South Portland’s boys’ basketball team finally returned to the pinnacle last winter. This season, the Red Riots hope to do it again. File photos.

Coach: Kevin Millington (eighth year, 104-33 overall record)

2021-22 record: 21-1 (Beat Oxford Hills, 58-44, to win Class AA state title)

Top returning players: Joey Hanlon (Senior), Jaelen Jackson (Senior), Ben Smith (Senior), Gabe Galarraga (Junior), Jayden Kim (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 20 @ Falmouth, Dec. 22 THORNTON ACADEMY, Jan. 10 GORHAM, Jan. 13 BONNY EAGLE, Jan. 17 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 27 @ Bonny Eagle, Feb. 7 @ Gorham, Feb. 9 @ Portland

Coach’s comment: “I like this group. It’s a different kind of team from last year. We’re very guard-oriented. I like the way we can play. We have a lot of versatility. We have five guys back who played in last year’s tournament. We’re blessed to have two point guards. I certainly think we’ll be as competitive as anybody. TA is probably better at the moment. Getting to the Civic Center and competing for a championship is the hope.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland snapped a three-decade championship drought last March, setting off a long-awaited celebration that brought former players from far and wide to witness. This year’s team will have a very different look, however, as big man extraordinaire J.P. Estrella is spending the year at Brewster Academy before playing at the University of Tennessee and team heart-and-soul and last year’s South Portland Winter Athlete of the Year Owen Maloney is now playing at the University of Maine. Weep not for the Red Riots, however, as the cupboard is far from bare and when all is said and done, don’t be surprised it they navigate a daunting schedule and a brutally tough region to be one of the final teams standing.

Senior Jaelen Jackson will be the engine that makes the 2022-23 Red Riots go.

South Portland’s in good hands with Jackson, who just led the football team to its best season in over two decades and was named the school’s Fall Athlete of the Year. Jackson, a standout point guard, who was a first-team league all-star a year ago, will be a threat to score both going to the basket and hitting outside shots. Jackson, who averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds last season, doesn’t have to bear the burden of handling the ball all the time either, as Kim will see time at the point as well. Look for Kim to play a bigger scoring role this winter. Hanlon and Smith are other guards who will make life difficult for the opposition. Galarraga showed flashes of greatness as a sophomore. This season, he’ll be the team’s top post threat and he should be able to score and rebound with the best of them. Senior Drew Folley, junior Nafees Padgett and sophomore Manny Hidalgo are new players to watch.

Class AA South is as deep as its best in years and the North has an abundance of strong teams too. Mix in a crossover foe like Falmouth and it’s clear that the Red Riots won’t have many easy games. They’ll be happy to loan Thornton Academy the bulls-eye as the favorite this winter and take their time hitting their stride. This will be a team that will steadily improve and will be poised to put on a show in February and if all goes well, perhaps in March as well.


Senior Ava Bryant is a top returner for an up-and-coming South Portland girls’ basketball team.

Coach: Lynne Hasson (10th year, 128-46 overall record)

2021-22 record: 5-14 (Lost, 53-46, to Thornton Academy in Class AA South quarterfinals)


Top returning players: Anna Brown (Senior), Ava Bryant (Senior), Sammy Duffy (Senior), Emma Travis (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 20 FALMOUTH, Dec. 22 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 7 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 10 @ Gorham, Jan. 17 THORNTON ACADEMY, Jan. 24 @ Scarborough, Feb. 7 GORHAM, Feb. 9 PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We’ve had a very positive preseason. The kids are working hard. We have a great freshman group and that gives us a bright future. We have a lot of question marks, but if we keeping working hard, hopefully we’ll be in the mix by the end of the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland struggled much of last season, but should be improved this winter and will make a run at a winning record and could be a tough team to contend with come February.

Duffy will be the point guard. Brown (3.4 steals, 2.7 assists per game last season), who can score and rebound, Bryant, who does a good job getting to the rim, along with Travis, who showed promise as a freshman, and senior Talia Bradbury, are the players to watch in the backcourt. Several freshmen will make an immediate impact, none more so than Caleigh Corcoran, who can play any position and will score and rebound. Nyeerah Padgett (who stands 6-foot-2) and Destiny Peter (6-0) will be forces down low. If they develop quickly, the opposition won’t have an answer for the Red Riots in the post.

South Portland will have a tough time matching up with the elite teams in Class AA, but the Red Riots will fight hard every time they take the court and they’ll gain confidence as the season goes along. By February, South Portland could get all the way to the Civic Center if all goes well.


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

Senior Richie Gilboy will do whatever it takes on the ice to help South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete win games. 

Coach: Joe Robinson (16th year, 134-134-12 overall record)

2021-22 record: 13-7-1 (Lost, 5-4, in 2-OTs, to Scarborough in Class A state semifinals)

Top returning players: Jasper Curtis (Senior), Richie Gilboy (Senior), Roan Hopkins (Senior), Joey Soucy (Senior), Ben Stanley (Senior), Hewitt Sykes (Senior), Ian Wright (Senior), Tobey Lappin (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 13 @ Falmouth, Dec. 15 LEWISTON, Dec. 21 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 5 FALMOUTH, Jan. 19 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 25 @ Lewiston, Jan. 28 THORNTON ACADEMY, Feb. 2 EDWARD LITTLE, Feb. 21 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “We are a really talented squad with the potential to spread out the scoring throughout the lines. We are very strong defensively with two solid offensive lines. We’ll look to take it game-by-game and look forward to being in the tournament.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: The South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team came agonizingly close to its first trip to the state final before losing in double-overtime in the semifinals. The squad then graduated Travis Roy Award winner Cullen Adams, but SP/Freeport/Waynflete is loaded again and could finish what last year’s team started.

Junior Tobey Lappin will look to help pace the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete offense.

Defensively, Gilboy, a first-team all-star last winter, sets the tone, along with Soucy and Wright, in front of Curtis, who returns in goal. Hopkins, Lappin, Stanley and Sykes will all contribute to the offensive attack. Junior Jack McArthur played on the junior varsity team last season and will be heard from as well. The team’s balanced scoring will work to its favor.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete has proved it belongs with the big boys in Class A. Now, the squad just has to take that final step. The likes of Edward Little, Falmouth, Scarborough and Thornton Academy won’t make it easy, but SP/Freeport/Waynflete has the necessary ingredients to play into March and this time, take that final step.

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

Coach: Bob Mills (11th year, 94-83-8 overall record)

2021-22 record: 13-3-2 (Lost, 3-1, to Scarborough in South Region Final)


Top returning players: Abbey Steinhagen (Senior), Delaney Whitten (Senior), Kierith Gentilini (Junior), Becca Good (Junior), Marina Bassett (Sophomore), Libby Hooper (Sophomore), Hartson Mosunic (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 22 CHEVERUS, Dec. 30 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 19 @ Cheverus, Jan. 21 FALMOUTH, Feb. 4 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “We have a small core of experienced players that will carry the team this season. If we can stay healthy, we should be competitive with other top teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team stole headlines a year ago, posting the best regular season mark in program history, then surviving Falmouth in a you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it four-overtime epic in the regional semifinals. The squad ran out of gas against Scarborough in the regional final, but that didn’t damper what it accomplished. With a lot of talent back this winter, Cape/Waynflete/SP will be in the title hunt again, as evidenced by early victories over St. Dom’s and Winslow.

This year’s offense will be paced by Bassett (who scored 24 goals and added 20 assists as a freshmen during an all-state campaign and has 3 goals and 6 assists in early action this winter) and Hooper, the hero of the Falmouth marathon last February (who scored 15 goals and had 8 assists during an all-conference campaign last season). Good (6 goals, 6 assists last winter) and Gentilini (3 goals, 6 assists) are other top forwards. Defensively, Mosunic (who scored six goals last season and was named all-conference) and the veteran Whitten (7 goals, 6 assists during an all-state season) are the anchors at that end while being offensive-minded as well. Steinhagen (13-3-2 last year) returns in goal. She made the all-state team last winter.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland is going to get everyone’s best game every time out. Cheverus stands in the way in the South Region and the schedule features multiple potential pitfalls, but this team will compete with everyone and after last year’s close call is eager for another chance to finish the job.



Senior Kyle Hartford, shown during cross country season, will pace South Portland’s distance contingent during the indoor track season.

