SOUTH PORTLAND – What Scarborough lacks in height, it makes up in heart. South Portland learned that from the start Wednesday night.
Mary Redmond scored 18 points and the Red Storm’s pressure defense rattled the Red Riots enough to come away with a 42-30 victory in an SMAA girls’ basketball game at a hot Beal Gymnasium.
Taylor LeBorgne added 10 points as Scarborough (7-0), whose tallest player is 5-foot-9, overcame a stiff challenge to hand South Portland (6-2) a second straight loss.
“We knew it would be a real test,” said Scarborough Coach Ron Cote, “and I was pleased with the way we came out with intensity and executed.”
Particularly on the defensive end, where the full-court pressure kept Danica Gleason (six points, five rebounds) and South Portland’s offense to single digits in three of the four quarters.
“Right now I’m disappointed,” South Portland Coach Mike Giordano said. “We had 28 turnovers. That’s 28 possessions we didn’t get a shot on the basket, and we lost by 12.”
South Portland’s 6-foot center Holly Black (10 rebounds, two blocks) led the Riots with eight points, including six in an 8-0 run late in the first quarter that made it 12-12.
Marisa O’Toole of Scarborough then hit a 3-pointer to make it 15-12 and the Red Storm ran down the clock over the last 1:30 of the quarter.
“That happens, one team starts fast and the other gets back into it,” Cote said. “We pressed the whole game and we made some mistakes, but overall we played well. Hopefully they get more tired than we do and we play faster than they want to.”
“We went on a lot of mini-runs and got within two or three,” Giordano said, “but they countered every time and pushed it back out to eight or nine.”
Scarborough’s counters came off press-breaking passes. The first came in the second quarter, when LeBorgne scored eight points off easy layups in a 10-6 run that pushed Scarborough’s lead to 25-18 at the half.
“We were beating their press pretty well there, leaving us with two-on-ones and three-on-ones,” LeBorgne said. “I think I was just the beneficiary of that. We knew they liked to press and we were prepared for it.”
In the third quarter, it was Redmond’s turn to shine; she scored eight of the Red Storm’s 10 points to push Scarborough’s lead to 35-26.
“We defended really well against a good team,” said Redmond, who also had seven rebounds and three steals. “Offensively we played really unselfishly. My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball when I had the shot.”
Brianne Maloney added six points and seven rebounds for the Riots.
“(Scarborough’s) outsized every night,” Giordano said, “but you’d never know it the way they play. They just work so hard.”
Among the hardest workers Wednesday was Samantha Sparda, who came off the bench to come up with six rebounds, two steals and several tips.
“This was our first competitive game,” LeBorgne said. “A game like this builds our confidence. We won by 12 but it showed us we need to keep working. You can always work harder.”