Cheverus coach Billy Goodman and his players celebrate after the Stags’ 48-29 win at Portland Tuesday gave Goodman 200 for his career. Hoffer photos.


Cheverus 48 Portland 29

C- 10 8 22 8- 48
P- 4 4 11 10- 29

C- Lizotte 10-1-21, Singleton 6-0-12, Jordan 2-2-8, Bontatibus 1-1-3, Kelly 1-0-2, Kratzer 1-0-2

P- E. Yugu 4-2-10, Pozzy 3-2-8, Tuza 3-0-6, Stein 2-0-5

C (2) Jordan 2
P (1) Stein 1

C- 16
P- 13

C: 4-13
P: 4-8


PORTLAND—It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but it’s one that Cheverus girls’ basketball coach Billy Goodman won’t soon forget.

Tuesday afternoon at the Portland Exposition Building, Goodman’s Stags suffered through a nearly eight-minute scoring drought in the first half, but managed to lead host Portland, 10-4, after one quarter and 18-8 at halftime.

Then, in the second half, undefeated Cheverus roared to life behind the inside dominance of sophomore Emma Lizotte, scored 22 third quarter points to go up, 40-19, then rolled to a 48-29 victory.

Lizotte had a double-double of 21 points and 21 rebounds as the Stags improved to 8-0, dropped the Bulldogs to 1-9 and in the process, gave Goodman his 200th career victory.

“When I got into coaching originally, I just wanted to help some kids get better at basketball and help them off the court,” Goodman said. “Being part of 200 wins is just icing on the cake.”

A lot of winning


Goodman got his career started as a sub-varsity coach with the Deering girls’ program, then earned his first head coaching job in 2008 at Greely. Goodman went 51-11 in his three seasons with the Rangers and twice led them to the Western B Final. In 2011, when Amy Vachon left McAuley to coach at the University of Maine, Goodman took over the reigning Class A champions and led them to three more Gold Balls, going 65-1 in the process during his first three seasons. Goodman stayed with McAuley (later Maine Girls’ Academy) until the school closed in the summer of 2018 and boasted a record of 121-24 with the Lions. After a year back at Deering as an assistant to Mike Murphy with a girls’ team that went 4-14, but went on a spirited run to the regional final, Goodman took over at Cheverus for the 2019-20 season and after going 13-6 his first year, he went 9-1 in a COVID-shortened campaign last winter.

“Losing my MGA team hurt a lot, but being part of this team, everything happens for a reason,” Goodman said. “I have a bunch of girls I just love coaching.”

So far this season, the highly-touted Stags have lived up to billing, despite a COVID hiatus. Cheverus opened by beating visiting Bangor (50-36), then won at Deering (62-20) and Westbrook (64-21), at home over Portland (62-37) and at Lewiston (44-42) on Dec. 23, but the Stags wouldn’t play again until Jan. 11, when they defeated visiting Deering (60-47). Saturday, Cheverus won at Edward Little (62-20).

As for Portland, it started the 2021-22 season with losses at Lewiston (55-44), at home to Bonny Eagle (41-26), at home to Hampden Academy (55-30) and at Cheverus (62-37). After a 47-44 home win over Deering, the Bulldogs lost at Edward Little (54-34), at home to Windham (42-32), at Thornton Academy (61-44) and at reigning Class AA champion Oxford Hills (61-27).

In the teams’ first meeting, the Stags took a 19-5 lead after one quarter and rolled, as four players wound up in double figures. Senior Emily Bontatibus led the way with 18 points, Lizotte had 17 (along with 17 rebounds), senior Lillie Singleton added 13 and senior Maeve Kelly finished with a dozen. Junior Annie Pozzy and sophomore Lucy Tidd each had 10 points for the Bulldogs.

Tuesday, Portland hoped for a better result and hung tough for awhile, but Cheverus pulled away and gave Goodman his landmark win.


Portland senior Elizabeth Yugu sends a bounce pass past Cheverus senior Mia Kratzer.

Lizotte controlled play in the first quarter, scoring eight points, as the Stags opened up an early lead.

Forty-two seconds in, Lizotte took a pass from Singleton and made a layup and a minute later, she scored on a spinner for a quick 4-0 advantage.

Portland answered when Pozzy made a jump shot and junior Eliza Stein stole the ball and drove for a layup, but with 4:04 left in the opening stanza, a turnaround jumper from Lizotte put Cheverus ahead for good.

Singleton then scored her first points, a layup off a feed from senior Julia Kratzer and with 3:17 on the clock, Singleton found Lizotte for a layup, but that would be it for first quarter scoring.

Offense continued to be hard to come by in the second period.

With 6:41 remaining before halftime, two Pozzy free throws snapped a 6-minute, 10-second scoring drought for the Bulldogs, then with 3:29 to go, Lizotte made the second of two foul shots to snap the Stags’ 7:48 drought.


Bontatibus then set up Singleton for a layup, but a Pozzy jump shot cut the Stags’ lead to 13-8.

