After a year without, winter sports postseason action is about to return in abundance.

The girls’ hockey playoffs get underway this week, basketball will start its preliminary round of the tournament this weekend and other sports will soon hold conference and state meets.

There’s much excitement to come, but before we get there, let’s take a look back at the week that was:

Girls’ hockey

After losing the regular season meeting in overtime, Yarmouth/Freeport’s girls’ hockey team gets another shot at Mt. Ararat in the North Region quarterfinals Wednesday. File photo

All three local girls’ hockey teams will take part in the state playoffs.

In the South Region, Falmouth finished fourth after capping an 8-5-1 regular season with a 1-1 home tie against Mt. Ararat and a 3-1 victory at Biddeford last week. The Navigators will host No. 5 York (5-8-2) in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 8 p.m. (see theforecaster.net/sports for game story). Falmouth won both meetings in the regular season, 4-2 on the road Dec. 15 and 3-0 at home Jan. 3 and is 3-1 all-time versus the Wildcats in the postseason, with a 9-0 victory in the 2017 South Region semifinals the most recent.

In the North Region, Yarmouth/Freeport wound up sixth at 6-8 after closing with a 3-0 home loss to Edward Little and a 6-0 win at Greely. In the victory, Sadie Carnes and Rosie Panenka both scored twice, as did Sophie Smith, who added a pair of assists. Yarmouth/Freeport goes to No. 3 Mt. Ararat (13-3-1) for the quarterfinals Wednesday night. Yarmouth/Freeport lost the regular season meeting, 3-2, in overtime, on Dec. 29. Yarmouth/Freeport won the lone prior playoff encounter, 7-0, in the 2014 East Region quarterfinals.

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Greely ended up 3-13 and eighth in the North Region after closing with home losses to Biddeford (5-0) and Yarmouth/Freeport (6-0). The Rangers go to top-ranked, reigning champion Lewiston (14-2) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The Blue Devils won the regular season meeting, 9-1, Jan. 24 and are 3-1 all-time in the postseason versus Greely, but the Rangers won the most recent, 4-3, in double overtime, in the 2018 North Region Final.

The semifinal round will be Friday and Saturday on the home ice of the higher seeds. The regional finals are Feb. 16 at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland and the state final will also be at Troubh Ice Arena this year on Feb. 19.

Boys’ hockey

On the boys’ side, the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team was 9-4 and third in the Class A Heal Points standings at press time after a 4-3 win at Windham and a 4-2 home loss to reigning state champion Lewiston. Cullen Adams and Ian Wright had the goals in the setback. South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete visits Portland/Deering Thursday and travels to undefeated Edward Little Saturday.

Falmouth was 5-7-1 and fourth after Saturday’s 4-3 overtime home loss to Edward Little. The Navigators welcome Scarborough Thursday.

In Class B South, two-time reigning champion Greely improved to 9-2 and first after downing host Yarmouth/Freeport (4-3), visiting Lewiston (5-4) and host Gorham (5-1). Landon Werner had a hat trick in the victory over the reigning Class A champion Blue Devils. Gage Cooney scored twice versus the Rams. The Rangers go to Leavitt Thursday and host Gorham Saturday.

Greely’s Evan Dutil was named the January Class B South Forward of the Month by league coaches after scoring eight goals and adding a pair of assists. Teammate Landon Werner was named one of two Class B South Rookies of the Month after scoring five goals and adding five assists.

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The Cheverus/Yarmouth co-op team was 7-4 and third after a 4-3 home loss to Greely and a 3-0 home victory over Leavitt. In the win, Brian Connolly scored two goals, Andrew Cheever had the other and Neal McQuarrie had the shutout in goal. Cheverus/Yarmouth hosts Kennebunk Thursday and welcomes Cape Elizabeth Saturday.

Cheever was named the other Class B South Rookie of the Month for January after scoring five goals and adding a pair of assists.

The boys’ hockey regular season ends Feb. 23, with playoff action commencing Feb. 26.

Boys’ basketball

Yarmouth’s Matt Waeldner tries to beat the defense in last week’s loss at Cape Elizabeth. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Local boys’ basketball teams are looking to round into title form as the regular season winds down.

