MARINA BASSETT, Junior – Soccer

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• SMAA all-star, second-team

Bassett scored some big goals this season, helped turn the South Portland program around and she’s not done yet.

Bassett, who has also established herself as one of the state’s premier girls’ hockey players, made the girls’ soccer varsity team as a freshman and played a key role that year, as well as during her sophomore campaign.

The Red Riots only won six games total her first two years, however, and Bassett and her teammates were ready to make a move up the standings. That happened this fall, as South Portland improved from four wins in 2022 to eight this season.

Bassett scored 11 goals and added two assists to lead the way.


Highlights included two goals in a season-opening victory over Biddeford which set the tone, an assist in a win over Bonny Eagle, two goals in a victory over Westbrook, two goals in a second win over Biddeford and three goals in a victory over Kennebunk.

Bassett then scored one final goal in a preliminary round victory over Noble (the Red Riots’ first playoff win since 2017). The season then ended with a quarterfinal round playoff loss at eventual state champion Scarborough.

“I was trying to connect with my teammates to make plays which helped us score goals,” Bassett said. “I think the biggest thing for our team this year was to shoot the ball because we tended to hold onto it for too long. This year we really focused on that and it helped us score more goals. We really connected on and off the field making our team feel more like a family and I think that’s what we were lacking in the past. So if you put that all together, I think that’s what made us successful this year.”

Marina Bassett, South Portland’s Fall Athlete of the Year, is a big-game player who produces goals at the most opportune times.

Coach Tyler Pelletier’s comment: “Even though Marina didn’t get many assists, her ability to create scoring opportunities was a big reason we got as many goals as we did this year. When Marina received the ball in the offensive third, she drew a lot of attention from all of the defenders on the opposing team. This opened opportunities for the rest of the team to have space. She can carry against any amount of defenders and get a scoring opportunity for herself. This helps to allow our team to move up the field. If her scoring opportunity doesn’t lead to a goal, then it will lead to corner kicks or free kicks. She works extremely hard, which motivates the team as a whole. She had some big goals this year to help rally the team against some teams that we’d lost to the year before.”

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Prior winners:


• 2022 Emily Keefe (field hockey)
* 2021 Pearl Friedland-Farley (volleyball)
* 2020 Lucie Beaulieu (field hockey)
• 2019 Ashlee Aceto (volleyball)
• 2018 Lydia Grant (field hockey)
• 2017 Molly Mawhinney (volleyball)
• 2016 Lydia Henderson (field hockey)
• 2015 Serena McKenzie (cross country)
• 2014 Casey Loring (cross country)
• 2013 Shannon Conley (cross country)
• 2012 Nyajock Pan (cross country)
• 2011 Nyajock Pan (cross country)
• 2010 Rebecca Roberts (field hockey)
• 2009 Karleigh Bradbury (soccer)
• 2008 Annelise Donahue (cross country)
• 2007 Annelise Donahue (cross country)
• 2006 Kristina Aceto (field hockey)
• 2005 Emily Haeuser (cross country)
• 2004 Courtney Albin (soccer)
• 2003 Christina Aceto (soccer)
• 2002 Andrea Giddings (cross country)
• 2001 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

EVAN SMALL, Junior – Cross country

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• SMAA All-Conference, second-team
* Captain

Small had to battle his way back from injury, as well as battle top competitors, and he still managed to lead the way for the Red Riots, who made it to the state meet.

Small started running at a young age, but didn’t really get into the sport until he was a freshman at South Portland.

“I had great influences in Coach (David) Kahill and former captains Kyle Hartford and Jack Nickerson getting me committed to the sport and teammate Fischer Petrlik for driving my competitiveness in the sport,” Small said. “I started to care about running and cared about winning to where cross country is now my top sport.”


As a freshman, Small didn’t even score at the state meet, but he moved up to 23rd as a sophomore. He had high hopes entering the 2023 season as well, but was injured over the summer. He worked himself back into form and finished second in the regular season-opening meet. Small went on to win a meet at Biddeford, then he came in 11th (10th for scoring purposes) at the Festival of Champions, where he posted a time of 16 minutes, 12.47 seconds, second only to Eric Giddings all-time in a 5-kilometer race in South Portland annals.

At the regional championship meet, Small helped the Red Riots qualify by coming in 11th (17:39.94). He then finished seventh at states (sixth for scoring purposes) with a time of 16:23.66. Small then had a time of 16:51.38 at New Englands.

“I would have liked to accomplish more, specifically in the championship season and at New Englands, however, I can’t complain much with my improvement where I was injured after my first summer workout and only got fully healthy about a week out from preseason,” Small said.

Small, who also excels in track (he was fourth outdoors in the two-mile), hopes to eventually run in college, but first, he looks forward to one more triumphant high school campaign.

Based on the strides he’s made so far, look for Evan Small, South Portland’s Fall Athlete of the Year, to have a senior season to remember.

Coach David Kahill’s comment: “Evan was crucially important to the team because of his work ethic, focus, standard of excellence and patience in overcoming injury. We were a relatively young team and a team emphasis throughout the season was developing character, unity and maturity. Evan was a leader in all possible ways, elevating the attitude, camaraderie and practice mentality of his teammates and ultimately we saw the team’s best race at the state championship. Evan broke through last spring as one of the top distance runners in the state, but he came into the cross country season with an injury, which had caused him to not be able to train during the summer. However, Evan was extremely focused and patient in balancing recovery and with a buildup of intense training. He was a captain, great communicator with his teammates and coaches, and leader by example with his tremendous work ethic.”

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Prior winners:

• 2022 Jaelen Jackson (football)
* 2021 Lucas Flaherty (golf)
* 2020 Jacob Ramos (cross country)
• 2019 Anthony Poole (football)
• 2018 Aleks Kaurin (soccer)
• 2017 Charlie Cronin (soccer)
• 2016 Khalid Suja (soccer)
• 2015 Gary Maietta (soccer)
• 2014 Henry Curran (soccer)
• 2013 Duncan Preston (football)
• 2012 Damjan Draskovic (soccer)
• 2011 Logan Gaddar (football)
• 2010 Nem Kaurin (soccer)
• 2009 Ryan Curit (football)
• 2008 Ryan Chapin (soccer)
• 2007 Nick Gaddar (football)
• 2006 David Knowland (cross country)
• 2005 Endy Carrera (soccer)
• 2004 Nolan Moon (cross country)
• 2003 Eric Giddings (cross country)
• 2002 Eric Giddings (cross country)
• 2001 Devin Shaw (cross country)

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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