SP holds off Scarborough, sets up semifinal showdown vs. McAuley

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South Portland senior Maddie Hasson battles Scarborough sophomore Sophie Glidden for possession during the Red Riots’ 49-41 win in Wednesday’s Class AA South quarterfinal. Glidden had a game-high 22 points, but South Portland advanced to meet McAuley in the semifinals.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

South Portland 49 Scarborough 41

S- 7 10 9 15- 41
SP- 11 12 11 15- 49

S- Glidden 7-6-22, Malone 1-6-8, Ware 1-1-4, Sargent 1-0-3, Hall 1-0-2, Kelley 1-0-2

SP- Hasson 5-4-14, Boles 5-0-12, Henderson 2-4-9, Graff 3-1-7, Whitmore 2-1-5, Loring 1-0-2

3-pointers:
S (4) Glidden 2, Sargent, Ware 1
SP (3) Boles 2, Henderson 1

Turnovers:
S- 18
SP- 9

Free throws
S: 13-18
SP: 10-12

PORTLAND—For South Portland’s girls’ basketball team, the future is now.

For Scarborough, the future is very bright.

Wednesday evening, the schools did battle in a Class AA South quarterfinal at the Portland Exposition Building and what looked to be a relatively easy win for the third-ranked Red Riots turned nervewracking, as the sixth-seeded Red Storm laid the foundation for triumph down the road.

After a slow start, South Portland, behind senior standout Maddie Hasson, went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good and while Scarborough hung tough, the Red Riots had a 23-17 halftime advantage.

When South Portland raced to a 28-17 lead behind a 3-pointer from junior Lydia Henderson and a layup after a steal from freshman Katie Whitmore early in the third period, then went up 14 points on a layup from sophomore Sarah Boles, it appeared the Red Riots were primed to pull away.

The Red Riots pulled back within nine, but as time expired in the third quarter, Boles hit a 3 to make it 38-26.

South Portland sophomore Meghan Graff started the final period with a layup to push the lead back to 14 and Scarborough could have been content with its strong effort, but the Red Storm, behind the excellence of sophomore Sophie Glidden, fought to the final whistle and made things quite interesting.

An old-fashioned three-point play from Glidden with 1:39 to play capped a 10-2 run and cut the deficit to 42-38.

Glidden then fouled out and it came down to the Red Riots’ ability to make clutch free throws, which they did to the tune of seven out of eight with the game on the line and that proved to be enough to allow South Portland to prevail, 49-41.

Hasson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Boles added a dozen points and Henderson finished with nine, all in the second half, as the Red Riots improved to 16-3, ended Scarborough’s season with a misleading record of 7-12 and advanced to meet No. 2 McAuley (16-2) in the AA South semifinals Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena across town.

“In other years, we would have gotten rattled, but I think this group is confident enough to ride out runs and never panic,” said South Portland coach Lynne Hasson. “We have kids who have been here before. Maddie and Lydia are great leaders.” 

Reversal of fortune

Scarborough beat South Portland in the 2009, 2010 and 2013 Western A quarterfinals.

This time around, the Red Riots came in as decided favorites, based on a terrific regular season. South Portland went 15-3, losing only to McAuley in the opener, in overtime to undefeated Gorham and at Deering, but the Red Riots only earned the No. 3 seed in Class AA South.

Scarborough easily could have reversed its 7-11 record, but lost twice in overtime and two other times by a single point in regulation.

The teams met Dec. 30 at South Portland and the Red Riots rolled, 42-25, behind 17 points from Hasson and 11 from Graff.

Wednesday, South Portland started slowly, but eventually kicked it into gear.

Scarborough broke the scoring ice 84 seconds in when junior Jillian Ware knocked down a 3-pointer.

Glidden added a free throw before Hasson got the Red Riots on the board with a foul shot of her own with 5:20 to go in the first quarter.

After Hasson went coast to coast for a layup and South Portland’s first field goal, Glidden countered with a 3 to make it 7-3 with 4:18 left.

The Red Storm wouldn’t score again in the quarter and the Red Riots made a run. 

After Boles knocked down a 3, an old fashioned three-point play (putback, foul, free throw) from Hasson put South Portland ahead to stay with 39.1 seconds to go in the frame. Graff added a jumper from just inside the 3-point stripe and the Red Riots were up, 11-7, after one period.

In the first quarter, Hasson stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

“Shots weren’t falling at the beginning, but we knew if we kept playing hard it would work out,” Hasson said.

South Portland pushed the lead to eight early in the second, as Hasson made a short jumper in the lane and Boles knocked down a jumper to cap a 12-0 run.

With 4:50 to play in the half, Glidden was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and sank both free throws to end a 7 minute, 28 second drought.

Whitmore answered with a driving layup for the Red Riots, but Glidden banked in a shot from a tough angle, junior Brooke Malone made two free throws and Glidden drove for a layup with 1:33 left in the half to pull the Red Storm within two, 17-15.

South Portland senior reserve Casey Loring then made a clutch jumper in the lane for South Portland and after a steal by freshman Jena Lockie, Lockie fed Hasson for a layup.

In the final minute, Malone made two free throws, but Hasson scored on a putback and the Red Riots took a 23-17 advantage to the break.

In the first half, Hasson had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Glidden kept Scarborough in it with 10 points and six boards.

South Portland pulled away in the third quarter.

After not scoring in the first half, Henderson started the second with a 3.

“It’s different shooting at the Expo,” Henderson said. “Your depth perception is thrown off. Once I hit that shot, I was fine.”

Whitmore then stole the ball, pulled off a pretty move to elude a defender, then made a layup for an 11-point lead, forcing Scarborough coach Mike Giordano to call timeout.

It worked momentarily, as sophomore Lindsey Kelley made a layup, but Graff answered with a putback while being fouled and added the free throw for a three-point play and Boles drove for a layup to make it 33-19.

Scarborough then made things interesting with a 7-2 run, as Glidden made a 3 and after Boles hit a jumper, Glidden fed Hall for a layup and Malone added two foul shots.

But just when it appeared the Red Storm would take momentum into the final quarter, Boles took a pass from Graff and drained a 3 from the corner at the horn and South Portland’s lead was back to a dozen, 38-26, with eight minutes to play.

Scarborough refused to buckle down the stretch, but South Portland was able to finish off the Red Storm and advance.

Graff started the final stanza with a steal and layup, but Scarborough senior Jamie Sargent countered with a 3, Glidden finished a runner and with 6:04 to go, Glidden grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 40-33.

The Red Riots got a jumper in the lane from Henderson, but Glidden drove for a layup to again make it a seven-point game.

 With 1:39 remaining, things got really interesting, as Glidden drove for a layup, was fouled by Hasson and made the free throw to make it 42-38, but that’s as close as the Red Storm would get.

Four seconds after her three-point play, Glidden was called for her fifth foul and had to leave the game.

Then, with 1:15 to go, Henderson was fouled and calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one.

“We shoot free throws every day in practice and I think it pays off,” Henderson said. “Under pressure, you need those.”

After Ware got a point back at the line with 51.9 seconds showing, South Portland milked the clock down to 32.4 seconds when Hasson was fouled.

After not scoring the whole second half, Hasson came up big at the line, making both ends of the one-and-one.

Malone countered with a driving layup, but Whitmore made a foul shot and Henderson added two more and that did it, as the Red Riots won, 49-41.

“Playing tonight was a good thing,” Henderson said. “Especially how young our team is. It would have been nice to win by a lot, but relying on foul shots at the end was a good experience.”

“Any time you play against Scarborough, they don’t quit,” Maddie Hasson said. “Their record doesn’t indicate how they played. There aren’t usually blowouts in the tournament. It was a matter of getting the lead and holding on to it, making free throws. Obviously, you want to be the 2 seed, but once we found out we were 3, it’s a blessing in disguise. Waiting six days for this game took forever. I can’t imagine waiting another six days. I’m glad we got this in and felt the atmosphere.”

“I wasn’t sure about playing tonight, but I think it was good,” Lynne Hasson added. “Sitting around and waiting would have made this group nervous.”

Hasson led the way for the Red Riots with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Boles had a huge game in a key spot, draining a pair of 3s and winding up with 12 points. Henderson had nine points, Graff seven, Whitmore five and Loring two.

“I think it’s important for role players to play well,” Henderson said. “Everyone knows our offense revolves around Maddie and Meghan. It’s important for me and Katie, Sarah, everyone off the bench, to contribute and become a threat.” 

“Sarah and Casey and Katie have been big for us all year,” Maddie Hasson said. “In a magnified game in the tournament, you can tell when role players step up.”

