Scarborough girls keep rolling, surge late to beat Cheverus

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Scarborough junior Lindsey Kelley drives on Cheverus senior Kaylin Malmquist during the Red Storm’s 55-37 win Saturday afternoon. Kelley played a key role during a 12-0 Scarborough run in the fourth quarter.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 55 Cheverus 37

C- 12 12 4 9- 37
S- 15 10 8 22- 55

C- Poulin 3-0-9, Briggs 3-0-8, McElman 3-0-6, Malmquist 1-3-5, Tillotson 2-0-4, Cavallaro 1-0-3, Jordan 1-0-2

S- Malone 5-8-22, Glidden 3-8-14, Kelley 2-2-6, Couture 2-0-5, Freeman 2-0-4, Blanche 1-0-2, Ware 1-0-2

3-pointers:
C (6) Poulin 3, Briggs 2, Cavallaro 1
S (5) Malone 4, Couture 1

Turnovers:
C- 18
S- 12

Free throws
C: 3-4
S: 18-23

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team entered the 2016-17 season expecting to be good.

The Red Storm are now bordering on being great.

Saturday afternoon, Scarborough continued its dream season when it made the key plays at the key times to pull away and beat Cheverus at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Red Storm didn’t play their best in the first half, but behind three 3-pointers from senior Brooke Malone, enjoyed leads of 15-12 after one quarter and 25-24 at halftime.

Scarborough, sparked by junior Lindsey Kelley, then turned up the defensive intensity in the third period and extended their lead to 33-28, but when Stags junior sharpshooters Emme Poulin and Abby Cavallaro drained consecutive 3-pointers, the Red Storm clung to a 35-34 advantage with 5:47 left in regulation.

But then, Scarborough turned it up a notch and went on a game-sealing 12-0 run.

Down the stretch, the Red Storm made their free throws, never let Cheverus sniff a comeback and they closed the door on a 55-37 victory.

Malone led all scorers with 22 points, junior Sophie Glidden added 14 and Scarborough won its eighth game in a row, improved to 15-1 and in the process, dropped the Stags to 10-6.

“I didn’t expect to be 15-1 at this point, but what I’ve learned from the girls is that they have a will to win every time they step on the floor,” said Red Storm coach Mike Giordano.

Red Storm rising

Both teams are in the thick of the title hunt this year, but Scarborough has enjoyed more consistent success.

The Red Storm opened with a 55-44 win at Sanford, then downed visiting Windham (44-40), host Noble (56-30) and host Maine Girls’ Academy (45-32). After earning critical home victories over South Portland (46-40) and Thornton Academy (41-39), Scarborough rolled at Portland, 53-35, then was no match for visiting Gorham, the defending Class AA champion, 58-26. The Red Storm then started a new win streak, downing host Lewiston (54-45) and Westbrook (50-32), visiting Noble (64-18), host Bonny Eagle (44-41) and Massabesic (58-55), visiting Maine Girls’ Academy (54-40) and host Thornton Academy (45-31).

Cheverus opened with wins at Noble (53-38) and at home over Portland (63-32), then lost at home to Edward Little (37-34) and at Oxford Hills (52-44). The Stags returned to the win column, 61-39, at home over Sanford, then outlasted visiting Deering in an overtime thriller, 56-53. After a first-ever win at Maine Girls’ Academy (56-32), Cheverus won at Bangor (52-30) and Bonny Eagle (59-56) and at home over Windham (50-35). The Stags’ six-game streak was dashed at Lewiston, 43-41. After holding on for a dramatic 50-43 overtime home victory over Thornton Academy. Cheverus fell at South Portland, 51-44. After getting back on track with a 71-44 home win over Massabesic, the Stags lost at home to South Portland, 64-40, Wednesday.

Entering play Saturday, Scarborough held an 8-6 all-time edge over Cheverus (see sidebar, below), but the Stags had won four straight, including a 60-57 overtime decision last year in Portland.

This time, the Red Storm turned the tide.

A free throw from Kelley opened the scoring and Malone added a 3-pointer for a quick 4-0 lead.

Cheverus got on the board on a layup from senior Brooke McElman, but sophomore Josie Couture answered with a runner in the lane.

After McElman set up senior Ally Tillotson for a layup, Glidden countered with two free throws.

