February 25, 2013

High School Notebook: Ski repeat? Freeport finds a way

From staff reports

A year ago, Freeport won the Class C girls' skiing state title on the strength of on Alpine team that won consecutive state crowns. Graduation and transfers took a toll on the Falcons this winter, as Freeport slipped to third in Alpine. Senior Taylor Enrico and sophomore Wynne Cushing led the way with top 10 finishes in both slalom and giant slalom.

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Lake Region’s Sarah Hancock, left, gets a hug from her sister Sierra after the Lakers’ win over York in the Western Class B regional final Saturday.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Falmouth’s Grant Burfeind drivesfor two in the Yachtsmen’s win over York in the Western Class B final at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Still, the Falcons won their second straight overall title thanks to a much-improved Nordic contingent led by sophomore Lizzy Martin, who placed third in skate and fourth in classic.

"They kind of carried us last year," said junior Bethanie Knighton of Freeport's Alpine team, "so it felt good that we were able to pull through this year and give them a comfortable lead."

Knighton was 10th in skate and 12th in classic. The other Nordic scorers were all freshmen: Nina Moore placed ninth in skate and 10th in classic, Lily Johnston was sixth in classic, and Fiona Ahearne was 12th in skate.

Freeport won the overall title, 195-268, over Alpine champion Fort Kent largely due to the 129-point cushion the Falcons forged in Nordic, whose title was won by their neighbors in New Gloucester, Merriconeag, the Waldorf school with grades 1 through 8 located in Freeport.

"We have a lot of connections," Knighton said. "Some of the girls on our team went to Merriconeag, so we all talk and know each other."

After the Nordic races were complete, kids from both schools returned to the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle for night skiing.

"It was really pretty in Presque Isle," said Knighton, of her first trip to Aroostook County.

Freeport's boys fell four points short of Fort Kent for the overall title, 153-157.


Trailing 29-22 at halftime against Bonny Eagle in the Western Maine Class A final Saturday, South Portland had to get back to the things it does very well.

"I told the kids two things," said Coach Phil Conley.

"Stay together as a group and get the ball inside. If we do that, we'll get back into this game," he said.

Now seven points isn't a huge deficit, but the way Bonny Eagle attained it proved to the Red Riots they would have to turn the game's tempo around quickly or the Scots could run away with it because of their explosiveness with Dustin Cole.

Bonny Eagle got its lead by going on a 12-0 run with Cole accounting for nine of the points.

The Riots responded with an 11-0 run to open the third quarter. They went inside to 6-foot-5 sophomore Jaren Muller. Muller scored three straight baskets and Vinall Trophy winner Tanner Hyland hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give South Portland a 31-29 lead. Muller added another inside baskets for eight points in the quarter.

The Riots never trailed again, although the game stayed very close. South Portland outscored the Scots, 16-4, in the quarter.

"Jaren has a good pair of hands," said Conley.

Muller has been a dependable scorer all season, and with other big men John Tolan and Ben Burkey, it's given the Riots a formidable frontcourt.

The fourth quarter turned into a scoring duel between Hyland and Cole.

Hyland scored 11 in the quarter while Cole had 15.

"Ball control was the key once we got the lead," said Hyland.

"They were pressing us. We were hitting our free throws and we played solid defense on Dustin. He's going to score. You can't lock him down. You can only slow him and we did a pretty good job," he said.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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McAuley’s Molly Mack holds the Western Class A plaque after the Stags beat Cheverus at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Waynflete’s Catherine Veroneau cuts the net down after the Flyers won their Western Class C regional final at the Augusta Civic Center.

Joel Page/Special to the Press Herald

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South Portland celebrates its Western Class A boys regional championship, after beating Bonny Eagle 56-52 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday. It’s the first time since 1993 the Red Riots have won a regional title.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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