GORHAM — Ram Logan Drouin spearheaded a determined comeback victory against visiting Bonny Eagle on Friday night, Dec. 23. Drouin managed just two points through the first half, but ultimately finished with a team-high 10 and even drained the lead-stealing bucket – a pretty three-pointer – midway through the third quarter. 40-29 the final.

“I thought defensively we played a pretty good game the whole game,” said Gorham head coach Mark Karter. “Just offensively in the first half we really, really struggled. So we made a couple adjustments at halftime and were able to come out and get some easy baskets. I thought Logan did a nice job coming in and hitting some shots in the third for us, and we started to rebound the ball a little better too.”

“We hit a couple shots early,” Bonny Eagle head coach Mike Francoeur said. “We did a nice job of finding some shooters in transition. We had some of those same looks in the second half, just didn’t seem to knock ‘em down.”

Kyle King opened the scoring, giving Gorham the early lead on a three-point play. Will Hendrix answered with a two for the Scots, but the Rams kept out front on a pair of successful frees by Jason Komulainen. 

That, however, is when Bonny Eagle took over: Zach Maturo added two and Connor Sirois three to seize the advantage at 7-5. From there, the Scots dashed further in front, finishing the first quarter six points up at 12-6. 

The Rams battled back in the second, tying the game at 13-13 on a free throw by Bryce Womack, but the Scots weren’t about to give up. Maturo hashed four free throws and Sirois drained a three to open up another Bonny Eagle lead. 20-15 at the break.

Gorham found their groove and made their move in the third: Drouin – relatively quiet to that point, with just one basket to his name – began the stretch with a two; teammate Cam Wright followed him up with another two to bring the Rams within one at 20-19.

Sirois then nailed another three – he tallied a trio of them on the evening – for more Scots breathing room, but King responded with a two and Drouin dropped in a three to finally, fatefully give Gorham back the lead. By the end of the quarter, they stood on top 28-24. 

“We had two field goals at halftime,” Karter said. “You’re not going to win too many games scoring four points a half from the field, so we wanted to make sure to try to get the ball inside – we had a little height advantage on them – and I thought we were able to do that in the third quarter especially to get us going.”

“We’ve got some good size,” Karter said. “We knew they were a little smaller than us – but they’re very physical, so it’s always tough to get position on them. They’re really well-coached. We were lucky enough to get to our spots in the third quarter and make some easy baskets.”

Francoeur applauded Gorham’s resurgence efforts. “You want to try to expose a little bit; we’ve got some kids that can really shoot the ball. [Coach Karter] did a nice job of taking those things away. With his point guard, Jackson (Fotter), on top – he’s really a nice kid on the ball, doesn’t allow dribble-penetration and things like that. He did a nice job controlling things that we’ve been successful at, the first four games.”

Gorham likewise owned the fourth. Drouin added another three to kick it off, and fellow Ram Andrew Brown piled a three-point play on top of that. The Scots answered – Jackson Hogan dropped in a three and Sirois converted a steal into two more – but Bonny Eagle’s shooting afterwards dried up. The game’s last six points, four by Komulainen and two by King, all belonged to the Rams. 

Four of those six came from the line, and Karter pointed to Bonny Eagle’s foul woes as an important linchpin in the victory: “We were fortunate to get them in trouble and make some foul shots,” he said. “I thought we shot much better from the line tonight than we have all year, so that’s a big help if you can make those.”

For his part, Francoeur credited the Rams’ defense with thwarting his boys’ flow. “Mark’s been doing that one-one-three for a couple years now, and we struggled to find any movement or any consistency; it just seemed like it was a very slow, methodical-type game. We’re trying to get the game more up-tempo, but certainly, scoring 29 points, we didn’t get the game as up-tempo as we’d like.”

“We wanted to make sure we tried to keep them outside on offense,” Karter said, “I thought that, for the most part, we were fortunate that we did that. They didn’t make a lot of threes. Then kind of got our rebounding ironed out, to make sure we limited them to one shot.”

In addition to Drouin’s 10, King finished with seven, Komulainen and Womack six apiece, Brown five and Fotter four. 

Karter applauded a number of his boys. “Jackson, our point guard, has done a great job all year, plays a lot of minutes, kind of controls the game for us. And I thought Andrew came in off the bench and got a couple nice baskets for us.”

Sirois actually posted the game-high performance, putting up 11, while Maturo added 10. Hogan finished with six. 

Francoeur nodded to his bench for their contributions, but especially wanted to pat Nick Thorne on the back. “Nick always brings energy; he’s a dynamite young man, and I’m looking forward to bigger and better things from him.”

The win boosted Gorham, who began their season on a bit of a slide, to 2-3. The Rams are currently ranked third. They travel to No. 4 Deering (3-1 in AA North) on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

“It’s [was a big game] for both of us – I know we’re both going to be fighting for playoff positions, so any time you get a win, you get those Heal Points, it’s going to be good,” Karter said. “But coach Francoeur does a good job, and we knew they were going to be better this year coming in.”

Bonny Eagle, on the other hand, kicked off their schedule in style. Even with their loss to the Rams, they remain above .500 at 3-2. For now, they sit in sixth; they host No. 2 South Portland (4-1) on Friday, Dec. 30.

“It makes us 3-2 at the break,” Francoeur said. “We’re excited; if had told me three weeks ago we’d be 3-2 at the break – last year, we had some growing pains, so we’re looking forward to 2017.”

“As young and inexperienced as we are – we had a kid go down with an ankle, and we had two or three kids get in foul trouble – it certainly makes us play a little bit different than we’ve been playing the first four games,” Francoeur said. “But it wasn’t the fouls, it wasn’t the free-throws or anything like that; it was just, Gorham came and beat us tonight.” 

Gorham’s Jason Komulainen and Bonny Eagle’s Casey Maturo clash as Komulainen makes for the net.

Bonny Eagle’s Zach Maturo defends as Gorham’s Jackson Fotter wends toward the basket along the baseline.

Bonny Eagle’s Jake Esty and Gorham’s Jackson Fotter collide as Fotter releases a shot.

Bonny Eagle’s Nick Thorne and Gorham’s Logan Drouin clash in midair.

Bonny Eagle’s Jackson Hogan unwinds into a jumper; Gorhamites Bryce Womack (52) and Logan Drouin (34) strive to block.

Connor Sirois fights to the net for Bonny Eagle at Gorham.

Scot Nick Thorne gets air over Gorham opponent Kyle King.

Bonny Eagler Jackson Hogan ducks between Gorham opponents Cam Wright and Jackson Fotter on his way to the net.

Ram Kyle King takes to the air; Scot Christian Napolitano tries to ground him.