Matt Talbot of Portland tries to block a shot by Scarborough’s John Wheeler during their SMAA game Friday in Scarborough. Portland remained unbeaten with a 63-53 victory.
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
SCARBOROUGH - Jayvon Pitts-Young picked a good time to rediscover his shooting touch.
After starting the game 1 for 7 from 3-point distance, Pitts-Young knocked down two from long distance to help kick start a late surge as Portland pushed past Scarborough 63-53 in a Southwestern Maine Activities Association boys' basketball game Friday night.
Pitts-Young and Justin Zukowski caught fire in the fourth quarter and alternated 3s to allow the visitors to distance themselves from the Red Storm.
For Pitts-Young, it was important to remain confident in his shooting abilities despite team-wide struggles from beyond the arc. Portland (5-0) was 2 for 20 before the fourth quarter.
"When I know the game's on the line I just come up with it," said Pitts-Young, who paced the Bulldogs with 19 points. "You just have to have that clutch gene, and me and Justin kind of have that."
Zukowski, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the final period, started the uprising after Scarborough (2-3) scored the first five points of the quarter to tie the game at 41-41.
Pitts-Young followed with a pair of 3s sandwiched around a Zukowski basket, starting a 16-6 run that gave Portland a 57-47 lead with 90 seconds remaining.
"I thought that overall we played very, very well against a No. 1-ranked team," said Scarborough Coach Tony DiBiase.
"I thought we handled their pressure pretty well and we matched their intensity pretty much, but they made some big shots down the stretch and that's what we have to learn how to do.
It was pretty much a nip-and-tuck game until they hit four 3s in a row. We still stayed in a little bit and hung in there (after that)."
Neither team was able to take control of the game through the first three quarters.
Scarborough looked to have things going its way in the opening quarter when it used a 10-0 run to build a 15-6 advantage.
Portland answered by scoring the final seven points of the quarter to make it 15-13.
Portland outscored Scarbor-ough 12-9 in the second quarter to take a 25-24 lead at the half.
"One of our goals was to match their energy, and we didn't," Portland Coach Joe Russo said of his team's first half performance.
"Once we started matching their energy we started rushing, and that didn't help. Along the way, everybody did some nice things to keep us in a close game. We did two bad things and then two good things."
Portland put together a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter to help build a 41-36 lead through three quarters.
Kevin Manning led the Red Storm with 19 points.Tweet
Sam Terry of Scarborough hits the floor to try to grab a loose ball against Portland’s Steve Angelo.
Kevin Manning of Scarborough looks for an open teammate while guarded by Portland center Matt Talbot. Manning led Scarborough with 19 points, while Talbot finished with 14 points for the Bulldogs.
Portland guard Jayvon Pitts-Young fights for possession with Scarborough’s Ben Wessel. Pitts-Young ignited a fourth-quarter outburst with two 3-pointers and finished with 19 points in Portland’s 63-53 win.