The Stags drew even on a pair of free throws from senior Kaylin Malmquist and a Malmquist left-handed bank shot, but Red Storm freshman Julia Freeman put her team back on top with a leaner.

After Cavallaro was called for her second foul with 1:10 to go in the first period, Cheverus went ahead on a 3 from senior Alayna Briggs, but Malone countered with a 3 of her own.

The Stags got a free throw from Malmquist, but with 15.3 seconds showing, senior Jillian Ware’s jumper gave Scarborough a 15-12 advantage after the first period.

In that frame, the Red Storm overcame seven turnovers and got six points from Malone. Malmquist led Cheverus with five.

The contest remained close in the second quarter.

After McElman opened the frame with a jumper, Glidden countered with two free throws, but a 3 from Poulin tied the score, 17-17.

Malone put Scarborough back on top with a 3-pointer, but freshman Lauren Jordan, who gave the Stags huge minutes off the bench in the first half, drove for a layup.

“Lauren swings and she attacks more on the JV level,” said Cheverus coach Steve Huntington. “In her varsity minutes, she keeps it simple and plays hard every second she’s out there. Hopefully that’s a message to some of the other kids. She did the simple things. She set screens, she rebounded, she’s fundamentally strong. She’s tough bringing the ball to the basket.”

A 3-ball from Couture put the Red Storm up four, but Cheverus roared back, as senior Brooke Dawson fed Briggs for a layup and Poulin drained an NBA-range 3 to give the Stags the lead.

With 14.3 seconds to go, Glidden was fouled on a drive, then hit both free throws to give Scarborough a slim 25-24 advantage at halftime.

In the first half, Malone led all scorers with nine points. Poulin paced the Stags with six.

In the third period, the Red Storm opened it up slightly.

After Malone started the second half with a free throw and Glidden was called for her third foul, Cheverus tied the score on a McElman layup, but with 4:03 to go in the third, Malone’s 3-pointer gave the hosts the lead for good, 29-26.

“I’ve worked so hard on my shooting,” Malone said. “Before the season started, I trained all the time. I was in the post the last couple years. I love being outside now.”

With 3:42 remaining, Malmquist set up Tillotson for a layup, but the Stags wouldn’t score again in the quarter.

Freeman set up freshman Madison Blanche for a layup and Freeman hit a leaner and making matters worse for the visitors, McElman was called for her third foul and Cavallaro picked up her fourth as Scarborough took a 33-28 advantage to the fourth period.

There, the Red Storm finally pulled away.

After Glidden scored on a putback, Poulin made a 3 with 6:35 to play, snapping a 5 minute, 7 second drought and cutting the deficit to 35-31.

Then, with 5:47 remaining, Cavallaro made a 3 for her first points of the game and the Stags were within one, but Glidden, Kelley and Malone weren’t about to let the Red Storm’s win slip away.

Eleven seconds later, Glidden was fouled after an offensive rebound and sank both free throws.

With 4:55 to play, Kelley fed Glidden for a layup to extend the lead back to five points, 39-34.

Cheverus couldn’t answer and Kelley stole the ball and made a layup and after Malone sank two free throws, Kelley made a tremendous play to keep possession, swooping in from nowhere to force the ball out of bounds off a defender, then seconds later, she scored on a putback for a commanding 45-34 advantage with 3:09 left.

“I always practice those things,” Kelley said. “I just wanted to go for it. I was happy she was standing there and the ball went off her foot. The adrenaline got me going.”

“Lindsey is a great defender,” Malone said. “That hustle play just sparked us.”

The Red Storm’s run hit 12 when Malone made two free throws with 2:17 left.

“We work on free throws every practice,” Malone said. “If we don’t make them in practice, we run. We don’t want to run, so it’s all focus.”

The Stags cut the deficit to 47-37 19 seconds later on a 3 from Briggs, but that’s as close as they would get.

Scarborough put the game away, as Malone made four straight free throws, Malone hit a layup, then Malone set up Glidden for a layup as the Red Storm prevailed, 55-37.

“You could feel the energy from the bench and the crowd,” Kelley said. “That support is really helpful. The more they get amped up, the more we get amped up. I knew we had potential, but this is more than amazing. It’s been so much fun. We work so hard in practice. Everyone pushes each other.”

“We played our hearts out,” said Malone. “We knew Cheverus would give us a run for our money and wouldn’t quit. We knew we couldn’t make mistakes. We had to take care of the ball. We had to do the simple things.”