Falmouth is surging, solidifying the top spot in the Class A South Heals and extending its win streak to eight after beating visiting Mt. Ararat (75-35), visiting Morse (66-46), host Biddeford (76-56), host Greely (79-47) and visiting Westbrook (66-54) in recent action. In the win over the Eagles, Brady Coyne paced a balanced attack with 17 points and Jack Stowell added 12. Against the Shipbuilders, Judd Armstrong led the way with 16 points, Jackman Walker added 15 and Stowell ended up with 10. In the win over the Tigers, Stowell scored 21 points, while Coyne and Zach Morrill both added 19. Against the Rangers, the Navigators only led by a point, 14-13, after one period, but flipped the switch, and by halftime, the score was 45-23 before Falmouth rolled to an easy victory. The Navigators forced 22 turnovers, tallied 30 offensive rebounds, got 19 points apiece from Armstrong and Coyne, and 14 more from Stowell.

“I think our half-court press really worked this game,” Armstrong said. “We got a lot of steals and easy points on open layups. We have a lot of big, athletic players. A team like Greely doesn’t have that many tall players and we took advantage of it. Everyone crashed the boards.”

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“We just picked it up, we started sharing the ball and things opened up,” said longtime Navigators coach Dave Halligan. “Usually, when you increase intensity on defense, the offense comes alive.”

In the win over the Blue Blazes, Stowell scored 24 points and Armstrong and Coyne each added 15. Falmouth (14-2) went to Westbrook Tuesday and closes at home versus Kennebunk Thursday.

Greely sandwiched losses at Fryeburg Academy (59-55) and at home to Falmouth (79-47) around a 64-60 home victory over Lake Region last week, then improved to 9-7 and second in Class A South with a 50-44 win at Freeport Monday. Against the Lakers, the Rangers overcame a slow start and got 18 points from Andrew St. Hilaire, 15 from Timmy Walker and 11 from Seamus Raftice, including the go-ahead hoop.

“This shows the heart that we have,” St. Hilaire said. “We wanted to punch back, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.”

“We just focused on playing defense, trying to attack the glass and taking our time on offense,” Raftice said. “The defense made the difference in the second half. ”

“The kids are tough,” added Greely coach Travis Seaver. “They know what to do down the stretch. We’re battle-tested, but a 15-point (win) would be nice sometime. It’s great experience, especially coming off last year not having this type of environment, but it’s nerve-wracking, too. Obviously, we’re lacking a killer instinct.”

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In the loss to the Navigators, St. Hilaire led the way with 12 points, but the Rangers got dominated on the glass and turned the ball over 21 times. Against the Falcons, St. Hilaire had a game-high 18 points. Greely hosts Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday and closes at home versus Wells Thursday.

“The goal is to play our best in a couple weeks,” Seaver said.

Freeport was 9-7 and fifth in Class A South following a 59-49 home win over Gray-New Gloucester and a 57-42 loss at Yarmouth last week and a 50-44 home setback to Greely Monday. In the victory, Colby Arsenault had 21 points, Blaine Cockburn added 16 and Keigan Shea finished with 11. The Falcons led most of the first half at the Clippers before struggling from the floor in the second half. Cockburn had a team-high 13 points in the loss, while Tony Casale added 10.

“The first 14 minutes, that’s the basketball we’ve been playing the past few games, but Yarmouth did a good job adjusting and we didn’t respond well to their adjustments,” Freeport’s first-year coach Tyler Tracy said. “What we did the first 14 minutes, we need to stretch that out to 32. We missed a few shots that would have been game-changers and given us energy. It’s a great learning experience for us. The pressure and intensity were tournament pressure and intensity.”

Against the Rangers, Cockburn led the way with 15 points. The Falcons close the regular season Thursday at Fryeburg Academy.

“We just have to overcome some adversity,” said Tracy. “I feel great about our team. Things are coming together. We’re playing well, but we just have to do it consistently for 32 minutes and when we get to that point, we’ll be a tough out.”

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In Class B South, Yarmouth suffered a 58-55 loss at Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday, then snapped a two-game skid Saturday with a 57-42 home victory over Freeport before improving to 14-3 and second to Spruce Mountain in the Heals Monday with a 52-28 home victory Wells. At the Capers, Peter Psyhogeos went off for 32 points, but the Clippers were outscored by nine in the fourth quarter and Stevie Walsh’s bid for a game-tying 3-pointer at the horn was off-target.

“It was a fun game, but it just wasn’t our night tonight,” said assistant coach Barry Conant, filling in for head coach Jonas Allen, who missed the game with illness. “Cape was ready to play. There were no surprises. We just didn’t execute like Yarmouth basketball.”

