Monday, March 10, 2014
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - Matt Talbot needed only one red-hot quarter to make his mark on the game.
Talbot scored 15 of his 21 points in a scorching second quarter to help lift Portland to a 73-49 win over Cheverus in a Southwestern Maine Activities Association boys' basketball game Friday night at Cheverus.
"It was just kind of the flow of the team and our mind-set," said Talbot about his exploits. "It wasn't really anything special out of me. It was all the team. It looked like I was stellar, but they were finding me and really all of the shots were open. I just stood there and looked good."
Talbot showed his versatility and athleticism. The 6-foot-5 junior didn't find much success down low in the opening quarter, so he took his talents to the outside and made a difference.
"He's probably one of the most athletic players I've seen in a long time," said Portland Coach Joe Russo. "He's a very athletic individual.
"He's our center, but sometimes he doesn't always like to play with his back to basket. But because he can shoot well and we work on it, we like him coming out of the paint because he can do it."
The game opened with a high tempo and entertaining pace that delivered three lead changes, five ties and a 14-14 score after one quarter.
Talbot started his hot streak early in the second quarter with his team's first 3-pointer of the game just 20 seconds in to thrust the Bulldogs (3-0) into a lead they would never relinquish.
Jayvon Pitts-Young added a basket and Steve Angelo hit another 3-pointer to put the visitors ahead 22-15. Talbot followed with Portland's next eight points, including two more 3s, to cap a 13-3 run and give Portland a commanding 27-17 advantage.
Portland finished the second quarter on an 11-0 run. Talbot scored the final four points to complete his impressive eight-minute surge as the Bulldogs outscored the Stags 27-10 to carry a 41-24 lead into the half.
"You have to give them credit," said Cheverus Coach Dan Costigan. "We played with them for a quarter, but they are explosive and they can do that to you. They can do what they did to teams, and they did it to us.
"Portland is a very good opponent to help you figure out what you need to do better."
Any hopes of a second-half comeback dissipated quickly for the Stags (2-1) as they continually turned the ball over. The Bulldogs capitalized on nearly every mistake with a 15-6 run to build a 26-point advantage, 56-30, with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Pitts-Young finished with 11 points for Portland, while Justin Zukowski added 10.
Noah Stebbins paced the Stags with 12 points.