PORTLAND — Six seasons and 11 games are a long time to wait for a win over a chief rival, but that’s how long it had been since the last time Deering beat Cheverus in boys’ basketball.

Deering ended its drought Tuesday night by making key plays and keeping its poise at the end in a 50-46 victory at home.

“We have some great individual players,” said Deering Coach Dan LeGage, “but we played as a team tonight and were really snapping the ball around to find the open man. This is a huge win. The seniors weren’t going to lose this one. Cheverus has been the measuring stick and if you want to be the best, you have to beat them.”

Even though the Rams (14-2) were ranked No. 1 in Western Class A, they hadn’t beaten anyone of note. The league is wide open but lurking was Cheverus and Portland, who dealt the Rams their two losses.

The victory likely secured the top seed for the tournament. Deering plays Portland at the Expo in the regular-season finale Friday night.

The Rams overcame an outstanding game by Louie DiStasio, who scored a game-high 26 points for Cheverus, including six 3-pointers.

There were 14 3-pointers in the game: Pat Green of Deering had four, three in the fourth quarter.

“DiStasio was unbelievable,” said LeGage. “He was hitting turnaround 3-pointers. He played like a scholarship player.”

Green and Labson Abwoch combined for 17 of Deering’s 19 fourth- quarter points.

DiStasio and Green swapped 3-pointers late in the game. DiStasio hit his final one with 2:15 left to give the Stags a 46-43 lead. Green responded from the right side to tie it with 1:45 left.

Cheverus missed at the other end with the Rams grabbing the rebound. Working the ball around for several seconds, Deering scored when Cal London fed Abwoch inside for a layup with 58 seconds.

The Stags again failed to score and fouled. London went to the line, missed the first of a 1-and-1 but alertly tipped the ball to teammate Jon Amabile in the lane. Amabile scored with 11 seconds left to seal it.

“Cal tipped me the ball,” said Amabile. “He gets all the credit.”

Both offenses flowed in the second half. Cheverus (12-5) worked some nice combinations, as did the Rams.

Abwoch, normally a starter, sat for the first few minutes because he was late getting to the gym.

“We’re supposed to be there by halftime of the (junior varsity) game,” said Abwoch, a 6-foot-6 junior. “I got there 10 minutes after 6.”

The game, scheduled for 7 p.m., didn’t start until 7:20 because it was Seniors Night, which included other presentations.

Abwoch more than made up for his tardiness, finishing with 16 points, eight in the final quarter.

“My teammates were making screens for me and I was getting open,” he said. “We hadn’t beaten Cheverus in six years. This feels great.”

The last time Deering beat Cheverus was in 2006, the year the Rams won the school’s only boys’ state title.

“(Abwoch) gave us a lot of fire,” said LeGage. “We hadn’t had that.”

Deering led for most of the first half until Cheverus closed with an 11-0 run.

Just after Thiwat Thiwat of Deering got his fourth foul, the Stags got hot. DiStasio hit two from the line. James Kapothanasis hit consecutive 3-pointers and Di-Stasio hit another 3 from the corner with less than a minute remaining.

The Stags led 34-27 late in the third quarter, but Abwoch and London both scored to cut it to 34-31 after three.

The Stags had a 43-39 lead with just over four minutes left, but Deering closed with an 11-3 spurt.

“A couple of defensive lapses changed the game,” said Cheverus Coach Bob Brown. “Give Deering credit. They played well at the end. It was a physical game. Kapothanasis brought us back.”

Green finished with 14 points for Deering.

Cheverus will close the regular season Friday night at South Portland.


Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH


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