Boys’ coach: Dave Kahill (15th year)

Girls’ coach: Matt Toothaker (second year)

2021-22 results: Boys’ 8th @ Class A state meet; Girls’ tie-16th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) David Botelho (Senior), Petros Engelhardt (Senior), Ryan Gibbons (Senior), Kyle Hartford (Senior), Harrison Jones (Senior), Leo Lomangino (Senior), Jack Nickerson (Senior), Jack Smart (Senior), Che-Hao Saito (Junior), Henry Risch (Junior)


(Girls) Anna Brown (Senior), Lily Henriksen (Senior), Ava Smart (Senior), Olivia Bean (Junior), Christie Cole (Junior), Sam Clyde (Junior), Ella Nickerson (Junior), Iris Young (Junior)

Coach Kahill’s comment: “We’ve got great numbers at 55 guys, which I believe is the largest team in the past 15 years. Very importantly, there are 14 tremendous seniors to lead the team and set high expectations of engagement, positive attitude, respect and competitiveness. The upperclassmen are very talented and include a number of athletes with potential to do well in the SMAA and state championship meets. Our junior division could be our strength throughout the season. We will look to improve and hopefully compete for a top three finish in the league championship again.”

Coach Toothaker’s comment: “We have a very large number of newcomers to the team this season and with a large group of returning athletes, we are hoping to move up in the SMAA power rankings and qualify as many athletes to our championship meet and the state meet. We’re a well-rounded team that is on the cusp of being a top team. If just half of our returning athletes take a step forward this season, we will be a very strong unit. We are hoping for a great regular season that continues into championship-level performances come February.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland has high hopes as a new track season dawns and the Red Riots will be very much in the hunt.

The boys’ squad doesn’t return any individual scorers from last year’s state meet, but Hartford, Nickerson and Smart were all part of a scoring 4×800 relay team and will be heard from in the distance races all season. Lomangino can also run longer races. Sprinters to watch include Botelho, Engelhardt, Jones, Saito, sophomores Gedeao Buanza and Enoque De Dieu and freshmen Caleb Ramsell and Angel Theriault (who also takes part in the hurdles). In field events, Engelhardt, Jones, Lomangino, Saito and Smart are all veterans in the jumps. Buanza, De Dieu, Ramsell and Theriault will also take part. Throwers to keep an eye on include Gibbons and Risch. The Red Riots believe they can make a run at perennial champion Scarborough and if all goes well, will excel from start to finish.

On the girls’ side, top sprinters figure to be Bean, Clyde, Cole, Nickerson, Smart and four newcomers, junior Phoebe Dodge and freshmen Ellie Bisson, Ellia Christiansen and Audrey Lebleu. Brown, Henriksen and Young will be top middle-distance threats. The Red Riots appear to be loaded with jumpers, as Bean, Clyde, Nickerson and Young return and they’re joined by Bisson, Cristiansen, Dodge, Lebleu and freshman Laurelei Kebokere. Kebokere and junior Cassandra Porter figure to be top throwers. The Red Riots have what it takes to make a big leap up the standings this season.



Coach: Ryan Green (ninth year)

2021-22 results: Boys’ 4th @ Class A state meet; Girls’ 6th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Lucas Inman (Senior), Josh Lamour (Senior), Nick Reid (Senior), Gavin Olsen (Sophomore)

(Girls) Sophia Ibarguen (Senior), Ana McDonald (Senior), Emilie Way (Senior), Amelia Hughes (Junior), Lola Strom (Sophomore)


Coach’s comment: “This year’s team is a great, close-knit group of kids who do an amazing job of supporting each other. We’ll continue to grow in fitness and versatility throughout the season. We will perform well in dual meets as our depth allows us to fill up events. As we progress into late January, I’m hoping to see several swimmers step up and make their first state qualifying times. I’m also looking forward to seeing each of our new Mainers compete for the first time and continue their rapid improvement.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: South Portland has established itself as a top contender in Class A and the Red Riots are eager to remain near the top of the standings again this season

The boys are coming off just their second top-five state meet performance this century and while several of their top swimmers have departed, they’ll look to keep the good times rolling. Reid (seventh in the 100 freestyle a year ago) is back. He’ll look to score in the free and the butterfly. Inman (backstroke and fly), Lamour (sprint freestyle and breaststroke) and Olsen (backstroke and fly) are other veterans.

On the girls’ side, after placing in the top 10 for the fourth time in the last five state meets, South Portland is led by a pair of standout divers in McDonald (fifth last season) and Way (sixth). Hughes will excel in the distance freestyle and individual medley. She came in third in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free a year ago. Ibarguen (sprint freestyle) and Strom (freestyle and IM) are other key returners. Junior Maddie Fitzherbert (freestyle) and freshman McKenzie Smart (backstroke, IM) join the team and will make an impact.

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

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