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Deering senior Delaney Haines shoots a 3-pointer over Cheverus junior Lauren Jordan during the Rams’ 48-36 victory Tuesday night.
D- 9 14 11 14- 48
C- 4 11 7 14- 36
D- Haines 6-5-18, Garand 6-0-12, Mastropasqua 2-2-7, Mathisen 2-0-6, Wilkins 1-0-3, Drelich 1-0-2
C- Kelly 3-2-11, Kratzer 4-0-9, Singleton 2-0-6, Davie 2-0-5, Bolduc 1-0-2, Jordan 1-0-2, Huntington 0-1-1
D (5) Mathisen 2, Haines, Mastropasqua, Wilkins 1
C (7) Kelly 3, Singleton 2, Davie, Kratzer 1
PORTLAND—It’s not how you start, but how you finish, and Deering’s girls’ basketball team is primed to have a finish to remember.
Tuesday evening, the Rams visited Cheverus in a late-season city showdown and continued their recent surge.
Deering, which started the year 1-13 before coming to life, grabbed a 9-4 lead after one quarter behind four points from senior standout Delaney Haines, who missed most of the year with a wrist injury.
The Stags rallied to take a 13-11 lead on a runner from freshman Julia Kratzer, who had a sensational second quarter, before the Rams closed the first half on a 12-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from junior Taja Wilkins, to lead, 23-15.
Cheverus got as close as six points in the third quarter, but Haines and senior Victoria Garand helped Deering take a 34-22 advantage with eight minutes remaining.
In the fourth period, the Rams cemented their victory with strong play at both ends and they went on to a 48-36 victory.
Haines finished with a game-high 18 points, Garand added a dozen and Deering made it three consecutive wins, improved to 4-13 and in the process, dropped the Stags to 5-12.
“We’re getting better and better,” said Rams coach Mike Murphy. “The pressure’s off the girls.”
Both teams have faced their share of struggles this winter, but are hoping to save their best for last.
Cheverus, under new coach Brian Heal, started with losses to visiting Windham (38-36) and South Portland (58-42) and at defending Class AA champion Edward Little (65-37). After a 52-46 win at Sanford, the Stags lost at Bonny Eagle (41-35) and at home to Lewiston (44-38) and Bangor (49-47). After beating host Thornton Academy (38-36), Cheverus lost at Scarborough (56-35) and defending Class AA South champion Gorham (55-39). The Stags then beat host Deering (45-39). visiting Massabesic (48-37) and visiting Portland (47-44). Losses at home to Oxford Hills (46-24), at Portland (42-30) and at home to Noble (41-35) followed.
Deering started with a 60-57 loss at Sanford, a 42-35 home win over Lewiston and a 49-35 home loss to Gorham. In a 36-34 overtime loss at Portland two days after Christmas, the Rams lost Haines to a fluky injury and that resulted in a skid which saw Deering lose at home to Bonny Eagle (42-40), at Oxford Hills (53-19), at home to Scarborough (68-48), at home to Cheverus (45-39), at Bangor (49-38), at home to Edward Little (41-23), at home to South Portland (47-33), at Massabesic (49-31), at South Portland (58-17) and at Windham (49-31). After snapping a 10-game losing streak with a 54-35 home victory over Thornton Academy, the Rams beat host Noble Friday, 43-37.
Deering won the first 14 meetings between the programs (see sidebar, below) and held an 18-8 overall advantage.
Tuesday, Cheverus, which got 20 points from junior Lauren Jordan in the victory Jan. 10, hoped to make it five straight in the series on its Senior Night (Meg Kelly was the Stags’ lone senior), but the Rams kept their good times rolling.
Deering opened the scoring when senior Ashleigh Mathisen made a 3-pointer, but Kelly countered with a 3 for the hosts with 5:59 left in the opening stanza.
The Stags wouldn’t score again until time expired in the frame and a layup from Garand gave the Rams the lead. Haines followed with a driving layup, then Haines hit a jump shot.
As time expired in the first, junior Emily Huntington was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and she made one of three free throws to pull Cheverus within five, 9-4, heading to the second period.
There, action picked up, but Deering was able to retain the lead.
Kratzer first made her presence felt with a steal and feed to sophomore Helena Bolduc for a layup.
Kratzer then drained a 3 to tie the score and after Garand made a layup to put the Rams back on top, Kratzer made a layup with her left hand, then banked home a runner for a 13-11 Cheverus advantage.
The rest of the half belonged to the Rams, however, as they closed on a 12-2 run to go up for good.
Haines got things started by driving to the basket, making a layup while being fouled, then hitting the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.
The next trip up the floor, Haines saved the ball from going out of bounds and Wilkins set up Mathisen for a 3-pointer.
A putback from Kratzer momentarily stemmed the tide, but senior Mandy Mastropasqua sank a long 3 and just before the horn, Haines got the ball to Wilkins, who launched a shot from well behind the 3-point stripe that banked in for a 23-15 halftime lead.
