Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Talbot set the tone for Portland right from the start when he blocked a shot to deny Deering a layup. Moments later, Jayvon Pitts-Young converted a 3-point play, and the Bulldogs were off to the races.
And they never stopped running.
Portland earned its second impressive win of the week as Talbot, a 6-foot-5 senior center, scored 20 points, including the first 11 points of the third quarter, to spark the Bulldogs to a 77-42 rout in an SMAA boys’ basketball game Friday night at Deering High.
The Bulldogs (12-0) led 20-5 after one quarter and 39-17 at the half. Talbot scored three points in the first half but erupted for 15 in the third quarter as his team outscored the Rams 23-12.
Portland’s press forced 35 Deering turnovers.
On Tuesday, Portland looked impressive in beating Bonny Eagle 69-60 at St. Joseph’s College in a battle of undefeated teams.
“We played really well as a team tonight,” said Talbot. “It was one of our best games of the season.
“The last two games have had great atmospheres. It’s fun to play against your rivals. Bonny Eagle is not really a long-time rival, but we know everyone on the team. I think we’re playing great at the right time of the season and making statements along the way.”
Portland Coach Joe Russo he knew his team was going to play hard the entire game after Talbot’s block.
“We lost the opening tip and I’m thinking, there goes Deering with a quick layup. Matt came out of nowhere to block it,” said Russo.
After Portland took a 3-0 lead, Deering (8-4) scored on a tip-in by center Kyle Richards, who was starting his first game of the season. The Bulldogs then went on a 10-1 run, ignited by two Justin Zukowski baskets.
Midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs went on a 15-2 run, including two 3-pointers by Travis Godbout.
It was all Talbot in the third quarter, but he downplayed his contribution.
“We had a spurt and the ball just happened to be coming to me,” said Talbot. “That’s just the way the game goes. It could have been Justin, Jayvon or someone else. We have a very unselfish team. If I don’t score many points for a couple of games, it doesn’t matter because someone else will. We always look to control the paint. We don’t have a lot of tall guys, so that’s my job.”
Godbout and Zukowski each finished with 14 points.
Russo praised Talbot and Zukowski for leading the way but was quick to spread the credit.
“Jayvon made some nice passes. Travis Godbout hit some big shots. Amir Moss and Steve Alex had their moments, and Danny Kane has been sick, but he got in there and helped,” said Russo.
Ben Williams led Deering with 14 points off the bench. Ahmed Ali, Deering’s top scorer, was scoreless in the first half but finished with 11 points.
“We still think we can get the fourth seed (in Western Class A),” said Deering Coach Todd Wing. “That’s the key because you avoid a preliminary round game.
“Portland jumped right on us and we didn’t respond. They’re a very good team.”
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: