Few of the area’s varsity basketball teams have had as good a start as the University of Maine at Farmington men’s program.
The Beavers started the holiday break 6-2 – going 2-0 in the North Atlantic Conference game – their only losses to Maine Division I in the opener of the season on November 12, and an 86-81 overtime loss to Colby College in Waterville on December 8. After a three-week break between games, UMF returns to the field Monday at Lasell University in Auburndale, Massachusetts. This is the first of a four-game road stretch, which will include a trip to New York (to play Cazenovia and SUNY Poly) and Vermont (Northern Vermont-Lyndon).
UMF head coach Sam Leal said he’s not worried the team will pick up the pace and come back to a grueling schedule.
“We have three games a week for four straight (weeks) so it’s going to be a chore,” Leal said. “(The break) isn’t about me because these guys care about their teammates. They stay ready during the break… I think the winter break is a time when a team can improve slightly or get worse. I am very proud and confident that these guys are working to get a little better.
UMF is currently the NAC’s leading scorer, averaging 93.1 points per game. A major factor in producing points is goaltender Terion Moss, who is currently third in the nation among Division III schools, averaging 29.1 points per game. Moss is also seventh nationally in a 3-point percentage, with a success rate of 50.8%.
Center Jack Kane maintained the position, NAC’s fourth scorer (17.8 points per game) and conference leader in rebounds (10.8 per game) and basket percentage (65.3). He’s also averaging three blocks per game, the NAC’s second-best.
“I think he’s the best defensive player in New England,” Leal said. “Everything we get on the offensive side (of Kane) is a bonus. It is our anchor point, it protects the paint and it allows our guards to be very aggressive. He’s just such a good defensive player, and he’s so consistent.
Thomas College, who also entered the break with a 3-4 (0-1 NAC) record, his last game was a 90-58 victory over the University of Maine in Augusta on December 8. The Terriers have four players averaging over 10 points per game, led by guard Demitris Webster (11.6 points per game) followed by Sawyer Deprey (11.4). Parker Desjardins, a Forest Hills graduate, is the team’s third scorer, averaging 11.1 points per game.
Colby returns Sunday against Maine Maritime Academy. The Mules are currently fourth in the New England Small College Athletic Conference standings with a 6-4 record. Noah Tyson is averaging 14.4 points and 7.8 rebounds for Colby. Matt Hanna (13.1 points per game) and Jack Lawson (12.5 points per game) round out Colby’s score.
The UMA is already halfway through its schedule and is in an interesting situation. The Moose are currently 3-12 overall, but are 3-2 in the Yankee Small College Conference game, placing them third in the standings. Elijah Smith is averaging 14.5 points per game for the Moose, followed by Trevor Beals (10.9 points per game).
• • •
Colby was the area’s top girls’ basketball program this holiday season. The Mules are 8-1 overall and will start playing at NESCAC against Bates College on Tuesday night in Waterville.
What could stand out the most for the Mules in their first nine games is their defense. As a unit, Colby is ranked third at NESCAC, allowing 51.7 points per game. Only Amherst (46 points per game) and Bowdoin (51.5 points per game) reduced their teams in numbers.
Caroline Smith leads the Mules offensively, averaging 11.7 points per game, and is tied with Chiamaka Ubani for the team lead in rebounds (5.3 per game).
UMaine-Farmington got off to a successful start under interim coach Nate Carson. The Beavers are 6-4 (1-1 NAC) and are currently third in the NAC East Division, behind Maine Maritime and Husson. Goalkeeper Alex Bessey is the UMF’s leading scorer (12.7 points per game), followed by Page Brown (10.9 points per game). McKenna Brodeur, a Messalonskee graduate, averages 9.5 points per game and leads the team on the rebound (6.4 per game).
NAC rival Thomas College got off to a rocky start with a young roster, starting the year with a 1-8 record (0-1 at the NAC). Kaylee Ravagli leads the Terriers (13.7 points per game), followed by Chantel Ouellette (10.7 points per game).
The UMA took the holiday break on a positive note, with a four-game winning streak that included a 78-66 victory over rival Central Maine Community College on December 6. The Moose, at 7-4 (5-1 YSCC) are currently second in the conference standings.
Madeline Suhr averages one double-double (18.7 points, 10.4 rebounds) per game for the Moose. Hope Butler is also averaging 11 points per game for the WBU.
• • •
Jake Umberhind’s football career will continue next fall.
Umberhind, one of the state’s top linemen and a Winthrop / Monmouth / Hall-Dale star, announced on his Twitter page this week that he will be competing at the Division III Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. next fall. Division III programs do not provide athletic scholarships.
Umberhind said he had been in talks with the Buccaneers since last fall.
“They were really impressed with my film and my grades,” Umberhind said. “I have been in close contact with them (since).”
Umberhind was a key member of a Ramblers side that finished 7-2, making their first state championship appearance since 2008. The Ramblers fell 19-16 to Foxcroft Academy in the class D on November 19 at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
“My senior season has been amazing,” said Umberhind. “Everyone worked 100% of the time. It was just great having everyone brother and fighting together. Personally, I thought that offensively, I was really locked up. I knew the games. I made sure to eliminate one, two, maybe three players in each game. My defense was just as good.
The Buccaneers are members of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Massachusetts Maritime finished 4-6 last season, sixth in the MASCAC standings.
Even more than hitting the grill, Umberhind is excited to pursue his long-held dream of becoming a naval engineer.
“It’s been my dream since second year, really,” Umberhind said. “My dad is a marine engineer for (Bath Iron Works) and I always wanted to help him out and be an engineer. I have always looked forward to any opportunity with engineering. Now I’m finally here, making my decision for Mass. Maritime. This is a dream.”
Cincinnati break through and face tough test in Alabama in CFP semifinals