The Bonny Eagle boys’ basketball team appeared to be on their way to a big win over unbeaten Portland on Tuesday night when one single made basket de-railed their upset bid with just five seconds left on the clock. Portland’s Andrew Duncanson hit a jump shot from the free throw line to give the Bulldogs an exciting one-point win, 63-62.

“We ran two good plays at the end and they executed those plays,” said Portland coach Joe Russo. “But the ball still has to go in the hoop. Whether the play works or not, the shot still has to go in. Andrew made a great shot on that read.”

Duncanson’s shot resulted in the third and final lead change of a back and forth contest. The Scots and Bulldogs traded baskets for the entire first quarter with Bonny Eagle leading the game after the first period. Mike Harmon led the charge for Bonny Eagle with eight of his 15 points coming in the first.

Leading 20-17, the Scots continued the trend in the second quarter out-scoring Portland by a 16-13 margin. At one point Bonny Eagle opened up a seven-point spread thanks to James Hanley and Scott Proudman hitting shots in the paint.

The Bulldogs were far from done and the visitors pulled within one due to some fine pinpoint shooting from Ryan Carmichael and Duncanson. Bonny Eagle wrapped up the first half with an 8-3 run as Joe Zukowski hit a three-pointer for Portland as time expired. Heading into the break Bonny Eagle led 36-30.

“BE is considered one of the best teams in the league,” said Russo. “So they had a right to do what they did tonight. We always say don’t give up until the horn goes off and that’s what we try to do.”

The Bulldogs came out of the locker room ready to play. Accurate shooting coupled with Bonny Eagle turnovers led to a 13-0 Portland run to start the second half. On the strength of that run, Portland turned a six-point deficit into a seven-point lead.

“Whatever I said at halftime got the boys going in the third quarter,” said Russo. “I can’t tell you what it was. I may have to use it again.”

The Bonny Eagle defense tightened up and forced Portland to take several bad shots. That led to points at the other end. The Scots finished the third quarter on an 8-2 run to get within a single point.

“We’ve done that on several occasions,” said Scots coach Rick Simonds. “We did that against Deering this weekend too. It’s all about the same thing; it’s about protecting the ball. If we had a pure point guard this would be a very good team. But obviously not having a pure point guard, we have to fight for everything we get.”

In the fourth quarter, the Scots reclaimed the lead with key shots and free throw shooting from Harmon, Hanley and Anthony Atkins. Midway through the fourth, Bonny Eagle opened up a seven-point lead and they appeared headed for victory.

“After we took that lead, BE was kind of reeling,” said Russo. “But we let them off the hook by taking five bad shots and that got Bonny Eagle back in the game. You can’t let a good team back in the game because this is what happens.”

That’s when the wheels came off for the Scots.

Carmichael hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to four followed by a jumper from Duncanson. Bonny Eagle added a point when Proudman hit a free throw. Duncanson then got the Bulldogs to within one with another jump shot.

Despite all that, Bonny Eagle still seemed prepared to take the game until an inbounds pass with 16 seconds left skipped across the court untouched and out of bounds. That allowed Portland to gain possession with no time having ticked off the clock.

“This game was very winnable,” said Simonds. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong. We had them absolutely isolated on the block then, if the pass is made we turn that.”

The extra few seconds that were saved allowed Duncanson the time he needed to hit the game-winner.

“I feel just awful for our kids because we haven’t played well all year but we played very well tonight,” said Simonds. “We had a couple of lapses and then (Duncanson) hadn’t made a shot all night and made that one and beats us. I just feel so badly for our kids because they played their hearts out.”

With the win Portland remains unbeaten at 4-0. The loss drops Bonny Eagle’s record to 2-3 and they will travel to Scarborough to take on the Red Storm on Friday.

*****

Cheverus opened up a 15-6 lead after the first quarter of play and they built that into a 30-11 halftime spread as the Stags rolled to a 58-47 win over Westbrook on Tuesday evening.

The Blazes out-scored the visitors during the second half, but they were unable to climb all the way back as they dropped to 1-3 on the season.

Travis Rand led the Blazes with 15 points and Sanborn chipped in with another 14. Shawn Coffill and Shane Kelly each finished with six points in the scorebook.

Westbrook is at Biddeford on Friday evening.

Gorham also fell to 1-3 on the season after Tuesday evening’s 51-39 home loss to undefeated Deering.

The hosts were within striking distance throughout, but Deering never allowed Gorham to claw all the way back from a 12-7 first quarter deficit.

Andrew Dean was high scorer for Gorham with 13 points (all from the free throw line) and Mike Foustoukos added another 12.

Gorham did earn a 62-42 win at Noble last Friday evening. The Rams built themselves a 36-20 halftime lead and they coasted to the win.

Dean again led the way with 16 points while Jamie Lamontagne added another 10. Dan Hager scored nine points and Foustoukos contributed seven.

The Rams visit Kennebunk tonight.


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