SCARBOROUGH—Saturday afternoon, Scarborough’s high-powered offense was missing in action in a loss at South Portland.
Tuesday afternoon, Red Storm senior Nate Wessel made sure that the Red Storm returned to form.
By putting on a show.
Wessel, nearly back to 100 percent after a recent knee injury, came out sizzling, posting a blistering 15 points in a first quarter surge which spelled a 19-8 lead. Wessel added five more points early in the second period as Scarborough opened up a 31-8 advantage, but visiting Biddeford battled back, drawing within 10 late in the first half.
The Red Storm then showed their depth, as seniors Ian Corey, Sam Freeman and Milani Hicks all made key plays and sophomore Emmett Peoples provided a big boost off the bench and Scarborough scored the final six points of the half to lead, 41-25.
Wessel then returned to his dominant form in the third quarter, scoring 10 points and the Red Storm ended all doubt, taking a 63-34 advantage when Corey scored on a putback at the horn.
From there, it was academic, as Scarborough showcased even more of its bench depth and went on to an emphatic 80-47 victory.
Wessel led the way with 30 points and six blocks, Hicks added 18 points and Corey finished with nine as the Red Storm improved to 6-2, dropping the Tigers to 1-7 in the process.
“(South Portland) was a tough loss, but as a group, we just needed to get back into it and be more focused coming out today,” Wessel said. “I felt we weren’t as prepared for South Portland so I said, ‘Guys, we have to be mentally focused.'”
Scarborough made a statement in the teams’ first meeting, on Opening Night, 74-46. The Red Storm then beat visiting Westbrook, 55-47. After falling at Windham, 66-59, the Red Storm beat host Noble (47-29), visiting Massabesic (69-44) and outlasted visiting Gorham in an overtime thriller, 74-70, before falling at South Portland, 66-43.
Biddeford’s lone win in seven previous games came at Massabesic (57-54).
Tuesday, Scarborough was seeking its fifth straight win over the Tigers (and its seventh in a row in the regular season), while Biddeford was hoping to defeat the Red Storm for the first time since a 65-59 preliminary round playoff win Feb. 14, 2012.
It was clear early that it would be Scarborough’s day.
The Tigers did score first, when sophomore Caleb Ball made a layup, but Wessel’s first points, off a layup, tied the score and with 5:35 to play in the opening quarter, Hicks made a layup after a steal to put the Red Storm ahead for good.
Wessel then scored his team’s next 13 points.
First, Wessel scored on a leaner while being fouled and added the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play. Wessel then hit a pullup jumper and banked home a shot for an 11-2 lead. After Biddeford ended Scarborough’s 11-0 run when Ball scored on a putback, Wessel took a pass from Freeman and made a layup and the next time down, Wessel, after being fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound, hit two free throws. After Biddeford junior Alex Millett drove for a layup, Wessel banked home a shot to cap his surge.
“I felt it today going through warmups,” Wessel said. “I felt I had a mismatch inside and thought I might as well use it. I’m used to playing inside. It was natural for me. It’s just a mentality. Whenever I don’t have my best games it’s because I’m not getting rebounds or getting to the line. I take pride in my play down low.”
“(Nate) missed two weeks and he was very sore, but he’s played through that,” said Scarborough coach Tony DiBiase. “Now, he’s starting to come back. He shot the ball very well.”
With just over a minute left in the stanza, Hicks made two foul shots. Biddeford sophomore Patrick Pearl answered with a runner, but as time wound down, Tigers sophomore Austin Dutremble was called for his third foul and the Red Storm took a 19-8 lead to the second period.
Wessel not only had 15 points in the first quarter. he also blocked four shots and had two rebounds.
Scarborough scored the first dozen points of the second period to seemingly put the game out of reach, but Biddeford would rally.
Just 17 seconds into the new quarter, Peoples made his presence felt by setting up Corey for a fastbreak layup. After Wessel drove for a layup, Wessel canned a 3-pointer with 6:53 remaining in the half to reach the 20-point plateau. Hicks added two foul shots and with 6:06 left, Peoples took a pass from Wessel and buried a 3 for a commanding 31-8 advantage.
Then, seemingly from nowhere, the Tigers rattled off 11 straight points.
A 3 from junior Jason Vadnais started the comeback. Then, Biddeford scored three straight trips on putbacks, as Ball, Vadnais and junior Alex Millett all converted second chance opportunities. Millett then added a runner to cut the deficit to 31-19.
A layup from Red Storm junior Andrew Porada ended the run, but Pearl countered with a bank shot. After Hicks made a layup after a steal, Millett set up Ball for a layup and Pearl drove for a layup to pull the Tigers within 35-25 with 1:34 remaining before halftime.
Scarborough then finished strong, as Hicks made a free throw, Freeman buried a 3 and Peoples calmly sank a baseline jumper to make it a 41-25 contest at the break.
