Scarborough girls hold off Bonny Eagle, punch ticket to regional final

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Scarborough senior Josie Couture and Bonny Eagle’s Samantha Averill battle for the ball during the Red Storm’s 48-40 win in Tuesday’s Class AA South semifinal. Scarborough advanced to meet two-time defending state champion Gorham in Friday’s regional final.

Ben McCanna photos.

More photos below.

PORTLAND—Yes it got close, probably too close for Scarborough girls’ basketball coach Mike Giordano.

But the second-seeded Red Storm dug in defensively and hit foul shots at the end to hold off third-seeded Bonny Eagle, 48-40, Tuesday morning in a Class AA South semifinal at Cross Insurance Arena.

In winning its 15th consecutive game, Scarborough went 6 for 6 at the foul line in the final 43 seconds. In fact, the Red Storm did not miss a free throw all game, going 11 for 11.

“We work on it,” Giordano said of his team’s foul shooting. “The kids understand the importance. Close games are going to come down to making free throws. That’s what’s going to win you big games.”

Scarborough (17-3) will play two-time defending state champion Gorham in the regional final at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the CIA. The fifth-seeded Rams were the last team to beat Scarborough, 66-53 back on Dec. 22.

“We’ve been working toward this all year,” said Scarborough senior forward Sophie Glidden, who led the Red Storm with 17 points. “Going into the season, we made it a goal to be in this position. Last year we lost in (the semifinals), so I think it that gave us more motivation. We’re very excited to be in this position.”

Scarborough never trailed, scoring the game’s first seven points and holding a comfortable lead for much of the game. But Bonny Eagle (14-6) went on a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter and pulled within 42-40 when Samantha Averill (14 points) hit two foul shots with 1:20 remaining.

The Scots had a chance to tie the game, but missed a shot. Then, Madison Blanche hit two foul shots and Julia Freeman made four as Scarborough held on.

“Unfortunately we didn’t do it soon enough,” said Bonny Eagle coach Scott Regan. “Tip your hat to Scarborough. They were a much better team tonight. They did a great job.”

Scarborough’s defense was a huge factor early on, not allowing Bonny Eagle many good looks. The Red Storm also came out fast on offense.

Bella Dickinson hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to open the scoring, then made a foul-line jumper. Glidden scored on fast-break layup, and it was 7-0, forcing a Bonny Eagle timeout.

“I think the first team that settles in down here has the advantage,” said Giordano. “And obviously we hit a couple of shots early and settled in. That got us going.”

The lead was 28-18 at halftime and 35-27 entering the fourth quarter.

It was 42-30 with 4:17 left after Glidden scored a three-point play, getting the basket on a nice pass from Freeman.

Then Bonny Eagle fought back. After a Mia Ferrante basket, the Scots forced three consecutive turnovers, scoring after each one – a follow basket by Deirdre Sanborn, a jumper by Averill and a floater by Taylor Johnson. When Averill hit two foul shots, it was suddenly 42-40 with 1:20 remaining.

The Scots got the ball back but missed, with Blanche grabbing the defensive rebound. She was fouled and hit both free throws. Another miss was rebounded by Freeman, who was fouled with 33.1 seconds left and made two more free throws. After another Scots miss, Freeman again was fouled and was perfect at the line.

“Nerves were definitely setting in,” said Freeman, who scored 13 points. “It’s always a little nerve-wracking to play (here). But when we locked down on defense and all worked together hitting our free throws, (and) the nerves settled down.”

Gorham beat Scarborough in both prior playoff meetings, but the most recent came in the 1999 Western B Final (62-53).

Scarborough senior Sophie Glidden drives to the basket. Glidden led all scorers with 17 points.

Scarborough’s Julia Freeman is called for a charge on Bonny Eagle’s Mackenzie Emery.