Scarborough girls hold on for key win at Cheverus

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Scarborough senior Sophie Glidden goes up for a shot over Cheverus junior Meg Kelly during the Red Storm’s 50-48 victory Friday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 50 Cheverus 48

S- 14 17 10 9- 50
C- 10 16 10 12- 48

S- Blanche 2-6-12, Couture 4-1-11, Glidden 4-1-10, Freeman 4-0-9, Dickinson 1-2-5, Conley 1-0-2, Kelley 0-1-1

C- Cavallaro 6-1-18, Poulin 4-0-10, Kane 3-2-8, Kelly 3-1-8, M. Jordan 2-0-4

3-pointers:
S (7) Blanche, Couture 2, Dickinson, Freeman, Glidden 1
C (8) Cavallaro 5, Poulin 2, Kelly 1

Turnovers:
S- 16
C- 11

Free throws
S- 11-18
C- 4-7

PORTLAND—Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team didn’t get off to the fast start it hoped for this winter, but Friday evening at Keegan Gymnasium, the Red Storm earned their first statement victory of the season and as a result, all signs suggest that the best is yet to come.

Facing Cheverus in an entertaining midseason contest, Scarborough rode early 3-point shots from senior Sophie Glidden and junior Josie Couture to a 14-10 lead after one quarter.

The Stags then heated up in the second period, as they capped a 16-2 run with a 3-ball from senior standout Abby Cavallaro to go up by seven, but the Red Storm had the last laugh in the half, scoring the final dozen points, capped by a pair of free throws from sophomore Madison Blanche, to lead, 31-26 at the break.

Little changed in a competitive third period which ended 41-36 Scarborough, but Cheverus would roar back in the fourth quarter, taking the lead when Cavallaro drained a 3, then hit a jumper with 1:15 to go to make it 48-47.

Scarborough wasn’t about to let the game slip away, however, as Blanche made two clutch foul shots with 26 seconds to go and after a Blanche blocked shot and a Stags’ miss, Glidden clinched the victory with a free throw with 1.5 seconds left and the Red Storm earned a pivotal 50-48 victory.

Blanche led a balanced attack with 12 points, Couture had 11 and Glidden added 10 as Scarborough improved to 5-3 on the season and dropped Cheverus to 4-4 in the process.

“It’s a nice win against a really good team,” said Red Storm coach Mike Giordano. “The kids didn’t cave at the end. They built a lead, but we came back. This is a huge confidence builder.”  

Win number five

Each team entered Friday’s contest having won four of seven games, although they went about it differently.

Scarborough started with wins at Sanford (63-23) and at home over Falmouth (46-33) before stumbling at home to Bonny Eagle (45-34) and South Portland (40-32) and at two-time defending Class AA champion Gorham (67-53). The Red Storm then prevailed at Edward Little, 41-18, and Noble, 57-43, to give Giordano his 250th career victory.

Cheverus, under new coach Gary Fifield, the legendary former leader of the University of Southern Maine women’s program, opened with losses at Windham (46-43) and South Portland (49-31). After a 57-45 home victory over Edward Little and a 47-44 home win over Bonny Eagle, the Stags fell at Lewiston, 32-26, before bouncing back to defeat host Bangor (48-35) and visiting Thornton Academy (58-43).

Entering play Friday, Scarborough held an 9-6 all-time edge over Cheverus (see sidebar, below), including last year’s 55-37 home win which snapped a four-game Stags’ win streak in the series.

This time around, the Red Storm prevailed again, on Cheverus’ home floor.

Scarborough broke the ice just four seconds in, when after winning the opening tip, sophomore Bella Dickinson was fouled on a drive to the basket and made one of two free throws.

After Couture added a layup, the Stags got on the board when Cavallaro sank a 3.

The Red Storm bounced right back, as Glidden and Couture sank 3-pointers for a 9-3 advantage, but Cheverus junior Meg Kelly set up senior Emme Poulin for a layup, senior Kat Kane, who produced big minutes off the bench, made two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound, and Cavallaro added a foul shot to cut the deficit to 9-8.

Scarborough responded, as sophomore Julia Freeman hit a runner and Blanche sank a 3. In the waning seconds, Kane scored on a putback, but the Red Storm took a 14-10 lead to the second quarter.

When Couture banked home a 3 to start the frame, the visitors went up by seven, but Cheverus roared to life and went on a 16-2 run.

A 3 from Poulin got things started. Then next time down, in transition, Cavallaro fed Poulin for another 3 and with 5:33 left in the half, Kelly sank a 3 to put the Stags ahead.

Kane added a putback, forcing Giordano to call timeout. Freeman ended the surge with a jumper, but Poulin countered with a layup and Cavallaro hit a 3 for a 26-19 lead.

Scarborough then controlled the rest of the half, closing on a 12-0 run, as sophomore Bella Dickinson sank a 3 from the corner, Freeman made a corner 3, Glidden put home a miss, Freeman made a layup after a steal and Blanche added two free throws to make it 31-26 Red Storm at halftime.

In the first half, Freeman had nine points and Couture added eight to help Scarborough hold the lead.

The third period would be closely contested as well.

A 3-ball from Cavallaro got things started, but senior Lindsey Kelley countered with a free throw and Couture drove for a layup to stretch the Red Storm’s lead to 34-29.

After senior Michaela Jordan hit a jumper for the hosts, Glidden scored on a putback.

Cavallaro then set up Jordan for a layup off an inbounds set, but Couture made a free throw and freshman Kayla Conley added a jumper. After Kelly made a free throw for Cheverus, Blanche hit two for Scarborough before Kane made a late layup to pull the Stags within 41-36 heading for the final stanza.

There, Cheverus would catch up, but ultimately, the Red Storm made the biggest plays at the biggest times.

A Glidden putback started the frame, but Cavallaro answered with a 3 to cut the deficit to 43-39 with 5:26 to go.

After Dickinson made a free throw, Kelly made a layup to make the score 44-41 with 4:45 on the clock.

Blanche countered with a 3, but Kelly scored on a putback and Cavallaro sank a 3 with 2:32 remaining to pull the Stags within one, 47-46.

Then, with 1:15 to go, Cavallaro hit a jumper and Cheverus had its first lead of the second half, 48-47.

Couture then missed a chance to put Scarborough back on top.

After a Freeman steal, Couture missed again and Dickinson did as well, but Blanche kept possession alive, grabbing an offensive rebound and drawing a foul with 26 seconds on the clock.

Blanche then went to the line and got the first free throw to rattle home before sinking the second for a 49-48 advantage.

“I was just thinking about practice where we shoot a ton of foul shots,” Blanche said. “I just focused and locked in. The first one going in helped. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. I didn’t think too much.”

Fifield called timeout hoping to design a play for the Stags to retake the lead.

Cavallaro then drove to the basket, but had her shot blocked out of bounds by Blanche.

“We really locked down on defense and stayed together as a team,” Blanche said. “I’ve blocked some shots. I don’t know how I do it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I just went for the ball.”

Cheverus kept possession and Cavallaro inbounded the ball to Kelly on the right wing. Kelly had a good look at the basket and the shot appeared promising, but it rimmed out and with 1.5 seconds to go, Glidden got the rebound and was fouled.

“They have very good shooters,” Glidden said. “I saw it bounce off and I just tried to get it. I knew I had to get the rebound and I held on to it tightly.”

“You pick your poison against them,” Giordano said. “They had a good look, but thankfully it didn’t go in.”

Glidden made her first free throw and missed the second, but Cavallaro’s prayer from three-quarters court as time expired was well short and Scarborough held on to prevail, 50-48.

“We were playing from behind and we got a steal, my sophomore point guard made a huge 3, two huge free throws and had a big block,” Giordano said. “We’re growing up. We got off to a slower start than we were hoping against a tough schedule. We’re capable of going on runs. I love the way the kids shoot the ball from the perimeter.”  