Kratzer’s nine points led all first half scorers, but Deering had the lead thanks to seven points from Haines and six from Mathisen.
In the third quarter, Cheverus got off to a promising start when Jordan, who didn’t score in the first half, got to the basket for a layup, but on successive possessions, Mastropasqua set up Garand for layups, with Garand making a pretty spin move before making the second, and with 6:06 on the clock, Jordan was called for a technical foul and Haines hit both free throws to stretch the lead to 29-17.
“We depend on Lauren to score and to do a lot of stuff,” Heal said. “She’s a leading scorer and rebounder. Tonight, her frustration built. She’ll bounce back.”
The Stags answered with a jumper from sophomore Ella Davie and a 3-ball from Kelly, but with 37.5 seconds left in the frame, a Garand jumper ended a 5-minute, 29-second drought and with 3.2 seconds showing, a Haines 3 put Deering ahead, 34-22, heading for the final stanza.
Where the Rams would put it away.
A long jumper from Mastropasqua and a Mastropasqua feed to Garand for a layup gave Deering its biggest lead, 38-22.
Cheverus pulled within 10 on 3-pointers from Kelly and freshman Lillie Singleton, but Haines set up junior Liz Drelich for a layup, then Haines scored on a runner with 2:35 remaining to make it 42-28.
Singleton made another 3 for the hosts, but Haines drove and scooped home a shot in traffic and after two Kelly foul shots, Haines hit one to make it 45-33 with 1:35 left.
After Haines added another foul shot, a 3-pointer from Davie accounted for the Stags’ final points and two final free throws from Mastropasqua accounted for the 48-36 result.
Haines led the way with 18 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
“It’s very nice to be back,” said Haines. “It was tough being out sitting on the bench.”
“It helps to get an All-State player back,” Murphy said. “She’s back to being Delaney. She brings ball-handing and she’s a threat and it helps her teammates. She’s been huge for us. All the attention is on Delaney and it gives breathing room to the other kids.”
Garand added 12 points, Mastropasqua had seven points (to go with seven rebounds and five assists), Mathisen six (to go with five boards), Wilkins three and Drelich two.
Deering had a 32-17 rebounding advantage, overcame 21 turnovers and hit 7 of 13 free throws.
Cheverus’ top scorer was Kelly, who had 11 points. Kratzer added nine, Singleton had six, Davie five, Bolduc and Jordan two apiece and Huntington one.
“Julia and Lillie hadn’t played together a lot this year, but they gave us a real spark,” said Heal. “Julia played with confidence. She’s a freshmen who’s getting better every day.”
The Stags turned the ball over 16 times and made just 3 of 7 foul shots.
“Give Deering a lot of credit, they’re really executing right now,” Heal said. “Mike’s a great coach. Their role players really stepped up. We did a good job on Haines, trying to take her out of the game, but Mathisen stepped up and Mastropasqua hit some shots. They always play good defense and we had a tough time on the offensive end. Overall, we had a game plan and we stuck to it and we did a good job, but all of a sudden, they hit some long 3s and in a tight game, those things make a difference.”
The regular season comes to a close Thursday.
Cheverus (currently sixth in the Class AA North Heal Points standings) finishes up at Class AA South top seed South Portland, then will travel for the quarterfinals next week.
“We have to figure out a way to score on a consistent basis,” Heal said. “South Portland might be the best team in the state. We’re just taking it one game at a time. I don’t know where we’ll fall in the playoff picture.”
Deering (seventh in AA North) finishes at home versus Portland, then will also be on the road next week in the quarterfinal round.
“I think people are starting to realize we’re back to where we should have been,” Haines said. “We need to play as a team. We have nothing to lose. We’ve been proving everyone wrong.”
“We’re playing with more confidence and a happier attitude,” Murphy said. “We’re just going to obviously take it one game at a time and see what happens.”
Cheverus 45 @ Deering 39
Cheverus 32 @ Deering 20
@ Cheverus 45 Deering 37
@ Cheverus 56 Deering 53 (OT)
@ Deering 59 Cheverus 42
Class AA North quarterfinals
Deering 50 Cheverus 43
Deering 59 @ Cheverus 43
@ Deering 58 Cheverus 25
Cheverus 65 @ Deering 42
@ Cheverus 44 Deering 29
Deering 60 @ Cheverus 56
Cheverus 48 @ Deering 38
Western A semifinals
Cheverus 33 Deering 31
@ Deering 53 Cheverus 37
Deering 48 @ Cheverus 42
Deering 56 @ Cheverus 44
@ Deering 66 Cheverus 34
Deering 50 @ Cheverus 25
@ Deering 57 Cheverus 22
@ Deering 54 Cheverus 27
Deering 74 @ Cheverus 52
Deering 67 @ Cheverus 44
@ Deering 70 Cheverus 38
@ Deering 47 Cheverus 30
Deering 76 @ Cheverus 39
Deering 90 @ Cheverus 35