SOUTH PORTLAND – It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but South Portland girls’ basketball coach Mike Giordano will take the win — and the Heal points.

The Red Riots topped Westbrook 29-28 on Friday night in a Southern Maine Activities Association game in which baskets of any kind were at a premium.

“I said, ‘(the winner would be) the first one to 30’,” said Giordano. “Neither team got there, but we got 29 so we’ll take it. We were close enough.”

South Portland improved to 2-1, while the Blue Blazes dropped to 1-2.

The game was the definition of two teams struggling to find their offensive rhythm.

Westbrook jumped out to a 7-1 lead three minutes into the game, forcing South Portland to call a timeout. The break worked, as the Red Riots outscored Westbrook 8-1 in the final five minutes of the quarter to grab a 10-8 lead.

The run continued into the second quarter as South Portland blanked Westbrook 11-0, including a pair of 3-pointers by Logan Neal to close out the half, giving the home side a 21-8 lead.

“Yeah, it felt like we had the game under control at the half, but we knew that we couldn’t just act like we were winning,” said Neal, who scored a game-high 11 points.

“We knew that they were going to come out hard in the second half.”

After enduring a stretch of more than 10 minutes without a point, Westbrook caught fire in the third quarter, reeling off 13 straight points to tie the game at 21.

Jessica Harris capped off the comeback with a mid-court steal and an easy layup with 55.9 seconds remaining the quarter.

“I think we definitely improved in the second half,” Harris said. “We got in the locker room and we were frustrated with the first half, so we all got together and decided that we were going to get out there and make some stuff happen.”

The Red Riots couldn’t buy a basket in the third quarter, suffering from the same malaise that infected Westbrook a quarter earlier.

But South Portland managed to salvage something from the quarter.

Holly Black’s basket with five seconds left put the Red Riots back on top, 23-21.

Neal opened the final quarter with her third 3-pointer of the game to make it a five-point advantage, but Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer by Kayla Winton.

South Portland carried a 3-point lead into the final minute, but a steal by Harris and a layup with 45 seconds left made it 29-28.

Another turnover by the Red Riots, on an in-bounds play from under their own basket with 12.3 second left, gave Westbrook one final chance but they were unable to convert.

“The first half, I was very pleased, but I think the kids got a little complacent coming out of the locker room,” said Giordano. “Westbrook, to their credit, came out and played hard and made it a basketball game.”

Megan Niehoff led Westbrook with eight points.