The Rams pull away for a 49-36 win over Scarborough in a Class A girls’ basketball prelim.

Left alone in the right corner of the basketball court at Deering High, freshman Tasia Titherington sent a high arcing shot that swished through the net for a 3-pointer.

Finally, after more than 21 minutes of action, the Rams were able to exhale.

“You could see it on our shoulders,” said Coach Mike Murphy. “It was a relief.”

Titherington’s 3-pointer, sandwiched between two pairs of free throws, allowed No. 8 Deering to finally pull away from No. 9 Scarborough for a 49-36 Western Class A girls’ basketball victory Wednesday night.

The Rams (9-10) advanced to a quarterfinal Monday night at the Portland Expo against top-seeded and three-time defending state champ McAuley (17-1).

Scarborough (7-12) played without Ashley Briggs. A lower-leg injury kept her out of the regular-season finale Friday against South Portland and still bothered her Monday at practice. She had 10 points in a 49-44 loss to Deering in late January.

“I told the kids, ‘You can use it as excuse or you can use it as motivation that she’s not out there,’” said Scarborough Coach Michael Giordano, “They chose to use it as motivation.”

Starting three sophomores and a freshman alongside junior Bailey Adams, the Red Storm boxed out well against a bigger Deering squad that missed 12 of 13 shots in the first quarter and 21 of 26 in the second.

Mackenzie O’Brien came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Scarborough led by as many as five points early in the second quarter and went into intermission tied at 19.

“Our girls were tight,” said Deering’s Murphy. “We were getting looks. We were just missing in the lane. I saw a lot of head hanging.”

The score was 22-22 when Scarborough freshman Jordyn Cowan hit the second of two free throws. Mary Tadsse responded with a basket that sparked a 9-0 run, with Titherington responsible for the final seven points.

“We try to look for her to get open shots,” Tadsse said, “because she can drain them.”

Deering’s cushion never again fell below six points.

Defensive pressure forced Scarborough into 13 turnovers and the Rams started getting easy baskets.

“We were able to shake the cobwebs with our defense,” Murphy said. “I think we wore down (Adams), by denying her the ball and making her work. But the other kids from Scarborough stepped up.”

Freshman Brooke Malone led the Red Storm with 11 points. Poor free-throw shooting (12 of 23) prevented Scarborough from keeping pace after halftime.

For Deering, Titherington scored 17 points.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH