Junior Evan Legassey will be in the middle of the action for Deering’s improved boys’ basketball team this winter. File photos.

Coach: Todd Wing (11th year, 106-80 overall record)

2022-23 record: 1-17 (no postseason)

Top returning player: Trip Marston (Senior), Justin Jamal (Junior), Evan Legassey (Junior), David Otti (Junior), Mogga Yanga (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 @ Scarborough, Dec. 12 THORNTON ACADEMY, Dec. 19 @ Portland, Dec. 21 @ Edward Little, Dec. 23 CHEVERUS, Jan. 4 @ South Portland, Jan. 9 PORTLAND, Jan. 12 @ Gorham, Jan. 15 @ Cheverus, Jan. 19 GORHAM, Jan. 23 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 30 SOUTH PORTLAND, Feb. 1 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “We were competitive last year, but we’d have a few times where our youth took over and we’d lose games. The guys hated losing. We’re looking to rebound this year. Our preseason went well. We brought back a large group. We’re figuring out our rotations. Our goal is to play our best basketball every night and mold as a cohesive defensive unit from the time the opponent gets the ball to when we stop them and get the rebound. The guys are positive, they’ve bought in and we hope to compete with the top teams.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering did a lot of good things a year ago, but it didn’t translate into victories, as the Rams just came up short against several top foes. A lot of players who received trial by fire last winter have returned and they’re hungry to turn the program around. Deering will be in Class AA South this season and its schedule is as daunting as ever, but the Rams are eager for the challenge and they believe they’ll be right back in the thick of contention over the course of the season.

Legassey, who has a sweet shooting stroke, was an honorable mention all-star in 2022-23 after averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest. He’ll be a shooting guard who will be a focal point of the opposition. Jamal, an SMAA All-Rookie team selection last winter after averaging 8.9 points, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists, is the point guard. He’ll be a matchup challenge. Otti, another All-Rookie team pick last season (8.4 ppg), and Yanga (3.2 rpg and 2.6 spg) bring size. Then there’s Marston, the senior veteran, who can play guard or forward, and also has a nice shot (8.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg last year). He’s poised to have a huge final campaign. That veteran group is joined by senior forward Josiah King (a top defender), senior 6-foot-8 center Dieude Calala and junior guard Tavian Lauture, who is coming off a successful football campaign.

The Rams have the ability to get the job done inside and out and we’ll play tough defense every night. They’ll have to because the likes of two-time state champion South Portland, perennial power Thornton Academy and teams like Gorham and Scarborough stand in their way in the South. Throw in a pair of crossover games against AA North powers Cheverus and Portland and it’s clear Deering will have to earn its victories. This is a group that is up for the challenge. Look for a much better win-loss record and for the Rams to be a team no one will want to face come tournament time.


Senior Maya Gayle is a top scorer and rebounder for a Deering’s girls’ basketball team ready to make a move into contention this winter.

Coach: Mike Murphy (16th year, 161-129 overall record, one state championship)

2022-23 record: 4-15 (Lost, 64-24, to Bangor in Class AA North quarterfinals)


Top returning players: Maya Gayle (Senior), Sophie Hill (Senior), Shay Rosenthal (Senior), Natalie Santiago (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 FREEPORT, Dec. 12 @ Brunswick, Dec. 19 PORTLAND, Dec. 23 CHEVERUS, Jan. 2 MT. ARARAT, Jan. 18 BRUNSWICK, Jan. 25 GRAY-NG, Feb. 6 @ Greely, Feb. 8 @ Mt. Ararat

Coach’s comment: “We have seniors who have been around for four years and we’re integrating a couple freshmen. Our experience will help us, but we need some depth. Class A is the great unknown for us. We’ll see some good basketball teams night after night. We hope to be improved. We’ll play hard and we’ll learn from our tough schedule and hopefully, we’ll be a factor by February.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering is poised to compete this winter and the Rams have moved down to Class A, which features a lot of talented teams. With four veterans leading the way, Deering expects to contend and it could be the program’s most successful campaign in several years.

Senior Natalie Santiago hopes to have a big season this winter for the Rams.

