One week in, it’s clear that it was worth the wait for the winter sports postseason.

The girls’ hockey playoffs have been palpitating and other sports are on the brink of crowning state champions.

Here’s a glimpse:

Girls’ hockey

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland celebrates a goal during its epic, four-overtime win over Falmouth in Saturday’s South Region semifinal. Michael Hoffer / The Forecaster

Two local girls’ hockey teams still entertained championship dreams at press time.

The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team advanced to the South Region Final, but it took a miracle comeback to get there. Cape/Waynflete/SP, ranked first in the region, had no trouble with eighth-ranked Portland/Deering in the quarterfinal round last Wednesday at Troubh Ice Arena, winning, 8-2, behind two goals apiece from freshman Libby Hooper and junior captain Delaney Whitten.

“We were coming in thinking (Portland/Deering was) just as good as us because they’re talented, and I think that really benefited us,” Whitten said.

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“It wasn’t maybe our best effort over three full periods, but we got all of our girls involved in the game which is really good,” Cape/Waynflete/SP coach Bob Mills said. “Portland/Deering stayed in the game a little too long for my comfort, but we managed to take care of it.”

That sent Cape/Waynflete/SP to last Saturday’s semifinal round to take on fourth-ranked Falmouth, a team which provided problems from the onset. Cape/Waynflete/SP took an early lead on a goal from senior captain Sofia Cook, but the Navigators immediately answered. Whitten then put her team on top early in the second period, but again, Falmouth countered, then took a 3-2 lead on a goal with 11 seconds to go. When the Navigators added another goal in the first minute of the third period, Cape/Waynflete/SP was on the ropes, but Bassett scored to provide hope, then senior Katharine Blackburn scored the biggest goal of her life, with just 7.1 seconds left, to force overtime.

“I couldn’t even see the net because there were so many people blocking it,” Blackburn said. “I think it might have gone over (the goalie’s) shoulder, I’m not sure. It was really surprising to me that it went in.”

One eight-minute, “sudden-victory” overtime didn’t decide matters, nor did a second or even a third, so a girls’ hockey state record-setting fourth OT was necessitated and there, just 10 seconds in, Bassett set up Hooper for the golden goal and a 5-4 victory.

“There was a dump in, Marina skated the puck down and the puck ended up in the corner,” Hooper said. “I was in the high slot calling for it and had a quick release. To be honest, the shot wasn’t that pretty, but it didn’t matter. It’s a really great feeling to win. I’m very happy and very thankful for my teammates. There were so many emotions going up and down. It was worth it to play an amazing game.”

“We played Lewiston in the state final in 2020 and I thought that game was the best I’d ever seen, but this one rivaled that,” Mills said. “Boy, were we depleted at the end. We’re both exhausted and relieved.”

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Scarborough, the No. 3 seed in the South, also punched its ticket to the regional final. The Red Storm first dispatched No. 6 Biddeford, 4-1, behind a pair of goals from Meagan Donovan and a goal apiece from Evelyn Boardman and Jamie Kemper. Scarborough finished with a whopping 51-5 shots advantage.

“Passing from behind the net worked really well to a shot in the slot,” Donovan said. “I think we kept them rolling, got as many shots as we could.”

“At the beginning of the game, before we came out, I told (the girls) possession’s key,” said Red Storm coach Taylor Fowler. “We just had to protect the puck. Make the tape-to-tape passes and pass with a purpose and we did it.”

Scarborough then outlasted No. 2 Cheverus, 1-0, in a triple-overtime thriller in the semifinals, as goalie Ariella Swett saved over 40 shots and Boardman finally ended it with 8.7 seconds to go in the third OT.

“I was just so excited we scored,” Boardman said. “It’s a great feeling. It was crazy. Waiting to get on the ice, building anticipation, it was a rush.”

“I just tried my hardest to get there to celebrate, but my legs were tired,” Swett said. “We wanted this so badly. Every break we had, we reminded each other how much we wanted it.”

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“I thought my heart rate was going to skyrocket,” Fowler added. “I’m glad it’s done. It was awesome to see the seniors come together and leave it all out there. I told them it would come down to heart and who wanted it more. We knew it wouldn’t come easily and it took three overtimes. The girls played a full 45 (minutes) and then some. It’s the best game we’ve played all season. We came together when we needed it the most. The girls really wanted this.”

Cape/Waynflete/SP (13-2-2) faced Scarborough (11-6-1) in the South Region Final Wednesday. The teams tied, 2-2, in the first meeting Dec. 23 in Gorham before the Red Storm took a 4-2 decision Jan. 22 in Portland. Scarborough had won three of four prior playoff encounters, but Cape/Waynflete/SP won the most recent, 3-2, in the 2020 South Region Final.

“It should be a fun night (Wednesday),” Mills said. “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing. We need to be prepared mentally as well as physically and be ready from the opening whistle.”

“I think it’ll be another battle,” Fowler added. “Cape’s a very good team with very skilled players. We’ll have to come ready.”

The winner will either face reigning champion Lewiston (15-2) or Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland (11-5-2) in the state final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland.

Indoor track

South Portland’s Amir Broadus celebrates a personal best throw in the shot put during the SMAA track meet last weekend. Broadus was second in the event with a top throw of 54-feet, 10.75-inches, which helped the Red Riots win the team title for the first time since 2002. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

South Portland’s boys’ indoor track team made history last weekend at the University of Southern Maine, winning the Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet for the first time in 20 years. The Red Riots tallied 142 points, which was good enough to hold off runner-up Scarborough (123.5) and end the Red Storm’s 11-year run of titles. South Portland got first-place performances from Jacob Ramos in the open 600 (1 minute, 16.24 seconds) and its open 4×800 relay team (Chase Porter, Kyle Hartford, Brady Guay and Ramos, 8:54.05).

