PORTLAND – With 6-foot-4 senior center Marissa MacMillan controlling the paint at both ends for Deering in the decisive first half, the Rams’ stifled a good Sanford squad.

How much did they shut down the Spartans’ offense? Well, Deering didn’t score in the fourth quarter — taking just one shot — yet still won 32-19 in a Western Class A game Thursday night.

“When you’re up by 15 points, why play into their hands and take bad shots?” Deering Coach Mike Murphy said of his team’s clock-draining offense. “We were hoping to get some layups out of it and maybe get into the one-and-one. It just never happened.”

On the other side, Sanford Coach Kristy Parent said she felt her team was down by too many points to bother with trying to foul its way back into the game.

“We dug ourselves a hole and we weren’t able to get any sort of flow,” Parent said. “Honestly, we needed a more up-tempo game and it ended up being more of a half-court game.”

So the matchup of previously unbeaten squads came to a quiet conclusion.

Deering improved to 5-0. Sanford is 3-1.

MacMillan scored all of her eight points in the first half. Keneisha DiRamio and LeeAnn Downs led Deering with nine points each.

Sanford guards Morgan Fogg and Samantha Adams and center Heather LeBlanc entered the game averaging in double figures. They finished with six, five and five points, respectively.

After six minutes, with Deering ahead 4-0, the die had already been cast for a defensive showdown.

MacMillan’s points came during a 17-4 run that carried into the second quarter. Two buckets were on offensive rebounds where she simply used her long reach to go over the undersized Spartans — the gritty LeBlanc was off the court both times.

“She’s always going to be a difference maker at the defensive end,” Murphy said. “It’s when she can offensive rebound and get the ball down in the paint and offensive rebound and score some bunnies for us that she becomes that much better of a player.”

Deering guard Chelsea Saucier effectively defused Sanford’s attempt at pressure defense, allowing the Rams to consistently work an offensive set.

With Sanford dropping down to protect entry passes, DiRamio and Downs feathered in wide-open 3-pointers in the second quarter.

“We set the tempo at both ends of the court,” Murphy said.

Sanford had a 6-0 run early in the third quarter, with LeBlanc driving right past MacMillan and then hitting a jumper after a well-executed set. The latter shot cut the lead to 28-15 with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

Sanford didn’t score again until 2:33 remained in the game.

Sanford played without starter Janelle Cannon, a senior who specializes in defense and rebounding. Cannon suffered an ankle sprain in Wednesday’s practice and was on crutches. Parent said she expects Cannon to be able to play again in a week, but her absence was felt.

“That was a mental thing for us. She’s our fifth starter. She rebounds well and gives us depth in the post,” Parent said. “She goes down while we’re preparing for Deering and it’s like, ‘Whoa, what are we going to do?’“

Staff Writer Steve Craig can be reached at 749-6413 or at:

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