“I think they were trying to take away our better scorers and they did,” added Lynne Hasson. “It’s hard when you’re face-guarded all game. That’s what you have to do against us, but we have other players who can score too. Sarah Boles stepped up and made shots. They left her open.”

South Portland only turned the ball over nine times, forced 18 turnovers and made a clutch 10 of 12 free throws.

“In the tournament, foul shots win games,” said Lynne Hasson. “It’s important to have a lead late if you can shoot foul shots.”

They’ll be back

Scarborough got a monster game from Glidden, who not only led all scorers with 22 points, but also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked a pair of shots.

Glidden got the attention of all on hand Wednesday.

“She was my defensive assignment and I don’t think I did a very good job on her,” Maddie Hasson said. “That was on me.”

“Sophie’s a good player,” Lynne Hasson said. “In other games I’ve seen her play, she didn’t look to attack. Tonight, especially in the fourth quarter, she penetrated to the rim.”

“Sophie just has a great will,” Giordano said. “She wills herself to get to the rim and finish. She made us go tonight. She’s a very impressive young lady.”

Malone had eight points, seven rebounds and two steals. Ware added four points (and four boards), Sargent had three, Kelley two and Hall two.

Hall’s biggest impact came on defense, as she held Hasson well below her league-leading 21.7 points per game.

“Erin did a great job on Maddie,” Giordano said. “Especially in the second half.”

Scarborough made 13 of 18 free throws and held a 23-19 rebounding advantage.

Still, the Red Storm fell just short.

“What more can you ask, down four points with a minute, 30 seconds left?” Giordano said. “I’m really, really proud of our effort. Defensively, I think we confused them a bit and kept them off balance. We just had periods without scoring and that killed us. They made their free throws and that was the difference. Good teams finish. We just couldn’t get it down to one possession. That’s a credit to them.”

Giordano, the longtime South Portland coach (Lynne Hasson was formerly his assistant) admitted afterwards that this wasn’t just any ordinary game.

“I spent 25 years there, so it’s still emotional,” Giordano said. “I still know those kids. I’m happy for them. I’m rooting for them going forward.”

While Scarborough wound up with fewer wins that it had hoped, it’s built the foundation for a deeper tournament run in 2016-17.

“We played with pretty much everybody this year,” Giordano said. “We lost two games in overtime and two more by one point. We could have been 11-7, not 7-11 and against a tough schedule. We knew we could play with anybody.

“We’ll be in good shape. I’m excited about next year. I’d like to think we’ll be right there behind Gorham.”

Showdown

South Portland and McAuley will be a highly anticipated semifinal Tuesday afternoon when action moves over the erstwhile Civic Center.

The teams split this year, with the Lions winning at home in the opener Dec. 4, 46-37, and the Red Riots returning the favor at home Jan. 12, 57-45, a victory which snapped an eight-year, 11-game losing streak.

South Portland has won three of the five prior playoff meetings, but McAuley won the last two, including a 39-34 semifinal round triumph a year ago.

“(The win last month) was such a confidence booster,” Henderson said. “We hadn’t beaten them in so long. It was a pride thing. They’re playing well now. It will be who controls the pace of the game, who’s mentally smarter and who can execute.”

“It’s an exciting matchup,” Maddie Hasson said. “We’re a more confident team. To actually beat them made it a whole new playing field. We feel good. It will be a great game.”

“I think it will be a battle,” Lynne Hasson added. “We split this year. We have to play our best game to beat them. It will be a tough game. A good matchup.”

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

South Portland senior reserve Casey Loring makes a shot over Scarborough sophomore Sophie Glidden.

Scarborough junior Brooke Malone looks to pass as South Portland freshman Katie Whitmore defends.

Scarborough sophomore Sophie Glidden goes up for a shot in traffic.

Scarborough sophomore Natalie Taylor is defended by South Portland freshman Katie Whitmore.

Scarborough senior Emma Hall tries to distract South Portland senior Maddie Hasson. Hall did a terrific defensive job on one of the state’s elite players, holding Hasson to 14 points.

South Portland junior Lydia Henderson races up the floor as Scarborough junior Jillian Ware tries to keep pace.

South Portland senior Maddie Hasson goes up for a shot as Scarborough junior Jordyn Cowan defends.

Previous South Portland-Scarborough playoff results

2013 Western A quarterfinal
Scarborough 45 South Portland 32 

2010 Western A quarterfinal
Scarborough 40 South Portland 22

2009 Western A quarterfinal
Scarborough 53 South Portland 26 

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