MAX CHEEVER, Senior—Hockey

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* Travis Roy Award semifinalist

Cheever is a throwback athlete. A young man who just loves to play, regardless the sport or season, and he boasted myriad skills, something that Portland/Deering boys’ hockey program greatly benefited from, especially during a unique, unorthodox campaign.

Cheever, who starred in soccer and lacrosse, as well as hockey in high school, started playing organized hockey at eight-years-old. He quickly found reason to spend as much time on the ice as possible.

“One of the things that I love about hockey is the camaraderie that can’t really be matched by any other sport,” Cheever said. “Playing three sports, two of which I also play on travel teams, I’ve spent a lot of time with many different teams and can definitely say that hockey is the largest time commitment. During hockey season, you do pretty much everything outside of school with your team or teammates, including a lot of meals. Experiences like this are why I can confidently say that I’ve formed friendships with my teammates that not only helped us become the players we are, but helped me form lifelong friendships.”

Cheever saw time on the Portland/Deering varsity as a freshman defenseman and began making a strong impact on the offensive end as a sophomore, scoring four goals and adding six assists. He scored twice and had six more assists as a junior. This winter, in just nine games, he scored two more goals and added six assists, graduating with 27 total points. More importantly, he consistently reminded opposing forwards why trying to score on the Bulldogs was a bad idea.

Cheever’s play and leadership didn’t go unnoticed, as at season’s end, he was named a semifinalist for the prestigious Travis Roy Award, given to the state’s top senior boys’ hockey player.

Cheever is in the process of selecting a college and hasn’t ruled out walking on or playing club sports at the next level.

Max Cheever, Portland’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, played for the love of the game and played all of his sports, especially hockey, beautifully.

Coach Jeff Beaney’s comment: “Max was a four-year impact player for the program. He’s one of the most competitive players I have ever coached. He has strong leadership skills and was a two-year captain for hockey, as well as for the soccer and lacrosse teams. He’s a very good defensive defenseman who became the focal point of offense for the team his last two seasons.”

Previous winners:

2019-20 Liam Niles (skiing)

2018-19 Will Couture (swimming)

2017-18 Terion Moss (basketball)

2016-17 Dom Tocci (hockey)

2015-16 Amir Moss (basketball)

2014-15 Steve Alex (basketball)

2013-14 Ben Allen (Nordic skiing)

2012-13 Kidayer Albujyly (wrestling)

2011-12 Ben Allen (Nordic skiing)

2010-11 Mike Herrick (basketball)

2009-10 Imadhi Zagon (track)

2008-09 Sam Guimond (hockey)

2007-08 Imadhi Zagon (track)

2006-07 Ryan Carmichael (basketball)

2005-06 Andrew Duncanson (basketball)

2004-05 Connor Cushman (Nordic skiing)

2003-04 Eric Shone (basketball)


GEMIMA MOTEMA, Senior-Basketball

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* Miss Maine Basketball finalist

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

* Captain 

Motema’s reputation as a transcendent talent was already secure prior to this winter, but her play this season etched her name into legend and those who love basketball can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next.

Motema, along with her cousins Amanda Kabantu and Davina Kabantu, came to the United States four years ago from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and when they arrived at Portland High, there was a buzz that some special basketball players were in town.

In this case, the hype was exceeded by reality.

Motema didn’t say much, choosing to let her play to the talking, and her play spoke volumes, as her unrivaled athleticism caused jaws to drop on the court and in the stands. She could run, jump, shoot, rebound, defend and completely alter the course of games. Only injuries made her mortal. As a junior, still not 100 percent physically, Motema averaged over 12 points per game, with 7 rebounds and 5 steals to boot.

All of that was a mere appetizer for her dominance this winter. Motema, fully healthy, was arguably the best player in the state this season, averaging 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 2.2 assists per contest. In Portland’s march to a 9-2 record (the two losses came by a total of seven points), Motema was simply unstoppable.

Highlights included 16 points in a season-opening win over Cheverus (in what proved to be the Stags’ only defeat), 17 points in a victory over South Portland, 19 in a second win over the Red Riots, 17 and 21 respectively in a pair of victories over Falmouth, 20 in a win over Gorham, 20 points and 10 assists in a victory over Deering, 20 points in a second win over Gorham and finally 19 points in a season-ending win over Deering.

“It’s sad we couldn’t go for a state title this year, since that was my goal, but I still had fun,” said Motema.

Motema figures to have plenty of fun in the future as well, as she takes her talents to Northeastern University in Boston.

Gemima Motema, Portland’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, will long be celebrated for her breathtaking play. What a gift she shared with local fans.

Coach Abby Hasson’s comment: “We all knew what ‘G’ brings to our team with her skills and athleticism on the court. What we were pleasantly surprised by this year was how she grew into one of our best leaders. The way she communicated with her teammates, especially the new players, and her coaches and the way she leads by example changed our team. She stepped up and played a bigger role and was more vocal while staying true to who she is. She is an incredible role model for all the players in our program and her impact will be felt in our program for years to come. I am incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to work with such an incredible player and young woman.”

Previous winners:

2019-20 Amanda Kabantu (basketball)

2018-19 Jaidyn Appel (track)

2017-18 Shayla Eubanks (basketball)

2016-17 Maggie Hosmer (track)

2015-16 Lauren McIntyre (hockey)

2014-15 Gabby Wagabaza (basketball)

2013-14 Brianna Holdren (basketball)

2012-13 Abby Popenoe (Nordic skiing)

2011-12 Kylie Dalbec (hockey)

2010-11 Nicollette Kapothanasis (basketball)

2009-10 Raechel Allen (hockey)

2008-09 Nyachuol Biliew (basketball)

2007-08 Nyachuol Biliew (basketball)

2006-07 Alex Perdomo (hockey)

2005-06 Regina Roberts (track)

2004-05 Ashley Anderson (basketball)

2003-04 Ashley Brownlee (basketball)

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

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