SACO — The Gorham High girls’ basketball team scored eight points in the final 8.2 seconds – all at the free-throw line – to shock Western A power Thornton Academy 53-48 on Monday afternoon.

Gorham trailed by 13 midway through the third quarter, then scored 38 points in the final 12:59. Thornton hadn’t allowed more than 36 in a game before Monday.

“We just (had) to keep thinking, ‘next play, next play,’ and I think that’s what we did really well,” Gorham’s Emily Esposito said after scoring a game-high 25 points. “I think that’s why we finished strong.”

Both teams are 11-2.

Esposito’s open-court brilliance, key contributions from senior Abby Hamilton (14 points, three 3-pointers) and some well-timed 3s by Ashley Woodbury and Kristen Curley got Gorham back in the game. Esposito gave the Rams their first lead, 45-44, with a minute to play when she squeezed between two Thornton defenders to bank in a shot.

Still, the taller, older Golden Trojans appeared to stymie the comeback.

Kaitlyn McCrum (10 points) drove past Esposito for the go-ahead layup. After a defensive stand, Victoria Lux made two free throws to give Thornton a 48-45 lead with 12.2 seconds left.

Gorham advanced the ball to midcourt then called timeout.

Thornton Coach Eric Marston instructed his team to foul quickly, putting Esposito on the line.

Esposito made both shots.

Thornton had a one-point lead but three critical mistakes would soon follow.

On the inbound, Lux threw over the top to Ashley Howe who bobbled it, then kicked it out of bounds. Howe had done a standout job holding Esposito in check for the first half and led TA in scoring with 13 points. McCrum guarded Esposito late in the game with Howe switching to Hamilton.

Kaylea Lundin was then fouled at midcourt with 4.8 seconds left and made both free throws to give Gorham the lead.

“I was very stressed out. It was a lot of pressure,” Lundin said. “I’m glad that I got to redeem myself from last week. I missed the final shot of the game last week to win it (against Deering).”

Thornton then drew a technical foul when two players called a timeout when the Trojans didn’t have any left.

Woodbury made both technical free throws and Gorham also got to inbound the ball. Esposito was fouled and made two more free throws for the final margin.

“Everybody is going to want to focus on the mental errors we had down the stretch but we missed a ton of shots, especially in the first half, and turned the ball over a lot,” Marston said. “The microscope always seems to be on the end of the game but the reality was there were quite a few things that happened through all the nuances.”

Gorham’s two losses are to McAuley and Deering. Now McAuley is the lone one-loss team with Gorham, Thornton and Deering each with two losses.

“We talk about starting to develop a toughness and confidence,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “Those things are important and a win like this does that. There’s only so much you can get from competitive losses. Winning one does matter.”