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Ramos, who also competed in the Southwesterns swim championship meet last weekend, was second in the 800 (2:02.88) and was part of a runner-up 4×400 relay team (3:44.79). Guay was also runner-up in the long jump (20 feet, 1 inch) and part of the runner-up 4×400 relay team. Amir Broadus was second in the shot put with a personal record throw of 54-10.75.

“The first indoor track conference title in two decades means a lot to the track program and it reflects the character and camaraderie of the team,” said South Portland coach David Kahill. “The upperclassmen have tremendous leadership and competitiveness that spread throughout the team. The junior division has been a strength of the team throughout the season and continued to be at the championship.

“It means even more that both the boys’ and girls’ teams had outstanding seasons, as the girls’ team was 12-3-1 in the regular season even with smaller numbers. It also is a sign of the overall health of South Portland athletics. There is a lot of consistent cooperation, respect, support and messaging across programs and seasons, which adds to the strength of each sport.”

South Portland celebrates its SMAA title Saturday. Contributed photo

Scarborough got wins from John Read in the junior 55 hurdles (8.46), Jayden Flaker in the senior 55 hurdles (7.72 seconds), Zach Barry in the senior 800 (2:01.41), Nicholas Connolly in the senior shot put (56-3.5) and Toby Martin in the open pole vault (11-6).

In the girls’ meet, won by Gorham with 131.833 points, Scarborough (80.8333) came in fourth and South Portland (55) was fifth.

Red Storm winners included Maezy Gleason in the junior shot put (30-2) and Caroline Fallona in the senior 55 (7.41).

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The Red Riots got a first-place showing from Samantha Clyde in the junior triple jump (30-8.75).

In the Western Maine Conference championship meet, also at USM, Cape Elizabeth’s girls tallied 52 points to finish fourth (York was first with 167). Tori Hews took the senior 55 in 7.58 seconds and the senior 200 in 27.47.

In the boys’ meet, won by York with 161.5 points, Cape Elizabeth (55) was fifth. Vaughn Lindenau was first in the 2-mile (10:21.59).

The Class A and B state meets are Monday at USM.

Swimming

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ swim team won last weekend’s North Division Southwesterns, edging runner-up Scarborough 301 points to 298.

The Capers got wins from Keegan McKenney in the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 43.56 seconds), David Steinbrick in the 500 free (4:45.46) and its 200 freestyle relay team (Steinbrick, Ethan Smith, Stewart Kelley and McKenney, 1:33.11).

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The Red Storm got first-place finishes from Jack Pillsbury in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.51) and the 200 individual medley (1:59.02), Ethan Schulz in the 100 free (46.7 seconds), Yandy Placeres in the 100 butterfly (52.2), and their 200 medley relay team (Evan Wardrop, Pillsbury, Samuel Peiser and Brennan Fravert, 1:42.98).

South Portland (185 points) finished fourth. Noah Viola won the diving title with a score of 251.80 points and the Red Riots’ 400 freestyle relay team (Theo Brown-Slack, Calvin Comeau, Nick Reid and Jacob Ramos) came in first in 3:37.56.

In the girls’ meet, won by Greely with 290 points, Cape Elizabeth (270) was second, South Portland (164) came in fourth and Scarborough (115) was sixth. The Capers got wins from Cookie Mahoney in the 200 free (1:54.39), Lucy Shaw in the 100 fly (59.81) and their 200 medley relay team (Lula Esch, Maddie Mahoney, Mimi Esch and Darby Kline, 2:06.09).

The swim state championship meets are Monday and Tuesday in Cape Elizabeth.

Skiing

Cape Elizabeth took part in the WMC Alpine ski championships last week. The girls’ squad came in first, while the boys were fourth. The girls featured Dana Schwartz (second in the slalom with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 43.27 seconds and fourth in the GS, 1:30.79) and Anya Monson (fifth in the GS, 1:31.27, and fifth in the slalom, 1:49.16). The boys were led by Tiernan Lathrop (who won the slalom in 1:37.55 and was third in the GS, 1:26.34) and Logan Schwartz (second in the GS, 1:24.73, and third in the slalom, 1:38.04).

The skiing state meets are next week.

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Cheering

South Portland (71.70 points) came in seventh and Scarborough (69.10) was eighth at Saturday’s Class A state cheering championship. Lewiston (87.50) was the champion.

Boys’ hockey

Boys’ hockey’s regular season still has a week to go.

South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport was third in the Class A Heal Points standings at press time at 10-5 following a 3-1 loss to Portland/Deering and a 6-1 victory over previously unbeaten Edward Little. Dylan Hannan had two goals and two assists in the win. SP/Waynflete/Freeport hosted Thornton Academy Thursday, visits Scarborough Saturday and welcomes Biddeford Tuesday of next week in the finale.

Scarborough was 9-7 and fifth in Class A following a 7-3 loss at Falmouth and a 4-2 win at Lewiston in a rematch of the 2020 state final. The Red Storm hosts South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport Saturday and welcomes Falmouth in the finale Tuesday of next week.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth was 8-3-1 and second to Greely in the standings after a 6-1 home win over Gorham and a 3-2 loss at Cheverus/Yarmouth last week. After playing at Greely Thursday, the Capers go to Leavitt Saturday and visit Gorham Monday.

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

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