Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND — It was simply a matter of settling down. And once Deering High did that, it was on its way to another Western Class A final.
Taylor Flood of Sanford runs into trouble against a Deering defense that includes Marissa MacMillan, left; Ella Ramonas, center, and Aarika Viola. Deering earned a 51-45 victory.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Ella Ramonas of Deering has the ball knocked loose while driving against Heather LeBlanc of Sanford as Aarika Viola of Deering moves in. Deering won the Class A semifinal.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Click here for boxscore
The top-ranked Rams overcame an early nine-point deficit to beat upstart Sanford 51-45 in the Western Class A semifinals Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center, moving to the regional title game for the fourth consecutive year.
Deering (19-1) will face second-seeded McAuley (18-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center. The teams split in the regular season.
"We've been down before," said Kayla Burchill of Deering's early 11-2 deficit. "We knew we could come back. I mean, it was a little shaky there, but we knew we could do it.
"I just think we have a lot of young players and we had nerves going into it. And we just had to get them out of our system. When we did, that's when we pulled it together."
Taylor Flood scored four points and Shae Riley five in Sanford's early run, leading 11-2 just 4:04 into the game. Deering regrouped to lead 12-11 after one, as Emily Cole and Burchill each hit 3-pointers, and Ella Ramonas put in an offensive rebound with six seconds left.
"These kids don't get rattled. We've got more parents that get rattled than kids on the floor," said Rams Coach Mike Murphy.
But Deering really didn't take control until the third quarter, when its various zone defenses confounded the Redskins. The teams traded the lead to start the third, with Sanford taking its final lead at 28-26 when Lindsay Nolette hit a 3-pointer.
Deering responded with eight consecutive points. Ramonas, who sat out all but one minute of the second quarter because of foul trouble, scored on a baseline drive. Then Aarika Viola hit a jumper from the left elbow. Ramonas followed with a drive left, then Chelsea Saucier hit a jumper that made it 34-28.
In that stretch, Sanford went 0 of 5.
"We were stagnant, no movement, that's why I had to call a couple of timeouts," said Redskins Coach Kristy Parent. "We did a much better job when we got the ball into the post and were able to kick it back out but They got out on our shooters. They're long and lanky."
Viola said it was a matter of communicating.
"We communicated much better in the second half," she said. "We played the zone the way we're supposed to play it."
Deering beat the Redskins by 17 in the second game of the regular season. But, as Murphy said, "That's a very good team over there."
And the Redskins pushed the Rams hard. Burchill, who finished with 21 points, kept Deering in the game in the first half with 14 points.
Other players, most notably Ramonas and 6-foot-3 center Marissa MacMillan, picked it up in the second half. MacMillan scored her eight points in the final two quarters.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: