SCARBOROUGH – Mike Herrick scored 24 of his game-high 28 points in the first half to help Portland take charge and end a three-game losing streak with a 58-42 victory over Scarborough in an SMAA boys’ basketball game Thursday night.

The Bulldogs (7-7) entered the game tied for ninth in the Heal point standings and needed a win over the eighth-ranked Red Storm (7-8) to keep their chances alive of making the tournament. Eight teams qualify for the Western Maine Class A tournament, which begins in two weeks.

“This was as necessary a win as we’ve faced in a long time,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo.

“Anything less than saying it wasn’t a great win would be an understatement. We needed a win for Heal points to give us a chance to climb into the eighth spot.”

Portland has four games remaining, including its last two against South Portland and Deering.

Herrick, a junior, had 13 points in the opening quarter as the Bulldogs took a 22-9 lead. He added 11 in the second quarter.

Herrick said he felt right at home on the Red Storm’s court.

“I like these hoops,” he said.

“With summer league games, I’ve played here more than on any other court.”

Herrick also liked the fact that Scarborough opened playing man-to-man defense. He was hitting from all over the court in the first half. He opened with back-to-back three-point plays and added four 3-pointers.

“They couldn’t guard me in the man-to-man,” said Herrick.

“They did a better job in the second half with a zone.”

Herrick’s teammates helped out in the second half. Guards Dylan Goodman and Nick Volger hit 3-pointers to maintain the Bulldogs’ momentum.

“I asked a lot of Mike before the game,” said Russo. “He had to cover Zach Bean and he had to score points.

“I told him he had to double dip.”

Bean started out strongly, scoring Scarborough’s first five points. He had 11 points in the first half and finished with 18.

With the score 5-5, Portland outscored Scarborough 17-4 the rest of the opening quarter. Peter Donato’s basket started the run, and Herrick and freshman Justin Zukowski combined to score Portland’s next 15 points.

“It was one of the best periods we played all season,” said Russo.

“We came out with a lot of energy and limited Scarborough to one shot. They didn’t get many offensive rebounds.”

The teams played even in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs’ first three baskets were 3-pointers, the first by Matt McInnis and the next two by Herrick.

“We played hard defense all game,” said Herrick.

Scarborough’s offense has struggled all season.

“When we struggle on offense, it hurts us defensively and teams take advantage,” said Coach Joe Johnson.

“We’re hanging onto eighth place because of our wins over Deering and Marshwood. We’re going to have to win our last three games and then get help from someone else to get into the tournament,” he said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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