As the teams left the court at halftime, South Portland held a 20-point lead over Deering and it appeared as if this was headed to be a one-sided outcome.

Turns out, Deering was just getting started.

Amanda Brett scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half and Cierra Burnham scored 13 – four in overtime – as Deering stormed back for a 59-52 overtime victory over South Portland in an SMAA girls’ basketball game Tuesday night at Deering High.

Deering (5-2) has won three straight since its first loss of the season, 49-48, at McAuley on Dec. 16, and the Rams did it without guard Tasia Titherington, who was not available.

Maddie Hasson led the Riots (5-2) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Abby Cavallaro scored 12 points off the bench, six on 3-pointers. Lydia Henderson added 10 points and Meaghan Doyle pulled down 10 rebounds.

South Portland took command from the start, racing to a 20-11 lead after one quarter and outscoring the Rams 14-3 in the second.

“The (halftime) message was, the game is 0-0, you’re not going to score 19 points on one trip,” Deering Coach Mike Murphy said. “‘Let’s get the ball inside to Amanda.’ And you saw what happened when we got it to her.”

That’s for sure. Brett had eight of Deering’s 13 third-quarter points and closed it to seven points after three quarters, 42-35.

“We relaxed,” Brett said. “In the first half we forced shots and in the second we just let it happen.”

Burnham (10 rebounds) played a smart game, slipping deft passes inside to Brett for five assists. Not long ago, she’d have opted for the shot herself.

“We’re definitely sharing the ball more,” Burnham said. “I’ve been really hard on myself for not scoring a lot, but (not scoring) just opened my eyes to basketball being a team game, rather than a one-man game.”

Murphy said, “Burnham knew where the ball was supposed to go,” Murphy said. “And those passes enabled her to get open as well. She had some big baskets for us on that comeback. It was by far her best game of the year.”

In the fourth, Deering tied the game at 42 on Lodia Ismail’s underhand layup with 5:35 to play. Burnham gave the Rams their first lead, 44-42, with a shot from down low. Brett pushed it to 46-42 with a putback of her shot.

“Brett is a very good, very physical inside player,” Hasson said, “and we don’t have an answer for that right now.”

Hasson hit a free throw to make it 46-43 before Burnham caught a long pass and banked the ball off the glass for a five-point lead, 48-43, prompting South Portland to call a timeout.

“We’re young, and that’s not an excuse, but when we get a lead and then it starts to swing, we start to panic,” South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson said. “We have to learn how to weather the storm.”

Megan Graff, Cavallaro and Hasson pieced together an 8-1 run to tie it at 49 with 1:12 to play. Courtney Brett hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it 51-49, but Hasson hit a big shot with 30 seconds left to send it into overtime.

In overtime, the Rams made the most of turnovers to outscore the Riots 8-1 with four points from Burnham.

“Kids knew they weren’t done at halftime, we just let it get away from us,” Hasson said. “It’s still early in the season and we have time to fix some things.”

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