Senior Jaelen Jackson and his South Portland boys’ basketball teammates won’t be satisfied with anything shy of a state title this winter. File photo.

Coach: Kevin Millington (seventh year, 83-32 overall record)

2019-20 record: 20-1 (Lost, 61-55, in overtime, to Thornton Academy in Class AA South Final)
2020-21 record
: 8-2 (no postseason, COVID)

Top returning players: Owen Maloney (Senior), J.P. Estrella (Junior), Jaelen Jackson (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 21 FALMOUTH, Dec. 23 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 11 @ Gorham, Jan. 18 THORNTON ACADEMY, Jan. 21 @ Deering, Feb. 8 GORHAM, Feb. 10 PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We have to get back to South Portland basketball, which is being active defensively. We need to put a lot of pressure on other teams. I’m not sure we got much out last year basketball-wise. We didn’t really have a chance to grow. Jaelen, J.P. and Owen are good complements to each other. They cover each level. We’d love a Gold Ball, but we have to take it one step at a time. We’re just thinking about playing the Noble Knights Friday.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: While South Portland indeed opens with Noble Friday, it will be judged by what it does in late February and early March. The Red Riots enter the season as the Class AA favorite in the minds of most coaches and for good reason, they have three tremendous returning players and several other budding stars waiting to contribute.

All eyes will be on junior big man J.P. Estrella this season. File photo.

South Portland boasts Estrella, who is getting all sorts of attention from big-time colleges. The 6-foot-10 center broke on to the scene a year ago and now is ready to show off in front of big crowds. He’ll score plenty, will rebound and will make opposing offenses regret trying to get the ball into the paint. Every great team needs a star point guard and the Red Riots have that in Jackson, who can fly past defenders, feed his teammates or get to the hoop and score. Maloney is a top defender, can play multiple positions and has a great outside shot. South Portland has additional size besides Estrella in 6-6 sophomore center Gabe Galarraga and 6-5 junior forward Nolan Hobbs, who played a huge role in the Red Riots ending a long baseball championship drought back in June. Senior forward Alex Domingos, junior guard Joey Hanlon and sophomore guard Jayden Kim will look to play key roles as well.

Two years after a quest for a perfect season ended in agony in overtime of the regional final, South Portland is poised to end a 30-year title drought. It won’t come easily and the Red Riots will have some hiccups, but this group has what it takes to win it all and South Portland’s quest for gold will be awfully fun to follow.


Senior Hylah Owen is the lone returning veteran for South Portland’s girls’ basketball team. File photo.

Coach: Lynne Hasson (ninth year, 123-32 overall record)

2019-20 record: 18-4 (Lost, 49-38, to Oxford Hills in Class AA state final)
2020-21 record
: 4-7 (no postseason, COVID)


Top returning player: Hylah Owen (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 14 WINDHAM, Dec. 21 @ Falmouth, Dec. 23 THORNTON ACADEMY, Dec. 29 @ Massabesic, Jan. 6 MASSABESIC, Jan. 8 @ Scarborough, Jan. 11 GORHAM, Jan. 18 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 25 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 3 @ Portland, Feb. 8 @ Gorham

Coach’s comment: “It’s a good group of kids who are willing to work hard. Our junior class needs to play with confidence for us to be successful. We have a lot of guards and my ultimate goal is to create fullcourt pressure and go up-tempo. We have a ways to go to be a good team, but I think we’ll be competitive. We want to be playing our best when it matters most. I think we’ll be in the mix at the end.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland nearly won a state title two years ago then went from one extreme to another by having its 2020-21 campaign shortened and the postseason wiped out by COVID. This winter, the Red Riots don’t have much experience, but they do have some promising young players and they could be very dangerous by the time the tournament rolls around.

Owen is the lone returner with much varsity experience. She played a contributing role on the 2019-20 regional championship team and will be looked upon to score and defend in the frontcourt. Sophomore Ruth Boles and freshman Emma Travis, a likely starter, are other post players to watch. Junior Sammi Duffy will run the point. Classmates Nevaeh Bello and Anna Brown and sophomores Megan Dearborn and Maddie Fitzherbert are guards to watch. Junior Ava Bryant is a wild card. She plays with a lot of energy and could give the opposition fits.

