Fueled by Senior Night and knowing it didn’t play its best the last time these two teams met, Deering got off to a hot start and was in control throughout on the way to a 66-56 win over visiting Cheverus in an SMAA boys’ basketball game Tuesday night.
Deering put up 25 points in the opening quarter to grab a 10-point lead, which eventually grew to 21 points in the second half. The Stags cut into the deficit in the fourth quarter, but Deering was never in jeopardy.
Deering (12-5), ranked fourth in Western Class A, likely clinched that seeding for the regional tournament, which means the Rams will bypass a preliminary round game and go straight to the quarterfinals at the Portland Expo in a week and a half.
“This win secures fourth place and secures my nerves,” said Coach Todd Wing. “It was one of our best starts to a game this season.”
The Rams jumped to leads of 10-0 and 15-2. They hit their first seven shots and forced the eighth-ranked Stags (8-9) into making four turnovers in the first minute and a half.
A high seed notwithstanding, the Rams had plenty of motivation. Deering lost to Cheverus 47-46 on Dec. 20.
“We thought coming out of the first Cheverus game that we were better than that,” said Wing.
“We went to business and watched a lot of film and it paid off. Cheverus is a good team. They could make a lot of noise in the tournament.”
Before the game, Deering acknowledged seniors Chhorda Chhorn, Ahmed Ahmed, Ahmed Ali, Patrick Lobor and Ahmed Sharif, who were playing their last home game.
Wing went with an all-senior starting lineup. They all contributed to the fast start, with Sharif, who doesn’t get a lot of minutes, scoring a basket before junior Liam Densmore took his place a few minutes in.
“We came out to play our game and gave 100 percent,” said Chhorn. “We had a lot of ball movement and hit the open man.”
Cheverus spurted at the start of the second quarter and cut it to 27-19, but Deering went on a 9-0 run. Just before halftime, Brad Carney of Cheverus hit a 3-pointer, but Ali scored to make it 38-22.
Deering’s balance showed through two quarters, as four players had six points each.
Cheverus freshman Austin Boudreau started to light it up in the third quarter. Deering began the quarter slowly but soon found its stride and outscored the Stags 16-11 to stretch its lead to 54-33. Boudreau hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter, but Densmore countered with his own, beating the buzzer.
Turnovers and cold shooting plagued the Rams in the fourth. Boudreau stayed hot as he scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half. He finished with four 3-pointers. Cheverus outscored Deering 23-12 in the final quarter.
“We were rushing our shots,” Chhorn said of the fourth quarter. “We needed to slow it down.”
The Rams were never in danger of letting this one slip away, however. The closest Cheverus got was the final margin. Of Deering’s 23 turnovers, 17 came in the second half.
Ben Williams led Deering with 11 points. Lobor finished with 10, Densmore had nine points, and three others chipped in with eight apiece. Deering had 10 players who scored.
“Deering is good,” said Cheverus Coach Dan Costigan. “They got us back on our heels at the start and they hit shots.
“We could never get it going. You can’t spot a team like Deering 15 points at the start, especially on their Senior Night. We got the deficit down in the fourth quarter by grinding away, but Deering still made a play here and there to keep their cushion. You have to tip your hat to them.”
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at firstname.lastname@example.org