chase of Camden Hills at 220.
Freshman Cody Hughes of Marshwood finished fifth at 138 pounds. Sixth-place finishers included Jared Jensen of Brunswick at 152 and Josh Andrews of Massabesic at 220.
Timberlane High School of Plaistow, N.H., compiled 77 points to capture its sixth consecutive New England team championship. Daniel Hand High of Madison, Conn., followed with 68.5 points. Mount Anthony Union of Bennington, Vt., finished third with 67 points.
Belfast, with 27 points, finished in a tie for 21st place among the 130 schools that sent wrestlers to the six-state competition.
JOSH BRITTEN of Yarmouth has worn bandage strips on his right shoulder in recent games. That shoulder was operated on last year, and when the season began, the 6-foot-1 senior guard wondered how it would hold up.
Fortunately, he shoots left-handed.
The shoulder was fine all season, although he did get it banged up in the final regular-season game against Falmouth, thus prompting the bandages for precautionary measures.
Britten, who had scored 54 points in one game this season, started the Class B state final Friday night like he might challenge his career high. He scored his team's first nine points and had 22 at the half, but only scored seven in the second half as Gardiner's constant defensive pressure tired him out a little. Still, it was one of the top performances in recent years in a state final.
Yarmouth won 65-53 for the school's second basketball state championship, and first since 1968.
PRESQUE ISLE had its doubters going into Friday night's Class B girls' state championship game against Lake Region. The Wildcats, they said, hadn't faced any strong competition.
Their closest game in the regular season was decided by 18 points, and they routinely won by 30. They were pushed by Nokomis in the Eastern Maine final, but won by 12.
So when Presque Isle held on to beat the Lakers 49-47 at Bangor Auditorium, the Wildcats felt they had answered their critics. In a frenzied fourth quarter that saw eight lead changes and one tie, Presque Isle made the plays down the stretch to win the school's fourth title.
"A lot of people said we couldn't handle a close game," said senior Kayla Richards, who was vital in the final six minutes with her scoring and defense. "But we did our best and I think we did pretty well handling it."
Presque Isle Coach Jeff Hudson added, "I knew we had guts. Everybody questioned (us) because we hadn't been in close games. But we were ready. We play tough competition all year. We have a lot of heart."
LAKE REGION borrowed a tactic used by baseball and softball teams to get ready for the season. During Christmas break, the Lakers went to Fort Myers, Fla., for an invitational tournament. The Lakers won their first game against host Cypress Lakes, then lost by five to Orlando University (one of the biggest high schools in the state) and by 19 to Lincoln Park.
Coach Paul True said those games prepared his girls for everything that was to come.
"Oh my gosh, it made a huge difference," he said. "The speed of play was nothing like we see here. The excitement and the energy carried over to our practice sessions.
"We saw Division I players. It took us to a whole new level."
Playing that style allowed the Lakers to be ready for the full-court pressure of teams like Leavitt and Presque Isle.
-- Staff writers Paul Betit, Tom Chard and Mike Lowe contributed to this report.