For many years, with star players like Maddie Hasson, Meghan Graff and Maggie Whitmore, South Portland was a proven commodity. The opposition knew what the Red Riots were going to do, but was usually unable to stop them. This winter, not even Coach Hasson knows what to expect. South Portland might be vulnerable early in the year, but as this group grows and gains confidence, it will become formidable. Look for the Red Riots to make some noise in February.


BOYS’ HOCKEY (co-op with Freeport and Waynflete)

Coach: Joe Robinson (15th year, 121-127-11 overall record)

2019-20 record: 12-7-1 (Lost, 5-1, to Lewiston in Class A state semifinals)
2020-21 record
: 3-5-1 (no postseason, COVID)

Top returning players: Cullen Adams (Senior), Brady Frank (Senior), Connor Corcoran (Junior), Richie Gilboy (Junior), Dylan Hannan (Junior), Roan Hopkins (Junior), Ian Wright (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 11 FALMOUTH, Dec. 15 @ Lewiston, Dec. 23 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 5 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 13 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 20 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 22 @ Biddeford, Feb. 5 LEWISTON, Feb. 10 @ Portland/Deering, Feb. 12 @ Edward Little,  Feb. 17 THORNTON ACADEMY, Feb. 19 @ Scarborough, Feb. 22 BIDDEFORD

Coach’s comment: “We have a really strong and talented core. We are a tight-knit group and as long as we stay healthy, we should be able to be successful and make a nice showing in the tournament.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: The South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team is two years removed from the finest season in program history and even after the lost COVID campaign of 2020-21, is poised for another run at the top of Class A this winter.

Offensively, Adams, a captain, Hannan and Wright, an offensive-minded defenseman, figure to do the lion’s share of the scoring. Frank and Hopkins will also be heard from. Wright is joined on defense by Corcoran and Gilboy. Junior Jasper Curtis will be the goalie with freshman Henry Curtis also seeing some time between the pipes.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete has a very challenging schedule and there will be some growing pains this winter, but look for this squad to steadily improve and be at its best when the playoffs begin. No longer a novelty on the big stage, South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete is ready to enjoy another deep postseason run.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY (co-op with Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete)

Coach: Bob Mills (10th year, 81-80-6 overall record)

2019-20 record: 14-6-1 (Lost, 1-0, in overtime, to Lewiston in state final)
2020-21 record
: 8-1 (no postseason, COVID)


Top returning players: Katharine Blackburn (Senior), Sofia Cook (Senior), Abbey Steinhagen (Junior), Delaney Whitten (Junior), Becca Good (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 11 EL/LEAVITT/POLAND, Dec. 23 @ Scarborough, Jan. 1 @ Lewiston, Jan. 12 @ EL/Leavitt/Poland, Jan. 22 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 29 CHEVERUS, Feb. 2 LEWISTON

Coach’s comment: “We like our team. Our youth is very skilled, our returning players have lots of playoff experience and we have strong goaltending. We hope to be one of the top teams in the state again this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team came within a whisper of winning its first state title two years ago, falling in overtime in the state game, then would have made a serious run at a crown last season, had COVID not wiped away the postseason. This winter, Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland still has plenty of firepower and will again be among the state’s finest teams, as evidenced by earl victories over St. Dom’s (8-2), Portland/Deering (10-2) and Cheverus (4-3).

Steinhagen returns in goal and she’ll have a steady defense in front of her, led by Blackburn, Cook and Whitten. Freshman Catie Lee is another defender to watch and freshman Vivienne Cook will also see some time between the pipes. The offense features Good as a returner and promising freshmen Marina Bassett, Libby Hooper and Hartson Mosunic, who all scored in the opener.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland has come close to breaking through and winning it all. If this young squad develops as hoped, it will have a chance to take that final step. That’s a distinct possibility.