In the first half, Wessel led the way with 20 points and four blocks, while Hicks added nine points and seven rebounds. The Red Storm forced a dozen turnovers.
Any Biddeford comeback hopes were quickly dashed in the third period.
Just 16 seconds in, Hicks knocked down a jumper. Then, after a Freeman steal, Porada made a layup and the lead was back up to 20, 45-25. After Pearl countered with a jump shot, Hicks blocked a shot at the defensive end, then took a pass from Freeman at the other end for a layup. Dutremble hit a free throw, then set up Ball for a layup, but Porada scored on a putback and with 5:03 to play in the third period, Wessel got back on track with a leaner. Freeman then added two foul shots to make it 53-30.
After junior Codie Ramos banked home a shot for the Tigers, Wessel scored six points in 78 seconds, hitting a fadeaway jumper, burying a long jumper just inside the 3-point stripe, then taking a pass from Hicks and making a layup for a 59-32 advantage. After Ball made a layup, Wessel hit a baseline jumper for what proved to be his final points and as time expired in the period, Corey put home a miss for a 63-34 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Corey scored on a putback and Hicks made two free throws. After Vadnais hit a pair of foul shots for Biddeford, Hicks and Corey both sank 3s for a 73-36 lead and that was it for the starters.
Scarborough senior Sam Warren added a layup before the Tigers got a putback from J. Brown, a runner from freshman Breece Sleeper and a 3 from junior Josh Dutremble. The hosts responded with a 3 from senior Tim Ross and a putback from sophomore Nick Discatio for their final points. A layup from Brown and a driving layup from Sleeper brought the curtain down on Scarborough’s 80-47 win.
“Our pressure hurt them,” DiBiase said. “No matter who we play, we play a lot better at home for some reason. I thought we played our normal game that I saw most of the year. That’s why Saturday was so surprising, how poorly we shot the ball. It’s not so much what other teams do to us, it’s really how we play. We have a decent team.”
Wessel stuffed the stat sheet with 30 points, six blocks, three steals and two rebounds.
Hicks quietly put together a strong game as well, adding 18 points, nine boards, four assists and two steals.
Then there was the unheralded quartet of Corey (nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals), Porada (six points, three boards), Freeman (five points, six assists, two steals) and Peoples (five points, seven steals, five rebounds, three assists).
“We have some good young players in the program,” DiBiase said. “Emmett has had two or three really good games. Today, I thought he played a really steady game. Porada, I thought played well. Ian Corey did what he had to do.”
Ross added three points and Discatio and Warren each finished with two.
Scarborough, despite its small stature (something which has been an even bigger obstacle of late without 6-foot-7 junior Jake Gardner, out with illness), outrebounded Biddeford, 27-23.
“We have a little more inside presence this year,” DiBiase said. “We don’t take anywhere near as many 3s, but we score as many points, so that’s a good thing.”
The Red Storm forced 26 turnovers, only committed nine of their own and sank 12 of 15 free throws.
The Tigers were paced by Ball’s 10 points. Vadnais had nine (to go with four rebounds and three steals), Pearl eight, Millett six (to go with six boards and three assists), Brown and Sleeper four each, Josh Dutremble three, Ramos two and Austin Dutremble one.
Biddeford took just five foul shots, making three.
Biddeford is back in action Tuesday of next week, when it goes to Bonny Eagle.
Scarborough will face some challenges in early January. After playing at Thornton Academy Friday, the Red Storm host South Portland Tuesday, then go to Marshwood Jan. 8.
“We have some tough ones coming up,” DiBiase said.
“First of all, we have to get Jake healthy,” Wessel said. “We have to make our shots more, be more active. We can’t stand around on offense.
“We can play with anybody in the league if we’re all on the same page and everyone knows their role. I think we’ll be successful.”
Scarborough senior Ian Corey races in for a layup.
Scarborough seniors Sam Freeman (right) and Ian Corey play tough defense.
Scarborough senior Milani Hicks goes up for two.
Scarborough junior Andrew Porada knocks the ball away from a Tiger.
Scarborough senior Nate Wessel goes up for two of his game-high 30 points during the Red Storm’s 80-47 home win over Biddeford Tuesday afternoon.
Joe Carpine/365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
B- 8 17 9 13- 47
S- 19 22 22 17- 80
B-Ball 5-0-10, Vadnais 3-2-9, Pearl 4-0-8, Millett 3-0-6, Brown 2-0-4, Sleeper 2-0-4, J. Dutremble 1-0-3, Ramos 1-0-2, A. Dutremble 0-1-1
S- Wessel 13-3-30, Hicks 5-7-18, Corey 4-0-9, Porada 3-0-6, Freeman 1-2-5, Peoples 2-0-5, Ross 1-0-3, Discatio 1-0-2, Warren 1-0-2
B (2) J. Dutremble, Vadnais 1
S (6) Corey, Freeman, Hicks, Peoples, Ross, Wessel 1