Southern: The winter sports season was a season of triumph and thrills
The 2022/23 winter sports season was marked by great drama and the best part was that there was no mask to be found.
The basketball campaign was great from start to finish as the South Portland boys put on a rousing run to a surprise repeat state title. Scarborough upset Gorham in the Class AA South Quarterfinals, then lost to the Red Riots in the Semifinals. Cape Elizabeth won their preliminary game and then scared leaders Oceanside before falling in the Quarterfinals of Class B South.
In the girls, Scarborough South defeated Portland in the quarterfinals of AA South and then lost to leaders Thornton Academy in the semifinals.
On the ice, the Cape Elizabeth boys won the Class B championship for the first time since 2006, while the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team had a memorable run to their first-ever Class A state finals, losing to the Thornton Academy. Re-bid of defending Class A champion Scarborough was ended by South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete in the state quarterfinals.
In the girls’ co-op, Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete returned to the playoffs but lost to York in the South Region Quarterfinals.
On track, the Scarborough boys won another title while the Red Storm girls finished second in Class A.
In pool, Cape Elizabeth continued its dynasty as both the boys’ and girls’ teams won Class B crowns. The Scarborough boys won an A-level replay championship.
Cape Elizabeth continued to excel in alpine skiing as the boys team rode the brilliance of Logan Schwartz to second place in Class B.
As everyone looks forward to spring and (hopefully) warmer weather, let’s take a look back at the best accomplishments and best stories of the wonderful winter that was.
Winter State Champion of the Southern Edition
Cape Elizabeth Capers Boys Hockey, Class B
Cape Elizabeth Capers Boys’ Swimming, Class B
Cape Elizabeth Capers Girls’ Swimming, Class B
Scarborough Red Storm indoor track for boys, class A
Scarborough Red Storm Boys’ Swimming, Class A
South Portland Red Riots Boys Basketball, Class AA
Individual winner of the southern edition of the winter
Adam Bendetson, Scarborough, two miles Class A for boys
Caroline Fallona, Scarborough, Class A girls, 55
Emerson Flaker, Scarborough, Class A Girls 400
Parker Killiard, Scarborough, Class A Boys 200
Nate Murray, Scarborough, Class A boys’ shot put
Cookie Mahoney, Cape Elizabeth, Class B Girls 200 Singles Medley
Cookie Mahoney, Cape Elizabeth, 100 Freestyle Girls Class B
Cormac McKenney, Cape Elizabeth, Class B 100 butterfly for boys
Cormac McKenney, Cape Elizabeth, Class B Boys 100 Breaststroke
Graham Plourde, Cape Elizabeth, 200 singles medley for Class B boys
Lucy Shaw, Cape Elizabeth, Class B Girls’ 200 Freestyle
David Steinbrick, Cape Elizabeth, Class B Boys’ 100 Freestyle
David Steinbrick, Cape Elizabeth, 200 Class B Boys’ Freestyle
Hope Taylor, Cape Elizabeth, Girls Class B 500 Freestyle
Ethan Schulz, Scarborough, Boys 100 Freestyle Class A
Ethan Schulz, Scarborough, 200 Class A Boys’ Freestyle
Evan Wardrop, Scarborough, Class A Boys 100 Backstroke
Logan Schwartz, Cape Elizabeth, Boys’ Class B Alpine Slalom
Logan Schwartz, Cape Elizabeth, Boys’ Class B Alpine Giant Slalom
Michael’s top 5 stories
5) Scarborough again steals the show on the track
Another year, another state championship for the Scarborough boys’ indoor track team, and this time the girls’ team have accomplished almost the same feat. The Red Storm boys won their seventh straight crown and their eleventh in the last 12 postseasons, beating second-place Brunswick by 22 points, with Adam Bendetson (two miles), Parker Killiard (200) and Nate Murray (shot put) all enjoying first place finishes . The Scarborough girls, meanwhile, were just 4.5 points behind Bangor to finish second. The Red Storm won from Caroline Fallona in the 55 and Emerson Flaker in the 400 and Fallona teamed up with Amelia Caruso, Bailey Stoddard-Baugham and Julia Black to conquer the 4×200 relay.
