Just a smattering of winter sports events remain, but there is optimism that high school sports will take a big step forward in their slow return to normalcy next month and that we’ll have something close to a full spring season, which will come as a huge relief to those athletes and coaches, who never had as much as a single practice a year ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

First things first, though, winter sports might have had a very short season, but it has been memorable and the action continued last week.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ basketball

Waynflete senior Mike Veroneau is defended by NYA junior Bryce Bernier during the Flyers’ 58-40 victory last week. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Deering’s boys’ basketball team enjoyed its biggest victory of the season last week.

The Rams dropped a close 67-58 decision at Falmouth Friday night, then turned around and edged the visiting, undefeated Yachtsmen, 69-67, Saturday afternoon to improve to 5-3 on the year. Remijo Wani had a team-high 20 points and Mpore Semuhoza added 18 in the setback. In the victory, Semuhoza scored 22 points and Max Chikuta added 16 as the Rams, who scored a mere one point in the first quarter, surged in the final three. Deering closes the season with a pair of games against rival Portland, Tuesday at home (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story) and Thursday away.

Portland returned to action last week after nearly two idle weeks and fell to 2-4 after a 62-34 loss at Gorham and a 54-36 home loss to Gorham. Wani Donato led the Bulldogs in the first game with 13 points. Jesse Khamis had a team-high 10 points in the second loss. Portland went to Deering Tuesday, hosts Biddeford Wednesday and closes at home against Deering Thursday.

Cheverus lost twice to South Portland last week, 68-36 at the Red Riots and 58-46 at home, to fall to 0-8. Dylan Morrison had a team-high 13 points in the first meeting and scored 17 in the second game, in which Seth Huntington led the way with 18 points. The Stags were at Windham Tuesday and host Windham Thursday in the finale.

Waynflete sandwiched losses to Fryeburg Academy (30-25 at home and 38-35, in overtime, in Fryeburg) around a 58-40 home victory over North Yarmouth Academy last week. Ilyas Bashir had six points in the first loss to the Raiders. In the win, the Flyers let a 15-point lead slip away, then closed on a 21-4 run to prevail, as Chris Saade had 13 points and Jared Johnson added 12. Freshman Nico Kirby added seven points in the fourth period.

“Being on varsity as a freshman is a big thing,” said Kirby. “I got focused and was able to hit those shots. I made one shot and I got confidence. I look up to the upperclassmen in school and in basketball. I like how they work me in.”

“The pressure we put on them in the fourth quarter helped us get energy,” Johnson said. “They made a run, but we shut it down. Coach just asked us what we were doing and that was enough for us to rally. We beat them before, so we knew what we could do against them.”

“NYA came to play and we lost focus for a few minutes,” Saade said. “They took advantage and we came back, but we bounced back well and hit some shots.”

“We go into every game hoping we’ll play well and win,” added Waynflete coach Rich Henry. “I want the kids to have great memories of this year and build something for next year so the underclassmen see what it’s all about.”

In the second loss to Fryeburg Academy, Saade and Aidan Kieffer scored 10 points apiece and Johnson added nine.

“It was an exciting game, but disappointing to lose in overtime,” Henry said.

The Flyers go to Old Orchard Beach Thursday and finish at home against the Seagulls Saturday.

“We’re still playing in March and there’s no tournament,” Henry said. “It’s hard to wrap your head around. Particularly for coaches because we like structure.”

Girls’ basketball

Deering freshman Shay Rosenthal zips a pass past Falmouth sophomore Sloane Ginevan during the second half of the Yachtsmen’s 50-36 victory Friday. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Cheverus’ girls’ team extended its win streak to seven games and improved to 7-1 after sweeping South Portland last week, 78-24 at home and 74-34 in South Portland. In the first game, Maddie Fitzpatrick and Madison Storey each scored 14 points, while Lillie Singleton added 10. In the second contest, Storey led the way with 19 points and Fitzpatrick added 15. The Stags went to Windham Tuesday and close at home against the Eagles Thursday.

Portland won its fifth game in a row last Wednesday, 49-32, at home over Gorham, then fell to 6-2 Friday after a 48-45 loss at the Rams. Gemima Motema scored 20 points in the victory. In the loss, Amanda Kabantu led the way with 20 points, while Motema added 17. The Bulldogs hosted Deering Tuesday (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story), welcome Gorham Wednesday and close at Deering Thursday.

Deering fell to 1-6 after two losses last week to Falmouth, 50-26 in Falmouth and 50-36 at home. Maya Gayle had a team-high 10 points in the first game, then Nyabhana Lia led the way with 12 points in the second meeting.

“We were flat the other night (in the first Falmouth game), but we played with spirit today,” Rams coach Mike Murphy said. “I’m pleased with the effort, we just have to put the ball in basket more than we have. As I told the kids, we were upset the other night because we’re better than what we showed. Today, we took some steps forward.”

Deering visited Portland Tuesday and closes at home against the Bulldogs Thursday.

“We have some tough games to end,” said Murphy. “We can only get better for it. We knew going in, we’d have a tough schedule. Playing a Portland team that would probably be in a regional final in a normal year will help us for next year.”

Waynflete fell to 0-5 after losses last week at Fryeburg Academy (31-19) and at home to the Raiders (29-18). Lucy Hart scored a team-high nine points in the first game and had six in the second. The Flyers were at NYA Tuesday, play at Old Orchard Beach Thursday and close at home Saturday against the Seagulls.

Boys’ hockey

Waynflete’s Harry Milspaugh battles for the puck during last week’s 3-3 tie against Cape Elizabeth. Ben McCanna / Press Herald photo.

The Cheverus/Yarmouth boys’ hockey co-op team beat visiting Gorham, 3-2, last Wednesday, then fell to 4-4 after Saturday’s 7-4 home loss to Cape Elizabeth. In the win, Jackson Header scored twice and Cam Oliver had the other goal. Against the Capers, Kevin Connolly, Nick Giancotti, Jackson Header and Wyatt Header had one goal apiece.

Cheverus/Yarmouth hosts Falmouth Thursday, then closes Saturday at Portland/Deering.

Portland/Deering enjoyed a 6-5 overtime win at Falmouth last Wednesday to improve to 4-3. After hosting Lake Region Thursday, Portland/Deering welcomes Cheverus/Yarmouth in the finale Saturday.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team sandwiched wins at Thornton Academy (6-2) and at home over Kennebunk (7-1) around a 3-3 tie versus Cape Elizabeth last week. In the tie, Owen Anderson and Ian Wright scored in the first half and Cullen Adams forced overtime with his goal with 5 minutes to play.

“It was a great battle,” said SP/Waynflete/Freeport Coach Joe Robinson. “I think we started off strong, had a little bit of a lapse and fell behind, but we didn’t quit and we battled back. It was a physical game on both sides.”

Dylan Hannan had two goals against Kennebunk. SP/Waynflete/Freeport (3-4-1) closes with a game at Cape Elizabeth Saturday.

“I feel terrible for the seniors not having a postseason this year, but for the younger guys, we want to build momentum and see what we have for next year,” Robinson said. “We’ve got all the makings to be really good next year.”

Girls’ hockey

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ co-op team, last year’s South Region champion, made it eight wins without a loss last Thursday, downing visiting Falmouth, 7-4. Bella Schifano scored four times and Koto Yamada added two goals. Cape/Waynflete/SP hosts Cheverus Wednesday in the season finale.

Cheverus extended its win streak to three games and improved to 4-3 after home wins last week over Biddeford (8-1) and Yarmouth/Freeport (6-0). Charlotte Miller had a hat trick against the Tigers, while Olivia Bradford and Lucia Pompeo both scored twice. Trinity Atwater had the shutout against Yarmouth/Freeport, while Bradford had three goals and Pompeo added a pair. The Stags hosted Mt. Ararat Monday, battle Cape/Waynflete/SP Wednesday and close Friday at home versus St. Dom’s.

Portland/Deering improved to 5-3 after home wins last week over Yarmouth/Freeport (3-2) and Falmouth (6-4). In the first victory, Caroline Lerch scored twice and Mia Merrill had the winning goal. Against the Yachtsmen, Lerch had a hat trick and two assists, while Kim Clifford added two goals. Portland/Deering welcomes Gorham Wednesday and closes the season Saturday at home versus Yarmouth/Freeport.

Skiing

Waynflete’s girls finished fourth at Saturday’s Western Maine Conference Nordic skate championship ni Fryeburg. The Flyers were led individually by Sarah Morgan, who was 10th in 18 minutes, 51.1 seconds. Waynflete’s boys placed sixth. Henry Wagg came in 13th individually (15:54).

On the Alpine side, Cheverus took part in a six-team SMAA giant slalom meet last week. The Stags were sixth on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. Julian Lamontagne was 19th individually in the boys’ meet, with a two-run combined time of 1:14.99. Maddy Marcisso was 22nd individually in the girls’ meet (1:16.23).

Volleyball

Practices have begun for the indoor volleyball season with matches set to begin next week.

Deering will open at Cheverus next Tuesday.

Spring sports

Last week, Gov. Janet Mills announced that she is relaxing COVID-19 capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings. The increased capacity limits will open the possibility for more fans to attend sporting events at the professional, collegiate and high school levels and could have a big impact on the high school outdoor track season, possibly allowing for larger meets. Currently, fans are not allowed at college or high school sports events.

Maine high school officials said Mills’ announcement came as encouraging news for the spring season. The 2020 spring season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020-21 fall and winter seasons have been altered, with shorter schedules, regional scheduling and no playoffs or championships.

Maine Principals’ Association officials have sent their recommended sports guidelines for the 2021 spring season to state officials and are hoping to meet soon to discuss them.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said MPA Executive Director Mike Burnham. “I think it’s great and I hope that it has some positive outcomes that we can do some things with. We’ve sent all of our guidelines to state agencies and we’re awaiting their review and hopefully a meeting so we can go through those and see how today’s announcement affects those guidelines.”

It is still unclear if the MPA will be able to hold regional or state tournaments in the spring. Currently, teams are restricted to games against opponents within their geographic area.

The spring sports season is scheduled to begin Monday, March 22, when pitchers and catchers report for baseball and softball.

Everyone else begins practicing the following Monday, March 29.

Countable games are scheduled to commence April 15.

Press Herald staff writers Steve Craig and Mike Lowe contributed to this story.

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

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