There’s definitely no lack of high school sports activity as February gives way to March.

And that’s a very good thing.

The winter sports season is still scheduled to come to an end next Saturday, March 13.

Volleyball, which never had an indoor season this fall, has begun a shortened season which will go into April.

The spring sports season, which never got underway for as much as a single practice a year ago, is primed to begin on time and could come as close to normalcy as anything we’ve seen since March of 2020.

It’s a lot to take in and here’s an overview:

Boys’ basketball

Scarborough’s Ryan Kelly goes strong to the basket during last week’s 49-40 loss at Deering. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photo.

South Portland’s boys’ basketball team was still 4-0 at the start of week after a pair of games last week versus Scarborough were postponed. The Red Riots hosted Cheverus Wednesday and go to the Stags Friday. Next week, South Portland has two games against Falmouth, which was also undefeated at press time.

Scarborough returned to action last Saturday and fell to 1-4 after a 49-40 setback at Deering. The Red Storm placed three players in double figures, as Ben Thompson had 12 points, Zander Haskell 11 and Adam Lewis 10, but still fell short.

“Inexperience was a difference,” said Scarborough assistant coach James Philbrook, who was filling in for head coach Phil Conley, who was unavailable Saturday. “A lot of guys who played today haven’t really played significant minutes. They got a lot of time and fatigue might have been a factor at the end there. Deering hit a couple shots and went on a run and separated and it stayed that way. We did a good job for three quarters, but you have to do it for four. It’s always tough to have guys sitting that you need out on the floor.”

The Red Storm travel to Westbrook Friday, then host Westbrook Tuesday of next week before closing at home versus Bonny Eagle March 11.

“We want to win and keep developing because we have a lot of young guys who need experience,” said Philbrook. “We’ll definitely have some good talent next year.”

Cape Elizabeth lost, 70-60, at Greely Friday, then improved to 4-3 Monday after a 65-47 victory at Westbrook. In the setback, Nate Mullen and Dylan Swift both scored 20 points, but it wasn’t enough. In the win, Mullen scored 16 points and Swift added a dozen. The Capers were at Freeport Thursday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), host Yarmouth Saturday, play at the Clippers Tuesday of next week, then close the season at home against Lake Region March 12.

Girls’ basketball

South Portland’s Samantha Duffy passes the ball during last week’s 30-28 loss at Yarmouth. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photo.

On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth lost at home to Greely Friday (60-42), then improved to 2-3 Monday after a 51-34 home victory over Westbrook. Alison Gerety had 13 points against the Rangers. In the win, Emily Supple led the way with 16 points, while Emily Goulding added 11 points and Meghan Conley finished with 10. The Capers hosted Freeport Thursday, go to Yarmouth Saturday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), welcome the Clippers Tuesday of next week, then finish up at Lake Region March 9.

South Portland fell to 2-3 last Friday after a 30-28 loss at Yarmouth. The young Red Riots made great strides, but let a late four-point lead slip away and lost on a last-second layup. Maria Degifico had a team-high seven points.

“We saw some good things from the young kids,” said South Portland coach Lynne Hasson. “Good intensity, kids taking open looks. We just made too many mistakes, like turnovers and getting beat at the end. We gave up some rebounds that hurt us. Still, it’s encouraging. We had our chances coming down the stretch.”

After going to Cheverus Wednesday, the Red Riots host the Stags Friday, visit undefeated North Yarmouth Academy Saturday, then close next week with a pair of games versus Falmouth.

“We’re rebuilding and I really like the way our young kids are playing,” Hasson said. “We have some tough ones left. It’s going to make us better.”

Scarborough (0-4), which last played Feb. 19, is scheduled to return to action Friday at home versus Westbrook. The Red Storm go to Westbrook Tuesday of next week, then close with a home game versus Bonny Eagle March 11.

