SOUTH PORTLAND — The blizzard pushed the game back from Tuesday to Wednesday, but there was no stopping Gorham’s Abby Hamilton.

Hamilton connected on five 3-pointers – including a buzzer beater to send the game into overtime – to lead Gorham to a crucial 65-56 win over South Portland in a SMAA girls’ basketball game at Beal Gym.

Gorham (13-3), which entered fourth in the Western Class A Heal points, won its fourth straight. The win likely secures a first-round bye for the Rams in the regional tournament. The Rams haven’t lost since falling to No. 3 Deering 44-43 on Jan. 13.

Hamilton, an all-conference guard last season, has been battling back from a serious knee injury suffered late last season and an ankle sprain this season. She finished with 26 points.

“That’s the player I know Abby Hamilton can be,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “She’s battled through some injuries and I think she’s all the way back.”

Gorham forward Emily Esposito had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.


In OT, South Portland’s Maddie Hasson won the tip and the Riots drove to the basket for a 50-48 lead. Hamilton hit a 3 to regain the lead, 51-50, and Abby Cavallaro countered with a shot from the baseline to make it 52-51.

Kristen Curley then hit a 3-pointer to help Gorham regain the lead for good, 54-52.

“We won the tip and Maddie scored and I thought we were in pretty good shape,” South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson said. “Then when Maddie fouled out (with 2:44 to play with Gorham leading 54-52), we were in a little trouble, because we need her on the court.”

The Rams hit 7 of 10 free throws to put the game away.

“It’s such a good matchup, it was back and forth until the very end,” Esposito said. “A win like this gives us more confidence, that we can regroup.”

For fifth-ranked South Portland (11-4), the loss snapped a win streak at four games.


“The girls are disappointed but we’re knocking on the door,” Hasson said. “Looking forward, would you rather have (a big win) now or tournament time, I’d rather have it at tournament time.”

Hasson led South Portland with 22 points. Holly Black had four points and 12 rebounds.

South Portland opened the game on a 14-4 run, forcing Gorham to call a timeout about halfway through the period. From there, the Rams countered to trim the Riots’ lead to 16-14.

Esposito’s 3-pointer tied it at 17 for Gorham with 6:16 left in the half. The teams traded leads to get to 23-23 before the Rams then went on a 14-2 run over the second and third quarters to pull ahead 37-25. The Riots were held scoreless until Henderson’s acrobatic underhand shot went in off the glass with 1:53 left in the third.

Then it was South Portland’s turn to rally, putting together a run that gave the Riots a 41-40 lead on Hasson’s three-point play with 5:25 to play.

On the ensuing possession, Hamilton hit a 3 to regain the lead, 43-41, and Esposito scored from down low to push it to 45-41 Cavallaro countered with a 3 and Hasson went 4 for 4 from the line to take a 48-45 lead with 8 seconds left. Esposito found Hamilton with a long pass to set up the tying shot at the buzzer.

“I’m finally getting some confidence back,” Hamilton said. “I’ve gone from an ACL to an ankle sprain and it’s just been never ending. It wasn’t just one shot, everybody contributed.”

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