Scarborough senior Morgan Pratt drains a 3-pointer as his teammates cheer him on during the Red Storm’s 69-66 upset win over Portland Saturday. Pratt had 18 points in the victory over the two-time defending Class AA state champions.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
P- 17 9 25 15- 66
S- 11 27 9 22- 69
P- Moss 8-2-19, Chadbourne 6-0-16, Fonseca 4-1-9, Yugu 3-1-8, Bellew 2-3-7, Foley 3-0-7
S- Fiorillo 9-3-26, Pratt 4-7-18, B. Austin 6-0-15, Lagerquist 2-1-5, Gobeil 1-1-3, Seme 0-2-2
P (7) Chadbourne 4, Foley, Moss, Yugu 1
S (11) Fiorillo 5, B. Austin, Pratt 3
SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough High School’s boys’ athletic teams have enjoyed a lot of success over the years.
An abundance of success in fact.
However, one team, boys’ basketball, hasn’t been able to go along for the joyride, but that appears to be changing.
Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium, in one of the most entertaining, palpitating and nervewracking games of this or any other season, the Red Storm measured themselves against the state’s gold standard, two-time defending Class AA champion Portland, and Scarborough emerged with flying colors.
And with a great deal of confidence and Heal Points in tow.
The Red Storm, who started 0-10 in 2016-17, but have come to life this winter under second-year coach Phil Conley, fell behind the powerhouse Bulldogs, 17-7, in the first quarter, but unlike so many of Portland’s other foes in recent years, Scarborough refused to buckle and roared back in emphatic fashion.
Junior sharpshooter and captain Nick Fiorillo’s 3-pointer late in the first period opened the floodgates and the Red Storm eventually went on a jawdropping 31-5 run behind a flurry of 3s off the hands of Fiorillo, senior captain Morgan Pratt and sophomore reserve extraordinaire Brian Austin.
Scarborough took a 38-26 advantage to halftime, but to the surprise of no one, the Bulldogs roared back with a vengeance in the third quarter, producing a spectacular 23-4 run of their own, sparked by the shooting of junior Simon Chadbourne, the rebounding dominance of junior Pedro Fonseca and the leadership of seniors Griffin Foley and Terion Moss, who became just the third player in Portland’s storied history to eclipse the 1,000-point scoring mark.
By the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs had a 51-47 lead and threatened to pull away, but again, the Red Storm dug deep and it became clear that this one was going down to the wire.
The fourth period featured three ties and seven lead changes and the contest wouldn’t be decided until the final horn sounded.
With 2:23 to go, Fiorillo hit a 3 to give Scarborough a 62-60 lead and the Red Storm eventually went up by four, 65-61, but with 35.9 seconds left, Chadbourne made a layup to tie the score for the final time, 66-66.
Then, with 11.6 seconds on the clock, Pratt was fouled and he calmly made both free throws to put his team ahead to stay.
Moss tried to answer, but he was called for a charge on Austin and Scarborough was on the brink of victory.
Pratt made a free throw with 2.8 seconds to go, but he missed the second attempt, giving the Bulldogs a chance for a prayer 3-pointer to force overtime, but Foley’s long bid rattled off the backboard and the Red Storm had one of the biggest victories in program history, 69-66.
Fiorillo led all scorers with 24 points, Pratt added 18 and Austin had 15 as Scarborough improved to 10-3, beat Portland in Scarborough for the first time ever and in the process, ended the Bulldogs’ 15-game win streak and dropped them to 11-1 on the season.
“It means a lot to beat Portland,” said Conley. “They’re such a great program. I’m really proud of my kids. They never gave up. We jumped out to a pretty good lead, then Portland came back like I knew they would. They’re the top team in the state for a reason, but I like how my kids responded.”
Portland has been close to unbeatable the past four years and the Bulldogs are prohibitive title favorites again this winter.
Portland started with impressive victories over visiting Noble (101-43), host Windham (61-44), visiting Oxford Hills (66-50) and visiting Massabesic (86-43). After downing visiting Deering (53-34), Portland beat visiting Gorham (73-52), held on for a 78-70 victory at Edward Little, then rolled at Sanford (82-54). After downing visiting South Portland in a state game rematch, 62-53, the Bulldogs handled host Lewiston (80-48) and Cheverus (59-37).
Scarborough has put together a superb season as well. The Red Storm opened with a 76-46 home win over Sanford, then lost at Falmouth (54-50). After a 52-34 win at Bonny Eagle, Scarborough fell at South Portland (60-46). The Red Storm then caught fire, downing host Gorham in overtime (60-54), visiting Edward Little (61-56), Noble (83-35) and Cheverus (55-50), visiting Deering in overtime (58-53) and visiting Gorham (56-50). The Red Storm’s six-game win streak ended Monday with a 68-39 loss at Biddeford, but Friday, Scarborough downed visiting Massabesic, 61-45.
Last year, the Bulldogs had no trouble with the visiting Red Storm, 67-38, to improve to 13-1 all-time in the series.
Saturday, Scarborough managed to beat Portland for first time since a 58-45 victory Jan. 28, 2010 in Portland, but it took all of 1,920 riveting seconds to do so.
The Red Storm got off to a good start when Fiorillo set up junior Tyler Gobeil for a layup, but Portland senior Manny Yugu banked home a 3-pointer.
Fiorillo made a jumper, but junior Trey Bellew countered with a putback to put the Bulldogs back on top.
With 5:13 to go, Pratt sank a 3, but the next dozen points would go to Portland.
Moss took a pass from Foley and made a layup to get things started, then he hit a 3. Chadbourne added a 3, then after a Moss steal, Chadbourne made a layup and Moss added another layup for a seemingly safe 17-7 advantage.
But the Red Storm would rise off the canvas and seize control of the game.
A Gobeil free throw ended the 12-0 run and a Fiorillo 3 made it 17-11 after one period.
Scarborough then put up 27 points in a stunning second period surge to grab a double digit lead.
Austin first made his presence felt 10 seconds into the second quarter with a 3-pointer and Fiorillo took a pass from senior Reece Lagerquist and made a layup before a Pratt 3 put the Red Storm on top.
With 6:11 left in the half, Moss made history when his floater rolled in, giving him career points number 1,000 and 1,001.
Moss became just the third Bulldog to ever reach that lofty plateau, joining Robert Pillsbury (1,229) and Rocco Toppi (1,006).
“Not only did Terion score 1,000 points, but his whole career, he’s put the team first,” said longtime Portland coach Joe Russo. “He rebounds, gets assists. To do that and achieve 1,000 points is an incredible accomplishment. He belongs on the list of our best players.”
That historic basket proved to be a mere footnote, however, based on what came next.
The rest of the half belonged to Scarborough, which went back on top on a driving layup from Fiorillo, then, after Foley set up Bellew for a layup, the Red Storm got a runner in the lane from Austin, a jumper from Austin, a putback from Austin and 3s from Fiorillo and Pratt to take a 33-21 advantage with 1:55 left in the half.
Yugu made a free throw to momentarily stop the bleeding, but off a press break, Lagerquist set up Fiorillo for a layup and with 1:06 to go, Austin made another 3 for a 38-22 lead, capping a staggering 31-5 run.
“For Brian to step up was huge,” Fiorillo said. “We just got it rolling. It was one of those days we had it going. We were able to execute.”
“It was just contagious shooting,” said Pratt. “We’ve done that all year. We’ve been in tough spots, but we’ve come back.”
Portland would get a little momentum back late in the half, as Moss made a layup after a steal and off an inbounds set, Foley passed to Yugu for a layup, making it 38-26 heading to the break.
In the first half, Fiorillo led all scorers with 14 points and Austin added 12. Moss paced the Bulldogs with 11.
When Fiorillo opened the second half with a 3 pointer, it appeared it would be more of the same for the Red Storm, but instead, proud Portland roared to life and in less than six minutes, erased a 15-point deficit.
The comeback started courtesy Foley, who hit a leaner, then buried a 3.
Moss then fed Yugu for a layup and while Austin answered with a 3, 16 of the next 17 points went to the Bulldogs.
Moss set up Fonseca for a layup and after Bellew grabbed an offensive rebound, he passed to Chadbourne for a 3 to cut the deficit to 44-38.
After Moss and Lagerquist traded free throws, Moss stole the ball and made a layup, Foley set up Fonseca for a layup and he was fouled on the play. Fonseca then added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.
With 1:59 left in the third, Portland completed the comeback, as Moss sent a gorgeous half-court bounce back to Fonseca on the fly for a layup and a 46-45 lead.
“You can only hold their scorers down so long,” Conley said. “Terion Moss is one of the best players in the state.”
Then, after Moss kept possession alive with an offensive rebound, he set up Chadbourne for a 3.
Scarborough got two points back on a pair of free throws from Pratt, but with 12.9 seconds to go, Fonseca’s jumper capped a 25-6 surge and gave the Bulldogs a 51-47 advantage heading to the final stanza.
