Cape Elizabeth teammates Dimitri Coupe, left, and Quinn Gordon celebrate with Oskar Frankwicz after he scored in the first half of the Capers’ 5-2 win over Greely last week. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

The winter sports season, short but ultimately sweet, has come and gone, but if you’re in need of a high school sports fix, you’re in luck.

The spring sports season will begin on time and even better, will include a postseason.

In the meantime, volleyball is in the midst of its short indoor season.

It’s a lot to keep track of, but here’s an attempt to make sense of it all:

Boys’ basketball

South Portland junior Owen Maloney goes up for two points during the Red Riots’ 80-55 home win over Cape Elizabeth Saturday night. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

South Portland’s boys’ basketball team enjoyed a solid 8-2 campaign, finishing it last week with a 52-48 home loss to Falmouth and wins at Gray-New Gloucester (79-58) and at home over Cape Elizabeth (80-55). In the setback, the Red Riots couldn’t hold a late six-point lead and fell, despite 28 points from Mayen Ayuel.

“Two good teams played a good game down to the wire,” South Portland coach Kevin Millington said. “I think we’re really talented, but we’re not there yet without practice. We have to just rely on our talent and nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”

Against the Patriots, four different players reached double figures, as Ayuel led the way with 20 points, Jaelen Jackson added 15, T.J. Vose finished with 14 and J.P. Estrella contributed 13. In the win over the Capers, in the teams’ first countable meeting since a 60-58 South Portland overtime win in the 1974 Western A quarterfinals, the Red Riots shot a 21-3 lead and never looked back, as Ayuel had 19 points, Estrella 17 and Jackson 11.

“We just came out shooting the ball well,” Jackson said. “We played good defense and turned them over and converted.”

“I don’t know how to interpret wins and losses this year,” Millington said. “It’s always more fun to win, but I feel like as a coach, I’m not doing anything. It was a weird year. I’m very happy we could get in the gym and play. It was great to be around the guys and see other coaches. It was a little normalcy.”

Six players will graduate but Ayuel, Estrella, Jackson and Owen Maloney lead the list of returners. The Red Riots will be on the short list of championship favorites in 2021-22.

“I think we have a good shot next year to be very, very good,” Jackson said. “Me and J.P. are sophomores and Mayen and Owen are juniors. We’ll have a big four and try to win a state championship.”

“We haven’t played South Portland defense this year and we’ll have to get back to that this summer,” Millington said. “That was frustrating for me to watch. Offensively, we’ll be pretty good again. What’s hard is you just don’t know about other teams, but I’m looking forward to next year.”

Cape Elizabeth finished 6-6, sandwiching losses at Yarmouth (57-47) and South Portland (80-55) around a 56-45 home victory over Lake Region. Against the Clippers, Nate Mullen scored 13 points and Will Bowe added 12. In the win, Mullen led the way with 20 points and Will Thornton added 10. The Capers lost their finale to the Red Riots, but senior Dylan Swift put on a show for the ages, setting a new program record with 10 3-pointers en route to 30 points.

“I came into the gym and when you feel good, you know it,” Swift said. “I’m a shooter and I was able to get open and exploit their zone and kept it rolling from there.”

“Dylan had over 50 percent of our points and kept us in the game,” Cape Elizabeth’s first-year coach Jeff Mitchell said. “I knew he could shoot like that. He has the green light any time he has space.

“I feel like (the season) went great. These guys all love the game and love playing basketball for Cape. I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys for my first season. The leadership was something that made it easy to transition into. Nate and Will, as captains, did a great job helping me out. I’m very pleased with the way things went this year. Other than this game, we were close. Our schedule wasn’t easy and every game was a battle.

“I feel great about our future. We have special players on the JV team too. The thing about Cape basketball is we have the athletes. It’s just getting them to play as much basketball as possible in the offseason. Now that I have a year under my belt, I feel like next year should be an easier adjustment.”

Scarborough was only able to play six games this winter and finished 2-4.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, South Portland, last year’s Class AA South champion, wound up 4-7 after a 50-34 loss at Falmouth and a 55-23 home victory over Gray-New Gloucester. Ruth Boles and Hylah Owen scored nine points apiece in the setback. In the finale, Maria Degifico scored 20 points and Cora Boothby-Akilo added 10.

Cape Elizabeth closed with a 33-30 loss at Lake Region and wound up 2-7. Olivia Manning had eight points and five rebounds, Alison Gerety added seven points, Meghan Conley had six points and Emily Supple finished with six points, five rebounds and six steals.

Scarborough was only able to play four games this year, none after Feb. 19, and finished 0-4.

Boys’ hockey

Jack Pellechia of Cape Elizabeth tries to get past Charlie Moore of Greely during the Capers’ 5-2 win last week. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ hockey team closed with a pair of 5-2 victories at recent nemesis Greely and South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete. Against the Rangers, the team which eliminated them in the past three Class B South Finals, the Capers got goals from Alex Thayer, Oskar Frankwicz, Connor Goss, Sebastian Moon and Nick Laughlin.

“This was a big one for us,” said Frankwicz. “The (postgame) locker room was very fired up. I was sick and tired of losing to Greely, so it feels amazing to do it finally. We did it as a team. It was a total team effort. I’ve thought about this game ever since it got added (to the schedule). We treated this game like it was a (regional final).”

