Midway through the second quarter Thursday night, Jan. 20, Scarborough’s Sam Freeman dropped in the critical three, the basket that put his team on top for good against Sanford.

The 72-48 homecourt W was hardly a one-man show, however; four Red Stormers scored in the double-digits: Freeman, Milani Hicks, Nate Wessel and Matt Hartl.

Scarborough improves to 8-8 on the year; they’re ranked 10th in A West. The victory garnered them substantial Heal Points, as Sanford, now 10-6, is ranked fifth.

Scarborough head coach Tony Dibiase thoroughly approved of his boys’ performance. “We played the way we wanted to play.” The Red Storm’s game plan relied heavily on stopping Evyn Nolette and John Morgan, the Spartans’ sharpest weapons. “If we could keep those guys under control, I thought we could at least score enough points to give us a good chance to win.”

The teams hung with one another in the early going. Both squads looked sharp, slinging clever passes to assemble multi-step plays in search of the best shot, the surest shot, rather than simply whipping off the first available shot.

Scarborough foreshadowed their eventual victory when they put together a run at 15-all to pull a few points ahead. Hartl initiated, shunting the ball forward on defense to a waiting, wide-open Alec Cohen, who broke away; rather than risk an awkward lay-up, however, Cohen spun beneath the net and dished backward to Hartl, following behind. Hartl tallied the bucket, 17-15.

Soon the Red Storm stood on top 22-17, but John Morgan, Chase Smith-Roberts and Josh Schroder combined to erase that advantage, even taking a 23-22 lead, if only fleetingly. Freeman momentarily stole it back with a three, and thenceforward Scarborough controlled.

Sanford never stopped fighting, but by the half, Scarborough had gouged open the sutured wound and taken another lead, 37-30. This one they wouldn’t relinquish. Hicks alone added nine in the third and five Red Stormers notched points in the fourth, including Wessel with six. Morgan hashed eight in the third to help Sanford keep pace, but the Spartans only managed six total in the fourth to end up trailing 72-48.

Freeman knocked down 14 in the victory; Hicks had 15, Wessel 16 and Hartl 19. Morgan had the Spartans’ big game, with 21, but Evyn Nolette added 10 as well, even under heavy guard.

“The key the whole game, no question about it,” Dibiase said, “was Alec Cohen playing great defense on Nolette, because he’s one of the better guys in the league, by far.

“By keeping [Nolette] occupied, it helped us not only defensively, but offensively too, because everybody got back in the flow.”

Dibiase didn’t believe the emphasis on shutting Nolette down opened up more opportunities for Morgan. “I thought Dan LeClair did a really nice job – they’re kind of the same kind of player, about the same size, both football players. Morgan’s a good player, but we kept him kind of under control, too.”

Scarborough began the year 3-0, with victories over Biddeford, Westbrook and Windham. Competition stiffened in the midseason, and recently the Red Storm have dropped four straight, including three to an A West powerhouse triumvirate: Portland, Bonny Eagle and Deering.

“They’re head and shoulders above everybody else…we were playing really well, and ran into those three teams,” Dibiase said.

Dibiase indicated the string of tough losses had an obvious negative impact on morale, but was optimistic after upsetting Sanford. “Hopefully we can get back to our confidence level…end the season on a good note.”

Scarborough’s Matt Hartl leaps for the net at home against Sanford Thursday night.Sam Freeman drives forward on the attack for Scarborough.Having charged nearly to the basket with the ball, Alec Cohen whirls to pass back for an incoming Matt Hartl, who will eventually net the lay-up for two.Sam Wessel guards the ball while looking for a route to attack.Sanford’s Jordan Tranchemontagne cuts around Scarborough’s Milani Hicks on the attack.Josh Allen jets forward on offense for Sanford at Scarborough.Dan Leclair of Scarborough fences out Spartan Tye Laviolette after a free-throw.

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