Scarborough has no answer for sizzling Scots
SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough's boys' basketball team entered Thursday night's home game hopeful of springing a Heal Points-rich upset.
Then the Bonny Eagle Scots started shooting the ball.
And did they ever shoot lights out.
Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap to your opponent and the Red Storm was forced to do so as Bonny Eagle made a mindboggling 11 first half 3-pointers, including an improbable 10 in succession, as the Scots quickly ended the competitive phase of the contest.
The first 3 came 25 seconds in and Bonny Eagle never looked back, stretching a 22-17 lead after one quarter to an inurmountable 53-31 advantage by halftime, as 33 of those points came behind the arc.
The Scots only slowed down slightly in the second half, were never tested and went on to a 91-62 win behind 18 3-pointers and a overwhelming, balanced attack which featured 21 points apiece from senior standout Dustin Cole and junior Nick Dubay, 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists from junior Ben Malloy and 13 points from senior Nate Alexander, all of which helped Bonny Eagle improve to 12-1 and drop Scarborough to 7-5 in the process.
"Our game plan was to play to our strength, which is scoring the ball, but we didn't expect them to make 18 3s," said shellshocked Scarborough coach Tony DiBiase. "What are you going to do?"
Heading into Thursday, over the past decade, Bonny Eagle had beaten Scarborough in eight of 11 meetings, including each of the past four. Last season, the Scots rallied late and broke the host Red Storm's heart, 59-58, in overtime in the regular season, then stymied Scarborough's highly-ranked offense in the Western A quarterfinals in a 48-32 triumph.
The last time the Red Storm beat Bonny Eagle was a 42-37 home victory Jan. 22, 2010.
This winter, Scarborough opened with wins over visiting Biddeford (86-32), host Westbrook (64-50) and visiting Windham (84-82, in overtime), before losing at home to Noble (74-72, in overtime). After holding on for a 75-70 win at Massabesic, falling at Gorham (59-45) and to Windham, in a countable game played at the Red Claws Christmas Tournament, 72-63, the Red Storm got back in the win column with a 69-46 victory at Biddeford, then lost at defending Western A champion South Portland, 66-53, before getting back on track with a 77-62 home win over Marshwood. Monday, Scarborough handled visiting Thornton Academy, 70-46.
Bonny Eagle, which has thrice been a Western A bridesmaid, including last year's regional final loss to South Portland, entered 2013-14 as one of the favorites and with Cole now in his season season, the Scots know this might be their last, best chance for awhile to win a championship.
Bonny Eagle has lived up to billing so far this winter. The Scots passed several tests early, holding off visiting Deering (67-58), host Cheverus (62-58) and host Marshwood (67-58), while also downing visiting Sanford (67-46), host Westbrook (61-37) and host South Portland (75-45) with ease. After a non-countable loss to Falmouth in the Red Claws Holiday Tournament, Bonny Eagle downed visiting Noble (71-54), held off host Thornton Academy (68-61) and defeated visiting Gorham (54-38) and host Windham (60-43). Tuesday, in front of a huge crowd at St. Joseph's College, the Scots fell from the unbeaten ranks with a 69-60 loss to Portland.
The Bonny Eagle community has endured a very difficult week and the loss to the Bulldogs was only a small, trivial part of it. Last weekend, Peter Reynolds and Sherri Demelle, parents of Bonny Eagle students, lost their lives in a traffic accident. The community support has been overwhelming and basketball has been a opportunity for a small measure of solace.
"The whole community's come together a lot," Malloy said. "Basketball just helps everyone. It gets our minds off things."
"I don't know (the guys have) handled it so well," said Scots coach Phil Bourassa. "It's remarkable. It's been a very surreal week. It's a very close group. It's nothing short of tragic, but they've leaned on each other."
On the court, the best thing for Bonny Eagle following Tuesday's loss was to get back into action and did the Scots ever put on a show Thursday.
When Dubay knocked down a 3 25 seconds in, it just appeared that Bonny Eagle was off to a quick start, but long range bombing would be the rule not the exception.
