PORTLAND—Waynflete’s girls’ basketball team has something special brewing this winter and even on a day when the Flyers started slowly, they wouldn’t be denied.

Thursday evening, Waynflete hosted winless Cape Elizabeth, which gave the Flyers fits much of the way, but senior standout Lucy Hart, whose defense was exceptional throughout, heated up offensively in the second half and led her team to victory.

The Capers held a 4-3 lead after one quarter and the contest was deadlocked, 11-11, at the half, thanks to a late 3-pointer from senior Sara Levenson, which gave Waynflete a little momentum.

A layup from junior Lauren McNutt-Girouard put the Flyers ahead to stay midway through the third period, but Cape Elizabeth was still within five, 23-18, heading to the final stanza.

There, Hart made three 3-pointers in just over two minutes to break it open and Waynflete pulled away for a 39-25 victory.

Hart paced the Flyers with a game-high 19 points, as they improved to 5-0 for the first time in 16 years, while dropping the Capers to 0-7 in the process.


“I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Hart. “So far, this year has gone really well. I hope we can keep it up and keep moving forward with positive energy.”

Learning to win

Waynflete, which last posted a winning record in 2016-17 and went 6-12 a year ago, falling short of the playoffs, has impressed in the early going this winter.

The Flyers started with wins over host Poland (33-24), visiting Traip Academy (21-11) and Sacopee Valley (40-22). Tuesday, Waynflete won at Boothbay, 65-44, for its first 4-0 start in nine years.

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, started with a 46-12 loss at Lake Region, then fell at home to Lincoln Academy (54-31), at Yarmouth (50-26), at Biddeford (61-21), at home to Freeport (56-30) and Tuesday to visiting York, 58-38.

Last season, the Capers won at Waynflete, 26-17.


Thursday, Cape Elizabeth hoped to do it again, but instead, the Flyers beat the Capers for the first time since a 41-35 road win Jan. 4, 2012.

The first quarter featured futility on both sides, as the teams combined for 17 turnovers and only seven points.

Waynflete junior Lydia Birknes is defended by Cape Elizabeth freshman Finley DiGiovanni during the Flyers’ 39-25 victory Thursday. Hoffer photos.

Cape Elizabeth opened the scoring on a layup after a steal from senior Emma Phillips Vila, then senior Grace Callahan converted a leaner with 4:44 to go in the opening frame, but the Capers wouldn’t score again.

Finally, with just 6 seconds showing, Hart, who had four steals in the quarter, got Waynflete on the board, taking a pass from McNutt-Girouard and draining a 3-pointer from the corner to make the score 4-3.

With 6:10 left in the first half, Callahan drove for a layup to snap a 6 minute, 34 second drought and after McNutt-Girouard scored on a putback, Callahan drained a 3 for a 9-5 Cape Elizabeth advantage.

Sophomore Ayla Stutzman got a point back at the line for the Flyers, but with 4:54 to go, a Phillips Vila layup gave the Capers their biggest advantage, 11-6.


Cape Elizabeth didn’t score the rest of the half, however, and after Stutzman scored on a putback, Hart set up Levenson for a 3 with 22 seconds on the clock and Waynflete was able to go to the break even at 11-11.

The Flyers turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, but would take better care of the ball in the second half and finally seize control of the game.

Cape Elizabeth senior Emma Phililps Vila makes a move on Waynflete junior Lauren McNabb-Girouard.

The Capers retook the lead 42 seconds into the third period when Callahan got a leaner to roll in, but with 6 minutes to go, Hart stole the ball, was fouled while making a layup, then gave the Flyers their first lead when she completed the old-fashioned three-point play with a free throw.

Callahan put Cape Elizabeth back in front for the last time, making a layup off a feed from freshman Finley DiGiovanni with 4:58 on the clock, but 40 seconds later, Hart fed McNutt-Girouard for a layup off an inbounds set and Waynflete was on top to stay, 16-15.

After McNutt-Girouard added a free throw, Levenson hit a jumper for the Flyers.