Against the Falcons, Matt Waeldner’s five points late in the first half gave the Clippers the lead for the first time and they pulled away down the stretch behind 23 points from Psyhogeos and 14 from Waeldner.

“We definitely needed this win,” Waeldner said. “We needed to find our rhythm. Freeport’s been playing great basketball, so they’re a great team to bounce back against.”

“I was surprised when (Freeport) came out so strong,” said senior Aiden Kamm, who played a key role in the victory. “They’ve improved a lot since we last played them. That’s a good team over there.”

“This was huge,” Allen added. “Freeport had ripped off four in a row. I have nothing but respect for that program, that coach. They can make a run in Class A for sure. They brought their whole town today. It was a road game for us. They brought their student section and we didn’t. They packed our gym and I have nothing but respect for towns that do that and help their teams win.”

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Psyhogeos then scored 16 points, while Waeldner added 12 and Cole Snyder finished with nine in the win over Wells. Yarmouth closes the regular season Wednesday against visiting Poland.

“I think this is a phenomenal group of guys with great chemistry and great coaching,” Kamm said. “I think if we play our game, the sky’s the limit.”

In Class C South, North Yarmouth Academy was 8-6 and fifth after victories over visiting Old Orchard Beach (72-60) and at Traip Academy (66-63). In the win over the Seagulls, Logan Welch scored 21 points, Moses Semuhoza added 20, Joaquim Bila finished with 16 points and seven steals, and Bryce Poulin contributed seven points and 14 rebounds. Against the Rangers, Welch’s late 3 was the difference. Elliott Oney had a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds), Semuhoza added 13, and Welch and Bila both scored 12. The Panthers visit Sacopee Valley Wednesday and close at home versus Seacoast Christian Thursday.

The boys’ basketball playoffs begin early next week with the Class AA quarterfinals and Class C South preliminary round being played on the courts of the higher seeds.

Girls’ basketball

On the girls’ side, Greely improved to 12-4 and second behind Brunswick in the Class A South Heals after beating visiting Fryeburg Academy (53-35), host Lake Region (45-25), host Wells (54-51) and visiting Freeport (52-42). Against the Raiders, Chelsea Graiver scored 16 points, Asja Kelman added 11 and Sophia Ippolito finished with 10. In the win over the Lakers, Kaiyla Delisle scored 14 points and Graiver added 10. The Rangers then handed the reigning Class B champion Warriors their first loss, thanks to Graiver’s 29 points. In the win over the Falcons, Graiver again was high scorer with 26 points. Greely closes at Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday.

Falmouth extended its win streak to five games with victories last week at Mt. Ararat (67-42) and Morse (51-30), and at home over Biddeford (49-30) followed by Monday’s palpitating 45-44 overtime win at previously undefeated Brunswick. Against the Eagles, Anna Turgeon scored 18 points, Sloane Ginevan added 15 and Maddy Christman finished with 13. In the win over the Tigers, Emily Abbott scored 21 points and Turgeon added 13. Against the Dragons, Ginevan scored 24 points and Katie Lozoraitis hit the game-winning 3-pointer. The Navigators (11-5 and third in Class A South) hosted Westbrook Tuesday and close at Kennebunk Thursday.

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Freeport fell to 5-11 and ninth after recent losses at Gray-New Gloucester (30-23), at home to Yarmouth (53-50) and at Greely (52-42). In the loss to the Patriots, Mason Baker-Schlendering scored 12 points. The Falcons led the Clippers most of the way but couldn’t close it out despite a double-double from Baker-Schlendering (19 points, 16 rebounds) and 10 points from Maddie Cormier. Freeport committed 25 turnovers.

“Before you can win games, you have to eliminate what causes losing and what causes losing is not valuing the ball and giving up second-chance opportunities,” said Falcons coach Seth Farrington. “We played 24 great minutes. We had 32 good minutes on offense, but we gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter on defense and that can’t happen.”

Against the Rangers, Baker-Schlendering scored 18 points and Angel Pillsbury added 14. Freeport closes at home versus Fryeburg Academy Wednesday.

“I think we’re a little ahead of where I thought we’d be from a skill perspective,” Farrington said. “There are some games we should have won, but we don’t have enough shared experience in close games. We’re getting that experience.”

