PORTLAND—Coming off inspirational victories over reigning state champion Oxford Hills and preseason favorite Thornton Academy, Cheverus’ girls’ basketball team could have been ripe for a letdown when it traveled to the Portland Exposition Building Thursday evening to take on the Portland Bulldogs.

But any hopes of a Portland upset were dashed in the matter of minutes.

Six minutes to be exact.

When the Stags raced to a 16-0 lead.

By the end of the first period, thanks in large part to 11 points from transcendent senior Maddie Fitzpatrick, Cheverus enjoyed a 17-3 advantage and it would extend that lead to 35-9 at halftime, as Fitzpatrick produced a double-double (22 points, 10 rebounds) in just 11 minutes of action.

The Stags would lead by as many as 42 points in the second half, but the Bulldogs fought hard to the finish as Cheverus prevailed, 72-35.


Fitzpatrick led the way with 29 points and a whopping 13 different girls scored at least one point as the Stags improved to 4-0 and in the process, dropped Portland to 1-4.

“We knew Portland would bring it,” said Cheverus coach Billy Goodman. “I told the girls to be ready. We knew they wouldn’t quit for 32 minutes and that we’d get a battle. It’s good for the team to play on the big floor. I liked the way we moved the ball.”

Strong out of the gate

Cheverus opened with decisive wins at South Portland (48-28) and Oxford Hills (76-47), then made its biggest statement yet Tuesday in its home opener, defeating Thornton Academy, 53-40.

Portland, meanwhile, fell at Bangor in its opener, 50-33, then defeated visiting Bonny Eagle (56-48) before losing at home to Edward Little (45-33) and Tuesday at rival Deering (45-39).

The Stags won both meetings a year ago: 61-24 at home and 64-38 at the Expo.


Thursday, in the opener of a Cheverus-Portland girl-boy doubleheader, the Stags beat the Bulldogs for the seventh consecutive time.

And they delivered an early knockout blow.

Cheverus senior Maddie Fitzpatrick who led all scorers with 29 points, brings the ball up the floor as Portland senior Willa Morales defends during the Stags’ 72-35 victory Thursday. Hoffer photos.

It took all of 13 seconds for Cheverus to go on top to stay, as Fitzpatrick drove for a layup.

Fitzpatrick then set up senior Ruth Boles for a layup on the fastbreak before Fitzpatrick scored on a putback, Fitzpatrick made a short jumper, converted an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw), then took a pass from sophomore Rachel LaSalle and made another layup for a 13-0 advantage with 2:45 left in the opening stanza.

“Yesterday at practice, Coach came in and was fired up,” said the University of Maine-bound Fitzpatrick. “He doesn’t want us to settle. He got on us. That was important for us. We just tried to stay locked in.”

Freshman Emilie Umland then added a 3-pointer before the Bulldogs finally got on the board with 1:28 left in the frame, on a pair of free throws from senior Willa Morales.


After junior Baleria Yugu hit a free throw for the hosts, junior Lia Umland countered with one of her own and the Stags had a commanding 17-3 lead after eight minutes.

Cheverus’ starters returned to the floor for the start of the second quarter and quickly added to the lead, as Boles scored on a putback, Fitzpatrick took a pass from sophomore Anna Goodman and made a layup, Fitzpatrick took another feed from Goodman and laid the ball home, then, after Boles grabbed an offensive rebound, she fed Fitzpatrick for a 3-pointer and a 26-3 advantage.

With 4:53 left in the half, Portland scored its first field goal, as senior Lucy Tidd put home a miss, but Fitzpatrick countered by driving and laying the ball in with her left hand, Fitzpatrick drove and finished with her right hand, then freshman Emily Tetrault buried a 3 to make it 33-5.

After senior Inas Alaari answered with a layup, sophomore Immaculata Liwanga made a layup for the Stags and while Yugu made a layup after a steal, the score was 35-9 at the half.

Fitzpatrick had a double-double in the first half alone, playing only about 11 of the 16 minutes, as she tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The second half proved to be more of the same, as even more Cheverus players got into the scoring column.


Cheverus senior Ruth Boles drives as junior teammate Rachel Feeley sets a screen on Portland senior Hannah Hawkes.

The second half began with the Bulldogs getting a free throw from senior Ainsley McCrum and a layup from sophomore Lily McCullum after a Yugu steal, but Fitzpatrick made a layup, then Fitzpatrick set up Goodman for a 3 and a 40-12 lead.

After Yugu sank a pair of foul shots, Boles scored on a leaner in the lane, then took a pass from Goodman and added a layup before a long Fitzpatrick 3-pointer made it 47-14.

