Boys’ team

RICHIE ASHLEY – Cheverus basketball

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The Cheverus boys’ program got a jolt this winter from a former player and assistant coach who proved to be the absolute right person at the right time to get the Stags back on track.

Richie Ashley once played on a Cheverus state championship team, later assisted for legendary coach Bob Brown, then led the Stags girls’ program to prominence.

This season might have been his finest contribution to the school he loves so much and in light of Cheverus’ turnaround, The Forecaster is naming Richie Ashley our Portland edition Winter Coach of the Year for a boys’ team.

The Stags made an immediate splash with a stirring overtime win over Deering and while the program was challenged by inexperience, a daunting schedule and a COVID pause, it remained a challenging foe throughout.

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“Our mantra is caring more about the name on the front than the name on the back,” Ashley said. “We started it in the summer and we’ll keep doing it.”

Cheverus finished the regular season 8-9, but its most memorable moment would come in the Class AA North quarterfinals, when it upset Portland, 44-42, on Silvano Ismail’s buzzer-beater. The Stags lost in the semifinals to eventual regional champion Oxford Hills, but what a season it was.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” said Ashley, who also teaches history at Cheverus. “They gave a lot to our community. We had great seniors that were leaders and mentors for the younger guys. Kids who are honor students and who did everything we wanted them to do for Cheverus basketball. They set the stage and helped put us back on the map.”

The future is bright again for the Stags with Richie Ashley, our Portland edition boys’ team Winter Coach of the Year, leading the way.

Previous winners:

• 2020-21 Todd Wing (Deering basketball)
• 2019-20 Marco Giancotti (Cheverus hockey)
• 2018-19 David Elowitch/Tony Napolitano (Portland wrestling)
• 2017-18 Kevin Haley (Cheverus swimming)
• 2016-17 Jeff Beaney (Portland/Deering hockey)
• 2015-16 Joe Russo (Portland basketball)
• 2014-15 Dan Lucas (Cheverus hockey)
• 2013-14 Joe Russo (Portland basketball)
• 2012-13 Rich Henry (Waynflete basketball)
• 2011-12 Dan LeGage (Deering basketball)
• 2010-11 Joe Russo (Portland basketball)
• 2009-10 Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)
• 2008-09 Kevin Haley (Cheverus swimming)
• 2007-08 Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)
• 2006-07 Bob Brown (Cheverus basketball)
• 2005-06 Dan LeGage (Deering basketball)
• 2004-05 Jack Lowry (Cheverus hockey)
• 2003-04 Joe Russo (Portland basketball)

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Girls’ team

BILLY GOODMAN – Cheverus basketball

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Cheverus’ girls’ basketball team won a long-awaited first state championship this winter, but nothing came easily for the Stags, who had to overcome no shortage of obstacles.

Fortunately for the program, it has a coach who has seen it all, and Billy Goodman was able to steer his squad through a COVID pause, injuries and some tough losses to save its best for last.

And once again, Billy Goodman is The Forecaster’s choice as our Portland edition Winter Coach of the Year for a girls’ team.

Goodman was also honored in 2009, 2015, 2017 and 2021 (and as a golf coach in 2008).

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Goodman led Greely to 51 wins and a pair of trips to the Western B Final in his three years in Cumberland, then inherited a championship program at McAuley in 2011 and was part of three straight Class A championship runs. Goodman stayed at McAuley, later Maine Girls’ Academy, until the school sadly closed its doors in 2018, winning 121 times overall. Without a team to run, he returned to his alma mater and his coaching roots and assisted the Deering girls in 2018-19, and not surprisingly, the Rams made a run to remember, getting all the way to the Class AA North Final after a 4-14 regular season.

Goodman then came to Cheverus for the 2019-20 campaign, and after leading the Stags to an 11-8 mark, he oversaw a 9-1 campaign last winter, but there was no postseason because of COVID.

This year, Goodman would have to push a lot of buttons to get the most out of his team, as sophomore standout Maddie Fitzpatrick missed half the year with injury, the team shut down for a couple weeks due to COVID and suffered tough losses at Oxford Hills (in overtime) and Scarborough and to Hampden Academy (by forfeit).

While some teams might have buckled without a top player, the Stags went the other way, as five special seniors developed into top talents and sophomore Emma Lizotte excelled as a weapon at both ends of the court. Once Fitzpatrick returned, Cheverus was ready to make a title run and the Stags did so, beating Portland in the quarterfinals before avenging previous losses while downing Hampden Academy and Oxford Hills to reach the state final. There, Cheverus’ defense, Lizotte’s play inside and senior Julia Kratzer’s long-range shooting doomed Gorham, and a Gold Ball was the end result.

“We really dealt with a lot and the girls are mentally tough,” Goodman said. “They really motivated themselves. They found a way to win a lot of games.”

Cheverus has more Gold Balls in its immediate future. Billy Goodman, our Portland edition girls’ team Winter Coach of the Year, isn’t done leading the Stags to the Promised Land.

Previous winners:

• 2020-21 Billy Goodman (Cheverus basketball)
2019-20 Bob Mills (Cape/Waynflete/South Portland hockey)
2018-19 George Aponte-Clarke (Portland/Deering/Cheverus skiing)
2017-18 Tom Clifford (Portland/Deering hockey)
• 2016-17 Billy Goodman (MGA basketball)
• 2015-16 Kent Hulst (Cheverus hockey)
• 2014-15 Billy Goodman (McAuley basketball)
• 2013-14 Kevin Haley (Cheverus swimming)
• 2012-13 Brandon Salway (Waynflete basketball)
• 2011-12 Brandon Salway (Waynflete basketball)
• 2010-11 Amy Vachon (McAuley basketball)
• 2009-10 J.P. Lavoie (Cheverus hockey)
• 2008-09 Mike Murphy (Deering basketball)
• 2007-08 John Smith (McAuley swimming)
• 2006-07 Jan Veinot (Waynflete basketball)
• 2005-06 Kevin Campbell (Deering track)
• 2004-05 Lindsay Reagan (Waynflete Nordic skiing)
• 2003-04 Mike D’Andrea (Deering basketball)

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

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