Emma Lizotte, one of two holdovers from last year’s Class AA state championship team, finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday as Cheverus defeated previously unbeaten Thornton Academy, 49-35. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Billy Goodman’s tone said it all.

The Cheverus girls’ basketball coach had just seen his team defeat Thornton Academy, 49-35, dealing the Golden Trojans their first loss of the season while dictating the rhythm against one of the state’s top teams.

“This is a big deal. We’d been struggling with defense, we’d been struggling with confidence, we’d been struggling with a lot of things,” Goodman said. “I can’t believe what I just witnessed from my team. They did amazing.”

Talk of struggling from the coach of a 13-2 team might seem like hyperbole, but this was a victory Cheverus needed. Losses to Bangor in the season opener and to Oxford Hills on Saturday stung, and had the reigning Class AA state champions fending off feelings of doubt.

Now, with the postseason fast approaching, Cheverus has some swagger back.

“This is huge for our confidence,” Goodman said. “We have 13 out of 15 girls that did not play for me last year. This year’s team needed this. Maddie (Fitzpatrick) and Emma (Lizotte) have been through this stuff, but the other girls haven’t. And I saw a bunch of girls grow up tonight.”


Fitzpatrick had 15 points and 19 rebounds against Thornton, while Lizotte scored 24 points to go with 10 rebounds.

“I think we’ve always believed that we are good enough. It’s just, how do we make sure that we’re playing at our best,” Lizotte said. “(The key is) defense, that’s our main focus every day. Moving our feet, no bad fouls. … There’s that sense of urgency (now). I think we’re all focused on playing up to our potential.”

The loss was the first hiccup for the Golden Trojans, but Coach Eric Marston didn’t expect it to linger in his players’ minds.

“The girls feel like there’s a lot we can take from it. … It was a good wake-up call for us,” he said. “(I don’t worry) with this team. It’s a tight group, they really feed off of each other’s energy.”

Marston said that his players were eager for another opportunity to face a top opponent in the minutes after the game.

“There weren’t any heads hanging,” he said. “You could see that they have laser focus now about what we want to achieve and how it has to be done.


“We’re not looking ahead of any opponents, but we know … what we need to do this year in the tournament, we’ve been working on some of those things. We’ll take (Wednesday) and apply it to the upcoming games, sort of in preparation for the tournament.”

THORNTON’S LAST WIN was also a notable game. The Trojans beat Gorham, 64-30, in the team’s annual Hoops For Hope game, in which the team raises money for cancer patients. The team brought in over $10,000 through donations that night, and has raised over $28,000 through fundraising efforts this season.

Hoops For Hope provides money to people who are dealing or have dealt with cancer, which Marston said gives the mission a “personal touch.”

“It’s about the individual, which I really like. I know this is impacting specific individuals within the community,” he said. “The second feeling is pride at what the girls have done.”

Marston started Hoops For Hope in 2015 after his wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, players from third grade up have raised money. Hannah Cook, a Thornton senior, has raised $15,000 since fifth grade.

“These people need it more than I do. It’s going to a great cause,” she said. “It’s something very important to me. I just want to keep doing it year after year.”


Marston drew inspiration for the Hoops For Hope game from former Wells Coach Don Abbott, who organized the Warriors’ “Shootin’ for a Cure” event that has raised nearly $300,000 for breast cancer patients. The event didn’t happen for two seasons because of the pandemic, but new coach Sandi Purcell said Wells will play a fundraiser game on Tuesday.

MARSHWOOD HAS been one of the state’s most improved teams. After going 8-11 last year, the Hawks have already matched that win total with an 8-3 mark and were ranked fifth in Class A South heading into Thursday.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis on what we can do defensively, and how we can shut down some teams that may be more talented than us,” Coach Angie Littlefield said. “That’s resulted in some wins in our favor, and they’ve really worked hard for those.”

The return of guard Shelby Anderson from a concussion that forced her to miss half of last season has been a spark, but the Hawks have also been buoyed by a disciplined defense that has thwarted teams looking to push the pace against them. Marshwood is allowing 37.7 points per game.

“We have not been a team that does a lot of pressing,” Littlefield said. “Some of my players would like to stay up and pressure and try to find the steal, but we’re not worried about that. We’re worried about ‘Can we get back and make sure we’re clogging up the paint so that they can’t just slash through.'”

AFTER A ROUGH start, Scarborough has started to find a rhythm. The Red Storm started 2-6 but have won three of their last five, including victories over South Portland and Sanford.


A loss Tuesday against South Portland tempered the turnaround, but Coach Mike Giordano said his team has come together.

“We’re pretty good defensively, and we make things difficult on our opponent,” he said. “If we can continue to do that and be more consistent offensively, there really isn’t anyone I don’t feel we can compete with.”

The offense has been paced by Caroline Hartley, who began the week leading Class AA South with 17.5 points per game.

“I thought she had the capability all year of being a consistent 15- to 20-point scorer, and the difference now is she believes it,” Giordano said. “She’s not forcing anything. She’s letting the game come to her.”

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