Boys’ coach: Dave Kahill (14th year)

Girls’ coach: Matt Toothaker (first year)

2019-20 results: Boys’ tie-16th @ Class A state meet; Girls’ 6th @ Class A state meet
2020-21 results
: No season (COVID)

Top returners:

(Boys) Carson Blake (Senior), Amir Broadus (Senior), Brady Guay (Senior), Lucas Lefebvre (Senior), David Botelho (Junior), Wyatt Haley (Junior), Kyle Hartford (Junior), Harrison Jones (Junior), Jack Nickerson (Junior), Jack Smart (Junior)


(Girls) Geneva Holmes (Senior), Bonny Johnston (Senior), Katie Nakummun (Senior)

Coach Kahill’s comment: “We’ve got excellent numbers, leadership, excitement, attitude and competitive spirit on the team and our goal is to continually engage and develop throughout the season. Our junior division is large and talented and our upperclassmen are tremendous leaders and include a number of athletes with state championship-caliber potential. We look to build on our early-season energy to continually improve as a team and potentially compete for a top three finish in the league championship.”

Coach Toothaker’s comment: “We’re led by a talented group of upperclassmen and we’ve had a big influx of new underclassmen athletes. With top end talent and depth in most events, we’re looking strong to start the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland has some top-notch athletes across the board this winter and the Red Riots are eager to return to competition.

The boys’ squad is led by Broadus, the shot put standout, who was third at the Class A state meet as a sophomore and started this winter with a throw of 52 feet, 4 inches. Guay is primed to excel in the jumps. He opened the season with a long jump of 20-1.5. Other jumpers to watch include Botelho, Haley, Jones and Smart. In the distance races, keep an eye on Hartford and Nickerson. In the middle distance, Blake, Guay, Lefebvre and Smart lead the way. Blake and Haley are top hurdlers. The sprints feature Botelho, Jones and Lefebvre. The Red Riots have several newcomers who will help the cause as well. That group is led by senior Jacob Ramos, a distance standout who has made a mark in cross country and outdoor track. Ramos also swims and should impress in both sports. Other newcomers of note include junior Petros Engelhardt (jumps, sprints), sophomores Chase Porter (jumps, middle distance) and Che-Hao Saito (hurdles, sprints, jumps) and freshmen Matthew Berry (sprints), Tyler Bryant (shot put and jumps) and Gavin Nicholson (jumps and sprints). South Portland is viewed as a championship contender and could find itself atop the heap for the first time in two decades if all goes well.

On the girls’ side, Nakummun will be a top pole vaulter, while Holmes and Johnston can do a little of everything. Juniors Lily Henriksen and Ava Smart are top runners. Younger athletes to watch include Sam Clyde, Ella Nickerson and Iris Young. The Red Riots hope to be a top team throughout the regular season and will be heard from in the postseason as well.



Coach: Ryan Green (eighth year)

2019-20 results: Boys’ 6th @ Class A state meet; Girls’ 2nd @ Class A state meet
2020-21 results
: No season (COVID)

Top returners:

(Boys) Calvin Comeau (Senior), Jacob Ramos (Senior), Evan Saunders (Senior), Nick Reid (Junior)

(Girls) Issi Babikova (Senior), Anna Kuell (Senior), Audrey Pearson (Senior), Mary Jane Petrlik (Senior), Eliza House (Junior), Sophia Ibarguen (Junior), Ana McDonald (Junior), Emilie Way (Junior)


Coach’s comment: “The boys have a good-sized squad this season, with a wide mix of experience levels. We should see big improvements as they challenge each other over the course of the season and I hope to see at least 10 swimmers making state cuts. The girls have a big squad of 31 this season, with the majority being new to the team. There is big potential for improvement all around.  Our goal is to increase the versatility of our squad to the point that we can consistently fill all the lanes in every event for our dual meets. We have five returning individual state qualifiers, including divers, and we hope to double that number.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland has been one of the top programs in Class A in recent years and this year’s squad is no different.

The boys return Comeau in the freestyle and butterfly, Ramos in the fly and individual medley, Reid in the free and fly and Saunders on the diving board. Junior Josh Lamour (breaststroke and freestyle) and freshman Gavin Olsen (free, fly and IM) are top newcomers.

The girls’ squad features Babikova (backstroke and IM), House (free), Ibarguen (free), Kuell (sprint freestyle), McDonald (freestyle and diving), Pearson (backstroke), Petrlik (breaststroke) and Way (diving). Several newcomers will help the cause. Sophomore Amelia Hughes competes in the distance freestyle and fly, while freshman Meron Carlisle is a diver and classmate Lola Strom competes in the freestyle and IM.

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

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