4) Local swimmers lap the competition
Three local swim teams brought home state titles and there was a wealth of solid individual performances as well. Cape Elizabeth swept Class B for the second winter in a row. The boys achieved first place from David Steinbrick in the 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle, Graham Plourde in the 200m individual medley, Cormac McKenney in the 100m butterfly and 100m breaststroke and from their 200m individual medley and 400m free relay. The Capers girls continued their recent dominance by winning Cookie Mahoney in the 100 Free and 200 IM, Lucy Shaw in the 200 Free, Hope Taylor in the 500 Free and their 200 Free and 400 Free relays. Not to be outdone, Scarborough’s boys won Class A for the second straight season as Ethan Schulz won the 100 Free and 200 Free and Evan Wardrop won the 100 Backstroke while the Red Storm swept the relays.
3) South Portland Hockey is enjoying the best season
South Portland’s boys’ hockey program has been around for nearly four decades, but until this winter it had never played for a state title. This year’s roster, which also included players from Freeport and Waynflete, didn’t seem destined for a deep postseason run when it hung around the 500 mark most of the time, but the Red Riots came late in the regular season and all progressing well, the No. 5 for the Class A playoffs, began a memorable and historic run. First, South Portland retaliated for last year’s painful double overtime playoff elimination by defeating reigning champion Scarborough in the quarterfinals. Then, in the semifinals, the Red Riots shocked leaders Falmouth, who were on a 17-game winning streak. When South Portland went 2-0 up after a quarter in the State Finals against Thornton Academy it came close to shocking the world, but the Golden Trojans rallied to a 5-3 win, leaving the Red Riots just one Victory back of a first title and with a lot of pride.
“It was a really good run,” said longtime South Portland coach Joe Robinson. “It wasn’t looking good mid-season, but we turned it on at the right time and had a good run in the playoffs. We did our best.”
2) South Portland Boys go back to back
The South Portland boys’ basketball team, meanwhile, had previously won a title when they weathered a three-decade drought last winter, but the Red Riots should not do so again due to the completion of extraordinary big man JP Estrella and Owen Maloney, who is now playing at the University of Maine. Of course, South Portland stumbled at times, losing twice to preseason favorites Thornton Academy and at home to Gorham, but the Red Riots finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak and then dispatched Sanford and Scarborough to return to the Class AA South Final , where they forcefully dissolved Thornton Academy. South Portland then faced Portland in the state finals, running a 20-2 run to a 52-42 win as Ben Smith led with 19 points, Jayden Kim added 13 and Jaelen Jackson capped his stellar career with 12 points to help the Reds Riots to face each other for the first time since 1979-80.
“I would say this (year) is almost better because nobody thought we would be able to do that,” Jackson said. “It feels good to be able to come back and do it again. I never doubted it to be honest. I knew we would do our best at the end of the year. When we finished with some big wins I felt good about the momentum we had.”
1) Cape Hockey returns to the top
The Cape Elizabeth boys’ ice hockey team knew a thing or two about a long title drought. Though the Capers are consistent contenders year after year, the Capers’ last Class B crown came in 2006, so the roster set out to do something about it this winter. Losing just twice during the regular season, Cape Elizabeth ended on an 11-game winning streak and then defeated Cheverus/Yarmouth and York to make the state game for the first time in 17 years. There, Messalonskee proved a worthy opponent, but two goals each from seniors Nick Laughlin and Sebastian Moon and another strong display from goaltender Charlie Garvin were just enough for a 4-3 win and the Capers were back where they belong. On top.
“It means a lot,” Laughlin said. “It is a good feeling. Have fun. We just got better and better as we got older. I think it was just our maturity that made the difference. (Messalonskee) fought on. Congratulations to you. They are a great team.”
Sports editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]
Northern: The winter sports season was a season of triumph and thrill