The Rams return Santiago, who has committed to playing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island and was a third-team all-star last winter, Gayle, Hill and Rosenthal, who have all seen a lot of minutes in recent seasons. Santiago will play the point (she averaged 1.7 assists per game last year). Rosenthal is another guard to watch. Gayle (a second-team league all-star in 2022-23 after averaging 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game) will be a force in the post and Hill can play forward or in the post and will be a top rebounder. Junior post player Alison Hilton, junior guard Julia Krush, sophomore wing player Almarina Abore and freshmen Blake Gayle (post) and Angelina Keo (guard) are also vying for playing time and hope to make an impact.

Deering will find out quickly where it stands in the Class A South pecking order. If the Rams can develop some of their unproven players, they’ll be right there with everyone. Look for a bounce-back campaign culminated by a trip to the tournament where anything is possible.


BOYS’ HOCKEY (co-op with Portland and South Portland)

Coaches: Joe Robinson (17th year, 146-143-12 overall record) and Jeff Beaney (eighth year, 48-64-3 overall record)

2022-23 record: 12-9 (Lost, 5-3, to Thornton Academy in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Tobey Lappin (Senior), Jackson McArthur (Senior), Ben Palson (Senior), Parker Sipos (Senior), Hewitt Sykes (Senior), Daniel Fitzgibbon (Junior), Ian House (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Scarborough, Dec. 14 FALMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Falmouth, Jan. 6 LEWISTON, Jan. 10 @ Edward Little, Jan. 31 @ Thornton Academy, Feb. 8 SCARBOROUGH,

Coach Robinson’s comment: “The kids are great. They get along really well. There’s still a lot of work to do. The returning guys are fired up after last year. There’s not much depth, but the core we have is good. We may start out slow, but we’ll play the long game. I think we’ll be competitive. We’re definitely a playoff team.”


Coach Beaney’s comment: “South Portland is coming off a very exciting year and (Portland/Deering) has players who have played a lot. We have a tough schedule, but as we get more familiar with each other, we’ll become more consistent.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Portland/Deering co-op joins the highly successful South Portland squad this season, a year after the Red Riots (who also had players from Freeport and Waynflete) made a run to their first-ever state game. While they came up short, it was a huge step for the program and now, bringing in Deering and Portland kids who weren’t able to play a varsity schedule in 2022-23, will potentially make for an even better squad, one now known as the Beacons.

The top returner is South Portland’s Lappin, who made the All-State team last winter. Lappin is a top forward and he has plenty of company when it comes to putting the puck in the net. He’s joined by South Portland’s Fitzgibbon, Palson and freshman Michael McMains, as well as Deering senior Connor Green, Portland senior Hunter Temple and junior Lucas Milliken and senior Henry Cossaboom, who attends Casco Bay High School. Defensively, the Beacons feature House, McArthur, Sipos and Sykes from South Portland, as well as Portland sophomore Jack O’Connell and freshman Jackson Nalli. South Portland junior Michael Zaccaria will be in goal and he should be very strong as the last line of defense.

The Beacons will have to navigate a challenging schedule and might struggle at times early in the year, but with all this talent on the roster, it’s only a matter of time before the squad jells. This group hopes to be at its best in February and March and that goal is attainable.


Senior Saya Breiting-Brown will be a top hurdler for Deering’s girls’ indoor track team.

Boys’ coach: Ryan Graney (second year)
Girls’ coach: Maria Curit (second year)


2022-23 results:
18th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 14th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Max Stratton (Senior), DeShawn Lamour (Junior), Luke Newell (Junior), Rocco Ciccomancini (Sophomore), Jalen Curtis (Sophomore), Joey Foley (Sophomore)
(Girls) Saya Breiting-Brown (Senior), Lara Gin (Junior), Anika Gin (Junior), Mya Landry (Junior), Ashley Foley (Sophomore), Sofia Nieves (Sophomore)

Coach Graney’s comment: “We’ll be led again by a strong junior division. Team numbers have close to doubled from last year and this year’s team should be able to fill and compete in all relays. Our athletes showed promise at the end of season last year. Our returning athletes are looking strong and should make a larger impact this year, along with a strong freshman class and other newcomers that have migrated to track from other successful sports programs. We’re young, but determined and ready to compete this year.”

