WINDHAM — Whenever the defending champs from Portland High needed a big shot to stem Windham’s comeback momentum, they got it.

Many of those shots came from senior point guard Terion Moss, who scored 27 points in the Bulldogs’ 61-44 Class AA North win Tuesday night.

“That was the difference in the game,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “Windham battled and battled and were within striking distance it just seemed someone from our team happened to come up with the big shot.”

Like in the third quarter, after Windham had gotten consecutive second-chance 3-pointers to cut an 11-point halftime deficit quickly down to five, at 30-25.

Moss coolly lined up a wing 3-pointer, then went coast-to-coast for a layup. Snap. Lead back to 10.

Or, in the fourth quarter, after Nick Curtis (18 points) had drained a pair of free throws to keep the Eagles close, down 45-36 with 6:38 to play.

This time Moss hit two 3-pointers off set plays by playing off the ball.

“We work on that a lot in practice, so when it comes game time we can actually do it,” Moss said.

Moss was 5 of 8 from behind the arc.

“What we didn’t do a good job on was getting a hand up on his 3-point shot. He’s obviously improved that,” said Windham Coach Chad Pulkkinen.

But it’s not just shooting where Moss excelled. He quickly followed by ripping down a defensive rebound and finding Griffin Foley with a full-court pass for a layup. Another defensive rebound by Moss created an offensive set capped by a wide-open Simon Chadbourne baseline 3 to seal the game.

Portland improved to 2-0. Windham, a team seen as a legitimate challenger this season, dipped to 1-1.

Foley helped out with nine points, five coming late in the third quarter to keep Windham at bay.

“We knew it would be a good game. They’re a good team. We knew they’d give us a dogfight,” Foley said. “They were really bullying us on the boards there for a bit.”

Trey Ballew added six points and helped Portland gain some traction in the rebounding department, especially after Russo’s timeout following Windham’s consecutive 3s by Curtis and Cory Hutchison.

“After the timeout it was a reminder and then we got it,” Ballew said. “I think it’s experience. We just rely on our coaches to tell us.”

One reason Windham had so many offensive rebounds and second-chance points was that it shot poorly – as in 5 of 27 from the floor in the first half. Windham fell behind 13-1 to start the game.

Curtis’ ability to get to the rim on dribble drives, and six second-quarter points from Hunter Coffin helped stabilize the Eagles, but they were handcuffed by center Dierhow Bol’s early foul trouble (he scored 2 points) and Mike Gilman’s being held to nine points.

“Our guys know we can win but we have to play a really good game and I thought we played to probably 70 percent of our capabilities,” Pulkkinen said. “If Mike’s hitting shots early and we’re making layups it’s a different game.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig

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