Above: Thornton Academy’s Ben Lambert flies to the basket for a layup during Tuesday night’s game against Deering. Left: TA’s Corey Hart gets a shot off over Deering’s Jean Claude Butera in the second half on Tuesday night.

Above: Thornton Academy’s Ben Lambert flies to the basket for a layup during Tuesday night’s game against Deering. Left: TA’s Corey Hart gets a shot off over Deering’s Jean Claude Butera in the second half on Tuesday night.

SACO — Sometimes matchups between two undefeated teams end up being classic showdowns and sometimes they end up being a dud.

Tuesday night’s clash between Class AA unbeatens Deering and Thornton Academy lived up to the hype as both teams showed why they came in with perfect 9- 0 records.

PAT MCDONALD/Journal Tribune

PAT MCDONALD/Journal Tribune

Unfortunately for the Golden Trojans, it would be the visiting Rams who would leave with their 10th win of the season as they picked up a 58-54 win in front of a raucous crowd.

It was a back-and-forth game from the start as the teams ended the first quarter tied at 17-17 and Deering would take a slim 31-29 lead into the break.

At the start of the third quarter, the Trojans decided to try out a zone defense and Deering’s Malik White took advantage. The standout would hit three shots from long distance as the Rams went on an 11-3 run to take a 42- 32 lead with 5:50 left in the third.

“I’ll take the blame on the beginning of the third quarter. We came out and wanted to play just a couple possessions of zone and Malik made us pay,” said TA coach Bob Davies.

Thornton Academy’s John Fogg (24) and Ben Lambert (10) battle Deering’s Malik White for a rebound during Tuesday night’s game.

Thornton Academy’s John Fogg (24) and Ben Lambert (10) battle Deering’s Malik White for a rebound during Tuesday night’s game.

Davies’ squad would not back down and the Trojans would go on an 8-1 run to end the third quarter and cut the Deering lead to 43-40 heading into the final quarter.

“The best part is we didn’t stop playing. We stayed with it and the kids made up for a coach’s decision,” said Davies of his team fighting back.

The Trojans carried over the momentum from the end of the third quarter as they opened the fourth on an 11-0 run to take a 51-43 lead with 6:17 remaining in regulation.

“We did a pretty good job rebounding. Play good defense, get the rebound and when you do that you have a pretty good chance to get some transition points,” said Davies.

Following a Deering timeout, the visiting Rams would be the one to go on a run as they scored nine straight points to take a 52- 51 lead.

It seemed like Deering had all the momentum, but a technical foul on the Rams would seem to give the Trojans new life – and send the Deering coaching staff and fans into a rage.

TA’s David Keohan, who led the Trojans with 16 points, would make one of two from the charity stripe to tie the game at 52-52 with two minutes left.

White, who finished with 14 points, would step up once again for the Rams as the standout scored another three – this time on an and-one to put Deering up 55-52 with 49 seconds left.

The Trojans got a layup from Keohan with 36 seconds left to cut the lead to one, but TA would end up fouling White, who made both foul shots to push the lead back to three at 57-54 with 24 ticks left.

TA would miss a couple shots with time winding down and eventually had to put Deering back on the foul line. Anthony Lobor would hit one-of-two with just 2.4 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Davies gave credit to Deering’s defense after the game.

“Their pressure never stops. They are constant pressure, whether it’s full or half court. They did that tonight, just constant pressure,” said Davies.

Davies was disappointed with the loss, but also knows that the only wins and losses that matter are the ones that come in February.

“It’s a regular season game. We are still going to wake up tomorrow and still going to be who we are,” said Davies, who said his team will turn their focus to a home game with a tough Massabesic squad on Thursday. “We got to get some rest and get our bodies back so we can play Thursday night.”

The TA coach did take a moment to enjoy the playoff-like atmosphere his team got to play in on Tuesday.

“Every game kids get to play in high school is an experience that’s hard to describe and these kids are living it … so it’s pretty neat watching them play, get up and down and every game we play we get something out of it,” said Davies.

NOTES: The Trojans would get 13 points from point guard Jack Tilley and Ben Lambert finished with 12 points. Rome Pura added six, while John Fogg chipped in with four and Corey Hart rounded out the TA scoring with three … Deering was led by Lobor with 17 points … Both Massabesic and TA will be 9-1 entering Thursday night’s game, which is set for a 7 p.m. start.

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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