It was the type of start coaches have nightmares about.

Just 90 seconds into Tuesday night’s SMAA boys basketball game, Bonny Eagle had already committed four turnovers and trailed by 10 as Scarborough capitalized with a pair of 3-pointers and a couple easy baskets in transition.

And it took a while to get better, as the Scots’ deficit swelled to 26 near the end of the third quarter, but a huge run to close the third and start the fourth made things close in the final minutes. The Red Storm, however, made free throws down the stretch to hold on for a 75-64 win in Standish.

Scarborough, No. 10 in this week’s Heal Point standings, evened its record at 5-5. The Scots, ranked ninth, dropped to 4-5 on the season.

“I was proud of our kids, the way that they never gave up,” said Bonny Eagle coach Rick Simonds. “We put ourselves in a terrific hole. Part of that was we just didn’t handle their pressure, which we’d been practicing and knew about and talked about.

“But the other part – sometimes you’ve just got to give credit to the other team. At one point they were 12 of 16 from 3. The NBA doesn’t shoot that.”

Scarborough led 20-11 after the first quarter, when it made four 3s. The Storm made 12 3s through three quarters, then didn’t have a field goal in the fourth, but shot 15 of 22 from the free throw line to preserve the win. Ian Philbrick and Zach Bean led the way for Scarborough with 17 points each. Garrett Alofs added 14 and Conor Sullivan chipped in 10.

The hot shooting early on forced Bonny Eagle to come out of its zone defense, which created more opportunities inside for the Red Storm.

“We shot the ball pretty well,” Scarborough coach Joe Johnson said. “We spread them out. They were in a zone and we ran our zone offense. They had to come out and guard us, then we were able to get to the rim as well.”

The Storm led 38-20 at halftime and added to the lead as Craig Robinson and Sullivan knocked down back-to-back 3s in the first minute of the second half. It was 60-34 before the Scots went on a 5-0 run to close the third quarter. They continued the run over the first five minutes of the fourth, outscoring the Storm 14-3 to close the gap to 63-53.

Lincoln Sanborn was the spark for the Scots, as he scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth. Steven Simonds added six of his eight points in the final quarter. Nate Doehler, who finished with 13 points, chipped in four in the fourth when the Scots outscored the Storm 25-15.

“You try to teach these guys that when you have someone down, you want to keep them down,” Johnson said. “Don’t give them any breathing room. Coach Simonds does a nice job. He’s been around forever. Obviously they’re not going to quit. They were a different team in the second half than they were in the first.”

Scarborough made nine free throws in the final two minutes. Sanborn’s deep 3 – his fourth of the game – made it 70-62 with 30 seconds to play, but the Scots got no closer.

“We cut it from 26 to eight,” Rick Simonds said. “The kids believed and they worked hard. It’s just so hard when you’ve got that big of a mountain to climb.”

Both Bonny Eagle and Scarborough appear right in the middle of the hunt for a Class A West playoff spot as the regular season enters the final few weeks. The top six teams – Westbrook, Thornton Academy, South Portland, Deering, Cheverus and Portland – all have two or fewer losses. The four bottom teams have seven or more. That leaves six teams hovering around .500 and fighting for five tournament spots.

“There are four or five elite teams, there’s no question about that,” Rick Simonds said. “Then there’s three or four teams that are not quite as good as some of the others. The rest of us are kind of in the middle. It’s going to be a scramble to make the tournament. We’ve got Westbrook, South Portland and Thornton in our next three games. It’s a tough league. Every doggone night you better play well. If you don’t, you get beaten.”

In their prior two games, the Scots struggled in a home loss to Gorham. They then nearly upset Deering on the road. A comeback fell just short in a 49-45 loss.

“On the nights when we shoot the ball well, we’re pretty good,” Rick Simonds said. “Tonight we missed seven layups in the first half. Last game against Deering, we were nine of 27 from the foul line and we lost by four. We’re there, but we’re going to have to shoot the ball. It’s easy to play to the level of the competition, but there’s an awful lot of good competition.”


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