Scarborough drops OT heartbreaker to Bonny Eagle
SCARBOROUGH—The Scarborough boys' basketball team has had its share of near misses against the league's elite this winter.
Friday evening brought the closest call of all.
Hosting dangerous Bonny Eagle in a battle of sharpshooting teams, the Red Storm lived by the 3 and ultimately died by it as it canned over 50 percent of its long range shots in the first three quarters, but made just one the rest of the way.
Scarborough led most of the game, opened up a nine-point advantage early in the fourth quarter and led by seven, 51-44, with just over four minutes to play, but the Scots erupted for a 9-0 run to take the lead when junior standout Dustin Cole made a layup after a steal with just over two minutes to go.
Undaunted, the Red Storm tied the score on a layup from senior Brendan Hall with 1:35 remaining. Neither team was able to score the rest of regulation and the game would go to overtime.
Just 11 days after dropping a double-overtime thriller to visiting South Portland, Bonny Eagle wound up on the right side of an extra time result. Scarborough twice went ahead in the extra session, but Cole tied the game with a layup and with 2 minutes left, hit a free throw to give the Scots the lead. The Red Storm had three chances to answer, but couldn't convert and suffered an agonizing 59-58 loss.
Scarborough made 11 3-pointers, turned the ball over only 11 times and placed three players in double figures, but ultimately dropped to 10-6 on the season, as the Scots, thanks in large part to 26 points from Cole and 17 from senior C.J. Autry, improved to 13-3.
"We had a lot of good opportunities down the stretch," lamented Red Storm first-year coach Tony DiBiase. "We had them on the ropes, but couldn't put them away. For the most part this year, the games we've lost have been one possession games to top teams. Give (Bonny Eagle) credit. They came down and made a couple shots to keep them in it. They tried to give it back to us. They missed foul shots and we had looks."
Both Bonny Eagle and Scarborough are well known for their no-shot-is-too-far approach to the game and both have had their moments this winter.
The Red Storm, which was ousted by Biddeford in the preliminary round a year ago, welcomed DiBiase with a 66-49 home win over Gorham. Scarborough then dropped close decisions at Westbrook (63-59) and Marshwood (77-74). After downing visiting Windham, 68-49, the Red Storm gave highly touted visiting Portland a scare before falling, 63-53. Scarborough closed 2012 with a 60-50 victory at Biddeford, then opened 2013 with a 76-55 home loss to South Portland. Wins at Thornton Academy (81-74), Cheverus (73-51) and at home over Noble (80-61) followed. The Red Storm then lost at defending state champion Deering (54-50) before handling visiting Biddeford (60-47) and Kennebunk (52-26) and host Sanford (70-55) and Massabesic (81-45).
The Scots, who were ousted on a buzzer beater by Deering in the regional final last season, opened 2012-13 with a 65-53 home victory over Sanford, then downed host Massabesic (68-41) and visiting Thornton Academy (62-29), before losing a tough one at Portland (55-52). After handling visiting Gorham, 78-64, Bonny Eagle stunned host Deering and avenged its playoff loss, 45-44, on a late 3-pointer from Autry. The Scots then won at Cheverus (69-48) and at home over Noble (76-39). After being upset at Westbrook, 53-50, Bonny Eagle defeated visiting Marshwood (57-47), visiting Windham (61-47) and host Kennebunk (87-57). A gutwrenching 82-77 double overtime home loss to South Portland followed, but the Scots bounced back to win at Gorham (73-58) and at home over Biddeford (74-61).
Friday marked the 10th Class A meeting between the programs. Bonny Eagle had taken six of the previous nine, including the first four and each of the past two (please see sidebar). Last year, in Standish, the Scots held off the Red Storm, 52-43.
This time, offense was more prevalent, but again Bonny Eagle escaped with the win.
The first quarter was an aberration as scoring was nearly non-existent.
An Autry layup gave the visitors the early lead, but a jump shot from senior Dillon Russo and a 3-ball from classmate Sam Terry gave Scarborough a 5-2 lead with just under five minutes to go. The Red Storm wouldn't make another field goal in the opening stanza and the visitors took advantage as Autry tied the game with a 3 and sophomore Zach Dubiel made a layup. A free throw from senior Brendan Hall pulled Scarborough within a point, 7-6, at quarter's end.
The offense picked up in quarter number two.
