GORHAM — Abby Hamilton and her Gorham High basketball teammates had twice come close to knocking off one of the elite teams in Western Class A this season.
Monday afternoon the Rams weren’t close to a big win. They dominated.
Behind 20 points from Hamilton, including four well-timed 3-pointers, Gorham thumped Thornton Academy 50-27 to improve to 9-4 and snap top-ranked TA’s 10-game win streak.
Earlier this season Thornton ended McAuley’s 56-game in-state win streak – about two weeks after Gorham had put a scare into McAuley before falling 65-59.
Gorham had also lost to Cheverus, 42-40.
“We came so close (against McAuley) and we still had that taste in our mouth of coming so close and Thornton’s a great team, too, so we wanted to come out and prove ourselves and I think we did today,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton scored 12 of the Rams’ first 14 points.
Freshman Emily Esposito added 10 points.
While smaller than Thornton at nearly every position, Gorham used its quickness to cause turnovers, get to loose balls and hold its own in rebounding. Thornton’s poor shooting, highlighted by an 8-of-22 effort from the free-throw line, also was a major factor. Seniors Kate McCrum (11 points) and Olivia Shaw (10) led TA in scoring, with only two other Trojans scoring.
Seven players scored for Gorham.
In the second quarter Hamilton and Esposito were on the bench for over five minutes, each with two fouls. The Rams maintained a double-digit lead thanks to strong offensive moves by freshmen Kristen Curley and Kaylea Lundin.
“A key part of the game was the second quarter when we had our two leading scorers with two fouls. We had backups come in and do their job and hold the fort down,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said.
The diversity of Gorham’s offense also showed in the third quarter. Thornton had cut the lead to 25-18, only to have Gorham respond with an 11-2 run with Jessica Rexrode (7 points), Esposito, Caitlyn Hawxwell, Curley and Hamilton each making a basket.
Hamilton capped the run with a 3-pointer from the right wing after crisp passes from Esposito and Curley had gotten TA’s defense out of position.
“A lot of our baskets come from pass-pass-shoot,” Hamilton said.
“We knew they were going to try to spread the floor and drive-and-kick and we helped too much on the ballhandlers and didn’t get a hand up on the shooters,” Thornton Coach Eric Marston said. “Then on the offensive end of the court we had far too many unforced errors.”
Trailing 36-24 after three quarters, Thornton had five turnovers in less than three minutes.
Esposito turned a steal into a fast-break layup, then set up Hamilton for her fourth 3-pointer.
The exclamation came from Esposito. After having the ball taken away by McCrum, Esposito raced back on defense, stole the ball back and started a two-on-two fast break. On the run, she delivered a behind-the-back bounce pass that Rexrode converted for a 47-27 lead with 3:20 to play.
“She definitely adds a lot to our team,” Hamilton said of Esposito. “She’s a great person to have as a teammate, on and off the court, and she’s a great playmaker.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: