Ahmed Ismail Ahmed of Deering, center, attempts to keep a rebound from Ben Burkey of South Portland during the first quarter of their SMAA game Tuesday night. South Portland won, 53-38.
By Tom Chard
PORTLAND - South Portland and Deering entered Tuesday night's game tied for second place in the Western Class A Heal point standings.
But in their second meeting of the season, South Portland proved the better team Tuesday night. Tanner Hyland scored 22 points and the Red Riots played strong defense in a 53-38 SMAA boys' basketball victory at Deering High.
Not only did South Portland break that second-place tie, but moved atop the rankings.
Deering beat South Portland 58-52 in overtime Jan. 4 at Beal Gym. This time the Red Riots (13-2) used a 16-5 run overlapping the second and third quarters to open a 10-point lead.
South Portland stretched its lead to 16 points in the fourth quarter by finding the open man with Hyland, the point guard, passing and scoring.
Hyland had 17 points in the second half, 10 in the third quarter.
"I think we played three really good quarters," said Hyland. "To win here really feels good after we felt we let one get away in our last game with Deering. We switched from man to zone defenses, which was effective. The credit goes to our coaches."
Deering (12-3) scored the last five points of the first quarter to lead 11-10, but its last lead of the game was 15-14 before the Riots went on a 7-0 spurt. After a foul shot by Hyland, Conner MacVane hit consecutive baskets and Jaren Muller scored inside to make it 21-15.
Dominic Lauture of Deering connected on a 3-pointer, but the Riots then closed the half on a layup by Muller off a pass from Hyland.
South Portland outscored the Rams 7-2 to start the second half for a 10-point lead, forcing a Deering timeout.
Hyland scored the first five points, the second basket a 3-pointer. He hit another 3-pointer moments later.
Late in the quarter, 6-foot-7 center Jack Tolan used a drop step move to score inside and Hyland scored on a layup.
The Rams countered with a basket by Labson Abwoch.
Hyland hit another 3-pointer, then a layup to open the fourth and give the Riots a 42-30 lead.
"I hit my first shot in the second half and when I hit one, I feel they're all going to go in," said Hyland.
Next to the double-overtime win over Bonny Eagle on Jan. 21, this was perhaps South Portland's most complete game.
"I thought we played a great game from the start," said South Portland Coach Phil Conley.
"To hold a team like Deering to 18 and 20 points in each half showed we played really good defense.
"Tanner played a tremendous game at the point. He ran our offense and got open looks for our guys while also shooting the ball very well. When Tanner gets us into our offense, we're that much better."
MacVane added 12 points and Muller had 10.
For the second straight game, Deering struggled on offense and scored fewer than 40 points. The Rams, who lost Friday night to Portland, missed numerous close shots.
"We got good looks. They just didn't fall down," said Deering Coach Dan LeGage.
"We have to focus on making shots. Hyland hit some tough shots for them."
Abwoch led Deering with 11 points. Ahmed Ali added 10.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
Conner MacVane of South Portland powers his way to the basket Tuesday night while guarded by Ahmed Ali of Deering.
Tanner Hyland, who scored a game-high 22 points for South Portland, finds room to loft a shot over Labson Abwoch of Deering.