And the fun was just beginning.
Just 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, Fiorillo announced that the Red Storm weren’t going anywhere, as he canned a 3.
Bellew countered with a free throw, but with 6:20 to play, Fiorillo was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and he sank both attempts to tie it, 52-52.
Twenty-two seconds later, Bellew put Portland back up by two with a pair of foul shots, but Fiorillo threw a long pass to Pratt, who banked home a shot to make it a new game again, 54-54, with 5:55 on the clock.
After Austin and Moss each missed 3s, Scarborough went back on top with 4:48 to play, as Fiorillo made a free throw, but Moss drove for a layup to give the Bulldogs a one-point edge.
With 4:03 to play, Fiorillo, who had gotten so many perfect passes from Lagerquist, returned the favor and Lagerquist made a layup, but after Chadbourne missed a shot at one end, Bellew blocked a shot at the other and with 3:06 remaining, Foley bulled in for a layup and a 58-57 Portland lead.
The back and forth continued, as Red Storm senior captain Jaquan Seme, who did yeoman’s work trying to slow Moss, was fouled and hit two free throws, but with 2:37 remaining, Moss defied gravity, hung in the air and banked home a shot for 60-59 Bulldogs’ advantage.
That set the stage for the biggest shot yet of Fiorillo’s young life.
With 2:23 on the clock, Fiorillo got the ball up top and despite being hounded by Fonseca, the junior elevated and buried a 3 for a 62-60 lead.
“I want the ball,” said Fiorillo. “I do what I can to help the team win.”
“Fiorillo is a tough matchup,” Russo said. “He’s a good player. He hit a big 3. We knew it was coming. Pedro was right there, but he let him get the ball. Pedro is 5-9 and he shot over him. We thought about putting Trey on him for more arm length, but we didn’t. They’re like anyone else in our league, if you leave them open, they can make shots.”
Moss got a point back at the line, but Pratt set up Lagerquist for a pretty reverse layup and with 1:22 to go, Pratt made a free throw to extend the advantage to four, 65-61.
Portland, again, answered, as Chadbourne hit a cold-blooded 3-pointer with 1:12 to play and after Pratt made a free throw with 46.5 seconds on the clock, Moss passed to Chadbourne for a backdoor layup with 35.9 seconds to play and the game was tied for the final time, 66-66.
The Red Storm appeared primed to run down the clock and play for the last shot, but with 11.6 seconds left, Pratt was fouled by Moss and went to the line.
Pratt calmly sank the first free throw, then hit the second to give Scarborough a two-point lead.
“I was thinking it was just like practice,” Pratt. “I’d missed a couple, which I’ll try and fix, but I had to stay calm in my head.”
“(Morgan’s) my free throw buddy in practice,” Fiorillo said. “He’s pretty good. He can hit them.”
The Bulldogs had the opportunity to tie or even go ahead, but in the defensive play of the game and of the season so far for the Red Storm, Austin got in the way of a driving Moss and took a charge with 3.4 seconds to play, giving the ball back to Scarborough.
“That was a huge charge by Brian,” Conley said. “We preach stepping in and he took it.”
“We had a few options there, but the ball was definitely going to be in (Terion’s) hands,” Russo said. “We might as well go down fighting with our best player. It’s good for him. He’s a darn good player. Now he has something to challenge himself with and work on.”
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Pratt was fouled immediately and with 2.8 seconds remaining, he went to the line with a chance to ice it.
Pratt made the first free throw, but when he missed the second, there was still a sliver of hope for Portland, which got the ball to Foley and from beyond halfcourt, Foley threw up a prayer at the horn.
It wasn’t answered.
The ball rattled high off the backboard and at 3:02 p.m., the Red Storm celebrated their 69-66 victory.
“We knew coming in that they were undefeated, but we felt strong in our game plan and we felt we matched up well,” Pratt said. “We didn’t want to lose at home. This year, we don’t feel there’s anyone who can beat us. We knew going into the second half, they’d come out tough. They’re one of the best teams in the state. We had to buckle down, play good defense and get good shots on offense. We trusted in our press-breaker, trusted in Coach, made our free throws and played good basketball when we had to. This is a huge win for us.”
“It was awesome, a lot of fun,” said Fiorillo. “This is obviously a big win for us, but we believe we can play with anybody in the state. We came in with that mindset and played loose. Coach stressed not having the mindset that Portland was the best team. Our momentum, along with the crowd, got us going. Our mental toughness kicked in and we were able to pull it out.”