After Alaari hit two free throws, LaSalle made a layup off a pass from freshman Addison Jordan and made a layup, then LaSalle set up Boles for another layup.

Portland got layups from Alaari and Morales before Jordan made a layup of her own.

Late in the frame, Tidd sank two free throws, then banked home a leaner before McCrum took a feed from Yugu and made a layup, but a driving layup from Jordan sent the Stags to the final stanza with a 55-26 advantage.

The fourth period began with Fitzpatrick hitting a jumper. Boles then took a pass from Fitzpatrick and made a layup and after Yugu banked home a shot, Fitzpatrick again set up Boles for a layup, senior Megan Dearborn sank a 3, then, in a play that epitomized the evening, a long Fitzpatrick pass appeared to set up Boles for another easy hoop, but Boles touched the ball over to junior Rachel Feeley for a layup and a 66-28 lead.


“Ruth gave Rachel a great touch pass,” Billy Goodman said. “She could have taken it and scored, but instead she gave it to her teammate who had been working hard. That summed up the night.”

Portland junior Baleria Yugu is defended by Cheverus sophomore Rachel LaSalle.

After Tidd got a point back at the charity stripe, Feeley stole the ball and set up Boles for a layup, then junior Delia Tremble buried a 3.

McCullum answered with a runner off the glass, then junior Libby Kane hit a bank shot.

After senior Abby Marshall made a free throw for Cheverus’ final point, McCullum made a layup after a steal and that brought the curtain down on the Stags’ emphatic 72-35 victory.

“It’s great to play here,” said Maddie Fitzpatrick. “Coach Goodman says whenever we play on a court like this to treat it as a playoff game. It’s exciting for us to be able to work on our press. We love to run and it’s a great opportunity for our team.”

The Stags’ win was a true team effort, as 13 different girls scored.


Leading the way of course was Fitzpatrick, who had a game-high 29 points, as well as 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots.

“Maddie was very efficient tonight,” said Billy Goodman. “She’s really been working on her shooting, which has paid off. She had some beautiful passes and a lot of rebounds. She puts the ball in the hoop, but it’s the other stuff that separates her.”

Boles continued her strong season with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Jordan added four points, Dearborn (four assists), Anna Goodman (three assists), Tetrault, Tremble and Emilie Umland all finished with three, Feeley (three steals), LaSalle (four assists) and Liwanga tallied two apiece and Marshall and Lia Umland had one each.

“It’s awesome to have so much balance,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone works so hard in practice and to see it pay off in a game like this, especially with a lot of people here, it’s really exciting. We have a lot of girls who can play and girls who can do a lot of different things to help out the team.”

“Those girls who got in tonight have worked really hard in practice,” Billy Goodman said. “I’m glad they were all able to play and produce. I love seeing us move the ball and have a balanced game.”


Cheverus made all seven of the game’s 3-pointers, enjoyed a 39-27 rebounding advantage and overcame 17 turnovers and 3-of-8 foul shooting.

For Portland, Tidd and Yugu (five assists, two rebounds and two steals) each had seven points, while Alaari (four rebounds) and McCullum had six each, Morales (four rebounds) tallied four, McCrum had three and Kane two.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over 25 times and hit 11-of-14 free throws.

“Cheverus is a really talented team with a lot of options,” said Portland coach Abby Hasson. “They’re a tough team to play. I’m really proud of how we never rolled over. We kept playing. That’s something to be said for the kids.”

Rivalry Saturday

Portland stays home Saturday to face South Portland, as Hasson coaches against her mother, Lynne Hasson. The Bulldogs then finish the 2023 portion of their schedule a week from Saturday at Kennebunk.


“That (South Portland) game is one of the more special things I’ve ever been able to do,” Abby Hasson said. “Even more so now because I have so many connections on that side and to see (Red Riots freshman star) Annie (Whitmore), who was born when I was playing, playing now and doing so well.

“It’s a really, really difficult league. We’ll keep working hard and hopefully at the end of the season, we’ll be playing well. The team does a nice job sticking together. The offensive end is the struggle for us. We’re going to figure that out, but it probably won’t happen before Christmas. We have kids who can defend. We’re doing the right things, just too infrequently. We just need to be more consistent.”

Cheverus, meanwhile, goes to Deering Saturday, then welcomes dangerous Scarborough next Thursday.

“Every season has its ups and downs,” said Fitzpatrick. “If we just stay together, we can work through tough times and become a good team.”

“We’re kind of taking it day-by-day,” Goodman said. “We have a nice record, but we have to work on things. You can’t look ahead. Especially with a lot of teams who can win. We have to be ready for anyone.”

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

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