Scarborough actually took a very short-lived 4-3 lead behind a hook shot from junior Nate Wessel and a layup after a steal by junior Milani Hicks, but the advantage lasted all of 104 seconds before Cole set up Dubay for another 3.
The next time down the court, Cole found Malloy for a 3 and the lead was quickly 9-4.
The hosts crawled back within a point on a Wessel free throw and an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) from senior Matt Hartl, but Dubay hit two 3-pointers in a 31-second span to stretch the lead to 15-8.
After Wessel scored on a hook shot, a jumper from senior Nate Alexander proved to be Bonny Eagle's first two-point field goal.
With 2:08 left in the first quarter, after five misses, the Red Storm hit its first 3, as Hartl did the honors. Wessel followed with a long jumper to cut the deficit to 17-15, but the Scots got two foul shots from Cole and after a Wessel fadeaway, senior Nate Schopen brought an end to the stanza in appropriate fashion, with a 3-ball, and Bonny Eagle was on top, 22-17.
In just eight minuets of play, the Scots made six 3-pointers, four coming from Dubay. Only nine points from Wessel kept Scarborough within hailing distance.
That changed quickly in the second quarter.
Before a minute-and-a-half had elapsed in the new frame, a five-point lead had been pushed to 15.
After Malloy grabbed an offensive rebound, he kicked the ball out to Cole, who buried a 3. Alexander then sank a shot from behind the stripe. Senior Jon Woods made two free throws and Malloy scored on a putback and just like that, Bonny Eagle was on the verge of blowing the game open.
A Hicks layup momentarily stemmed the tide, but Malloy made a 3, junior Matt Smith made a layup and after Hartl hit two foul shots, Woods sank a 3 to push the lead to 40-21.
"We pracice shooting a lot," said Malloy. "We just put it in the hole. We have good ball movement and got wide open shots. We just let it fly. It's contagious."
"We got a lot of open looks and we knocked them down tonight," Bourassa said. "We carried some momentum over (from Tuesday), because I thought we played well in the fourth quarter. We came out ready to play tonight. The guys were ready to come back out after a tough loss. We had to put Portland behind us quickly. (Scarborough's) a dangerous team. They just beat two good teams, Marshwood and TA. We had to focus and we did."
Junior Sam Freeman made a foul shot for Scarborough, but Cole put home his own miss. Wessel and Malloy traded bank shots before Hartl made a leaner and Cole answered with a driving layup. After Hartl made a layup, Malloy stepped back and drained a 3 and Alexander hit a jumper. In the final minute, Hartl made a 3 for the Red Storm, but a leaner from Alexander as time expired put the Scots firmly in control and well on their way to the century mark, 53-31, at halftime.
Bonny Eagle made 11 of 14 first half 3 point attempts, an unthinkable percentage. Malloy not only had 13 points, but he cleaned the glass to the tune of eight rebounds, while also dishing out three assists. Dubay had 12 points and Alexander and Cole nine apiece. Almost as impressive as their 3-point shooting was the Scots' ball control. In a frenetic game, they had just four first half turnovers.
Scarborough could only marvel.
"We had to play our style," DiBiase said. "Some (shots) were open because they spread out and get open looks and some were with hands in their face. It wasn't just one guy. The one guy who didn't really kill us was Cole. Everyone else was knocking down 3s. They were all net too. At least we went after them. That's our game. We live and die by that. We tried five or six different kinds of defenses, but it didn't make any difference. I think they went inside once. They shot so well from the perimeter. Give them credit."
Bonny Eagle wasn't able to shoot quite as well in the second half, but it never allowed the Red Storm a hint of getting back in the game.
Wessel opened the third quarter with a hook shot, but Cole set up Dubay for a 3. After Wessel converted a three-point play, Scarborough was within 20, 56-36. Alexander then scored consecutive hoops and Cole set up Dubay for another 3. Hartl and Hicks both hit two free throws, but Alexander set up Cole for a 3, then did the same for Malloy. Cole made two foul shots and Cole drove for a layup and just like that, the lead was 73-40.
Wessel got two points back at the line, but Malloy found junior Zach Dubiel for a 3 and after Freeman countered with a 3-ball, Dubiel sank another 3 for a 79-45 advantage heading for the fourth.
There, Bonny Eagle finally cooled down.
Two Cole free throws were answered by a pair from Hartl. After Cole converted a three-point play, Smith made a foul shot. Wessel banked home a shot, but with 5:11 to go, Dubay made his final 3, stretching the lead to 88-49.
Hicks answered with a 3, Freeman made a fastbreak layup and senior Ben Garrard scored on a putback before Schopen hit a free throw. Hicks made two foul shots, Hartl converted a layup and sophomore Jacob Gardner scored on a putback for Scarborough's final points. Then, with exactly a minute to go, Schopen hit a jumper and that accounted for the 91-62 final score.
"Portland motivated us," said Malloy. "Right after we left St. Joe's, we put it behind us. Yesterday in practice, we looked forward to tonight."
Bonny Eagle's offense had a field day and it was far more than just the usual suspect.
Cole had an almost quiet 21 points, while also producing nine assists, six rebounds and two blocks. Dubay made seven field goals and all of them were from behind the 3-point stripe, giving him 21 points as well.
Malloy stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 14 boards and nine assists. He also had a steal.
"(Ben) was an assist away from a triple double," said Bourassa. "He played really, really well for us tonight "
Alexander added 13 points, Dubiel and Schopen had six apiece, Woods five and Smith three.
The Scots finished with an almost 2-to-1 (44-23) rebounding edge, only turned the ball over 10 times and made 11 of 13 free throws.
Scarborough got 21 points from Hartl, 20 (to go with eight rebounds) from Wessel, 11 from Hicks, six from Freeman and two each from Gardner and Garrard. The Red Storm committed nine turnovers and made 16 of 23 foul attempts.
"We need four guys to score the ball and two did," DiBiase said. "We still scored 62 points, but I thought (Bonny Eagle would) get 100. They should have with that kind of scoring. I thought the kids were pretty resilient when you get hit with a barrage like that. I've never seen shooting like that, but we didn't fall apart. It just wasn't our night."
Needing some wins
Bonny Eagle (now second to Falmouth in the Western A Heals) returns home Tuesday to face Massabesic. After hosting Thornton Academy and Westbrook, the Scots go to Gorham and close at home versus Windham.
For this group, the endgame is simple.
"After winning it in football, there's no better feeling than winning a Gold Ball," said Malloy. "I want to win it for Dustin. It's his last year. We have to do exactly what we just did. We can't have stupid turnovers like we did in the Portland game, we have to move the ball around and get wide open shots and we'll be good.'
"I like the way we're playing together," Bourassa said. "That's important. We always think it's now or never. That's why we've had the success we have. We welcome that pressure and we want it. When we play like we did tonight, we're a tough team to beat."
Scarborough is currently 12th in Western A, which would allow the Red Storm to be the last team in the playoffs, but would force them to go on the road for a preliminary round game. Scarborough is hoping to move up the ladder over the next three weeks, but will need to win the vast majority of its games, something that won't be easy.
The Red Storm goes to Portland Tuesday, then hosts Deering Friday of next week. After playing at Cheverus, Scarborough hosts Sanford and South Portland, then closes at Thornton Academy.
A lot of Heal Points remain at stake.
"We'll move on," said DiBIase. "We still have big games. We'll end up where we end up."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Previous Scarborough-Bonny Eagle meetings
@ Bonny Eagle 52 Scarborough 43
@ Bonny Eagle 64 Scarborough 34
@ Scarborough 42 Bonny Eagle 37
Scarborough 75 @ Bonny Eagle 64
@ Scarborough 45 Bonny Eagle 38
Bonny Eagle 62 @ Scarborough 60
@ Bonny Eagle 59 Scarborough 49
@ Bonny Eagle 64 Scarborough 43
Bonny Eagle 60 @ Scarborough 55 (OT)