Boys’ hockey

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ hockey team settled for a 3-3 tie at Biddeford last Wednesday. The 3-1-1 Capers were at South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport Thursday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), welcome Cheverus Saturday, then play SP/Waynflete/Freeport again in the finale March 13.

Scarborough takes a 2-1 record into Friday’s game at Biddeford after having a pair of games postponed last week. The Red Storm host Biddeford Tuesday of next week, then go to SP/Waynflete/Freeport and welcome Thornton Academy to finish.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team fell to 1-4 Saturday with a 4-2 home loss to Thornton Academy. After going to Thornton Academy Tuesday, the squad hosted Cape Elizabeth Thursday, then welcomes Kennebunk Saturday before closing next week against Kennebunk and Cape Elizabeth.

Girls’ hockey

On the girls’ side, the Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete co-op squad, the reigning South Region champion, improved to 7-0 after 5-1 wins last week over Portland/Deering and Biddeford. Bella Schifano and Koto Yamada both score twice. The team hosted Falmouth Thursday, then closes with games against Cheverus and Scarborough next week.

Scarborough dropped to 3-2 after a 4-2 loss at North Yarmouth Academy last week. The Red Storm return to action next week with home games against Biddeford and Cape/SP/Waynflete.

Wrestling

The Maine Principals’ Association officially canceled the high school wrestling season last week. Wrestlers can continue to work with their coaches in conditioning practices until March 12, but they cannot wrestle with teammates during practices.

“(The MPA’s Wrestling Committee was) unanimous that it was time,” said Mike Bisson, the MPA’s assistant executive director. “The kids were losing interest and losing hope. There was that balance. We were trying to give it every chance that it might happen, and then it just didn’t.”

One reason why the MPA wrestling committee had clung to hope that Maine’s guidelines might change was that the National Federation of State High School Associations announced Feb. 2 it would stop grouping sports by COVID risk levels.

“We were hoping as things got better after the post-holiday surge, that (the state) might revisit the guidelines, and that just didn’t happen,” Bisson said, adding that the MPA has received no indication changes to the Community Sports Guidelines were imminent.

Also, time was running short to be able to squeeze in a wrestling season without disrupting spring sports.

“I just wonder if in this particular scenario, maybe more could have been done for the students and the student-athletes,” said Portland/South Portland wrestling coach Tony Napolitano. “We’ve done so well here in Maine in protecting people, and (COVID) numbers are dropping fairly quickly and dramatically. And, I know in other states, they wrestled and had state championships.”

Napolitano added, “I know what we talked about with our kids is, hey, wrestlers are built for adversity, and as hard as it is now, you’re going to get stronger and move forward and we’re not going to place blame. That’s the message we have to the kids. I just wish it had turned out differently.”

Volleyball

Last Monday marked the first day for formal, indoor – stressing the word indoor – practices for Maine’s high school volleyball teams.

Volleyball teams can play a maximum of 10 matches between March 5-April 9, with a possible postseason among teams from the same geographic area or conference to end April 16.

Key COVID-19 rules and protocols include: no spectators, face masks being worn by all participants at all times, and arriving ready to play and staying out of locker rooms.

The normal indoor season was called off Sept. 1. At that time, Maine’s athletic, education and health leaders were being especially cautious about athletic participation impacting academics and deemed indoor volleyball too have an elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“I’m so excited. I’ve been jumping off the walls all day,” said Sarah Marckoon, South Portland’s first-year varsity coach.

Marckoon added that coaches will need to be flexible with multi-sport athletes, understanding volleyball might not come first and most of all, “communicate as best as possible to get done what we need to get done.”

Spring sports

The Maine Principals’ Association has not officially set start dates for spring sports but, according to Executive Director Mike Burnham, is targeting traditional opening days: March 22 for baseball and softball throwing practices; March 29 for full team practices in all spring sports.

Burnham said all spring sports committees have met and designed their recommendations for play. Those will be reviewed by the MPA Sports Medicine Committee Wednesday before being sent forward to the MPA Management Committee and then state health agencies.

Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

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