Gorham’s Sam Kilborn looked nigh-unstoppable against visiting Bonny Eagle Thursday night, powering through Scots to capture rebounds beneath the basket and knocking down pretty fadeaway jumpers in a 19-point performance that led the Rams to a 53-37 victory.

For Gorham head coach Mark Karter, the win shows how far his squad has come, and how much they deserve to be counted among the stronger teams in A West.

“[Bonny Eagle is] a very good team, well-coached,” Karter said. “They were ahead of us in the standings. I think this was a really big game for us, to come and kind of prove that we belong in the mix in Western Maine. I thought our kids did a great job tonight.”

The squads stayed even through the first quarter, in fact; Gorham jumped ahead in the early going on opening buckets by Kilborn and Tyler Bernaiche, but the Scots’ Ben Malloy then drained a three and three foul shots to tie things up.

Kilborn added six, though, and Bernaiche three, to start the second; Billy Ruby capped the Rams’ run with another two, and suddenly Gorham was on top by 11. Bonny Eagle began to battle back – Nick Dubay, Zach Dubiel and Ben Autry did the scoring – but the Rams had too much momentum.

At the half, then, Gorham led 24-16.

“Up to this point, we’ve been inconsistent,” Karter said. “But we’ve had some good practices lately, and I think it’s starting to click for everybody. If that happens, this could be a real tough team down the stretch.”

Kilborn spearheaded another charge in the third, hashing half the Rams’ 16 for the quarter. Spencer Ruda also took to the floor and lit up the board for Gorham in that stretch, adding six all told, including two on a pretty steal. In the same eight minutes, the Scots nabbed just 9, falling further behind to start the fourth.

Bourassa had praise for Kilborn. “He played well. He made some shots that really hurt us. Whether it be offensive rebounding or – he had a couple fadeaways, which, if that’s part of his game, he’s quite a player.

“We fronted him, we tried to limit his touches; the times that he did touch it, he might’ve missed one shot, two shots, maybe? A couple of those fadeaways, I’m OK with. It’s kind of like the Larry Bird fadeaway; how do you defend that, you know?”

It would be in keeping with Bonny Eagle’s talent and tenacity to mount a comeback from 15 points down – but Thursday night simply wasn’t their night. Though they mostly kept pace with the Rams in the final quarter, keeping pace wasn’t enough, and they fell in the end, 53-37.

Karter also had good words for Kilborn, not to mention some of his other players: “I think we have an advantage with Sam, he’s a real big kid. Nick Thibeault’s got some height. If we play to our strengths, that’s obviously a huge advantage for us. Sam had a good game tonight.

“I thought Spencer Ruda – this was his first varsity start – came in and did a great job for us, gave us some electricity,” Karter added. “Trent Bassingthwaite came off the bench and did a great job as well.”

In addition to Kilborn’s 19, Bernaiche, Ruby and Rude each finished with eight. Malloy posted an impressive 17 himself, but the Scots’ shooting overall fell short.

“Defensively, I thought we played a very good game,” Karter said. “To hold a team like that, because they can really shoot the ball, to the 30s is a good team defensive effort. They’re also a very good rebounding team, but I thought we rebounded well to kind of limit them to one shot.”

One might argue Bonny Eagle’s been in a bit of a slump recently. But it’s not for a lack of shots that the Scots have dropped some perhaps-surprising matchups, and it’s not for poor shot selection, either, according to Bourassa:

“We’re shooting 21 percent on the year; it’s frustrating. We’re getting good looks, we’re playing tough defense; it’s just, sometimes the ball’s not going in, sometimes we don’t get a rebound. That’s the story this year: A couple shots go in, a couple different bounces, and we’re 8-0. We’ve got shooters. I’m not going to take the ball out of their hands, that’s for sure.”

Still, Bourassa took some positives from the loss as well.

“Effort-wise, the team played really well,” he said. “We’ve got to figure out how to keep our emotions in check a little better, and hopefully we start making shots.”

Actually, Bonny Eagle has started making more shots since losing in Gorham. The Scots are in a dense stretch of their schedule at the moment, and throttled Thornton Academy on Saturday the 3rd – when Ben Malloy tallied 33 – and Biddeford on Tuesday the 6th, when Malloy had 17, Troy Bogdhan 19 and Dubay 13.

The team’s next matchup is Tuesday the 13th at Portland. After two clear-sailing wins, the Scots, now 6th in A West at 6-4, face a tall challenge in the Bulldogs, who are 7-0.

Gorham, meanwhile, picked up a win over Cheverus on Monday; the Rams are 6-3 and third in A West, and host Westbrook on Friday.

Tyler Bernaiche directs the Gorham offense while playing keepaway with Bonny Eagle’s Dylan Ricci.Charging inside, Gorham’s Cody Elliot dishes the ball away.Sam Kilborn’s fadeaway jumper propelled him to a game-high 19 in the Rams’ win over visiting Bonny Eagle.Bonny Eagle’s Ben Autry eyes the net from afar.Ben Malloy sails toward the net.Bonny Eagle’s Jeff Martin does what he can to halt the advance of 6-foot-5, 225-pound Sam Kilborn of Gorham.The Scots’ Dylan Ricci screeches to a halt, and the Rams’ Billy Ruby sails right by, late in Bonny Eagle’s loss at Gorham Friday night.

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