Cole scored his first points 40 seconds in, on a 3-pointer, but Russo hit a 3 ball and senior Kevin Manning showed off his range with a 3. After Bonny Eagle retook the lead (for what proved to be the last time in quite awhile) when Autry was fouled while shooting a 3 and hit all three free throws, Terry canned a long 3 to put the hosts back on top.
A pair of Cole free throws tied the game, 15-15, but Hall answered with a 3. After Cole tied the game with a ridiculous left-handed scoop shot high off the glass while being fouled (he made the free throw), Manning made a runner in the lane. The Scots drew even, 20-20, on a layup after a steal by Cole, but Russo answered with a layup, senior John Wheeler made a 3-pointer and Wheeler hit a free throw. Two Autry foul shots with just under 2 seconds to go, pulled Bonny Eagle back to within four, 26-22, at the break.
In the first half, the Scots made all seven of their free throws, but only buried 2-of-10 3s. Scarborough, meanwhile, shot 6-of-13 from behind the arc to hold the lead.
The Red Storm was even more deadly in the third period as it continued to set the pace.
After Bonny Eagle senior Jon Thomas made a layup to start the second half, Terry buried a 3. Thomas answered with another layup, but Russo took a pass from Terry and made a 3 for a 32-26 lead.
After Cole hit a floater, Thomas made a free throw and Thomas took a pass from sophomore Ben Malloy and made a layup to pull the Scots within one, 32-31, Manning knocked down a 3 and Terry hit a baseline jumper. Cole responded with a driving layup, but a Wheeler 3 gave the Red Storm a 40-33 advantage.
Late in the third, Thomas made a layup, but Hall countered with a jump shot. Cole knocked down a 3, but in the waning seconds a Terry driving layup put Scarborough on top, 44-38.
While the Red Storm made 10 of its first 18 3s, its long range acumen would wane when it mattered most and just when it appeared Scarborough was going to go on to a critical victory, it slipped away.
A Terry putback started the fourth quarter scoring. Autry answered with a jump shot, but with 6:32 to play, Manning took a pass from Hall in transition and knocked down a 3 to give the Red Storm its biggest lead, 49-40.
That would also prove to be Scarborough's last 3-pointer.
A Malloy jumper started the Scots' comeback. Cole added a floater, but Manning made two free throws for a 51-44 lead with 4:54 left.
Bonny Eagle then erupted for nine straight points.
Dubiel fed Autry for a layup, Cole hit a baseline floater and with 2:35 remaining, Autry launched a 3 from just beyond the top of the key which hit the rim and the backboard before settling into the net, making it a brand new ballgame, 51-51.
When Cole stole the ball, passed it off, got it back and made a layup 24 seconds later, the Scots had their first lead since, 13-12, 53-51.
Scarborough could have easily buckled at that juncture, but Terry spotted an open Hall and Hall made a layup to tie the score, 53-53, with 1:35 still to play.
Bonny Eagle then ran down over a minute before Malloy missed a long 3. Terry got the rebound and DiBiase eschewed a timeout. The Red Storm got the ball to Terry, but his potential game-winning 3 was no good. The Scots then had a chance to win it at the end, but a Cole 3-point bid with one second left was off target and it was on to overtime.
"We played really well for four minutes there in the fourth quarter," said Bonny Eagle coach Phil Bourassa. "That got us the lead and then we played the back-and-forth game."
Neither team led by more than three in the four-minute extra session.
Just 13 seconds in, Terry drove to the hoop for a layup, was fouled and hit the free throw to convert the old-fashioned three-point play.
The visitors quickly answered when sophomore Nick Dubay, heretofore scoreless, took a pass from Malloy and made a 3 to make it 56-56.
With 2:41 left in the overtime, Scarborough got a layup from senior Sam Wessel, but that would prove to be its final points.
Just 10 seconds later, Cole drove to the hoop for two and the game was tied for the ninth and final time.
Russo looked to put the Red Storm back on top, but he missed a 3. After Bonny Eagle got possession, Cole was fouled and with exactly 2 minutes left, Cole made the second of two attempts to put the Scots up, 59-58.
With 1:44 to play, Hall was fouled (by Thomas, his fifth), but he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Bonny Eagle managed to run over a minute off the clock before Scarborough finally had to foul Cole with 34 seconds to go go.
Cole, normally a sure thing at the stripe, missed the front end of a one-and-one, however, and after Terry rebounded, the Red Storm had a great chance to steal it.
After a timeout, Manning inbounded to Hall, who attempted a floater which was no good. Autry got the rebound and was fouled with 6.2 seconds left on the clock.
