Maggie Whitmore helped South Portland’s girls’ team earn the top spot in Class AA South and reach the regional final.

Brian Austin and his Scarborough boys’ teammates made it to the semifinals this winter.

The 2018-19 basketball season in Forecaster Country will be remembered for competitive teams who got better as the year went on.

For starters, the Cape Elizabeth boys began the year 2-5, but put it together and found themselves in the Class B state final when all was said and done.

The Capers girls weren’t viewed as a contender most of the year, but Cape Elizabeth sprung a quarterfinal round playoff upset and nearly did it again in the semifinals.

The South Portland girls were superb all regular season, losing just once, but with an elusive state final berth one win away, the Red Riots couldn’t buy a shot.

South Portland’s boys hoped to make a deep tournament run from the No. 3 seed in Class AA South, but the Red Riots let a second half lead slip away and lost to eventual regional champion Bonny Eagle in the semifinals.

Defending Class AA South champion Scarborough was 4-7 at one point during the season, but the Red Storm peaked late and even won a road playoff game before losing in the semifinals.

The Scarborough girls lost early to South Portland and late to Portland, but won every other game, then surprised many by making it to the state final before losing to Oxford Hills.

Here’s one last look at the best memories from this basketball season:

Michael’s Top Five Stories

5) Scarborough boys win road playoff game

The Scarborough boys weren’t able to make it back to the state final this year, but after a slow start to the season, the Red Storm put it together late and as the No. 5 seed, had a tough test at No. 4 Gorham in the quarterfinals. In a back-and-forth thriller, Scarborough made the big plays late and behind 26 points from Nick Fiorillo, prevailed, 59-54. The Red Storm’s luck then ran out against top-ranked Thornton Academy in the semifinals, losing, 67-40.

4) Cape girls save best for big stage

The Cape Elizabeth girls missed the playoffs the past two years and this winter, the Capers started 3-4, but they gradually improved and despite being the No. 7 seed for the Class B South playoffs, they had the field right where they wanted it. Cape Elizabeth upset No. 2 Oak Hill, 34-26, in the quarterfinals, then had No. 3 Freeport on the ropes in the semifinals, but the Falcons rallied to force overtime before winning, 49-42, to end the Capers’ campaign at 9-11.

3) SP girls dominate for 20 games

South Portland’s girls lost early to eventual repeat champion Greely, then ran the table the rest of the regular season to finish 17-1 and for the second year in a row, earn the top seed in Class AA South. After a decisive win over No. 8 Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals, the Red Riots managed to oust No. 5 Bonny Eagle with ease in the semifinals. South Portland’s offense deserted it in the regional final, however, and a slow start led to a 35-25 loss to Scarborough, as once again, the Red Riots fell short of their coveted title.

2) Scarborough girls arrive a year early

Scarborough’s girls were widely viewed as the third best team in a top-heavy Class AA South, which also featured three-time defending regional champion Gorham and powerhouse South Portland. The Red Storm lost early to South Portland, but won 12 in a row and despite a late loss to Portland, Scarborough managed to go 16-2, which included a pair of victories over Gorham, good for the No. 2 seed in the region. The Red Storm handled No. 7 Massabesic in the quarterfinals, then beat No. 3 Gorham for the third time this winter in the semifinals. A showdown with No. 1 South Portland was next and Scarborough started fast, never looked back and pulled off a 35-25 upset to make it to the state final for just the second time in program history. In the Class AA title tilt, the Red Storm this time fell behind against Oxford Hills and despite drawing within four at one juncture in the second half, they weren’t able to rally and lost, 55-45, to finish the year 19-3.

1) Cape boys fall two points short in OT state game epic

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ team overcame early struggles this season to get within a whisper of a championship. The Capers won nine of their final 11 games to go 11-7 and earn the No. 3 seed in a wide-open Class B South field and Cape Elizabeth ousted No. 6 Freeport in the quarterfinals, held off No. 2 Maranacook in the semifinals, then edged No. 8 Wells in a 39-38 thriller in the regional final, surviving when the defending regional champion Warriors missed a late free throw. The Capers then took on Caribou and its legion of title-starved fans in the state final and the teams put on a show. Thirty-two minutes of regulation solved nothing and a four-minute overtime didn’t resolve matters either. In the second OT, Cape Elizabeth’s hopes took a hit when senior big man extraordinaire Andrew Hartel fouled out, but the Capers stayed within two and had one final look. And it turned out to be a good look too, as Tanner Carpenter, who hit several big shots during the course of the tournament, had a wide-open 3-point shot up top. Unfortunately for Cape Elizabeth, the shot fell short and the Vikings had their first championship since 1969, 49-47.

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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