Portland and Deering showed from the start Thursday night that this renewal of their city rivalry would be a gem.

In the end, Portland held on for a 65-62 victory in an SMAA boys’ basketball game at the Expo, extending its two-year win streak to 33.

Deering led after the first three quarter breaks but went cold in the final two minutes in a game between the first- and third-ranked teams in Western Class A.

“This was a very intense and high-atmosphere game,” said Steve Alex, who led Portland with 21 points. “Deering played us tough.”

Portland Coach Joe Russo said his team dug deep.

“We came out with courage in the second half,” he said. “That’s what won it for us. We were tentative in the first half.”

Each team got great contributions from the bench. Portland freshman point guard Terion Moss scored five points in the third quarter and at times was the most savvy player on the floor. And John Williams scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead. He later hit a 3-pointer to make it 56-53 and finished with seven points.

“John Williams is an excellent shooter,” said Russo.

Reserve Raffael Salamone was outstanding for Deering after also playing in the junior varsity game. At 6-foot-4, he gave the Rams a big body inside and finished with 13 points, including 9 of 14 from the line.

“Raffael is a good rebounder. He’s tough inside,” said Deering Coach Todd Wing.

Deering was hurt when its leading scorer, Ben Williams, was saddled with three fouls early and got his fourth with 3:50 left in the third quarter. He finished with six points, all from the line.

“It’s tough when your leading scorer plays eight minutes,” said Wing. “Fouls killed us.”

Willams’ last two from the line gave the Rams (8-4) a 60-59 lead with 2:51 remaining, but Alex and Amir Moss scored on drives to give Portland (11-0) a 63-60 lead with 2:20 remaining.

Deering made it 63-62 on a drive by Garang Majok, who finished with 13 points. Each team then missed chances until Joe Esposito laid in an offensive rebound with 25 seconds to play, making it 65-62.

The Rams then missed a would-be tying 3-pointer.

“We came in ready to beat them,” said Wing. “The beauty of a rivalry is that it brings out the best in players. It was a fun game. We lost by a possession to a very good team. After each loss this season, we’ve fixed our errors and come back stronger.”

Deering led 16-13 after one quarter, 33-29 at halftime and 48-47 after three. The Rams scored the first two baskets of the second half to extend their lead to eight points.

The Bulldogs responded by running off seven straight points, and the game remained close the rest of the way.

Terion Moss finished with 11 points and his brother, Amir Moss, scored five of his nine points in the fourth quarter. Moses Oreste hit big shots for Deering and ended with 12 points.

Deering played without starter Stephen Ochan, who has a hand injury.

The teams will meet again in a regular-season finale Feb. 5 at Deering High.