Autry also missed the front end of his one-and-one and Scarborough had one final chance.
Hall raced upcourt and with time remaining, pulled up for a 3 from the top of the key.
The ball went out of bounds and time ran out.
Bonny Eagle 59 Scarborough 58.
"I never take timeout," said DiBiase, of the endgame situation. "You get a better shot nine times out of 10. He had three seconds to go and took a shot from the top of key leaning. I said, 'Do you know where you were?' And he said, 'Yeah. Top of the key.' I said, 'Do you know how much time there was?' He said, 'Somebody told me three seconds.' I said, 'That's a long time.' Maybe next time, he takes it (to the basket). My experience, when you push it and everyone's back in transition, you'll get a better shot. He got a good look at it. It just didn't fall."
"Up one in overtime, with your best and second best free throw shooters, you'd like to make one of two at least," Bourassa said. "We made it interesting. Our end of game shot box outs were good. That's what lost us the game against South Portland. We've worked on that. We limited them to one shot on those last possessions.
"(On their 3s) we had to get a little closer and get a hand out. I think they just made plays. They have some athletes and they came to play. They almost got us. There was concern the whole game. The fourth quarter more than any. You don't want to be down nine points in the fourth quarter. The kids are gritty and stick together down the stretch."
Cole continued his brilliance, making six two-point field goals, four 3s and four foul shots for a game-high 26 points.
"(Scarborough) came out on fire," said Cole. "They didn't miss a shot. You have to go with the flow of the game. Eventually they'll miss shots. It's a big win. We picked up our intensity. We started hitting shots toward the end. I felt like we had momentum going into overtime. I knew we couldn't lose this one."
Autry added 17 points, Thomas had nine, Dubay three and Dubiel and Malloy two apiece.
The Scots had a 28-27 rebounding advantage, thanks in large part to a game-high 10 from Autry and seven each from Malloy and Thomas. Bonny Eagle only committed nine turnovers, hit 10-of-15 free throws and made 5-of-24 3-pointers.
For Scarborough, Manning led the way with 16 points, Terry had 15, Russo 10, Hall eight, Wheeler seven and Wessel two. Hall had a team-high eight boards. The Red Storm committed just 11 turnovers, made 5-of-8 free throws and wound up 11-of-26 on 3s.
"For my kids, I give them credit, they've battled all year long with a new program," DiBiase said. "We're right there in a lot of these games. I thought we played excellent defense tonight. We made Cole earn every shot and point. It's encouraging, but it would be nice to win one. We're a dangerous team to play. We do a lot of good things. It would nice for the kids to get over the hump. We're two teams who are pretty similar. Bonny Eagle and us are 1-2 in scoring. We won't play 35 or 40 point games. We'll shoot 3s. We don't have anybody over 6-feet tall. We get the ball up and down the ball. We try to get 60-70 possessions. We play fast and try to get shots up. I thought we executed in the halfcourt pretty well in the second half. Bonny Eagle is battle-tested. They didn't cave in."
Bonny Eagle (fifth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) plays its home finale versus Westbrook Tuesday and closes the regular season Friday at Windham. The Scots project to wind up fifth, which would give them a preliminary round bye and possibly set up a showdown with Deering in the quarterfinals.
Bonny Eagle has as good a shot as anyone come tournament time.
"When we're hitting shots, I feel like we can beat anybody," Cole said.
"We'd like to sneak up a little bit," Bourassa said. "We have a huge one Tuesday. We'll focus on Westbrook tomorrow. We'd like to get a little redemption. I hope these games help us going forward. We have a great following. Our fan base has been really good. I think it has to do with the exciting style we play. Our fans are great and we have awesome kids. People love supporting them. Any team could win on a given night. It's an exciting league. The 7, 8, 9 teams will give the 1, 2, 3 trouble. There are a lot of great coaches in the league."
Scarborough (presently seventh) will host No. 6 Thornton Academy in its home finale Tuesday and closes at Kennebunk Friday. Tuesday's game is for the No. 6 spot. The Red Storm will host a prelim for the third time in six seasons and could be very dangerous if it makes it to the Expo.
"I'm interested to see how we do in the playoffs," DiBiase said. "The kids have to in one respect, feel good about themselves. In the other respect, they have to keep working and know they have to make a play. I think we'll be 6 or 7 and we'll go from there. We've made a lot of good strides and have played competitive and entertaining basketball. The effort's always been there. I'm just happy they bought into our style. I think it fits their talent."