Deering High erased a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation and beat upset-minded Marshwood 60-53 Friday night in a Western Class A boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.
The fourth-seeded Rams (13-6) move on to the semifinals Wednesday against either No. 1 Portland or No. 8 Noble.
No. 12 Marshwood, which upset fifth-seeded Thornton Academy in the preliminary round, is done at 8-11.
Deering trailed 50-43 with 1:50 remaining in regulation, but rallied with the help of a swarming press, led by Ben Williams.
“You play harder when you’re about to lose,” said Williams, who led all scorers with 21 points.
Williams made two free throws to tie the game 50-50, with 42 seconds left. Both teams then missed shots that could have won the game in regulation.
In overtime, Williams drove in for six points and Deering never lost the lead. Marshwood’s only points in overtime came from three free throws by Drew Bartlett, who led the Hawks with 16 points.
Marshwood outshot the Rams 46 to 35 percent. But Deering crashed the board for a 40-23 rebounding edge. And the Rams’ press helped create 20 Marshwood turnovers (to Deering’s 14).
Marshwood led 36-29 with 1:06 left in the third quarter, but Deering got two free throws and two quick baskets off its press.
“The pressure wears and wears on (the other team),” Deering Coach Todd Wing said. “You know the spurts are coming.”
The third quarter ended with the teams tied 37-37.
Marshwood’s best defensive post players, Zach Mitchell and Brady Innes, fouled out in the fourth quarter. Innes, a 6-foot-5 senior, had 13 points. With him gone, Deering pounded the ball inside.
“That was the determining factor,” Wing said. “You don’t have to do anything magical. I just have to look at the matchups and let the players do their thing.”
Deering scored on drives inside or on free throws resulting from drives.
Meanwhile, Marshwood turned the ball over twice in the final two minutes – once by not crossing half court within 10 seconds – and missed three foul shots.
“Missed free throws. Turnovers. We had our opportunities,” Marshwood Coach Mike Zamarchi said. “Their pressure hurt us at the end. We lost two of our key inside guys and that hurt, too.”
In overtime, both teams wasted two possessions before Williams drove in for a score. Marshwood turned the ball over, and Williams hit an inside jumper.
Deering point guard Chhorda Chhorn then made a steal and fed Williams on a fast break, and the Rams were on their way to the semifinals.
Chhorn kept Deering’s offense in sync, making few turnovers while scoring 11 points. The Rams’ rebounding was paced by Patrick Labor, Ahmed Ali and Williams. Deering needed that rebounding – and its pressure.
“Some of our shots were a little too quick,” Wing said. “When you’re not scoring in your half-court sets, you have to rely on your defense.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: