Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo goes up for two of his game-high 26 points in the Red Storm’s 61-35 win over Bonny Eagle in Tuesday’s Class AA South semifinal. Scarborough will face South Portland Friday in the first regional final in program history.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
BE- 5 14 10 6- 35
S- 17 11 14 19- 61
BE- Maturo 6-5-17, Sirois 3-3-10, Hendrix 3-2-8
S- Fiorillo 7-8-26, Lagerquist 3-6-12, Pratt 2-2-8, Seme 2-4-8, Austin 1-2-4, Kirk 1-1-3
BE (1) Sirois 1
S (6) Fiorillo 4, Pratt 2
PORTLAND—Scarborough High School has a rich athletic tradition and has banners trumpeting its glory all over its gymnasium, but the banner for boys’ basketball is absent a regional and a state championship.
Tuesday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena, the top-ranked Red Storm took another step toward rarefied basketball air when they got off to a fast start and went on to a decisive victory over fourth-seeded Bonny Eagle in a Class AA South semifinal.
Scarborough, behind sharpshooting junior Nick Fiorillo, raced to a 16-2 lead and held a 17-5 advantage after one quarter.
The Scots, thanks to sophomore Zach Maturo’s elusiveness and ability to finish in traffic, hung close in the second period and were only down by nine points, 28-19, at halftime.
The Red Storm then broke it open in the second half, taking a 42-29 lead to the fourth quarter where they ended all doubt and went on to an impressive 61-35 triumph.
Fiorillo led all scorers with 26 points and Scarborough improved to 16-4, ended Bonny Eagle’s season at 7-13 and advanced to meet No. 2 South Portland, the two-time defending regional champion, in the Class AA South Final Friday at 8:15 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.
It will be the Red Storm’s first-ever appearance in a regional final.
“We have the banner up in the gym with no numbers and our motivation all year is to put a number on it,” Fiorillo said.
Scarborough boys’ basketball program has taken it to a new level this winter.
The Red Storm overcame a 2-2 start and won 12 of their final 14 games, highlighted by a 69-66 home win over two-time defending Class AA champion Portland, to earn the top seed in the region for the first time.
Scarborough had no trouble with eighth-ranked Noble in a 71-31 quarterfinal round win last Tuesday and made the semifinals for the second year in a row (after failing to reach that round every year between 1987 and 2016).
Bonny Eagle finished fourth in Class AA South after a 6-12 campaign, then ousted No. 5 Gorham, 47-33, in its quarterfinal last week.
On Dec. 15, the Red Storm beat the host Scots, 52-34, behind 24 points from Fiorillo.
The teams split two prior playoff meetings, with Scarborough’s 51-30 victory in last year’s Class AA South quarterfinals the most recent.
Tuesday, the Red Storm started fast and took care of business like a top seed should.
A Fiorillo jumper 15 seconds in set the tone and put Scarborough on top to stay.
After senior Jaquan Seme set up junior Paul Kirk for a layup, Seme made two free throws and Fiorillo canned a 3-pointer with 4:41 to go in the opening stanza for a 9-0 lead, forcing Bonny Eagle coach Mike Francoeur to call timeout.
The Scots got on the board when senior Connor Sirois set up junior William Hendrix for a layup 18 seconds later, but the Red Storm got a putback from senior Reece Lagerquist, a layup after a steal from Seme and a 3 from senior Morgan Pratt to go up, 16-2, and threaten to run away.
“I think we started strong, which is a must down here,” said Scarborough coach Phil Conley.
An old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) from Sirois momentarily stemmed the uprising and a free throw from Lagerquist gave Scarborough a 17-5 lead after eight minutes.
Bonny Eagle settled down in the second period, but couldn’t make a serious run.
Sirois opened the frame with a runner and after Kirk made a free throw, Maturo scored his first points on a bank shot.
After Pratt hit another 3, Maturo made two foul shots.
The back-and-forth continued, as Fiorillo made a pair of free throws before Sirois set up Hendrix for another layup.
Lagerquist made a free throw for the Red Storm, but a pair of Maturo foul shots followed by a Maturo layup brought the Scots within seven, 24-17.
Late in the half, Lagerquist set up Fiorillo for a layup and after Maturo hit a leaner, Pratt fed Lagerquist for a layup and a 28-19 advantage at the break.
In the first half, Fiorillo paced Scarborough with nine points, while Maturo led all scorers with 10.
The Red Storm would tighten up defensively in the third quarter and began to pull away.
After Maturo started the second half with another driving layup, Fiorillo hit a 3, Lagerquist hit two free throws and Fiorillo scored on a putback to make it 35-21.
Maturo countered with a layup in traffic, then Sirois hit a 3 and Maturo made a runner, but 35-28 was as close as Bonny Eagle would get.
Fiorillo made two free throws, sank two more, Lagerquist added a foul shot, sophomore Brian Austin made a pair and after Maturo countered with one free throw, Scarborough took a 42-29 lead to the fourth quarter.
Where it ended all doubt.
Fiorillo opened the final stanza with a 3 and after a Hendrix layup, Lagerquist converted a three-point play for a 48-31 lead with 5:13 to go.
Hendrix answered with two free throws, but Seme made a pair, Fiorillo did the same, Pratt hit two free throws, Seme made a reverse layup after a pretty stop-and-go move, Austin banked in a shot and with 2:12 to go, Fiorillo buried a 3 for his final points, stretching the lead to 61-33.
Two Sirois foul shots with 1:47 to go accounted for the 61-35 final score.
“Bonny Eagle is a great team and they have a great player in Maturo,” Seme said. “We couldn’t overlook them. We came in and did what we needed to do.”
“A fast start was very important,” Fiorillo said. “It got us up and got them down a little bit. We rode that momentum. Bonny Eagle had a hard time with our press. We rode that wave and our offense worked both inside and out.”
“It means a lot to me to get these guys to a regional final,” Conley added. “I know how hard they’ve worked. They’ve bought in to my system. I’m glad for the school and the program. We have good kids coming up too.
“This was a complete game for us, first and second half. Defensively, we played very well. Offensively, we got the ball inside and took advantage of our height. In order for our bigs to score, our guards have to do their jobs out front and they did. We tried to attack where their weakness was inside. Pratt and Seme did a great job feeding the post.
“We played strong defensively. Maturo will get his. He’s a very good player. He can shoot it and take it off the dribble. We tried to limit his paint touches in the second half.”
Fiorillo led the charge with 26 points and eight rebounds.
“Last year’s game here wasn’t very pretty, but this year I tried not to think about it,” Fiorillo said. “We shot pretty well. Now we’re used to it.”
“Nick played one heck of a game,” Conley said. “Inside, outside. He’s also a good passer, as you saw tonight.”
Lagerquist had a solid game as well, producing 12 points and six rebounds. Pratt (five rebounds, two steals) and Seme (five assists, three steals) added eight points apiece, Austin had four and Kirk finished with three.
The Red Storm had a 31-19 rebounding advantage, only turned the ball over seven times and sank 23 of 27 free throws.
Bonny Eagle only had three players score, as Maturo led the way with 17 points, Sirois added 10 and Hendrix finished with eight, to go with six rebounds.
The Scots were 10 of 14 from the line and turned the ball over 14 times.
Scarborough hasn’t been able to solve South Portland in recent years, but will have another chance to do so Friday on the big stage.
The Red Riots won the regular season meeting, 60-46, Dec. 19 in South Portland. Seme missed that game with injury and some key Red Riots who played then are unavailable now due to injuries of their own.
The teams met just once previously in the playoffs, a 78-53 win for South Portland in last year’s semifinals.
This time around, Scarborough has a chance to do something historic.
“This is huge for our program,” Seme said. “It feels great to finally get (to a regional final), but we still have more work to do. We have to keep pushing each other and make each other better.”
“This whole year we’ve worked on trying to be the first team to get to the regional final and we know that South Portland is obviously a very good team,” Fiorillo said.
“We lost to them back in the second week of the season,” added Conley, the former South Portland coach. “We’re a strong team and we know they’re a strong team. We’ll work hard to prepare. We’ll have to play our best to win.”
Scarborough senior Morgan Pratt is defended by Bonny Eagle sophomore Zach Maturo.
Scarborough senior Reece Lagerquist snares a rebound.
Scarborough sophomore Brian Austin shoots over Bonny Eagle senior Casey Maturo.
Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme soars for a shot.
Scarborough senior Nick Fiorillo is fouled by Bonny Eagle junior William Hendrix.
Scarborough senior Morgan Pratt is congratulated by junior Paul Kirk during the victory.
2017 Class AA South quarterfinal
Scarborough 51 Bonny Eagle 30
2013 Western A quarterfinal
Bonny Eagle 48 Scarborough 32