PORTLAND – Portland High trailed early, then its talent and depth kicked in and the Bulldogs rode it to a 57-39 boys’ basketball win over Marshwood at the Portland Expo on the opening night of high school basketball Friday.
Matt Talbot, an emerging talent, paced Portland, which trailed by four points in the first quarter, with 14 points by halftime. Jayvon Pitts-Young took over in the second half, scoring 13 of his team-high 15.
“We did some things well and others not so well,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “A typical opening game. When we rebounded on the weak side, we held them to one shot. I thought the reserves I put in early in the game did a nice job. It’s a start. We’ll see how we do on the road.”
With the graduation of Peter Donato and Mike Herrick, it’s Talbot’s turn to step up and assume a scoring and rebounding presence. The 6-foot-5 junior answered the bell.
He scored all of his points in the first half. He missed back-to-back free throws early in the third quarter and really didn’t look to score the rest of the way.
By then Pitts-Young had heated up. He made three 3-pointers in the second half.
Talbot finished with 11 rebounds.
“It’s a new role for me that I’m willing to accept,” said Talbot. “(Donato) set a good example and I’m just trying to follow. There’s no more watching. I have to step up. There was a lot of hard work over the summer.”
Marshwood took a 7-3 lead when Alex McLean and Brady Innes hit baskets around Danny Veino’s 3-pointer. The lone Bulldog basket in the opening minutes was a 3-pointer by Talbot.
Talbot scored again and Nick Volger added a basket on a layup after a steal to make it 7-7.
Innes gave the Hawks back the lead but Steve Angelo, one of the reserves Russo mentioned, hit a 3-pointer to make it 10-9.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good 13-12 on a Volger free throw. They led 15-12 after one and outscored the Hawks 17-11 in the second quarter.
Portland put the game away with a 7-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter for a 16-point lead. Volger banked in a 3-pointer straight on. Pitts-Young scored and Nate Smart followed with a basket.
The Hawks didn’t score until three minutes remained on a basket by Innes and finished with three points in the quarter. Several shots rimmed out.
Innes led Marshwood with 17 points.
“We made an emphasis in the huddle to come out in the fourth quarter and jump on them,” said Talbot. “We knew the opening minutes were going to be decisive. If Marshwood had done it, it might have been a different story. There were a lot of positives tonight but also a lot of negatives. “
“Our defense was all right but it’s not where we want it. We showed some depth. It’s good to know that if I’m off, someone else like Jayvon can pick me up. We have several guys who can do it.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: