SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland changed its starting lineup Friday by inserting 6-foot-5 Ruay Bol. Bol helped the Red Riots get off to a flying start, scoring nine points in the first quarter as South Portland built a 21-9 lead.

But it took a big fourth quarter by the Riots to finally shake Cheverus for a 61-50 win in an SMAA boys’ basketball game at a packed Beal Gym.

A girls-boys doubleheader drew a large crowd, and the Red Riots made it a sweep by winning both.

The South Portland boys got their sixth straight win. The Riots (10-2) outscored Cheverus 22-12 in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of the absence of Cheverus big man Zordan Holman, who fouled out with 4:57 left. Jack Fiorini, a 6-5 center, scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth.

“Cheverus made a run and the kids responded with pressure defense,” said South Portland Coach Phil Conley. “Our pressure defense is what won it for us.”

Jaren Muller, another South Portland big man, was also in foul trouble for most of the game. He didn’t foul out, though, and contributed 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

“Both teams had to play without their bigs,” said Conley.

Once again, the Riots showed balanced scoring. Bol finished with 14 points, and Matt Pelletier, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored eight points in the opening quarter.

Cheverus (6-6) held a 9-6 lead before South Portland closed the first quarter with a 15-0 run.

Fiorini started it with an inside basket. Pelletier followed with a 3-pointer and then was fouled shooting a 3 and made all three from the line. Bol scored, then followed with a three-point play before Pelletier finished the surge with a basket.

The outburst was keyed by steals off the press as Cheverus got careless with the ball.

“You need balanced scoring against the good teams like Cheverus,” said Conley.

Bol’s insertion into the starting lineup was to give the Riots more height – as if they need it – while also adding a player who excels from all ranges, is good in the open court and can play defense.

“I came out and did what I had to do,” said Bol. “The press was the same one we’ve used. We came out with a lot of energy.”

The Stags pecked away at their deficit, however, and got back into the game. They tightened their defense and shut down the middle, bottling up the Riots’ big men. Cheverus outscored South Portland 14-8 in the second quarter to pull within six points, then got the first eight points of the third quarter to grab a 31-29 lead.

Holman opened the second half by scoring inside, and sophomore Jack Casale hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Fiorini responded with an inside basket to tie it at 31-31. Derek Hammond stole the ball at midcourt and drove for a basket to give the Stags a 33-31 lead, but Muller’s medium range jumper tied it again.

There were two more ties before Muller’s three-point play with 27 seconds left in the third gave the Red Riots a one-point lead. They never trailed again.

South Portland ran off nine straight points to open the fourth. Besides Fiorini’s 10 points in the quarter, Bol added two baskets and Muller had three points, as did Kam Harper, all from the line.

Casale, who finished with 21 points, hit a 3-pointer for his team’s first basket of the quarter to make it 48-41 with just under six minutes remaining, but the Riots stayed hot for the rest of the way.

“We battled back, but not having Zordan in the game for the last part of the fourth quarter hurt,” said Cheverus Coach Dan Costigan. “He means a lot to us.

“South Portland is a physical team. We’re a young team. Zordan and Austin Boudreau are the only players with significant varsity experience from a year ago. We’ll be a better team for having been in a game like this.”