South Portland kept its cool when it counted the most Thursday night to roll to a 48-35 win against Portland in an SMAA girls’ basketball game at the Portland Expo.
When the teams played six weeks ago, the Riots never recovered from a disastrous third quarter, when they scored five points and the Bulldogs pulled out a 54-50 win.
This time South Portland didn’t wilt in the third quarter and pulled away.
“It was just a matter of us handling their pressure,” South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson said. “Overall we slowed the game down a little bit. We were playing too fast (last time). We like to play a fast game. We like to run the court but against a team like Portland, sometimes that works to your disadvantage.”
Brianne Maloney scored seven of her 14 points in the third quarter to help the Riots (13-3) move into a 30-24 lead less than seven minutes into the second half.
“We talked about slowing it down just a little bit so we could make good passes,” Hasson said.
“We cleared out because they tend to double- and triple-team in the backcourt. When you clear out, they can’t do that.”
South Portland put the game away in the fourth quarter by sinking 12 of 16 free throws.
“This time we made our foul shots,” Hasson said.
“In the first game we missed 18 free throws and that cost us the game.”
Maddie Hasson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, scored a game-high 17 points for South Portland.
“On a given night it can be anyone who happens to be that high scorer,” Coach Hasson said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who can score. We’ve got a good inside-outside game so we’re not focusing on any one kid. We’re looking to run the fast break and get the ball to whoever is open.”
The Bulldogs (12-4) had plenty of chances to get back into the game but they were unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities.
“We had steals and we gave (the ball) right back because we were hurrying,” Portland Coach Jan Veinot said.
During the second half, Portland connected on only 6 of 32 shots.
“We were hurrying and we were kind of panicking on offense, and it didn’t work.” Veinot said. “It was Senior Night. We were amped up and we really wanted to win, and there goes the discipline.
“We’re not really a patient offensive team to start with. I just think (the players) wanted to win so badly that they were not patient.”
The score was 21-21 at the end of the first half.
The Bulldogs rode a 6-0 run to a 12-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Riots held a brief 20-19 lead during the second quarter, when they sank 5 of 10 shots.
Portland, which hit only 3 of 17 shots during the second quarter, regained the lead when Brianna Holdren drove the lane for a basket with less than a minute left in the first half.
Maloney sank 1 of 2 free throws with 34 seconds left to tie the score.