Late in the half, Bontatibus hit a jumper, Singleton made a layup and a free throw from senior Hayley Jordan made it 18-8 at the break.

Lizotte nearly had a double-double in the first half, scoring nine points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Cheverus coach Billy Goodman surveys the action in the second half.

Cheverus then came out and broke it open in the third quarter.

Just 16 seconds in, Bontatibus set up Lizotte for a layup to set the tone.

Next, it was Singleton finding Lizotte for a layup to stretch the lead to 14.


After Stein answered with a 3, Jordan hit a 3 for the Stags.

Portland senior Elizabeth Yugu then blocked a shot at one end and raced in for a layup at the other, but Lizotte banked home a shot, then Jordan sank a free throw.

After Yugu made a jumper for the hosts, Bontatibus hit a free throw, senior Mia Kratzer made a layup after a steal, Jordan buried a 3, then Singleton fed senior Maeve Kelly for a layup on the fastbreak for a commanding 36-15 advantage.

“I think some of us enjoy getting the assist more than the shot,” said Lizotte. “It means so much to us to help a teammate score.”

After Yugu countered with two free throws and Pozzy hit a jumper, Lizotte closed the frame with consecutive layups and Cheverus took a 40-19 advantage to the final stanza.

Where the Stags put it away.


Singleton started the fourth period with a layup after a steal. She then took a pass from Kelly and broke away for another layup before Lizotte drilled a long jumper for a 46-19 lead.

Senior Naulissa Tuza made consecutive baskets for the hosts, then Yugu made back-to-back layups, but it was far too little, too late and down the stretch, Singleton hit a long jumper for Cheverus’ final points before a spinner from Tuza brought the curtain down on the Stags’ 48-29 victory.

At 5:42 p.m., Goodman celebrated with his players and was hailed by several family members and friends who were on hand.

Coach Goodman’s family and friends celebrate after the victory.

“We’re really excited for (Coach),” said Lizotte. “It’s been a good season so far and I’m really happy we as a group got him there. We shook off the nerves and came together as a team.”

“Our ability to come together as a team and do this for him is great,” Singleton said. “We’ve really come together. We knew about it coming in and we were prepared.”

“I’m really proud of my team because we really struggled in the first half,” Goodman added. “Nothing was falling, but the second half was amazing. We played great and we learned from it. The girls are really showing mental toughness. They don’t give up and keep fighting. We came out nervous playing in this building. This building can get to you, but I’m really happy how we executed in the second half. As a coach, to see the girls struggle, then do well, I’m really happy.”


Lizotte stole the show with 21 points and 21 rebounds.

“I just tried to see the hoop first and not pay attention to the hands around me,” Lizotte said.

“Emma’s work ethic is amazing,” Goodman said. “It comes from within. She just battles and works. I’m lucky to coach her.”

“Emma’s a big kid and she does a nice job getting the ball and her teammates do a good job getting it to her in places where she can score,” Portland coach Abby Hasson said. “Hats off to her. She’s a good player and she knows how to use her size and she finishes well around the rim.”

Singleton added 12 points and also dished out eight assists.

“Lillie has been consistently playing very good basketball for us,” Goodman said. “She moves the ball and her defense is excellent. She’ll do anything she can for this team.”


Jordan had eight points and seven rebounds, while Bontatibus had three points and Kelly (six rebounds, four assists) and Krazter (four steals) both finished with two.

Cheverus had a 43- 26 rebound advantage and overcame 13 turnovers and 4-of-13 foul shooting.

That the Stags continue to win even without sophomore standout Maddie Fitzpatrick (who is out with a thumb injury but is expected back soon) bodes well for future success.

“It’s amazing to play with Maddie and we miss her on the court, but we’ve learned how to score without her,” said Singleton. “Our ball movement has improved. To have her back will make us so much stronger.”

Portland was paced by Yugu, who had 10 points, as well as five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Pozzy added eight points, Tuza had six and Stein five.

The Bulldogs committed 16 turnovers and hit 2-of-6 free throws.


“That’s kind of been the story of our season, we struggle to produce offense,” Hasson lamented. “We’re really getting there on defense. Our defensive intensity tonight was much, much better.”

Here’s to 201 and beyond

Portland hopes to get back on track Wednesday at Windham, then goes to Falmouth Friday.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Hasson. “(Class AA North) is tough this year. I think anything can happen. We just want to keep improving and keep working.”

Cheverus hopes to keep the good times rolling at Scarborough Friday, then has its biggest test to date when it welcomes Oxford Hills Saturday afternoon.

“We’re looking very forward to Oxford Hills,” said Lizotte. “We’ll prepare this week for it and focus on what we need to do.”


“I think we just have to focus and play our game,” Singleton said. “We have to bring energy and not turn the ball over.”

“We play in the toughest division in the state,” Goodman added. “My girls know they need to get ready for the stretch run.”

Looking at an even bigger picture, Goodman said he hopes to win many more games and not just this season.

“I love coaching,” Goodman said. “As long as (Cheverus athletic director Amy Ashley) sticks with me, I’ll keep doing it.”

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

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