Ed. Note: Previews for the other winter sports will be added next week
Senior Matt Adey and his Waynflete boys’ basketball teammates are aiming for another deep tournament this season. Archive photos.
Coach: Rich Henry (19th year, 231-107 overall record)
Record 2021-22: 10–10 (Lost, 44–27, v. Monmouth Academy in Class C South Semifinals)
top returnee: Matt Adey (Senior), Connor Ford (Senior), Safwan Hussein (Senior), Cole Isherwood (Senior), Nico Kirby (Junior), Ishan Reese (Junior), Sam Ribeiro (Junior)
key games: DEC 13 CAPE ELIZABETH, DEC 17 OLD ORCHARD BEACH, DEC 22 FRYEBURG, DEC 29 NYA, 11 Jan @ NYA, 14 Jan @ Old Orchard Beach, 16 Jan LAKE REGION , Jan 20 @ Hall-Dale, Jan 26 @ St. Dom’s, Jan 28 @ Boothbay, Feb 2 ST. DOM’S, February 6 POLAND
Coach’s comment: “I think the combination of more experience for the players who came back from last year and playing in a very tough summer league has really strengthened our team. We’ve learned a lot over the last season and playing against much bigger schools in the summer was a test by fire. I’m optimistic about the team’s potential, now we just have to work on realizing it.”
The forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete will be heard in the coming weeks, rest assured. The Flyers always make the most of their opportunity to play a challenging regular-season schedule, and a problem arises this year as two Mountain Valley Conference contenders, Boothbay and Hall-Dale, emerge. Waynflete, which boasts several standouts from the national champions’ boys’ soccer team, is keen to prove themselves against all their competitors and make another run to Augusta.
Junior Nico Kirby is a standout at both ends of the floor for the Flyers.
Reese will run the offense at point guard. Kirby (a league first-team All-Star last winter) will also be spending some time there. Kirby is a top scoring threat at guard and don’t be surprised if Isherwood, Reese and Ribeiro are producing consistently. Adey is a top striker return and he will do his part in scoring and struggling on the glass. Ford could be primed for a big season and Hussein will be in the news as well. Sophomore guard Duncan Isherwood and freshmen forwards Jed Alsup and Diego Schair-Cardona will work their way into the mix and bring depth.
The Flyers play hard for 32 minutes and offer several looks that will challenge the opponent. Waynflete is less concerned about his final win-loss record as it continues to improve. The roster features accomplished athletes who are not afraid to work hard and get better. That should pay off by the post-season in February.
Junior Lucy Hart will play a key role this winter for a Waynflete girls’ basketball team looking to compete in Class C South.
Coach: Andrew Leach (fourth year)
Record 2021-22: 6-13 (Lost, 31-19, v Kents Hill in Prelims Class C South)
top returnee: Yen Wilson (Senior), Lucy Hart (Junior), Maeve Mechtenberg (Junior)
key games: 13 Dec @ Cape Elizabeth, 17 Dec @ OOB, 29 Dec @ NYA, 11 Jan NYA, 14 Jan OOB, 17 Jan @ Lake Region, 20 Jan HALL-DALE , Jan 28 BOOTHBAY
Coach’s comment: “I think we are starting from a good position. It’s a good group of young athletes who have had a great football season and I expect they will have a great lacrosse season. We have some first and second years that will give us depth and help us. I think we can go 10 deep. We spread out and play up tempo and hopefully make shots and layups. We hope to compete in an invited class C. I was hoping that we would come to Augusta last year and get some experience. That is our goal this year.”
The forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is poised to make a big leap this year as success translates to football characters. The Flyers have some great athletes, old and new, and will be fun to watch over the coming weeks.
Hart, Waynflete’s Fall Athlete of the Year, is the engine that drives this team forward. She’ll see plenty of time as a point guard, but Leach is hoping to use her off-ball as well, which is where Junior Morgan Earls comes in. Earls, who was out all winter with a knee injury, is healthy and able to lead the point effectively. Other guards to watch include Mechtenberg, senior Iris Stutzman and sophomore Lauren McNutt-Girouard. Wilson returns to the front and she will be joined by juniors Sara Levenson and Jojo Moriba and newcomer Ayla Stutzman.
