SACO — Thornton Academy girls’ basketball Coach Eric Marston said he saw no need to yell at his highly regarded team at halftime of its game Tuesday against South Portland.

Sure, the Golden Trojans were trailing by five and were only that close thanks to Katie McCrum’s five-point spree in the final minute, but the basics – good defense and getting good shots – could be seen.

“I was very positive with the girls at halftime,” Marston said. “I say, ‘hey listen, we missed a bunch of shots when we had really good looks and they shot 50 percent.’ I knew we would continue to play good defense and it would be hard for them to shoot that well for another half.”

Thornton (4-0) responded to the positive reinforcement with a dominant second half, outscoring the Red Riots by 22, getting points from nine players and impact contributions from a half dozen, on its way to a 50-30 win.

Victoria Lux led Thornton with 16 points and controlled the paint in the second half. McCrum finished with 11 points, including a three-point play late in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 38-25.

After shooting just over 25 percent in the first half (7 of 27), the Golden Trojans made two-thirds of their shots in the second half (14 of 21).

“We just needed to pick it up and dominate and we did,” Lux said.

Freshman point guard Alexandra Hart played nearly mistake-free and added five points while shutting down her freshmen South Portland counterparts Megan Graff and Abby Cavallaro in the second half.

Thornton senior Abby Strickland, slowed by sickness, started the second-half run with a pair of inside layups, the second on a nice high-post dish from Lux.

On the next possession, South Portland backed off Lux to protect the interior and Lux coolly knocked down a 16-footer for Thornton’s first lead, 22-21, since the first quarter.

“We started reversing the ball and in the post I just needed to shoot more,” Lux said. “It’s a team effort definitely. It’s not just one player on this team.”

South Portland standout Maddie Hasson (15 points) was able to get to the line to give the Riots the lead for the final time, 23-22.

Thornton outscored the Red Riots 22-6 in the third and 40-12 over the final 17 minutes, starting with McCrum’s 3-pointer.

In the first 13 minutes, South Portland built a 21-10 lead behind Hasson’s silky shooting and superior interior passing to free players on back cuts to the basket. Holly Black converted the best of such plays during a 10-0 run to start the second quarter.

Those passing lanes were shut off in the second half and the Red Riots, who had averaged 69.3 points in their first three wins, shot 3 of 18 in the second half and never got its transition game going.

“They came out and played great defense and I didn’t think we handled it as well as we had in the first half,” South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson said. “It was more they adjusted and we didn’t.”

“This was far from our best game so we’ll go home, regroup and figure it out,” Hasson added.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.