Coach Curit’s comment: “We have doubled our numbers and have a great freshman class coming in. We think we can be competitive with any junior division and have some very strong returners. I think we will have some very strong relays.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering is primed for a competitive season on the track.


The boys’ squad features sprinters Ciccomancini, Foley and Newell. Sophomore Zade Smith and freshman Abdulkadir Muyne will be heard from as well. In the distance races, keep an eye on Stratton and sophomore Peter Rank. Lamour will be a threat to score in the shot put, while Curtis is strong in the pole vault.

On the girls’ side, Breiting-Brown is a top returner. She’ll be one of the best sprinters and hurdlers in the conference. Landry is a top distance runner. Foley, Anika Gin, Lara Gin and Nieves all will be heard from in the sprints. Freshman Maria Rocha adds depth in those races. Freshman Elise Breiting-Brown could step right in and score in the middle-distance events.


Coach: Sarah Rasmussen (sixth year)

2022-23 results:
8th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 9th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:


(Boys) Andy Marvin (Sophomore)
(Girls) Maria Delmonte (Senior), Sophia Harrod-Kim (Junior), Anya Heiden (Junior), Anica Spencer (Junior), Kaia West (Junior),

Coach’s comment: “We have emerged from the COVID era with a powerful sense of team unity and joy. The girls’ team has the potential to have a very interesting postseason, thanks to our strong juniors and seniors. Our boys’ team, led by Andy Marvin, will also have a strong season and we foresee a lot of development and improvement.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Deering/Portland co-op swim team again boasts some talented athletes to watch.

The girls are paced by the University of Denver-bound Delmonte, the Portland High standout who won both the Class A 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke as a sophomore. She’ll make a run at the top spot again. Deering’s Harrod-Kim (sixth in the 100 butterfly last season) will be in the mix in that event, as well as in the 100 breaststroke. Portland’s West (eighth in the 500 free last year) is a top distance threat. Other returners to watch include Deering’s Heiden (freestyle) and Portland’s Spencer (breaststroke and individual medley). Portland freshman Nell Fernald (breaststroke) is a newcomer to keep an eye on.

On the boys’ side, Portland’s Marvin returns. He finished third in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free as a freshman and will lead the way.



Deering junior Zeke Zelonish looks to remain one of the top Nordic skiers in Class A.

Coach: George Aponte-Clarke (sixth year)

2022-23 results:
3rd @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 10th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Asa Tussing (Junior), Zeke Zelonish (Junior), Jack Borland (Sophomore), Ellis Wood (Sophomore)
(Girls) Meribel Creek (Junior)

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has long been a contender on the trails and that trend should continue this winter.

The boys return Zelonish (15th in the classic last winter) and Tussing (16th in the freestyle), as well as Borland and Wood, who is coming off a terrific cross country running season. That group is joined by senior Levi Pelletier and will be in the mix throughout.

On the girls’ side, Creek is back after placing 26th in the freestyle and 30th in the classic last season. Freshman Charlotte Pelletier will step right in and help the cause.



Deering senior Pedro Lombi was a state finalist a year ago and looks to capture a title this winter.

Coach: Chris Smith (third year)

2022-23 results: 17th @ Class A state meet

Top returners: Olivia Litcher (Senior), Pedro Lombi (Senior), Asher Rubin (Senior), Jack Conley (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking forward to another year. Our numbers have grown and we have around 25 to 30 kids this year. I’m excited to see how this team does. We have a good combo of returners and newcomers that should help keep the program growing and moving in the right direction. We have a couple returners that I’m excited to see where they end up at the end of the year for regionals and states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering is hoping for another strong season and it has the pieces in place to compete.

Lombi was the Class A runner-up last winter in the 190-pound weight class. He’ll be a force to be reckoned with again. Litcher (138/144) and Rubin (175/190) are other veterans, along with Conley (175/190), who is primed for a big year. Add to that group seniors Dylan Graney (165), Cameron Teele (heavyweight) and Logan Tranchemontagne (132), and it’s clear the Rams will be tough to contend with in most of the weight classes.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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