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Giordano added. “You want the last one, the one that puts the exclamation point on the game. The 12-0 run was the difference. I like how we responded after they hit those two 3s. We were fresher in the fourth quarter. I think kids off the bench gave us great minutes, then our starters took care of the game in the fourth.”

Malone made four 3-pointers, five two-point baskets and sank eight free throws for a game-high 22 points. She also grabbed nine rebounds and added three steals.

Glidden had a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards.

Kelley finished with six points and three assists, but that only told part of her story.

“Lindsey gets us going defensively,” Giordano said. “She makes all the hustle plays. You need those kinds of kids who lift everybody up and she’s been doing that.”

Couture had five points, Freeman four and Blanche and Ware two apiece.

“We rely on everyone,” Kelley said. “Brooke and Sophie are two of our best shooters, but we rely on our whole team.”

Scarborough enjoyed a 35-27 rebounding advantage, forced 18 turnovers while only committing 12 (just four after the first quarter) and sank a very impressive 18 of 23 free throws.

“That’s crazy-good free throw shooting,” said Giordano. “It’s an important part of close games. Cheverus fouled our kids who were very comfortable going to line. Practice has paid off.”

Cheverus was led by Poulin, who had nine points. Briggs added eight and McElman finished with six (to go with five blocked shots).

“Brooke rebounded well,” said Huntington. “She changed some things for them attacking the basket. Her fouls changed the game a little bit.”

Malmquist had five points, Tillotson four, Cavallaro three and Jordan two.

The Stags were 3 of 4 from the free throw line.

“We didn’t give up,” Huntington said. “We were right there in a one-point game. Near the end, we had to press and foul. They’re a very good team. Mike does a great job for them. Everything seems to be working for them right now. They had kids come in and contribute.

“We need to start battling. When our offense isn’t good, it affects our defense. When our defense isn’t good, it affects our offense. We’re struggling to find good possessions at both ends right now on a consistent basis.” 

Tournament tune-ups

Each squad has just two games remaining to move up in the standings.

Cheverus (third in the Class AA North Heal Points standings) has the daunting challenge of going to Gorham Tuesday before closing at home versus surging Maine Girls’ Academy Thursday.

The Stags can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the region, but hope to get back on track before the playoffs start.

“I’m not that concerned because the kids are hungry,” Huntington said. “It won’t get any easier going to Gorham, but we’re still in a good spot. We’ll base our confidence on how hard we’re willing to play. It’s a little late for us to say we’re still working on it.”

Scarborough (third in Class AA South) hosts Deering Monday, then closes at home versus Bonny Eagle Thursday.

The Red Storm are battling South Portland for the No. 2 seed in the region, which comes with a bye into the semifinals, and if they win out, they should wind up in that spot.

Regardless of seed, Scarborough will be a handful for anyone to face in the postseason.

“At this point, it’s how you finish, not your seed,” said Kelley. “I feel really confident. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do. We just need to keep working as hard as we can.”

“I thought we’d be pretty good, but I don’t like to be overly confident,” Malone said. “We know we have to work our hearts out every game. Now we have a target on our backs. Nothing will come easy. I’d love to get a bye and play at the Civic Center. I’ve dreamed about that since I was in middle school. We have to push each other in practice like we always do. We harp on boxing out and getting the ball up the floor.”

“We’ll have to beat good teams in the tournament, so it doesn’t really matter where we’re seeded,” Giordano added. “It would be a privilege to see Gorham again. That would probably mean we’re in the regional final and who wouldn’t want to be there?”

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

Scarborough junior Sophie Glidden drives past Cheverus junior Emme Poulin as senior Brooke Dawson (2) also defends.

Scarborough sophomore Josie Couture drives on Cheverus senior Brooke McElman.

Scarborough senior Brooke Malone blocks the shot of Cheverus senior Kaylin Malmquist as Red Storm senior Jordyn Cowan defends.

Cheverus junior Michaela Jordan drives on Scarborough senior Jillian Ware.

Scarborough freshman Madison Blanche defends Cheverus junior Emme Poulin.

Scarborough sophomore Josie Couture has a shot defended by Cheverus junior Abby Cavallaro.

Cheverus senior Brooke McElman blocks the shot of Scarborough junior Sophie Glidden. 

Previous Scarborough-Cheverus meetings

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.