January 14, 2013

High School Notebook: Portland keeps rolling along

From staff reports

The Portland boys' basketball team ran its record to 10-0 with a 63-47 win Friday night over South Portland.

click image to enlarge

Justin Zukowski drives to the basket Friday during Portland’s 63-47 win over South Portland. The Bulldogs are 10-0 and ranked first in Western Class A.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

The Bulldogs are one of two Class A boys' teams perfect through 10 games. The other is Hampden Academy, the defending Eastern Maine champion.

Could the two teams be on a collusion course for the state title in early March?

There's still a lot of basketball to be played, as both head coaches would quickly point out.

Asked if he would like his team to go 18-0 in the regular season, Portland Coach Joe Russo said: "Not necessarily"

Russo's concern is like that of other coaches of strong teams. When the wins start to mount late in the regular season, some teams have a tendency to play not to lose rather than to play to win. Veteran teams can handle the pressure of being unbeaten better than others. Coaches feel it's sometimes better to head into the tournament with at least one loss on your record.

Portland still has a way to go and will try to win each and every one. The Bulldogs have yet to play Deering or Westbrook They have two games with the Rams. Portland also has another game with South Portland.

Portland came out with a lot of energy against South Portland and maintained it. Russo is looking for that type of play the rest of the way.

THE CHEVERUS girls' basketball team had its two biggest tests of the season last week, winning at Scarborough in triple overtime on Tuesday, then losing a tight one to Deering at home on Friday.

The Deering game went back and forth, with the Rams finally shutting down the Stags in the final minute and scoring the final four points.

Both teams face another tough challenge Tuesday, with Deering (10-1) playing once-beaten Scarborough and Cheverus (9-1) hosting unbeaten McAuley.

And that's the way the coaches want it.

"That's what you want," said Cheverus Coach Richie Ashley. "You want to play, you want to get better. You want to be challenged and learn from adversity."

Deering's win Friday was fueled by its four starting seniors, each of whom scored in double figures. Alexis Stephenson, Marissa MacMillan, Chelsea Saucier and Keneisha DiRamio combined for all but six of Deering's 60 points.

"They played with a lot of heart," said Deering Coach Mike Murphy. "This was a good high school Class A game. Obviously that's a very good squad over there."

WHEN SCARBOROUGH'S girls' hockey team went into overtime Wednesday against Leavitt/Edward Little, it brought back memories of the previous Saturday, when the Red Storm lost their first game of the year in the final minute of overtime against York.

"Going into overtime, it was passing through my head," said senior forward Sarah Martens. "I wondered what would happen, if we would step it up after what happened last time."

In the final minute against Leavitt/Edward Little, Alyssa Hulst stole the puck in the Red Hornets' zone, and passed to Martens. She slid the puck over to Rachael Wallace, who scored with 37 seconds left to give Scarborough a 2-1 win.

The Red Storm, after a 2-0 victory Saturday against Brunswick, have the state's best record at 10-1-1.

DEERING SENIOR Genevieve Worthley approached advanced biology teacher (and swim coach) Angie Marcotte after class last week to ask if she could do the 100-yard freestyle at Friday's meet with Falmouth.

"Why? Marcotte asked of the reigning Class A champion in both the 100 breast stroke and 200 individual medley.

"I want to break your record," Worthley replied.

Indeed, Worthley lopped more than a second off the school record Marcotte -- then known as Angie Chessey -- set in 1999. Worthley's time of 1 minute, 0.95 seconds helped Deering remain unbeaten with a 96-81 victory over Falmouth.

"She was ecstatic about it," Worthley said of her coach. "I think it's fun to see one of your swimmers, who you've been working with for four years, take down one of your old records."

Worthley plans to continue her career in college, and one of the two schools that seem to be the best fit is Eastern Michigan, Marcotte's alma mater. (The other is Western Kentucky.)

"I did not make the connection for her," Marcotte said. "They actually sought her out."

Worthley will mull her options after receiving offers from the schools before making a decision. Meanwhile, Deering has three more meets before Southwesterns, and hopes to make noise at the state meet as well. Nine of the team's 27 girls have qualified for the state meet.

"We all have really high hopes," said Worthley, noting a recent seven-point victory over defending Class B champion Greely. "We have a bunch of kids who are really close to qualifying."

THE CHEVERUS swimming teams had a busy weekend, taking on Greely Friday night and then boarding a bus before sunrise Saturday morning for an 11 a.m. meet in Bangor. One of the strongest Cheverus boys' teams in school history may not have a chance to show its true mettle next month, however, because of a raft of mononucleosis cases within the team.

Seniors Reed Fernandez and Connor Pothier and junior John Devine are among the affected swimmers. Junior Tim Jerome recently returned from a long illness. Coach Kevin Haley said there may be as many as nine cases of mono in the program.

"I guess you have to have that attitude of, you do the best with what you have," said Coach Kevin Haley, whose boys beat Greely 127-58 before losing 102-83 to Bangor (and then sharing pizza with the Rams before the return trip to Portland). "If we're healthy (for states), we will give Bangor a run for their money."

The best race in Bangor was a 200 freestyle battle between defending Class A champion David Smallwood of Bangor and Trebor Lawton of Cheverus. After trailing by more than a full second at the halfway mark, Lawton came from behind to win by .38 seconds in 1:47.43.

The Cheverus girls lost 89-76 to Greely and 112-67 to Bangor.

-- Staff Writers Tom Chard, Mike Lowe, Kevin Thomas and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.

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