PORTLAND — After watching teams struggle in the early stages of the first two Western Class A girls’ basketball quarterfinals Monday, Scarborough Coach Ron Cote impressed upon his players the importance of a good start.
“We had a shootaround before we left the (Scarborough) gym and I told the girls what I saw and told them it wasn’t going to be like that tonight,” Cote explained with a laugh. “We’re going to go out and we’re going to play – attack the rim and shoot the ball. I look at the end of the first quarter and it’s 2-2. We played just like the rest of them.”
While the fourth-seeded Red Storm (16-3) didn’t get off to the start they had envisioned, they did eventually find their game and posted a 45-32 victory over South Portland at the Portland Expo.
Scarborough will face top-seeded McAuley (19-0) at 6 p.m. Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
South Portland (12-7), the fifth seed, had lost four of its last five games after the team’s top player, Danica Gleason, was sidelined with an injury.
Points were definitely at a premium in the first quarter. Ashley Briggs opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game for the Red Storm and Brianne Maloney answered shortly after to account for the first-quarter offense. Both teams went 1 for 10 from the field and didn’t score a point in the final 6:50.
“Honestly after eight minutes, 2-2, I was OK with it,” said South Portland Coach Mike Giordano. “We weathered the first four or five minutes of tremendous pressure and it was tied, and I was good with it at that point, for sure.”
Holly Black scored four of the first six points of the second quarter as the Red Riots surged into a 6-4 lead in the opening two minutes before Scarborough came to life.
Taylor LeBorgne scored three points in a 7-0 run that gave the Red Storm an 11-6 advantage. A basket by South Portland’s Mackenzie Bowring momentarily interrupted Scarborough’s rally before LeBorgne scored four more amid a 10-0 spurt that built a 21-8 lead.
“I think we got used to the atmosphere and we kind of picked it up and got going,” LeBorgne said. “What really helped us is that we changed up our defense, we got a few steals and our shots started falling.”
Maddie Hasson got the Red Riots into double digits with a 3-pointer with a minute left in the half, but Scarborough led 21-11 at the break.
A bucket by Mary Redmond sent the Red Storm into the fourth quarter with a 33-22 lead.
Redmond followed with the first five points of the final quarter as Scarborough pushed its advantage to 39-22.
Briggs paced Scarborough with 10 points. Maria Philbrick, LeBorgne and Redmond each finished with nine.
Maddie Hasson netted eight to lead South Portland.