In addition to being tested by traditional Western Maine Conference opponents, the Flyers will also be tested by perennial Mountain Valley Conference powerhouses Boothbay and Hall-Dale. Waynflete will have a learning curve, but this team’s advantage is undeniably high. Watch out for the Flyers steadily developing into a team no one wants to face in February.
BOYS’ HOCKEY (Cooperation with South Portland and Freeport)
Coach: Joe Robinson (16th year, 134-134-12 overall record)
Record 2021-22: 13-7-1 (Lost, 5-4, in 2-OTs, v. Scarborough in Class A Semifinals)
top returnee: Jasper Curtis (Senior), Richie Gilboy (Senior), Roan Hopkins (Senior), Joey Soucy (Senior), Ben Stanley (Senior), Hewitt Sykes (Senior), Ian Wright (Senior), Tobey Lappin (Junior)
key games: 13 Dec @ Falmouth, 15 Dec LEWISTON, 21 Dec @ Thornton Academy, 5 Jan FALMOUTH, 19 Jan SCARBOROUGH, 25 Jan @ Lewiston, 28 Jan THORNTON ACADEMY, 2 Feb. EDWARD LITTLE 21 Feb @Scarborough
Coach’s comment: “We are a really talented team with the potential to spread goals down all the lines. We are very strong defensively with two solid offensive lines. We will try to go from game to game and look forward to being part of the tournament.”
The forecaster’s forecast: The South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team came tantalizingly close to making their first state finals before losing in double overtime in the semifinals. The team then graduated from Travis Roy Award winner Cullen Adams, but SP/Freeport/Waynflete are loaded again and could finish what last year’s team started.
On defense, Gilboy, a first-team all-star last winter, along with Soucy and Wright, set the tone ahead of Curtis, who is back in goal. Hopkins, Lappin, Stanley and Sykes will all contribute to the offensive attack. Junior Jack McArthur played on the junior varsity team last season and will be heard by him too. The team’s balanced score will work in their favor.
South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete proved it belongs among the big boys in Class A. Now the squad just has to take the final step. The likes of Edward Little, Falmouth, Scarborough and Thornton Academy won’t make it easy, but SP/Freeport/Waynflete have the ingredients to play into March and take the final step this time.
GIRLS HOCKEY (Cooperation with Cape Elizabeth and South Portland)
Coach: Bob Mills (11th year, 94-83-8 overall record)
Record 2021-22: 13-3-2 (Lost, 3-1, v Scarborough in South Region Final)
key games: 22 Dec CHEVERUS, 30 Dec @ Yarmouth, 19 Jan @ Cheverus, 21 Jan FALMOUTH, 4 Feb @ Falmouth
Coach’s comment: “We have a small core of experienced players who will carry the team this season. If we can stay healthy, we should be able to compete with other top teams.”
The forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team made headlines a year ago when they hit the best regular season mark in program history and then outlived Falmouth in a four-way battle that had to be seen to be believed. Overtime epic in the regional semifinals. The squad ran out of fuel in the regional final against Scarborough, but that didn’t stop them from performing. With plenty of talent this winter, Cape/Waynflete/SP will be back in the title hunt as evidenced by early wins over St Dom’s and Winslow.
This year’s offense will be driven by Bassett (who scored 24 goals and added 20 assists as a freshman during an All-State campaign and had 3 goals and 6 assists in early action this winter) and Hooper, last year’s Falmouth Marathon hero February, driven forward (who scored 15 goals and had 8 assists during an all-conference campaign last season). Good (6 goals, 6 assists last winter) and Gentilini (3 goals, 6 assists) are other top strikers. Defensively, Mosunic (who scored six goals last season and was named an All-Conference player) and veteran Whitten (7 goals, 6 assists in an All-State season) are the anchors at this end, while they are also offensively are set. Steinhagen (13-3-2 last year) returns to goal. She made the all-state team last winter.
Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland will provide the best game for everyone every time. Cheverus stands in the way in the south region and the schedule has several potential pitfalls, but this team will compete with them all and after last year’s close race are excited for another chance to finish the job.
Sports editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @Vorsport.