In Class B South, Yarmouth was 11-4 and fourth at press time following wins over visiting Cape Elizabeth (40-18), host Leavitt (40-36) and host Freeport (53-50) and Monday’s 53-28 setback at Wells. Against the Capers, Cate King scored 18 points and Neena Panozzo added 10. In the win over the Hornets, Lexi Clark had a team-high 11 points, while Panozzo and Lauren Keaney added 10 apiece. The Clippers trailed the Falcons most of the game, but Clark’s late 3 put them ahead to stay and Yarmouth held on thanks to 20 points from Ava Feeley.

“I knew that we were down and the coaches had been getting on me to shoot more and so I shot,” Clark said. “It felt good off my hand. I feel like I just try to put in as much effort as I can and do whatever I can to contribute.”

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“We came out a little slow, but once we got pumped up, we came back,” Feeley said. “It was a team effort. Everyone works so hard on our team. I think everyone stepped up. It feels great because Freeport’s always great competition.”

“I definitely feel like we stole one, but I’d also like to say that there’s a lot of character on this team and it showed,” added Yarmouth coach David Cousins. “To keep grinding and have it pay off was great. Freeport came to play and we’re short-handed and had to stay with it. To win it is icing on the cake.”

In the loss, Feeley led the way with 14 points. The Clippers finish at Poland Wednesday.

“When we compete, with the athleticism we have, we can be pretty tough,” Cousins said. “This group is athletic and well-rounded.”

In Class C South, NYA was 12-2 and second behind Hall-Dale after beating host Old Orchard Beach (62-45) and visiting Traip Academy (55-42), and falling at Class A South-leading Brunswick (53-50). In the win over the Seagulls, Sarah English had 20 points, Angel Huntsman 16 and Madilyn Oronato 14. Against the Rangers, Graca Bila had 18 points and six rebounds and Huntsman added 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists. In the loss, Bila scored 14 points and English added 11. The Panthers host Sacopee Valley Wednesday, then close at home versus Seacoast Christian Thursday.

The girls’ basketball playoffs begin Saturday with the Class C South play-in round. The Class AA quarterfinals are early next week. Those games will be contested on the homecourts of the higher seeds.

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Indoor track

The indoor track regular season came to a close last weekend at the University of Southern Maine. In a 12-team Western Maine Conference meet, Yarmouth’s boys were second to York, while Freeport came in third, Greely seventh and NYA 10.

In the girls’ meet, won by York, Greely finished second, Freeport third, Yarmouth fourth and NYA 12th.

Both Falmouth teams came in fourth in a five-team Southwestern Maine Activities Association meet.

The WMC championship meet will be held Friday at USM. The SMAA championship meet is Saturday at USM.

The Class A and B state meets will both be held at USM this year on Feb. 21.

Swimming

The state diving championships are Feb. 19 at South Portland. Cape Elizabeth will host the state swim meets, with the Class A boys and Class B boys competing Feb. 21 and the Class A girls and Class B girls competing the following day.

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Skiing

Falmouth’s boys’ Nordic ski team won a 14-team meet last week in Fryeburg. The Navigators produced the top two individuals in Joey Rouhana (13 minutes, 50.5 seconds) and Ryan Gray (14:16.9). Yarmouth finished second, Freeport was fourth, NYA/MCW came in sixth and Greely was 10th.

Falmouth was also first in the girls’ meet. Greely placed fifth, Yarmouth was seventh, NYA/MCW eighth and Freeport ninth. Greely’s Alex Collins had the best time for local skiers, placing third in 17:29.4.

In Alpine action, Falmouth took part in a five-team SMAA giant slalom meet last week at Shawnee Peak. The boys came in first and boasted top individual Andrew Christie, who had a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 3.7 seconds. The girls placed second to Windham, as Celia Geci came in fifth (1:09.31).

Monday, in a four-team WMC giant slalom meet, Freeport’s boys and girls placed second to Cape Elizabeth, while Greely’s boys and girls each placed fourth. Freeport’s Luciana Bourgois was third in the girls’ competition (1:08.63). Freeport’s Andrew Morissey was sixth in the boys’ meet (1:08.15).

In a WMC slalom meet Monday, Yarmouth’s girls were first in a three-team meet with Fryeburg Academy, while the boys were second to the Raiders. The Clippers were led individually by Samantha Beaudoin (second, 1:46.82) in the girls’ competition and Asher Lockwood (1:35.17) in the boys’ meet.

The state Alpine championships will be held Feb. 17 and 18 and the Nordic state championships will be Feb. 23 and 24.

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

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