Scarborough sophomore Jaquan Seme is trapped by Massabesic seniors Dawson Renaud (0) and Ryan Gullikson during the Mustangs’ 67-52 win in Thursday’s Class AA South quarterfinals.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
S- 14 7 19 12- 52
M- 16 14 20 17- 67
S- Peoples 6-5-19, Porada 5-0-10, DiScatio 3-3-9, Gardner 3-0-6, Joy 2-0-5, Seme 1-0-3
M- Sprague-Ripley 9-3-21, Gullikson 7-1-16, Bergeron 4-5-13, Amabile 3-1-9, Murry 3-0-6, Renaud 1-0-2
S (4) Peoples 2, Joy, Seme 1
M (3) Amabile 2, Gullikson 1
PORTLAND—The Massabesic Massacre that so many came to see never materialized Thursday evening.
Because Scarborough’s young boys’ basketball team came of age more quickly than anyone anticipated.
While the Red Storm fell short in a Class AA South quarterfinal at the Portland Exposition Building, they laid the foundation for future success.
Third-ranked Massabesic beat No. 6 Scarborough by 42 points just two weeks ago, but found the going much tougher amid a postseason backdrop as the Red Storm, although pushed the brink numerous times, refused to go quietly.
Scarborough went toe-to-toe with the Mustangs in the first period and pulled even, 14-14, on a bank shot from senior Andrew Porada with 14 seconds left, but they wouldn’t score again for nearly eight minutes and Massabesic erupted on a 16-0 run to seemingly seize control.
The Red Storm scored the final seven points of the first half, however, and only trailed by nine, 30-21, at the break.
The Mustangs went up by 17 points in the third quarter, but Scarborough crept back within 10 heading for the fourth.
There, the Red Storm made things really interesting when senior Jake Gardner made a layup, but Massabesic scored the next seven points, then went on to a 67-52 victory.
The Mustangs got 21 points from senior Tyus Sprague-Ripley, 16 from senior Ryan Gullikson and 13 from senior Weston Bergeron, which was more than enough to overcome 19 points from Scarborough junior Emmett Peoples and Massabesic improved to 15-4, advanced to meet No. 2 Gorham (14-4) in the AA South semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena and ended the Red Storm’s season at 6-13 in the process.
“There were a couple times they spurted and we could have collapsed, but we fought back,” said Scarborough coach Tony DiBiase. “The kids showed courage to hang in there.”
Scarborough qualified for the playoffs for the fifth straight season after going 6-12. As the No. 6 seed, the Red Storm drew vastly improved Massabesic, the No. 3 seed, which posted a solid 14-4 regular season mark, a program record for regular season victories.
The teams last met in Waterboro Jan. 29, where the Mustangs romped, 81-39.
Prior to Thursday, Massabesic won the lone prior playoff game, 72-40, in the 2002 Western A Southwest Division preliminary round.
This time around, the Mustangs had to fight to the end.
Sprague-Ripley hinted at a big game to come when he opened the scoring with a jumper eight seconds in. Scarborough raced right down the floor to answer, as sophomore Jaquan Seme fed Gardner for a layup.
After a steal by Bergeron, Massabesic got a layup from Gullikson and a putback from Sprague-Ripley. After Peoples and Bergeron traded foul shots, the Red Storm got a 3 and a pullup jumper from Peoples to take an 8-7 lead.
Mustangs senior Daniel Amabile tied the game with a foul shot and senior Bryson Murry made a layup, but Peoples set up Porada for a layup and Porada took a pass from sophomore Reece Lagerquist and made another layup for a 12-10 Scarborough lead.
That would prove to be the Red Storm’s highwater mark.
The Mustangs went back ahead on layups from Murry and Sprague-Ripley, but a Porada bank shot tied the game again.
Then, with 12.9 seconds left in the opening period, Amabile lobbed a pass to Sprague-Ripley, who laid it in for a 16-14 Massabesic lead after one period, a lead the Mustangs wouldn’t relinquish.
Massabesic got 10 points in the quarter from Sprague-Ripley, while Scarborough got six points from Peoples and Porada, but the Red Storm were hindered by seven turnovers.
The Mustangs started fast in the second quarter, as Murry scored on a putback and Gullikson made a layup after a steal, forcing DiBiase to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as Bergeron scored on a putback and Sprague-Ripley set up Gullikson for a layup and just like that, the lead was double digits.
The onslaught continued, as Gullikson made a free throw, then Bergeron fed Sprague-Ripley for a bank shot and a 27-14 advantage with 4:38 to go in the half.
A 3-ball from Gullikson with 2:21 left capped the 16-0 run.
Scarborough got its first points in 7 minutes, 25 seconds when junior Nick DiScatio made two free throws with 1:15 to go and after a layup and a steal from Peoples, an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul, free throw) from DiScatio gave the Red Storm a little momentum heading into the break, but Massabesic still held a 30-21 advantage.
In the first half, Sprague-Ripley had 12 points and Gullikson added 10. Peoples had eight points for Scarborough, but the Red Storm committed 14 turnovers.
In the third period, the Mustangs threatened to break it open for good, but couldn’t quite salt it away.
Off the inbounds set to open the half, Amabile fed Bergeron for a layup and after Gullikson stole the ball right back, he fed senior Dawson Renaud for a layup and four points in 15 seconds.
Peoples countered with two free throws, but after a Renaud steal, Bergeron made a layup. DiScatio drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 11, but Amabile sank a 3, Bergeron made two free throws and after a Gardner bank shot, Amabile buried an NBA-range 3 to make it 44-27, which proved to be the Mustangs’ biggest lead.
Still, Scarborough refused to die, as Peoples countered with a 3 and after a Bergeron layup, Peoples made a bank shot, Peoples set up Porada for a layup and Porada made another layup to cut the deficit to 10, 46-36, forcing Massabesic coach Chris Binette to call timeout.
Momentum turned back in the Mustangs’ favor with 2:32 remaining in the third, when Sprague-Ripley stole the ball and went in for a layup and was fouled by Gardner, a foul that was deemed intentional. Sprague-Ripley made both free throws, but Massabesic couldn’t do anything with the ensuing possession.
After DiScatio made a bank shot to cut the deficit back to 10, Peoples had a chance to make it even closer, but he missed two free throws. After Murry scored on a left-handed leaner, a leaner from Peoples made it 50-40 with eight minutes to play.
In the final stanza, Massabesic finished it off.
After Gardner made it an eight-point game with a layup, Sprague-Ripley got an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play for 53-42 lead.
Then, with 4:40 remaining, Gullikson set up Sprague-Ripley for a resounding dunk and the next time down, on the fastbreak, the Mustangs went up, 57-42, when Renaud fed Amabile for a layup.
Scarborough answered, as Peoples made two foul shots and junior Dominic Joy drove for a layup, but Bergeron countered with two free throws to make it 59-46 with 3:24 to play.
After Joy canned a 3, Gullikson took over, driving for a layup and making a layup after a steal. Sprague-Ripley then made a layup after a steal to push the lead to 16.
In the final minute, Seme made a 3 for Scarborough’s final points of the season and a Gullikson layup brought the curtain down on Massabesic’s 67-52 victory.
“I thought we played well,” DiBiase said. “It was very competitive. The kids played hard and well and we executed the game plan like we wanted to do. Being the youngest team in the tournament, the progression of just getting on the floor, I was just hoping we’d be competitive. You don’t know how a young team would react, but I thought we played well. (Massabesic’s) very good. They may have the most talent in the tournament, but they couldn’t empty their bench. Their starters had to play all the way through.”
Massabesic was led by Sprague-Ripley, who had a game-high 21 points. He also had seven rebounds, five steals and three assists. Gullikson had 16 points and five steals. Bergeron added 13 points, Amabile had nine, Murry six and Renaud two (to go with five assists).
The Mustangs shot 50 percent from the floor, had a 25-19 rebounding advantage, gave the ball away 17 times and made 10 of 16 free throws.
Looking ahead to the semifinals, Massabesic faced Gorham back on Dec. 15 and prevailed at home, 74-62.
For Scarborough, Peoples had a terrific game with 19 points, four assists and three steals.
“Emmett played really well,” DiBiase said.
Porada also finished in double figures with 10 points. DiScatio had nine, Gardner six (before fouling out), Joy five and Seme three. Sophomore Reece Lagerquist didn’t score, but had a team-high four rebounds.
The Red Storm made 51 percent of their two-point shots and 50 percent of their 3-pointers, but missed 9 of 17 free throws and committed a costly 24 turnovers.
“We lost 95 percent of our scoring from last year, but we always battled this season,” DiBiase said.
Scarborough graduates Gardner and Porada, but returns everyone else and hopes to be a bigger factor in 2016-17.
“We have a lot of good players coming up through,” DiBiase said. “No question we’ll build on this. We have to get a tradition built. It’s hard. Now the kids know what it’s about. We’ll get bigger and stronger.”
Scarborough senior Andrew Porada goes up for two of his 10 points.
Massabesic senior Dawson Renaud snags a loose ball.
Scarborough sophomore Reece Lagerquist goes up for a shot.
Scarborough junior Nick DiScatio is fouled by Massabesic senior Matthew Prokey.
Scarborough junior Emmett Peoples steals the ball from Massabesic sophomore Nick Amabile.
2002 Western A SW Division prelim
Massabesic 70 Scarborough 42