When the basketball season began, many figured the Scarborough High girls’ basketball team would be good, but no one – including members of the Red Storm – knew just how good.

Now we know.

With junior forward Sophie Glidden leading the way, third-seeded Scarborough turned back No. 6 Thornton Academy 42-38 in a Class AA South quarterfinal at the Portland Expo. Glidden scored 22 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds.

That enabled the Red Storm to hold on after the Trojans cut a 10-point deficit to one with 2:17 remaining.

“It’s been that way all year,” Scarborough Coach Mike Giordano said of Glidden. “She’s had a tremendous year. She’s kind of been the kid that gets us going. We rely on her to make the big shots in the big moments.”

Thornton Academy’s Alisha Aube goes to the basket against Scarborough’s Jocelyn F. Couture. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

Scarborough (16-3) will play No. 2 South Portland in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Cross Insurance Arena. The Red Storm defeated South Portland 46-40 on Jan. 3.

Thornton Academy finished 9-10, losing three times to Scarborough.

“This is really exciting for us,” said Glidden. “We knew going into the season that we would be competitive, but we didn’t think we’d be, what, 16-3, at this point. It feels good.

“We have the will to win. We want to win. We want to go out and compete in every game.”

Thornton Academy’s Isabella Robinson and Scarborough’s Brooke Malone try to control a rebound during the fourth quarter. Staff photo y Carl D. Walsh Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

This was a tight one for the most part. Thornton, with its 1-3-1 zone bothering Scarborough, had the early advantage. But the Red Storm hit three 3-pointers – two by Glidden and one by Madison Blanche – at the end of the second quarter to take a 27-20 halftime lead.

When Brooke Malone followed up her own miss for a three-point play with 5:54 remaining, Scarborough led 39-29. But Thornton’s defensive pressure, which forced 14 turnovers in the second half, brought the Trojans came back.

A 3-pointer by Alex Hart (12 points) with 2:17 remaining made it 39-38. After Blanche hit a foul shot with 2:00 left, the Trojans had three chances to tie it but missed each shot.

Glidden rebounded the final miss, was fouled and hit both free throws with 16.7 seconds left to secure the win.

“Just muscle memory,” she said. “I was confident I would make them both.”

The Trojans, who were led by Alisha Aube with 14 points, couldn’t quite complete their comeback.

Scarborough’s Lindsey Kelley and Kaylee Emma embrace in celebration after beating Thornton Academy. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

“We kept saying all along that we felt if we could chip away at it and keep it close, we could win it at the end,” said Thornton Coach Eric Marston. “I’m proud of the entire team. The game was a microcosm of our season – a little inconsistent, but when we pulled it together we were pretty good.”

The Red Storm, who play three freshmen regularly, never panicked, even when the Trojans were climbing back into the game.

“You’re going to get those moments and you hope you’re able to play through them,” said Giordano. “And we were able to today. What I told the kids was to stick together. They’re going to have those ebbs and flows in basketball games. Just hang together. And they did that today.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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