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Portland senior Charlie Lyall prepares to swat away the shot of Deering freshman Darryl Germain during the teams’ battle Tuesday night. Lyall blocked eight shots and the Bulldogs beat the Rams for the 10th straight time, 63-44.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
D- 13 9 11 11- 44
P- 17 19 14 13- 63
D- Salamone 4-2-10, Butera 3-2-8, Chikuta 2-3-7, Onek 1-2-4, Sinclair 2-0-4, Germain 1-1-3, Kaserman 1-1-3, Martinson 0-3-3, Nguany 1-0-2
P- Foley 9-2-20, Moss 4-4-16, Hardy 3-0-8, Yugu 1-2-5, Bellew 2-0-4, Lyall 2-0-4, Chadbourne 0-3-3, Fonseca 1-0-3
P (8) Moss 4, Hardy 2, Fonseca, Yugu 1
PORTLAND—It was deja vu all over again at the Portland Exposition Building Tuesday night.
Deering’s boys’ basketball team took the floor hoping to end its long string of futility at the hands of rival Portland, but before long, the Bulldogs were well on their way to another victory over the Rams.
Deering hung tough in the first quarter, but Portland’s long-range shooting acumen resulted in three 3-pointers and Bulldogs senior Charlie Lyall made life miserable in the paint for the Rams as the hosts opened up a 17-13 lead.
Portland then got its transition game going in the second period and extended their advantage to 36-22 at halftime, thanks in large part to 14 points from junior Griffin Foley.
Junior Terion Moss drained a couple deep 3-pointers and helped the Bulldogs take a 50-33 lead to the fourth quarter, where Deering never made a run as Portland cruised to a 63-44 victory.
The Bulldogs got 20 points from Foley, 16 from Moss and nine rebounds and eight blocked shots from Lyall as they improved to 10-1, beat the Rams for the 10th straight time and dropped Deering to 8-3 in the process.
“We knew they’d match our energy, so we had to have even more,” Foley said. “We started slowly, but we knew once we started making shots, momentum would come. We know all of those guys and that’s a big motivation for us to have bragging rights. We came out and played our hearts out.”
Deering and Portland have played countless memorable and highly touted games dating to Dec. 30, 1911 (a 19-3 Portland win). For the past three years, the squads have met twice in the regular season and again in the playoffs.
This winter, both teams are again living up to billing and have suggested that a third encounter could be in the offing in the late February.
Deering opened with wins at Windham (62-41) and at home over Noble (79-33), then fell at home to Oxford Hills, 62-54. The Rams bounced back and prevailed at Lewiston (66-58), Bangor (65-49, in a game played at the Augusta Civic Center) and Sanford (62-56), before downing visiting Gorham (57-45) and rolling at Cheverus, 67-48. Deering’s win streak was snapped by visiting Thornton Academy, 56-53, last Thursday, but Saturday, the Rams responded with a 56-54 home win over South Portland.
Portland began its title defense with a 61-54 win at South Portland in a state game rematch, then downed visiting Bonny Eagle (71-45), Oxford Hills (73-52) and Lewiston (73-31). After stumbling at Edward Little (76-70), the Bulldogs won at Noble (87-41) and Bangor (71-32), handled visiting Scarborough (67-38) and prevailed at Sanford (72-41) and Gorham (58-44).
Portland led the overall series, 145-78, entering play Tuesday (see sidebar, below) and had won the last nine meetings, including all three last winter: 61-51 at Deering, 74-62 at home and 70-39 in the regional final.
The Rams were hoping to beat the Bulldogs for the first time since a 37-30 home decision Feb. 7, 2013 and for the first time at the Expo since Feb. 3, 2006 (61-58), but Portland triumphed again.
Deering got off to a promising start when senior Jean Claude Butera banked home a shot 14 seconds in, but 3-pointers from junior Manny Yugu and Moss made it 6-2 Bulldogs.
Sophomore Ben Onek scored on a putback for the Rams, but senior Clay Hardy hit another 3 and Moss set up Foley for a layup in transition for an 11-4 advantage.
Deering senior Raffaele Salamone, who had two previous shots blocked by Lyall, finally got one over him and banked it in and Butera, after being fouled on an offensive rebound, added a free throw.
Foley then showed his dexterity, first hanging in the air and hitting a shot, then taking a touchdown pass from Moss that would have made Tom Brady proud and making a layup for a 15-7 lead.
“(Portland football coach Jim) Hartman talks about Terion playing quarterback,” said Foley, a top receiver on the gridiron. “We have a good connection.”
After Salamone hit two foul shots and senior James Sinclair scored on a putback, Foley made two free throws, but as time wound down, Salamone drove for a layup to pull the Rams within 17-13.
Foley had eight points in the opening stanza, while Lyall blocked four shots and had four rebounds.
“We’ve worked in practice, having me work down low, be aggressive, go for blocks,” Lyall said. “Blocking shots is big for me.”
“In practice when we talk about post defense and rebounding, (Charlie) always does it the most,” Foley said. “He helps everyone become better. He’s a big help for us.”
In the second period, Portland started fast, as Moss knocked down a 3 and Yugu hit two foul shots, but senior Manny Chikuta hung in the air and made a layup and freshman Darryl Germain hit a jumper in the lane to pull Deering within five, 22-17.
Back came the Bulldogs, as Lyall scored on a putback and Foley drove through the lane and made a layup to make it 26-17.
“We practice our shooting a lot,” Foley said. “Coach (Joe Russo) wants it to be cemented in our heads that if we have an open shot to shoot it.”
After Lyall received his second foul, Germain made one free throw, but Moss fed Foley for a layup, sophomore Pedro Fonseca hit a corner 3, Foley drove and got a runner to rattle in and with 2:09 to go before halftime, Hardy sank a 3, capping a 14-1 run.
With 44 seconds to go, Salamone made a layup to snap the run and a 5 minute, 8 second drought and 23 seconds later, Sinclair made a layup in transition (from Chikuta), but that only cut Portland’s lead to 36-22 at the break.
“When they’re shooting the ball like that, they’re a tough team to beat,” lamented Deering coach Todd Wing. “I don’t think they picked apart our 2-3 zone, they just made shots. They didn’t make shots against Sanford’s zone, but tonight, they came out and splashed 3s. That was deflating. Good players make shots. Our plan was to go zone and limit their transition looks and we didn’t do a good enough job of that. Add transition points with 3s and you dig a big hole.”
In the first 16 minutes, Foley led all scorers with 14 points and Lyall had six rebounds and five blocks. Salamone paced Deering with eight points, but the Rams committed 12 turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs refused to allow the Rams to make a run.
Moss started the second half scoring with a 3 from beyond the NBA stripe. Chikuta hit a free throw, but Hardy tipped home a miss to make it 41-23.
After Lyall twice denied Salamone, Salamone kicked the ball out to Butera, who knocked down a jumper.
Foley then stopped and started, floated and hit a shot, but Butera answered with a leaner, Chikuta hit a free throw and Onek did the same to make it 43-29, but after several offensive rebounds, Moss buried another deep 3.
Foley then caught another touchdown pass, this time from Hardy, and made a left-handed layup before Chikuta made a layup, which kissed off the top of the backboard. Two free throws apiece from Moss and Chikuta closed out the quarter with Portland firmly in control, up, 50-33.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs didn’t let up and it wasn’t long until both coaches emptied their bench.
After Lyall scored his final points on a putback, Salamone hit a jumper, but Lyall set up a Foley for a layup and a 54-35 lead with 5:56 left.
Onek made a foul shot, but Moss answered with two free throws. Chikuta drove for a layup, but sophomore Trey Ballew twice scored on putbacks and sophomore Simon Chadbourne was fouled while shooting a 3 and hit all three free throws to make it 63-38.
Down the stretch, Deering got a free throw from junior Owen Martinson, two more foul shots from Martinson and a three-point play from senior Mason Kaserman, but Portland went on to the 63-44 victory.
“We haven’t lost to them and that means a lot,” Lyall said. “I think at this point, we’re in their heads, but you never know. It could always be a close game. There’s always so much energy in the gym when we play. We hit our outside shots tonight, which we haven’t really been doing. Teams play zone and we haven’t hit shots. We can shoot, but we haven’t snapped the ball around and executed. That and our defensive intensity, that’s what we needed.”
“These games are interesting because we’re crosstown rivals and the kids know each other, maybe too well,” Russo said. “You never know what to expect. It’s nice to see both teams go at it and work hard. There are a lot of good kids at Deering too. I root for them when we’re not playing. It was a fun game. More fun to win. We know it’s only Round One and there might be two more. We have bragging rights for now and we keep them at bay.
“We had a few mental letdowns, but not many. I want the kids to stick with the game plan and if we do it together, we’ll be successful.”
Foley led all scorers with 20 points.
“Griff has a great pair of hands,” Russo said. “Usually he sneaks away, but he also scored tonight in traffic. Not always over the top. I was very impressed with how he played tonight and he got some boards.”
Moss had 16 points, including 10 in the second half, and also contributed six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“Terion played a tremendous game tonight,” said Russo. “He shot well and ran the team.”
Then, there was Lyall, who was an unstoppable force down low, scoring just four points, but grabbing nine rebounds, blocking eight shots and if that wasn’t enough, producing a pair of assists and a steal.
“Charlie had a great night even though he didn’t score many points,” Russo said. “His blocks set the tone.”
Hardy added eight points (to go with eight rebounds), Yugu had five, Bellew four (to go with six boards) and Chadbourne and Fonseca three each.
“Our bench was tough tonight,” Russo said. “I love the way the young kids are coming along. Trey and Pedro came off the bench tonight and gave us instant help. Trey on the boards. Pedro with his defense and he knocked down a big shot right off.”
The Bulldogs made eight 3-pointers to none for the Rams, enjoyed a 38-37 rebounding advantage, overcame 16 turnovers and hit 11 of 14 foul shots.
Deering was paced by Salamone’s 10 points and nine rebounds. He also blocked two shots.
Wing felt he should have had even more production.
“I hate to see a guy penalized for being big and strong,” he said. “When a team hammers the ball inside and he goes to the line one time, it’s a problem.”
Butera had eight points, Chikuta seven, Onek and Sinclair four each, Germain, Kaserman and Martinson three apiece and Nguany two.
The Rams turned the ball over 20 times and sank 14 of 21 free throws.
“I don’t question our toughness,” Wing said. “I have a tough group in that locker room with their heads held high. We never got in a good flow on offense. We left a lot of points on the table.”
Deering (now third in the Class AA North Heal Points standings) goes to Massabesic Friday and visits Oxford Hills Tuesday. The Rams host Cheverus and go to Bonny Eagle before getting another shot at Portland (Feb. 3, at home). Deering closes with a home game versus Scarborough and a trip to South Portland.
“At the end of the summer, we looked at this game as a measuring stick,” Wing said. “I thought if we’d be 7-4, we’d be in the hunt. To be 8-3, we’re right in it and we determine our destiny. I think we can still compete for a top two spot. We’ll regroup and get better for next time.”
Portland’s gauntlet continues, as it goes to Cheverus Friday and welcomes undefeated Thornton Academy Tuesday in a possible state final preview. The second-ranked Bulldogs also have home games against Windham, South Portland and Cheverus and trips to Massabesic and Deering left on the schedule.
“We’re starting to click,” Lyall said. “We began the season really young. It was just getting a feel for varsity basketball. We need to keep working on our on-ball defense. Our team defense. That and our offensive execution when the game slows down. We have to keep the intensity up.”
“This win is a big confidence booster for us going into our next few games,” Foley said. “We’re playing good teams that we can’t take lightly. We’re getting there. We’re coming together more. We just have to keep executing.”
“We have tough games coming up,” Russo added. “That will keep us on our toes and keep the kids motivated. Maybe we’ll see EL again if all goes well. This team is a good team. They’re good enough to have a great year. I’m not sure we’re good enough to win the whole thing. We still have to work on things.”
Portland junior Manny Yugu drives to the basket.
Portland senior Clay Hardy shoots over Deering sophomore Ben Onek.
Deering freshman Darryl Germain takes a charge on Portland junior Manny Yugu.
Deering senior Raffaele Salamone tries to shoot over Portland junior Griffin Foley.
Deering senior Manny Chikuta drives on Portland junior Manny Yugu.
Portland 39 @ Deering 35
@ Portland 46 Deering 22
Portland 60 @ Deering 57
@ Portland 71 Deering 47
@ Deering 59 Portland 50
@ Portland 53 Deering 47
Western A quarterfinals
Portland 48 Deering 41
@ Portland 63 Deering 55
Portland 64 @ Deering 49
Portland 63 @ Deering 58
Deering 61 @ Portland 58
Western A Final
Deering 70 Portland 64
@ Portland 54 Deering 46
Portland 55 @ Deering 52
Western A semifinals
Deering 57 Portland 54
Portland 85 @ Deering 46
@ Portland 65 Deering 38