DiGiovanni set up sophomore Genevieve Carignan for a layup with 2:36 remaining, then after Stutzman and Callahan traded free throws, Hart took a pass from senior Maeve Mechtenberg and hit a 3 to allow Waynflete to take a 23-18 lead to the final stanza.


Where the Flyers finally put it away.

After Stutzman started the quarter with a layup, from senior Jojo Moriba, junior Mei Martinez hit a runner for Cape Elizabeth to cut the deficit to five.

And then, Hart put on a long range show to end all doubt.

First, with 5:17 on the clock, Hart got the ball from Moriba and sank a 3-pointer.

Then, with 4:52 to go, Hart got the ball from Levenson and drained another 3 to make it 31-20.

After Hart added a free throw and Callahan countered with a 3 from the corner, Hart delivered the dagger with 3 minutes left, taking a feed from McNutt-Girouard and making yet another 3 to push the lead to 35-23.


“Sometimes the shots fall and tonight, they were falling, so I kept shooting,” Hart said. “I’m glad those fell. That was a key point in the game.”

“When we get the reverse (pass) and (Lucy’s) wide open, she’s a rhythm shooter and can hit the 3,” said Flyers coach Andrew Leach.

Down the stretch, Mechtenberg stole the ball and set up Stutzman for a layup and Hart, after a steal, fed McNutt-Girouard for a layup for Waynflete’s final points before a pair of Callahan free throws brought the curtain down on the Flyers’ 39-25 victory.

“It took us awhile,” said Hart. “We started a little slowly. We had to pick up our energy. We got some points and that got our energy going as a team. We don’t underestimate anybody. We gave it all we had.”

“It’s the slowest start we’ve had, but I’m so happy how we battled back,” Leach said. “The defense and the tempo and the pace we like to play with, we knew it would eventually work. Once our tempo gets going and Lucy Hart gets hot, we’re a dangerous team.”

Hart wouldn’t be denied, leading all scorers with 19 points, while also producing seven steals, four rebounds and four assists.


“Defense is my favorite part of the game,” Hart said. “I like to play defense and keep people on their toes.”

“Lucy’s done that her whole career defensively,” Leach said. “She’s such a great pass-first point guard. I feel like she’s a complete player and she’s so gritty.”

Stutzman added eight points and six rebounds, McNutt-Girouard had seven points and Levenson finished with five. Mechtenberg didn’t score but had five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Moriba had six rebounds, two steals and two assists.

The Flyers outrebounded the Capers, 29-22, made 5-of-9 free throws and overcame 19 turnovers.

For Cape Elizabeth, Callahan led the way with 17 points, five rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots.

Phillips Vila added four points, to go with four steals, three rebounds and two assists, and Carignan (five rebounds) and Martinez had two points apiece.


The Capers hit 3-of-6 free throws, but turned the ball over 29 times.

“We just didn’t handle their pressure the way we needed to,” lamented longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella. “It led to easy baskets for them and not enough opportunities on offense for us. Waynflete was super-aggressive. They’re strong and they’re good with the ball. We’ve played Freeport tough for a half and York tough for a half, so it was nice to see us compete for a whole game today. It just got away from us at the end.”

The fight continues

Cape Elizabeth again seeks its first victory Monday, at Mountain Valley.

“The girls know it’s an uphill battle,” Casterella said. “We need to have some shots fall and some things to go our way, but they’re battling. We have find more scoring.”

Waynflete will be tested Saturday at reigning Class C champion Old Orchard Beach when it seeks its first 6-0 start since 2006-07. Tuesday, the Flyers host undefeated North Yarmouth Academy.

“We play as a team and support each other all the time,” said Hart. “We have some tough games coming up. We’ll keep up our energy and hope for the best.”

“I knew we’d be better this year,” Leach said. “I didn’t think we’d be undefeated, but I’m really happy with the team, our coaches. I feel like we have something special cooking here. I’m so happy for this group of seniors. Seeing them served a lot of humble pie and now, they’re getting an opportunity to feel what it’s like on the other side.

“Going forward, there will be a lot of focus on Lucy, so it will be important for our other shooters to be ready to go. Defensively, we have to keep mixing it up. We’ll play four quarters of pressure. We have to continue to do the things we do well even better than we have.”

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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