“We’ve treated our last week as a playoff atmosphere,” Cape Elizabeth coach Jake Rutt said. “I’m really proud of how the boys played. We played a complete game. We managed the puck in the second half, Charlie made some big saves and a lot of guys stepped up. This is a group that’s dedicated to winning and willing to sacrifice to win. It doesn’t matter if there’s a trophy on the line or not.”

In the victory over SP/Freeport/Waynflete, Patrick Lee led the way with a pair of goals.

The South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team finished 3-5-1 after closing with a 5-2 loss to Cape Elizabeth.

Scarborough was only able to play three games this season, none after Feb. 20, and wound up 2-1.

Girls’ hockey

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls, last year’s South Region champion, wound up 8-1 after falling from the unbeaten ranks with a 5-2 loss to Cheverus last week. Bella Schifano and Koto Yamada each scored once.

Scarborough was only able to play five games this season, none after Feb. 25, and wound up 3-2.

Volleyball

Scarborough’s Maddie Strouse goes up for a kill during the Red Storm’s 3-0 win over South Portland Tuesday. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Scarborough and South Portland opened the volleyball season Tuesday with a match in Scarborough. The Red Storm prevailed in three games, 25-10, 25-13, 25-10. Gwen Dorsey not only had 12 service points, she also added seven kills. Mayne Gwyer finished with 13 assists and 12 service points, including three aces. Shaelyn Thornton had 14 service points, including three aces.

“It’s so nice to be back indoors,” Gwyer said. “It’s a blessing for sure. Regardless of winning or losing, we’re just happy to be inside, on the court, playing together. We’re still motivated and we’re excited to play every day. We’re playing like a team that’s played together for years. We have really good connection on and off the court.”

“I’m so excited to be back in the gym and I can just tell by how the kids are talking on the court, how happy they are too,” said Red Storm coach Kim Stoddard. “You can tell by the girls’ energy that they’re so happy and are going to take advantage of playing while they can.”

The Red Storm are back in action Friday at home versus Biddeford. Monday brings a visit from Gorham.

In its loss to Scarborough, South Portland got four kills from Maria Degifico and three assists from Maegen Murphy.

“It’s awesome to be playing again,” first-year South Portland coach Sarah Marckoon said. “The girls had a lot of fun. This is our first time really playing together and I think it went well. Scarborough will probably be the toughest team we see. The girls communicated very well. They worked hard on defense. Overall, they did everything we’ve worked on in practice. We’re smaller than (Scarborough). They can jump much higher than us. We did a good job trying to adjust to that. ”

The Red Riots welcomed Cape Elizabeth Thursday and play host to Gorham Saturday.

Cape Elizabeth opened Thursday at South Portland. After hosting Falmouth Saturday, the Capers visit the two-time Class A champion Yachtsmen Wednesday of next week.

Spring sports

Baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis and outdoor track got the green light last week for a normal season.

The Maine Principals’ Association, working with state agencies, announced Friday that it will be able to hold regional and state championships. They will be the first high school postseason tournaments held since the boys’ hockey state games in March of 2020.

The entire 2020 spring season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and while teams were able to play a modified regular-season schedule in the fall and winter of this school year, no regional or state championships were held.

“It’s a relief, almost,” said Mike Burnham, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association. “We are certainly moving in the right direction.”

The MPA is able to offer championships because the state modified the risk levels in its Community Sports Guidelines earlier Friday. Sports that are considered “moderate risk,” such as baseball, softball, lacrosse and track, now will be able to include “in-person competitions between teams in different geographic areas within Maine.” Tennis is regarded as a “low risk” sport and is able to conduct competition against teams from other states.

A news release from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, which oversees the Community Sports Guidelines, stated that “the Maine Principals’ Association has committed to aligning its guidance for school sports with this revised guidance for community sports.”

For spring sports, that means having an almost-normal season. Pitchers and catchers will begin practicing on March 22, with the rest of spring athletes starting practice on March 29. Competitions are scheduled to begin on April 15.

“Going into the spring and aligning with the Community Sports Guidelines, I believe we will have a full spring sports season, with some restrictions remaining,” Burnham said. “It will provide an opportunity for those activities and those kids to have a full season culminating in regional and state championships.”

Burnham said those “restrictions” will include wearing masks and remaining physically distanced. Fans will be allowed to attend outside games, once again adhering to statewide gathering limits and following COVID-19 safety protocols.

Last Friday, Gov. Janet Mills announced a change in the gathering limits that will become effective March 26. For outdoor activities, the gathering limit will increase to 75 percent of permitted occupancy. Beginning May 24, it will increase to 100 percent.

“To me this means the girls have something to kind of fight for,” longtime Scarborough softball coach Tom Griffin said. “They’re athletes, they’re competitors. They want to try to accomplish something.”

“I was excited just to have the opportunity to play, regardless of whether there was a chance to win the whole thing or not, but it’s nice to have that carrot there for the kids,” said South Portland baseball coach Mike Owens. “They all ask the same question, ‘Are we going to have a real season?’ I think they’re going to be ecstatic.”

Play ball!

Press Herald staff writer Mike Lowe contributed to this story.

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

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