The follow-through to any shot is important, coaches at every basketball clinic will tell you, but for Jabari Bird, leaving his right hand high above his head for long seconds after his 3-pointer had swished through the net at the end of the third quarter signified more than simple execution.

Bird’s basket, with three-tenths of a second remaining on the clock, erased the last vestige of what had been a 20-point deficit for the Red Claws, who ended a three-game losing streak Friday night by rallying for a 113-93 G League victory over the Erie BayHawks before a crowd of 1,723 at the Portland Expo.

Coming off their most lopsided loss of the season, a 145-107 blowout Wednesday against Windy City with Chicago native Brandon Bailey’s family watching his first trip home as Maine’s head coach, the Claws fell behind quickly Friday night.

The BayHawks (5-10), with rookie head coach and Portland High graduate Josh Longstaff enjoying a homecoming of his own, jumped to a 34-14 lead by finishing the first quarter with four layups and a dunk.

“The guys really played well,” Longstaff said after posing for several postgame photos with old friends. “They played fast, they played together. They played hard, they competed. We just couldn’t sustain it.”

The Red Claws (8-6) scratched back in the second quarter with better defense and consecutive 3-pointers from Josh Adeyeye, Kadeem Allen and Bird, who led all scorers with 31 points after missing the Windy City game because of a shoulder injury.

“I tell the guys all the time, we’re not going to get anywhere until we guard,” Bailey said. “We’re not going to get call-ups, or whatever we want to do, until we defend to the highest level we can.”

Bailey credited Allen, who has been fighting a cold and played 28 minutes in spurts of three and four at a time, with turning things around on defense.

“He set the tone the first couple possessions of the second quarter of how we’re going to defend,” Bailey said. “You’re the first line of defense up top. If you’re passive, that’s the tone that’s set for the rest of the possession. But if you’re aggressive, then everybody else is going to pick it up.”

The Claws got as close as 46-45 with an Allen tip-in before heading into intermission trailing 55-49. In the third quarter, they again pulled within one, then fell behind 77-67 during an Erie rally that included Longstaff’s first technical foul. But then Maine fought back with a late surge, capped by Allen driving the paint, kicking to L.J. Peak in the left corner, and Peak passing up a shot because Bird was even more open on the wing.

“We had worked so hard to get the lead,” Bird said, “and to hit the go-ahead bucket in the third, that was a big moment for our team. L.J. made a great play to make the extra pass and I just happened to knock it down.”

The Claws put the game away with a 19-2 run to open the fourth and outscored Erie 31-13 in the quarter. Allen finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and six steals. Andrew White, Devin Williams and Trey Davis each added 13 points.

“We knew we needed a win,” Bird said. “Not that every game isn’t important, but this one meant something.”

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