(Ed.Note: For the complete Deering-South Portland boys’ basketball game story, see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/)

The gyms and rinks are devoid of fans and players and coaches are masked up and obsessed with social distancing, but the return of winter sports last week was hailed as a victory by everyone.

Challenges remain and there’s no guarantee that the season will be completed, but for now, a dose of normalcy is embraced and oh by the way, the play has been pretty good too.

Here’s a glimpse at the first week of the COVID-19-delayed/abbreviated winter sports season.

Boys’ basketball

Deering’s Titayo Augusto takes a shot while being defended by South Portland’s Owen Maloney during the Red Riots’ 65-54 victory Saturday.. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald

The first week of boys’ basketball saw teams playing home-and-away contests with nearby foes.


Portland swept Cheverus, enjoying a 52-45 win at the Stags and a 44-30 home triumph. In the first meeting, Sam Gerber and Pita Donato each scored 14 points. Gabe Russell led the way in the second victory with 14 points, while Gerber added 10. The Bulldogs meet South Portland twice this week, Wednesday at South Portland and Friday at home (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story).

“South Portland will be tough, but it feels good to be 2-0,” said longtime Portland coach Joe Russo.

Cheverus got 15 points from Dylan Morrison and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Evangelo Kapothanasis in the first loss to Portland. In the second setback, Morris scored 14 points and Seth Huntington added 11. The Stags host Falmouth Wednesday, go to Falmouth Friday afternoon (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story) and welcome Lewiston Monday of next week.

Deering twice faced South Portland last week and lost both games, 52-47 at the Red Riots and 65-54 at home. In the first meeting, Mpore Semuhoza led the Rams with 24 points. In the second encounter, Deering cut a 14-point deficit to five down the stretch, but fell just short, despite 19 points from Semuhoza and 12 from Titayo Augusto.

“We came into the fourth quarter talking about trying to come back and playing through adversity and building character and we made it fun at the end,” said Rams coach Todd Wing. “At this point, it’s not necessarily about coaching or adjustments. It’s about what the kids can do on the floor. With two days of practice after a 10-day quarantine and some of our players not back yet, it’s tough, but I think they all are genuinely giving their all. We have a very promising junior class. They’re getting used to varsity speed. Playing a team like South Portland is good for their development.”

Deering went to Cape Elizabeth Tuesday for a first-ever meeting between the longtime contenders.


“I don’t know what to expect, but it’s a gift to be between these lines this year,” Wing said. “No matter the opponent, we’ll give it our all. You literally never know if the next game could be your last. We’ve hammered that point in as much as we can.”

Waynflete split a pair of games versus Cape Elizabeth last week, prevailing at home, 51-46, then falling in Cape Elizabeth, 44-40. In the triumph, Chris Saade led the way with 14 points and Aidan Kieffer added 12. In the loss, Saade had a team-high 16 points. The Flyers hosted Westbrook Tuesday and go to Westbrook Friday.

Girls’ basketball

Emma Lizotte of Cheverus battles for the ball with Portland’s Naulissa Tuza during the teams’ season opener last week. The Bulldogs prevailed, 60-53. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

The start of the girls’ season last week featured a pair of memorable battles between Cheverus and Portland.

In the first game, Abby Hasson earned her first win as Bulldogs’ coach, 60-53, as Gemima Motema scored 16 points, Eliza Stein made four 3-pointers for 12 points and Amanda Kabantu and Elizabeth Yugu each added 11.

“(Coach) deserves it,” said Stein. “It’s awesome.”


“She talked about it in practice, she really wanted it bad,” said Kabantu. “She deserved it more than we did. She’s been working really, really hard.”

“I felt like it was going to be a lot weirder, but the energy my kids brought, it was just a game,” Hasson added. “Even in a pandemic. When you get going, it looks like just another game. With face masks.”

Portland appeared primed to beat Cheverus again when it took a seemingly commanding 21-2 lead midway through the second period. The Stags drew back within 23-10 at halftime, then roared to life in the second half and came all the way to win, 45-41. Freshman sensation Maddie Fitzpatrick, who debuted with 21 points in the teams’ first game, scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket, and grabbed five rebounds. Fellow freshman Emma Lizotte added 14 points. The Bulldogs were paced by Kabantu’s 10 points.

Cheverus welcomes Bonny Eagle Thursday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story) and hosts Falmouth Friday.

Portland is home versus South Portland Wednesday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), as Hasson will coach against her mother, Red Riots coach Lynne Hasson, in what is believed to be the first ever mother-daughter coaching matchup in the state. Friday, the teams play again, at South Portland.

Deering lost two close decisions to South Portland last week, 42-39 at the Red Riots and 38-32 at home. Ella McGown led the Rams with 13 points in the first game and she had a team-high 10 points in the second meeting. Deering hosts Cape Elizabeth Tuesday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story).


Waynflete will finally begin its season Friday when it hosts Westbrook.


The brand new Cheverus/Yarmouth boys’ hockey co-op team opened in style last Monday, blanking visiting St. Dom’s, 11-2, as Ben Moll, Brian Connolly and Kevin Connolly all scored twice. Cheverus/Yarmouth came back to Earth a bit Saturday, losing, 4-1, at two-time defending Class B champion Greely to fall to 1-1. Brian Connolly scored the goal. After going to Falmouth Wednesday, Cheverus/Yarmouth hosts Portland/Deering in the “City Cup” Saturday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story).

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op squad split two games with Biddeford last week, blanking the visiting Tigers, 4-0, then falling at Biddeford, 1-0. After going to Scarborough Monday, the team is home versus Portland/Deering Thursday.

On the girls’ side, Portland/Deering won its first two games, 7-2 over visiting Biddeford and 9-1 over visiting Gorham. In the win over the Tigers, Caroline Lerch scored four goals, including the 100th of her career, and Mia Merrill added a pair of goals. Against the Rams, Lerch scored four times and Lucy Howe assisted on three goals. Portland/Deering hosted Scarborough Monday.

Cheverus opened versus the Cape/Waynflete/South Portland squad Monday.


Cape/Waynflete/SP won its first two games, 5-0 over visiting Gorham and 4-1 over visiting Biddeford.


With the weather cooperating, the skiing season is off to a fast start.

Last week, Cheverus’ boys and girls took part in an Alpine giant slalom meet at Shawnee Peak. Each squad wound up fourth.

Press Herald staff writer Mike Lowe contributed to this story.

Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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