Paige Cote and Julia Cyr provided a boost from the frontcourt as Sanford beat Portland 50-37 in an SMAA girls’ basketball game Tuesday at the Portland Expo.

Cote, a freshman, scored a team-high 15 points, 11 in the first half.

“(Cote) is doing well. She’s developing,” said Sanford Coach Kristy Parent. “It’s just a matter of her gaining some confidence and hopefully it keeps going.”

Cote added 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

“I’m getting used to (high school basketball) now,” Cote said. “The first few games I was a little nervous since I’m a freshman but now I’m in the swing of it.”

Cyr scored 14 points for Sanford (3-4), also grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking two shots.

The game was the first for Portland’s interim coach, Gerry Corcoran. He replaced Jay Lowery, who resigned last week after an 0-5 start.

“Thursday morning I got a phone call from (Portland Athletic Director) Rob O’Leary saying (Lowery) just resigned,” said Corcoran. “I got approved as coach at 10:30 (Tuesday) morning.”

Lowery was in his third season with the Bulldogs, posting an overall record of 11-32.

“It’s been challenging. We’ve had to come together as a team,” said Portland senior guard Taylor Sargent. “We wanted it to be a new start with a new coach and I think today we proved that we can play with any team in the league.”

Sargent scored a game-high 16 points with four 3-pointers.

“We believe now that we can actually go out and compete,” she said. “I think it will be good the rest of the season.”

Corcoran played college basketball at Northeastern and was selected by the Boston Celtics in the seventh round of the 1987 draft. He has coached at several levels, including as the men’s head coach at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. This is his first time coaching girls.

“There’s a lot of talent, there’s a great basketball IQ, there’s everything that I love to coach,” Corcoran said of the Bulldogs. “So when I was offered (the interim position), I said, ‘Yeah’ in a heartbeat.”

The Bulldogs seemed to respond well, coming out with aggressiveness and defensive intensity to start the game.

Portland outscored Sanford 11-9 in the second quarter and went into halftime tied, 26-26.

But Sanford took over the game in the third quarter by outscoring Portland, 16-3.

“We really wanted to win this game and we knew that if we didn’t come out in the second half with a lot of intensity that (the game) would be taken away from us,” Cote said.

Added Parent: “We readjusted some things defensively and went with our size. (Portland) is quick and we could not match their quickness, necessarily.”

Free throws were a major factor. The Spartans made 26 of 37 attempts (70 percent) while Portland was just 5 of 23 (22 percent).

“It’s our goal as a team to be up around 70 (percent from the foul line),” Parent said.

Portland (0-6) took 52 field-goal atttempts to Sanford’s 43.

“The nice part is we took a lot of shots,” Corcoran said. “They didn’t go but we’re going to keep shooting.”

The regular-season game was part of the Red Claws Christmas Showcase at the Expo. The event, which includes exhibitions with out-of-state teams, continues Wednesday and Thursday.