Scarborough boys' hoops team suffers first loss of the season at Deering

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PORTLAND—The run, run Scarborough boys’ basketball team crashed head-on into a collection of high-octane Deering guards Friday night with plans of employing the same up-tempo approach to win the game.

In this one, the Red Storm were not up to the task, falling behind 17-6 after a first quarter that saw Rams reel off 13 straight points in a 68-46 loss on the road in early-season Western Class A action on Stevens Avenue.

Scarborough’s first setback of the season started out promising when senior guard Connor Sullivan scored a pair of buckets for a 4-0 lead.

But the Red Storm (2-1) managed just two more points on a pair of foul shots from junior forward Zach Bean to close out the first quarter and never really recovered.

Sophomore guard John Amabile scored five-straight points as Deering took a 5-4 lead, and junior guard Nick Colucci scored 10 of the Rams’ next 12 the rest of the way to build an 11-point lead after one.

The Rams (3-0) extended the lead in every quarter after that, forcing 11 turnovers in the second to take a 37-22 lead at intermission that swelled to 51-30 after three quarters.

After winning twice to begin the season, pulling out a 42-40 win on the road at Gorham and rather easily dispatching Massabesic 53-34 at home, the Red Storm simply had no answer for the Rams’ three-quarter court defensive pressure that was fueled by a stable of talented and athletic guards.

“We couldn’t find a way to slow the game down” said Scarborough coach Joe Johnson. “They tried to speed us up and we allowed them to do that. We didn’t match their intensity. Athletically we can hold our own. We’re never going to get blown off the court that way. But we need to be better on offense fundamentally and take care of the basketball.”

Sullivan finished with eight points for Scarborough, as did junior forward Tennessee Peters. Sophomore Peter Moore tossed in seven with a pair of hoops and three foul shots on the night.

Bean collected 15 points for the second straight game in the Red Storm’s losing effort at Deering.

“We didn’t play good in transition,” Bean said. “We had way too many turnovers and can’t afford to give up easy layups like that and expect to win. We need to get back to work and get tougher. We have plenty of athletes and could surprise a lot of teams this year.”

Amabile scored 30 in a season-opening win for the Rams at Bonny Eagle and finished with 11 against the Red Storm. Colucci collected 15 on the night, while the two combined with junior guard Dennis Ross to dictate the action with defense and solid play in transition.

Ross added eight points and junior guards Riko Augustino and Phil Hughes came off the bench to split another eight and keep the pressure on the Red Storm’s backcourt.

Deering senior center Ed Tirabassi matched Colucci and Bean with 15 points in the game.

Sullivan scored a pair of hoops for a 4-0 Scarborough lead in the opening moments, but Amabile answered with a basket and a three-point play to take the one-point lead.

Colucci followed with a pair of 3-pointers, swished a little one-handed floater in the lane, and finished off a brilliant pass from Amabile on the break as Deering opened a 17-6 after the first one quarter.

The second quarter provided more of the same, with Deering’s defense forcing the Red Storm to turn the ball time and time again and establish the type of tempo they will rely on to win games this season.

The Red Storm actually scored a healthy 18 points in the next frame but coughed up another 20 as Deering stretched an 11-point first quarter lead to 15 at the break.

Bean started the quarter with his lone 3-pointer, and senior Ben Wessell stole the ball and fed Sullivan for an easy basket to close the gap to 17-11 with just under seven minutes left to play in the second quarter, but that would be as close as the Red Storm would get in this one.

The Rams defensive pressure fueled a 20-point quarter led by Tirabassi’s seven points on a pair of 3-pointers and one foul shot that helped extend the lead to 37-22 at the half.

Deering kept the pressure on in the third quarter when Tirabassi sparked a decisive 12-4 run after the break with a pair of hoops to open up a 48-26 advantage midway into the third quarter. Colucci drilled his third and final 3-pointer in the closing minutes of the quarter to help extend the Rams’ lead to 51-30 after the three.

Scarborough got a pleasant surprise in the fourth quarter when sophomore Kyle Kelley came off the bench and stuck a pair of 3-pointers from the exact same spot on the floor in the closing moments.

Kelley had six of the Red Storm’s 16 points in the final quarter. Sullivan added on basket and Moore scored six of his seven points in the fourth.

Scarborough got back on track Tuesday at Marshwood (winning 54-34 behind 23 points from Sullivan and 18 from Bean). The Red Storm shut down the 2009 portion of the schedule with a pair of tough home games against Westbrook Friday and Biddeford Wednesday of next week.

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