“The kids executed the game plan tonight,” Conley added. “We talk about being mentally tough in all phases of the game and they did a good job. When Portland got up, defensively we clamped down. We lost a tough one at Biddeford. The guys didn’t like how that went and they practiced hard all week to get ready for Portland.”
Fiorillo led all scorers with 26 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.
“Nick is a top player in the state,” Conley said. “He works so hard. He made huge shots all night. I’m happy for him.”
Pratt, who suffered a scary injury Friday night, was the embodiment of a captain, not only scoring 18 clutch points, but also adding five rebounds and four assists.
“Morgan’s a great leader,” Conley said. “He got 10 stitches last night. Portland pressures you and he handled the pressure well and ran our offense to a T. He made 7 of 10 free throws late, which was huge.”
Austin continued his stellar season with 15 points.
“Brian hit huge 3s in the first half,” Conley said.
Lagerquist had five points, but more importantly, contributed eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
“Reece is a senior leader who has been in big games with football,” Conley said. “We have a lot of those guys.”
Gobeil finished with three points and Seme had two.
Despite the talent of its foe and the pressure of the game, Scarborough only turned the ball over 10 times. The Red Storm sank 14 of 22 free throws.
Portland showed its champion’s heart time and again and fell just short.
Moss led the way with 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Chadbourne had 16 points, Fonseca nine (to go with nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots), Yugu eight, Bellew seven (to go with nine boards and five blocks) and Foley seven (to go with six assists and four rebounds).
The Bulldogs had a 34-29 rebounding advantage, only committed nine turnovers and made 7 of 11 foul shots.
“We were in a position to win and we didn’t and they were in a position to win and they did, so hats off to them,” Russo said. “We got off to a slow start, got in a hole, then we came back and got a lead. It was one of our best games since the double overtime state game against South Portland (two years ago).”
If Portland and Scarborough play again, it would be in the Class AA state final in early March and what a treat that would be, but both teams have no shortage of heavy lifting to do first.
The Bulldogs (securely in first place in the Class AA North Heal Points standings) are idle until Thornton Academy pays a visit Friday. Bangor comes to Portland for a makeup game Saturday of next week. The Bulldogs then go to Bonny Eagle, host Cheverus and close with games at South Portland and Deering.
“This was good for us,” Russo said. “It might not have been helpful if we snuck it out. Sometimes losses are good, especially a loss like this. It was nice to come back and get a challenge until the end. This will get our attention.”
The Red Storm, now first in Class AA South, visit Sanford Tuesday. Scarborough is home with Kennebunk Friday, then goes to Lewiston and Windham before closing the regular season at home versus Thornton Academy.
“This will help us in the Heal Points,” Pratt said. “It’s a big win for the program. We have really good chemistry. We’ve played together since we were young. We have people who can do everything. We have to keep playing every game like we did today. We have to trust each other. We know we’re good enough to win.”
“It’s a huge building block,” Fiorillo said. “Coach Conley has done a great job. We started 0-10 last year and we haven’t lost much since then. We have to limit runs. If we can stop them, we’d be much better.”
“There were a lot of younger kids here today and hopefully this sparks interest in our program,” Conley added. “We can’t have a letdown. We have to go to Sanford next week, then we have Kennebunk. They’ll want to play us well. I don’t think the guys in the locker room will let (a letdown) happen. They tasted a letdown Monday and this tastes a whole lot better.”
Portland senior Terion Moss goes up for a shot as Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme defends. Moss reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career in the second quarter and finished with a team-high 19 points for the game.
Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo shoots over Portland junior Pedro Fonseca. Fiorillo was the game’s high scorer with 26 points.
Portland senior goes to the basket over Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme.
Portland junior Pedro Fonseca skies to grab a rebound over Scarborough sophomore Brian Austin.
Portland junior Trey Bellew blocks the shot of Scarborough junior Tyler Gobeil.
Scarborough sophomore Brian Austin tries to protect the ball from Portland senior Manny Yugu.
Scarborough’s bench erupts after a made 3-pointer.
@ Portland 67 Scarborough 38
Portland 73 @ Scarborough 38
Portland 78 @ Scarborough 71
@ Portland 81 Scarborough 52
@ Portland 63 Scarborough 60 (OT)
Portland 58 @ Scarborough 42
Scarborough 58 @ Portland 45
Portland 63 @ Scarborough 53
@ Portland 59 Scarborough 43
@ Portland 57 Scarborough 53
Portland 80 @ Scarborough 48
Portland 63 @ Scarborough 37
@ Portland 74 Scarborough 35