Friday, March 15, 2019

Annual Unified Basketball Festival competition includes pizza party

By Matt Pascarella

The unified basketball team participated in the annual Unified Basketball festival on Tuesday, March 12 at Gorham High School. The festival is composed of several teams who each play each other in fifteen-minute games and then after all the teams have played each other there is a pizza party.

Kayla Fillinger
These were very exciting games and by the looks on the player’s faces, they were having a good time. Windham played in three games against Fryeburg Academy, Gray New Gloucester and Gorham.

Fryeburg Academy
Windham had great offense and defense. They had excellent teamwork and did well passing the ball and sinking baskets. The Eagles fought hard during this game, but Fryeburg won 34-20.

Gray New Gloucester
Windham was consistent from game to game with their strong offense and defense. They had a lead early on and were doing well to maintain it. Windham had several solid steals, blocking shots and giving 110% on the court. The Eagles were able to hold off Gray New Gloucester and take this game, 18-12.

Gorham
Windham wasted no time sinking baskets and getting rebounds. They were off to an early lead and were neck and neck with Gorham. Windham had nice hustle and were aggressive in going after the ball, keeping this game close. With the clock winding down, the game was tied at 20. With seconds left, Gorham gains possession and was able to score, winning 22-20.

https://www.egcu.org/auto“It was a great end [to the season] we had three close matches and one strong win; fabulous games,” commented coach Anne Blake.

Austin Rice, Natale Medina, Brianna Webber, Jansen Dione, Kayla Fillinger, Cameron Malone, Ben Silva, AJ Mains and James Tucker...you all did a great job this season! 

Senior all-star game 2019 fun for all competing schools

Tara Flanders
By Matt Pascarella

The varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball regular season and postseasons may be over, but the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) had one final basketball game, a senior all-star game. The game was played on Wednesday, March 6 at Cheverus High School in Portland. Windham was one of the seventeen schools participating in these games. Seniors Meghan Hoffses, Tara Flanders, Dierhow Bol and Andrew Wing could have fun playing while competing with schools in no-stakes games.

Girls
The teams were broken into home and away. Meghan Hoffses and Tara Flanders were both on the home team. The girls hit the court with intensity as the home team jumped to an early lead in the first half. Both Hoffses and Flanders sunk multiple baskets. Watching these players was a real showcase of, not only Windham’s strong skill level, but of the various skill levels of the surrounding schools in the conference. Both teams had solid defense and offense. The game was close with the clock winding down. However, after several minutes the home team pulled away and won 60-47.

Boys
Dierhow Bol and Andrew Wing were also on the home team. Both teams were aggressive right from the start. It was a close game, but shortly into the first half, the home team had a lead. It was all friendly competition with each player trying to show off their skills. The crowd went wild as players got strong blocks or made a great basket. Bol got a slam dunk or two in. The game was close with the score tied more than once. Home team won 94-88.

“It was really nice to have us all come together after playing against each other for so many years,” said Hoffses.

“It was fun; we played these guys all throughout high school, and it’s good to just get a fun game in with them,” observes Bol
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It was unanimous that teammates and the time spent together were what these seniors would miss the most.“To be able to play with everyone...you just create this bond with girls that you’ve played with for years, so it’s sad to leave,” commented Flanders.“It’s been unforgettable...a great four years; I’m going to miss it,” remarked Wing.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Fifth grade girls’ basketball show Mt. Ararat they are contenders

Sydney Broadbent
By Matt Pascarella

The fifth-grade girls basketball team played Mount Ararat in the semifinals on Sunday, March 3 at Greely High School in Cumberland. The girls were coming off a substantial game against Gray New Gloucester where they won 25-12.
During the first half, Mount Ararat gained a small lead and going into the second half, the score was 16-8, Mount Ararat, with roughly twelve minutes left on the clock. Windham was taking shots on their opponents’ basket as their score slowly increased. The Lady Eagles had good defense, getting their hands up blocking scoring opportunities for Mount Ararat.

Windham had quick hands, grabbing the ball to gain possession; they also had several turnovers. It was high excitement as the stands erupted in cheers every time Windham scored.

This game was the definition of a nail biter. The score was 18-13, Mount Ararat with 2:30 left in the game. Through a series of baskets and foul shots, Windham made up the difference and was one point away from tying the game at 18 and a basket away from winning.

http://windhampowersports.com/With 35 seconds left, the score remained 18-17, Mount Ararat. Possession of the ball was going back and forth between teams and the clock was winding down. With seconds left, a jump ball possession favors Windham. The girls gave it their all - putting that ball up multiple times, but unfortunately, it didn’t land in the net. The clock ran out and Mount Ararat advances; 18-17.

“All girls worked so hard that game; whether they were in for a three-minute stretch or a two-minute stretch, they gave it their all,” commented coach Ray Fox. “As coaches, you can’t ask for anything more. Mount Ararat was undefeated this year and we gave them a run. That was a great game. It was a great season. They worked hard, they got better...and as a coach that’s what you want.”

Fifth grade boys’ basketball give 100% in the semifinals

By Matt Pascarella
The fifth-grade boys’ basketball team traveled to Cape Elizabeth Middle School on Sunday, March 3 to take on TGK Athletics, a Saco athletic club, in their semifinal game. Windham was coming off a close quarterfinal playoff game with Gray/New Gloucester where Windham held them off, winning 36-34.

Windham was aggressive right from the start. They were grabbing rebounds and for the first few minutes of the game, the teams were evenly matched. TGK did begin to pull away. The Eagles were moving the ball around nicely and had good offense. They were working hard and did their best to keep the points gap close.

Half: 35-21, TGK

At the start of the second half, Windham was ready to turn this game around. They were quick to grab rebounds, taking shots on TGK’s basket and adding to the scoreboard. The Eagles were moving the ball around well and giving a solid effort. Windham was showing they were not giving up. They had good defense keeping their hands up to block shots. They capitalized on any mistake TGK made in the form of a turnover or jumping up to gain possession of the ball.
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After a strong effort by Windham, at the buzzer, TGK takes this game, 52-34.

“The boys played their hearts out and left everything on the court,” said coach Pat Moody. “They only lost to one team all season long and it was TGK. However, the season isn’t done. They have their most important game of the year on Monday, March 11 at the Windham Primary School at 6:30 p.m. when they take on their parents in the players vs parents’ game.”

Ben Schulz takes over as new varsity soccer coach

Coach Ben Schulz
By Matt Pascarella

Ben Schulz has been coaching soccer, at various levels, for the past 10-12 years. He started coaching with Windham Youth Soccer and has moved from that to the Windham travel teams, then to the boys’ junior varsity soccer team. Now, Schulz will take over as the varsity head coach for Windham High School for the 2019 soccer season.

“The first thing that initially got me interested in coaching soccer was spending time with my son having interaction without technology. You can get on a field and it’s a beautiful fall day...you get an hour, hour and a half of enjoyment and joy with him – that’s kind of what drew me in,” recalled Schulz.

Schulz was an athlete growing up and said the older you get, you feel those competitive juices start flowing again. He wanted to be a role model. He understands coaches play an important part in children’s lives.

When he was coaching the U13 and 14 teams in Windham, he got to know the  varsity coach at the time, Wally Leblanc, a legendary high school coach in the state who had been coaching successfully for a long time. Leblanc and Schulz formed a relationship. Leblanc would help out with Schulz’s practices. Once Schulz was done with his U14 coaching year, there just happened to be an opening at Windham High for the junior varsity team and Schulz considered himself lucky enough to get the position and continue learning from Coach Leblanc.

Schulz wanted to become varsity coach to continue his Windham connection. “Running a program and having input in all areas of the program was something that excited me,” he explained. “I live in Windham, I have kids in the Windham schools, I have a business in Windham, I have a connection to the community, so rather than try to a get a varsity job somewhere in the greater Portland area, to be able to get a varsity job in my town, in my community, with kids and parents that I’ve known for a long time, is really special.” 
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He knows it’s always a transition, when a new coach comes in, even with a strong team like Windham. At the moment, Schulz is evaluating the entire program, not just players.

His goal as a JV coach was for his players to have a good time, as well as prepare them for varsity. Schulz knows the importance of getting them ready as players on the field and teaching them how to carry themselves off the field to be successful student athletes.

Schulz has three kids and is a managing broker at a real estate agency in Windham. He loves family time, like spending time outdoors. He considers himself lucky to have such an amazing wife and supportive family, because coaching soccer, when you do it right, it’s a lot and it’s really involved.

“The good thing for me is, Coach Leblanc left this program in amazing shape. They were a playoff team last year and have a strong foundation, so I’m coming into a good situation, with really good kids and a strong youth program that can continue to feed us good players.”







Friday, March 1, 2019

Unified Basketball’s last home game filled with excitement

Natalle Medina
By Matt Pascarella

The Unified basketball team played their final home game of the season on Tuesday, February 26 against Bonny Eagle. It was senior night. The seniors and their parents were thanked for all their hard work over the student’s high school sports careers.

Windham was off to a strong start, scoring almost immediately. Windham had good offense and defense, with players quick to grab rebounds and turn around and score. The Eagles had a slight lead, but Bonny Eagle was not far behind.

Half: 30-26, Windham

The second half was an exciting one. Windham was maintaining their lead nicely, but Bonny Eagle was not far behind. Shortly into the second half, the game was tied at 38. Windham had good offense and defense, capitalizing on rebound opportunities. It was a tie game with 26 seconds remaining. The buzzer goes off and game goes into overtime!

http://windhampowersports.com/The energy was incredibly high in the gymnasium. Windham had good defense keeping Bonny Eagle from scoring too much. The score was tied at 60 with the clock winding down. Then, with seconds remaining, senior Erin Elder puts the ball up just in time...Eagles win!

Everyone scored: James Tucker #50, AJ Mains #35, Natalle Medina #4, Ben Silva #34, Kayla Fillinger #31, Austin Rice #3, Brianna Webber #5, Jansen Dione #25, Cameron Malone #33.

Final 62-60

“Their confidence has grown tremendously, they feel more comfortable on the court, they’re passing the ball, they’re playing as a team” reflected coaches Anne Blake and Brittnay Taylor.


Windham/Westbrook Hockey ends season with a ‘W’

Travis Cole
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook hockey team played their final home game of the season against Marshwood/Noble/Sanford/Traip on Thursday, February 21 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Windham/Westbrook hit the ice and showed from the first minute they came to win. They were working hard to beat Marshwood/Noble/Sanford/Traip to the puck and were succeeding. Marshwood scores shortly into the first period, but then Keegan Watts #20 answered by scoring right after, tying the game. Windham/Westbrook continued pressuring and did not slow down, with both teams fairly evenly matched throughout the game.

After one period: 1-1
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Windham/Westbrook came out aggressive in the second period. Less than three minutes into the period Holden Anderson #4 puts one between the posts, 2-1, Windham/Westbrook. Windham/Westbrook didn’t let up or slow down for a minute, continuing to go hard after the puck, taking shots on Marshwood’s goal. Windham/Westbrook had excellent offense and defense in the second period, giving Marshwood little opportunity to get the puck in the net. With a little over a minute left in the period, Travis Brown #7 scores.

After two periods: 3-2, Windham/Westbrook

Windham/Westbrook was ready to get it done in the third period as they continued pressuring. They had powerful defense, which kept Marshwood from scoring during this period. With less than twenty seconds left in the game, Derek Corbett #28 scored from the blue line, wrapping up a great effort by Windham/Westbrook.

Final: 4-2, Windham/Westbrook

Derek Corbett
“Today’s performance really started on Tuesday,” said coach Greg Leclair. “We played Lake Region and put together a good 45-minute performance. They placed hard from the moment the puck dropped until the final horn and we carried it through to today. The kids stepped up, they did some of the little things. It was a solid 45-minute effort.”

Leclair commented on the team’s efforts this season:
“There’s talent in that room...we can compete with teams like us; now it’s taking the next step and competing against teams that are a little better than us. The kids play hard. I’m excited for what we’ve got in the coming year.”

 The seniors and their families were thanked for their participation throughout their high school careers.