JAELEN JACKSON, Senior – Basketball

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  • • Mr. Maine Basketball semifinalist
    * Class AA South regional tournament MVP
    • SMAA Class AA all-star, first-team
    • Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star
    • Captain

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Simply put, Jaelen Jackson is a winner.

Whether the sport is football or basketball, good luck trying to stop him.

After a superb season on the gridiron which featured a trip to the regional final and a Fall Athlete of the Year selection, Jackson made more magic on the hardwood this winter, leading the Red Riots to heights last attained four decades ago and along the way, he became a legend for his clutch shot-making and ability to lead and inspire.

Jackson, who plays quarterback in football, became the quarterback on the basketball court as a point guard freshman year, helping South Portland go undefeated and reach the regional final before it was upset by Thornton Academy. Jackson’s sophomore campaign was limited by COVID restrictions, but as a junior, he and his teammates became the first Red Riots squad to win a Gold Ball in three decades.

Jackson was a first-team all-star as a junior and this season, after the departure of JP Estrella and Owen Maloney, he knew the opposition would try to slow him down, but he led South Portland to a championship that came as a surprise to many.


Jackson wound up averaging 18.8 points, 6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals and just as importantly, helped bring along a promising but inexperienced squad.

Highlights included 28 points in a season opening win over Noble, 22 in a victory over Windham, 18 points in a win over Scarborough, 23 points in a loss to Gorham, 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals in a victory over Bonny Eagle, 24 points in a win over Deering, 23 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, in a win at Bonny Eagle, 20 points in a victory over Noble, 19 points, including the winning layup just before the horn, in a win at Gorham and 11 points, including a putback just before the buzzer, in a victory at Portland.

In the Class AA South playoffs, the Red Riots were ranked second behind Thornton Academy, a team which beat them twice in the regular season, but they wouldn’t be denied, handling Sanford in the quarterfinals behind Jackson’s 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals, defeating Scarborough in the semifinals behind Jackson’s 14 points, then downing Thornton Academy in the regional final, as Jackson finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals and was named the regional tournament’s most valuable player. In a state game win over Portland, Jackson bowed out with 12 points and six rebounds.

“I’d say this (year) is almost better (than last year) because no one thought we’d be able to do it,” said Jackson. “It feels good to be able to come back and do this again. I never doubted it, to be honest. I knew we’d play our best at the end of the year.”

Jackson plans to play baseball this spring for the first time in high school. Anyone want to bet against him making his presence felt as the Red Riots make a run at a title? After that, Jackson is still weighing his college options, but there figure to be many.

Jaelen Jackson, South Portland’s Winter Athlete of the Year, cemented his legacy by leading the Red Riots to the Promised Land. He’ll be remembered as one of the special athletes in school history.


Coach Kevin Millington’s comment: “Jaelen is the epitome of our team, our character, our toughness. Jaelen’s our leader on the floor. He handles everything for us. He’s an elite defender. He rebounds like crazy. When you can go on the floor and impact the floor in all phases, that’s pretty special. He makes calls out there before I do. You can see what a complete player he is. When you think about a four-year career, he’s done as much as anybody. He’s had such an unbelievable career and he brings his best in the big moments. He’s not afraid to miss. He wants to take the big shots.”

Previous winners:

  • • 2021-22 Owen Maloney (basketball)
    * 2020-21 Cullen Adams (hockey)
    • 2019-20 Liam McGibbon (hockey)
    • 2018-19 Liam McGibbon (hockey)
    • 2017-18 Noah Malone (basketball)
    • 2016-17 Ruay Bol (basketball)
    • 2015-16 Jack Fiorini (basketball)
    • 2014-15 Andrew Whipple (hockey)
    • 2013-14 Andrew Whipple (hockey)
    • 2012-13 Tanner Hyland (basketball)
    • 2011-12 Chad MacWhinnie (swimming)
    • 2010-11 Tommy Ellis (hockey)
    • 2009-10 Zach Horton (hockey)
    • 2008-09 Keegan Hyland (basketball)
    • 2007-08 Nick Wright (basketball)
    • 2006-07 Coleman Findlay (basketball)
    • 2005-06 Tim Clark (hockey)
    • 2004-05 Andrew Cousins (basketball)
    • 2003-04 Max Ludwig (track)
    • 2002-03 Ethan Gato (track)
    • 2001-02 Jesse Ludwig (track)

DELANEY WHITTEN, Senior – Hockey

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  • Becky Schaffer Award finalist
    * All-State
    * Captain

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Whitten was a great leader and a great player for a Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete co-op girls’ hockey squad which once again enjoyed a strong season.

Whitten, who has made her mark on the ice and on the softball diamond in high school, was drawn to both sports at a young age.

“I loved both softball and hockey growing up,” Whitten said. “I love the toughness and competitiveness of hockey. I just love to be in the middle of it. I’m very competitive and love to win.”


As a freshman, Whitten was part of a Cape/SP/Waynflete team that reached the state final for the first time (and lost to Lewiston). Her sophomore season was limited by COVID restrictions and as a junior, she scored seven goals, assisted on six others, made the All-State team and helped her squad get to the regional final.

This winter, Whitten scored nine goals and had five assists as Cape/SP/Waynflete made it to the playoffs once more.

Whitten had two goals in a season opening win over St. Dom’s, scored a goal in an overtime victory over Mt. Ararat, had a goal in an overtime win over York and had an assist in an overtime loss to Gorham in the regional semifinals.

Whitten now turns her attention to softball, where she catches, plays first base and third base as well. She’ll fulfill a longtime goal by playing softball at the University of New England, where she’ll study dentistry.

Delaney Whitten, South Portland’s Winter Athlete of the Year, was a big reason her hockey team won so many games. She was one of the state’s elite players and leaders.

Coach Bob Mills’ comment: “Delaney has been our captain for two years and has led the team with dedication, commitment and good sportsmanship. Delaney was often one of only three defensive players, so she logged considerable ice time and played in all situations. Her consistently calm presence, willingness to improve her game and her ability to support her teammates and coaches speak to her leadership abilities.”

Previous winners:

  • • 2021-22 Marina Bassett (hockey)
    * 2020-21 Kiley Matthews (swimming)
    • 2019-20 Maggie Whitmore (basketball)
    2018-19 Rebekah Hunnewell-Dunphe (track)
    2017-18 Meghan Graff (basketball)
    • 2016-17 Juliana Selser (track)
    • 2015-16 Maddie Hasson (basketball)
    • 2014-15 Maddie Hasson (basketball)
    • 2013-14 Brianne Maloney (basketball)
    • 2012-13 Danica Gleason (basketball)
    • 2011-12 Nyajock Pan (track)
    • 2010-11 Abby Hasson (basketball)
    • 2009-10 Danielle DiBiase (basketball)
    • 2008-09 Brianna Hawkins (basketball)
    • 2007-08 Curry Girr (diving)
    • 2006-07 Kelsey Flaherty (basketball)
    • 2005-06 Christina Aceto (basketball)
    • 2004-05 Whitney Morrow (basketball)
    • 2003-04 Courtney Albin (track)
    • 2002-03 Abby Lesneski (basketball)
    • 2001-02 Abby Lesneski (basketball)

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

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