Portland senior Pedro Fonseca soars over Scarborough senior Nick Fiorillo for a layup during the Bulldogs’ 59-40 victory Saturday afternoon. Fonseca finished with 15 points.
Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
S- 8 8 16 8- 40
P- 14 8 15 22- 59
S- Fiorillo 8-1-17, Kirk 2-3-7, B. Austin 3-0-6, MacDonald 1-2-4, Stovall 0-4-4, Curtis 1-0-2
P- Fonseca 4-7-15, Chadbourne 4-0-12, Mahan 3-2-11, Alado 3-0-8, Bellew 2-3-7, Buckley 0-2-2, Wakati 1-0-2, Bradford 0-1-1, Greenwood 0-1-1
P (9) Chadbourne 4, Mahan 3, Alado 2
PORTLAND—Portland’s boys’ basketball team has faced its share of down-to-the-wire finishes in recent games, so Saturday afternoon at the Portland Exposition Building, the Bulldogs tried a different approach, broke open a close game early in the fourth quarter and ended visiting Scarborough’s upset hopes.
Portland relied on the 3-point shot in the first quarter, as it hit four of them and opened up a 14-8 lead, but the Red Storm, the defending Class AA South champion, wouldn’t fold and stayed within six points, 22-16, at halftime and drew within three, 35-32, on senior standout Nick Fiorillo’s old-fashioned three-point play late in the third quarter before the Bulldogs got a layup from senior Pedro Fonseca to go up by five.
Portland then dominated the final frame, scoring the first 10 points, and it eventually went ahead by as many as 21 and went on to a 59-40 victory.
The Bulldogs got 15 points from Fonseca, 12 from senior Simon Chadbourne and 11 from junior Stillman Mahan, as they made nine 3-point shots in improving to 7-4 on the year, dropping Scarborough to 4-7 in the process.
“We talked before the game and said that in all fairness, we should be 9-1,” said longtime Portland coach Joe Russo. “We were a 6-4 team. I said that we can start to play like a 6-4 team or a 9-1 team. We started out today like a 6-4 team and we finished up like a 9-1 team. We’ll see how we do going forward.”
The teams produced an epic a year ago, when host Scarborough outlasted Portland, 69-66, behind 24 points from Fiorillo.
This season, the teams have found the going more challenging.
Portland won its first four games: 80-48 at Noble, 59-46 over visiting Windham, 56-53 (in overtime) at Oxford Hills and 69-41 at Massabesic. After letting a 15-point halftime lead slip away in a 64-58 loss at Bangor, the Bulldogs beat visiting Deering, 55-32, then dropped a 56-53 overtime heartbreaker at Gorham and a 61-56 double-overtime decision to visiting Edward Little, the defending Class AA champion. After eking out a 49-47 home win over Sanford Tuesday, Portland fell at South Portland Thursday, 58-48.
Scarborough started with a 64-52 home win over Sanford, but the Red Storm then lost at home to Falmouth (60-56), Bonny Eagle (59-58) and South Portland (69-54). After a 74-59 victory at Gorham, Scarborough lost at Edward Little in a state game rematch (73-47). After a 95-46 win at Noble, the Red Storm fell at Cheverus, 61-53. The one-step-forward-one-step-back continued this week with a dramatic 52-51 home win over Deering (on two Fiorillo free throws after time expired), Scarborough lost at home to Gorham Thursday, 65-43.
Saturday, Portland started and finished strong to improve to 14-2 all-time in the series (see sidebar, below).
Scarborough junior Brian Austin opened the scoring with a bank shot 33 seconds in.
The Bulldogs’ first points came on a 3-ball from senior Jeremiah Alado, but Fiorillo countered with a bank shot for the Red Storm’s final lead, 4-3.
Mahan made his first 3 and after Fiorillo (who reached the 1,000-career point plateau in Monday’s win over Deering) tied the score with a jumper, a corner 3 from Mahan gave Portland the lead for good.
“We tried to get Stillman and Simon in at the same time,” Russo said. “They both can shoot 3s. Teams have keyed on Simon, so we’d put in ‘Stilly’ and that helps Simon. Stillman can shoot and he can score.”
Chadbourne added his first 3-pointer and after freshman Rowan MacDonald sank two foul shots for the visitors, a putback from Alado gave the Bulldogs their first points from anything other than 3-point land and a 14-8 advantage after eight minutes.
Portland was hindered early in the second period when senior Trey Bellew was called for his third foul, after which junior Luke Stovall made two free throws, but senior Easton Bradford made a free throw after an offensive rebound for the hosts.
After junior Ethan Curtis made a layup for Scarborough, Chadbourne sank a 3 to push the lead to six.
The Red Storm responded, as Fiorillo took a feed from junior Owen Cascio and made a layup and MacDonald drove for a layup to make it 18-16, but junior Richard Greenwood’s free throw and a 3-ball from Alado just before the horn put the Bulldogs up by six, 22-16, at the half.
In the first 16 minutes, Alado led all scorers with eight points, while Fiorillo paced Scarborough with a half-dozen.
The Red Storm hung tough in the third quarter before Portland got the last basket to start the game-changing run.
Fiorillo opened the second half with a jump shot, but Mahan countered with another 3.
Scarborough then drew within 25-23 on a layup from Fiorillo and an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) from senior Paul Kirk.
After Fonseca scored his first points on a layup after a steal, a bank shot from Austin again pulled the Red Storm within a pair, but Chadbourne hit a 3 and a minute later, Chadbourne got another 3 to rattle home for a 33-25 advantage.
Seven of the next nine points would go to the visitors, however, as Fiorillo drained consecutive jumpers and after two Bellew free throws, Fiorillo’s three-point play pulled Scarborough within three.
With 12.4 seconds on the third quarter clock, Fonseca made a seemingly innocuous layup, but it proved to be the start of something big.
The Red Storm entered the final stanza hopeful, but by the midway point, Portland was firmly in control.
Twenty-three seconds in, Bellew converted a three-point play.
Fonseca then took over, driving for a layup and after Mahan hit two free throws, Fonseca drove for another layup and with 3:51 to go, he sank a foul shot and the Bulldogs were in command, up, 47-32.
“Composure and patience allowed us to go on that run,” Fonseca said. “We found the easy basket and played good defense.”
Twelve seconds later, Austin made a layup to end the 12-0 run and a 4-minute, 53-second drought, but Scarborough couldn’t turn it into a run, as Fonseca made two free throws, Fonseca sank two more and with 2:50 to play, Fonseca went to the charity stripe again and made both for a 53-34 advantage.
“I work on foul shooting every day, at practice, outside of practice,” Fonseca said.
Kirk made a layup for the Red Storm, but Bellew countered with one for Portland.
After Austin sank two free throws, junior Griffin Buckley hit a pair for the hosts, two foul shots from junior Luke Stovall ended Scarborough’s scoring and a jump shot from senior Ronaldo Wakati brought the curtain down on the Bulldogs’ 59-40 victory.
“We’re a team and we pick each other up,” Fonseca said. “We moved forward from (South Portland). We played great defense and kept moving forward. Without (former standout) Terion (Moss) it’s been difficult keeping a lead sometimes. It’s been hard, but we’re getting used to it.”
“When we were up three, I thought we’d be in for a dogfight, then we changed our defense to straight man to deny Fiorillo the ball and cover Austin,” Russo said. “We were able to cover our responsibilities.”
Fonseca, who was held scoreless in Thursday’s loss at South Portland had a team-high 15 points, as well as four rebounds and three steals.
“It was nice to see Pedro come out and do what he did,” Russo said. “He had a rough game against SP, but he had a great practice yesterday.”
Chadbourne made four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points., Mahan added 11 points, Alado had eight, Bellew seven, Buckley and Wakati two apiece and Bradford and Greenwood one each.
Portland outscored the Red Storm, 27-0, from behind the 3-point arc, had a 27-20 rebounding advantage, only committed nine turnovers and made 16 of 21 free throws.
Scarborough’s top scorer was Fiorillo, who had 17 points, as well as four rebounds and a couple blocked shots. Kirk added seven points, Austin had six, MacDonald and Stovall four apiece and Curtis two.
The Red Storm made all 10 foul shots, but committed 15 turnovers.
“Obviously, we had a dry spell on the offensive end and defensively, we didn’t do the things we did the first three quarters in the fourth quarter,” said Scarborough coach Phil Conley. “That was the game right there. We’re very inexperienced and sometimes that happens with teams that are inexperienced.”
Scarborough hopes to get back on the winning track next week when it hosts Biddeford Tuesday and goes to Massabesic Friday.
“There’s a little bit of frustration when you have the record we have, but we’ve been in most games, so there’s a positive to that and I believe we’ll be better when it counts,” Conley said.
Portland, meanwhile, stays home to face Lewiston Tuesday, then plays at Cheverus Friday.
“We have to work hard in practice every day,” Fonseca said. “If you work hard in practice, you play hard in games.”
“We needed this, because it doesn’t get any easier,” Russo added.
Scarborough freshman Rowan MacDonald drives on Portland senior Simon Chadbourne.
Scarborough junior Brian Austin rebounds over Portland senior Easton Bradford.
Portland senior Simon Chadbourne shoots a 3-pointer over Scarborough senior Nick Fiorillo.
Portland senior Lewis Gaddas and Scarborough senior Nick Fiorillo battle for a loose ball.
@ Scarborough 69 Portland 66
@ Portland 67 Scarborough 38
Portland 73 @ Scarborough 38
Portland 78 @ Scarborough 71
@ Portland 81 Scarborough 52
Portland 63 @ Scarborough 53
@ Portland 63 Scarborough 60 (OT)
Portland 58 @ Scarborough 42
Scarborough 58 @ Portland 45
Portland 63 @ Scarborough 53
@ Portland 59 Scarborough 43
@ Portland 57 Scarborough 53
Portland 80 @ Scarborough 48
Portland 63 @ Scarborough 37
@ Portland 74 Scarborough 35