Blanche finished with a team-high 12 points and also grabbed five rebounds, had three assists and grabbed a steal and blocked a shot.

“Madison has grown up so much,” Giordano said. “She doesn’t come off the floor much. She has a great motor. I see her growing from game to game, offensively and tonight, I put her on their best player and she did a good job.” 

Couture added 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Glidden had 10 points (and seven boards), Freeman nine, Dickinson five, Conley two and Kelley one.

The Red Storm had a 31-23 rebounding advantage, overcame 16 turnovers and sank 11 of 18 free throws.

Cheverus was led by Cavallaro’s 18 points and eight steals. Poulin had 10 points, Kane (six rebounds) and Kelly eight apiece and Jordan four.

The Stags hit 4 of 7 free throws and turned the ball over 11 times.

“It had to be an entertaining, fun game to watch,” Fifield said. “It was a great chess match. Mike and I went back and forth, but we had too many turnovers and got in foul trouble. We just don’t have the depth. The kids played hard and executed, but we had too many turnovers and mental mistakes. We don’t have size and we’re not that quick. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. They took 3s and beat us to long rebounds. We couldn’t get to the free throw line. The bottom line is when we went to the hole, we didn’t get contact. And when they did, we reached. That was a big issue.”

Next up

Cheverus looks to bounce back when it has a key showdown Tuesday when Gorham pays a visit. The Stags then go to Deering and Massabesic.

“I think we’re getting better and better,” Fifield said. “Every one of our games has been like this, so it’s hard to develop depth. I don’t understand our schedule. If you look at our schedule, we have 18 AA games and no A games. We’ll be battle-tested, but it’s tough. I think the kids are learning and they’re having fun. I have fun at times. We have to learn how to take care of the ball and rebound better.”

Scarborough, meanwhile, is also back in action Tuesday when Deering pays a visit. The Red Storm then host Windham and Biddeford.

“This brings us together as a team and gets our momentum going,” Blanche said. “We didn’t start off the season how we wanted, but we have to keep working hard.”

“We had a losing record to start the season, so we’re trying to win the rest of our games,” Glidden said. “We know we have to shoot well. Our defense needs to get better. We’ve had some good moments, but we can still improve.”

“We’ll build on this going into Deering,” Giordano said. “We can score, we just have to be consistent on defense. If we can do that, I think we have a great chance.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough sophomore Madison Blanche keeps the ball away from Cheverus senior Abby Cavallaro. Blanche had the game-winning free throws.

Scarborough sophomore Julia Freeman lines up a long shot.

Cheverus sophomore Lauren Jordan and Scarborough senior Sophie Glidden battle for a rebound.

Cheverus senior Emme Poulin dribbles the ball as Scarborough sophomore Julia Freeman defends.

Cheverus junior Meg Kelly goes up for a shot.

Cheverus senior Kat Kane, who had a strong game off the bench, shoots over Scarborough sophomore Bella Dickinson.

Scarborough sophomore Bella Dickinson tries to knock the ball away from Cheverus senior Michaela Jordan.

Previous Scarborough-Cheverus meetings

2016-17
@ Scarborough 55 Cheverus 36

2015-16
@ Cheverus 60 Scarborough 57 (OT) 

2014-15
@ Cheverus 55 Scarborough 41 

2013-14
Cheverus 50 @ Scarborough 41 

2012-13
Cheverus 58 @ Scarborough 57 (3 OT) 

2011-12
Scarborough 48 @ Cheverus 36
Western A quarterfinal 
Scarborough 39 Cheverus 35

2010-11
Cheverus 49 @ Scarborough 35

2009-10
Scarborough 56 @ Cheverus 40

2008-09
@ Scarborough 64 Cheverus 17

2007-08
Scarborough 40 @ Cheverus 31

2006-07
Scarborough 53 @ Cheverus 42

2005-06
Cheverus 51 @ Scarborough 48

2004-05
Scarborough 46 @ Cheverus 40

2003-04
@ Scarborough 56 Cheverus 50

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.