January 17

Boys’ basketball notebook: Mt. Ararat finally beats Edward Little

The Eagles had lost 16 straight over six seasons.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Mt. Ararat of Topsham had lost 16 straight games over six seasons to Edward Little of Auburn, but that ended Tuesday night with a 76-65 victory.

Shyheim Ulrickson

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Shyheim Ulrickson, Mt. Ararat: Ulrickson hit a school- record 10 3-pointers en route to 44 points as the Eagles beat Edward Little, 76-65. Last Saturday, the sophomore guard scored 34 points in a 68-64 win over Brunswick. Ulrickson is averaging 30 points over the last four games.

HONORABLE MENTION

Quinn Richardson-Newton, Thornton Academy: Had quite a four-game stretch in the last week. In back-to-back games, he scored 20 points Monday in a 70-46 loss to Scarborough, then had 22 in a 63-55 win over Windham on Tuesday. Last Saturday and Friday, Richardson-Newton had 18 and 28 points in wins over Cheverus and Noble.

Jayvon Pitts-Young, Portland: Scored 13 straight points in the second quarter against Bonny Eagle. He had 15 points in the quarter and finished with 21 as the Bulldogs’ top scorer in a 69-60 win that improved Portland’s record to 11-0. Nick Thibeault, Gorham: Thibeault scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as Gorham outscored Deering 19-6 to take a 59-52 win and improve its record to 5-6. Thibeault led all scorers with 23 points.

Led by point guard Shyheim Ulrickson’s 44 points and a school-record 10 3-pointers, the Eagles captured their second straight game and moved to fourth in the Eastern Class A Heal point standings.

The teams combined for 21 3-pointers. Mt. Ararat led 22-20 after the first quarter, trailed by one at the half, then took charge with a 21-10 edge in the third quarter. The teams basically matched points in the fourth.

Mt. Ararat plays Friday night at Hampden Academy, the unbeaten and defending Class A state champion.

Mt. Ararat (6-6) lost to Edward Little by 12 points two days after Christmas. The other losses were close: two by one point, two by four and the other by five.

“We’ve beaten the Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6-ranked teams,” said Coach Aaron Watson. “We’ve finally made the transition from a young team making mistakes to one that knows how to adjust to different situations. We have enough game experience.”

Having Ulrickson doesn’t hurt.

“Shy is great with the ball. He makes the other four players on the court better,” said Watson. “He’s really been locked in the last four games. He’s scored against double-teams, face- guarding and a box-and-one.”

The ball is in Ulrickson’s hand most of the time but as a point guard, he knows the importance of getting teammates involved.

“Mason Griffin is a force down low,” said Watson of the 6-foot-2 junior who had the team’s other 3-pointer Tuesday. “He has tremendous footwork and has added a perimeter jumper. He can bang down low or pull the other team’s big man outside with his shooting.”

Kevin Carter, another 6-2 junior, and Alex LaFountain, a 6-3 sophomore, are key inside players. Carter scored 12 points against Edward Little. Mike Crawford and Jake Demosthenes are solidified in their roles – Crawford as another scorer (he had 17 points and five 3s in the opening-game win over Messalonkee) and Demosthenes as the emotional leader.

“I have great kids,” said Watson. “Nine players made honors or high honors.”

PORTLAND WON ITS biggest game to date Tuesday night by holding off Bonny Eagle for a 69-60 victory. It was Bonny Eagle’s first loss after 11 wins and brought Portland to 11-0.

It was the only regular-season meeting between the teams, who could match up in the Western Class A final.

“We have a tough remaining schedule,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “We play Deering twice. We have Scarborough, Cheverus and South Portland left on our schedule.”

Famouth (10-1), the other top contender, is hurt by its schedule in its hopes to finish No. 1. Only three of its seven remaining games are against teams with winning records.

Portland outscored Bonny Eagle 42-24 in the middle periods. The Scots had the edge in the first and fourth, but not enough to offset Portland’s scoring.

The Bulldogs have three players – Matt Talbot, Jayvon Pitts-Young and Justin Zukowski – who are capable of scoring at least 20 points in any game. Most of the time at least two are in double figures.

It doesn’t end with them, either. Steve Alex, a 6-2 guard/forward, is outstanding in the open court and showed a scoring touch with 16 points against Bonny Eagle. Travis Godbout is a 3-point shooter who also can score in double figures. Dan Kane and Amir Moss are key reserves.

Pitts-Young took control in the second quarter, scoring 13 straight points, 15 for the quarter and finishing with a team-high 21.

CHEVERUS ENDED A five-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 57-45 win over Westbrook. The Stags are ninth in the Heal point standings with 12 teams reaching the Western Class A tournament.

The Stags (5-6) certainly have some point-worthy games remaining, starting Friday night at home against South Portland (5-5). Cheverus will play the Red Riots again on the final day of the regular season Feb. 7, and also has games left with Deering, Portland and Scarborough. Cheverus’s best win was 47-46 over Deering on Dec. 20.

GORHAM IS ranked eighth after a victory against Deering. The young Rams (5-6) have made big strides under a new coach, Mark Karter, who came over from Westbrook after coaching the Blue Blazes for 21 seasons.

Wins over Scarborough, Che- verus and Deering have lifted Gorham into tournament position; now the Rams just have stay there. Friday night’s home game with Noble (6-5) and Monday night’s game at Thornton Academy (5-5) loom large.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChard PPH

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