Sometimes it takes the Portland boys’ basketball team a quarter or two to get it going. But when the Bulldogs are right, they’re mighty tough to beat.

On Thursday night, their good stretch came in the third quarter as Portland pulled away from crosstown rival Deering for a 53-34 victory at the Portland Expo. Leading by six at the half, the Bulldogs opened the third with a 7-0 run and held Deering to just four points in the quarter.

“That’s what they do,” said Todd Wing, the head coach at Deering. “They put together a full 32-minute game. That’s what we expected them to do and our inexperience and lack of execution on a consistent basis put us in a hole.”

The victory lifted Portland to 5-0 while Deering dropped to 3-1.

Terion Moss led Portland with 18 points, eight coming in the decisive third quarter. Simon Chadbourne added 12, hitting four 3-pointers.

Portland started slowly – the Bulldogs didn’t score for the game’s first 3:10 – but its defense was always there, harassing the Rams on every dribble and pass and contesting each shot. The Bulldogs had seven blocked shots in the game.

“We played great team defense,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo. “We held a quality team to 34 points.”

Russo said the Bulldogs still had a lot of work to do offensively but that their success will always revolve around defense. That was especially evident in the second half.

“When we decide to play team defense, with the proper rotation, they can turn a game around quickly,” he said. “The first quarter, we played some good ‘D’ but we didn’t rotate properly. When we play team defense, we’re tough to score on.”

Deering had the early edge, taking a 6-4 lead on a 3-pointer by Ben Onek from the right wing. But Moss immediately came back with a deep 3 of his own and then, after stealing the ball from Onek, was fouled and hit two foul shots.

The Bulldogs forced two misses by the Rams, and then Chadbourne hit a deep 3 from the left wing to make it 12-6.

Chadbourne began the second with another 3-pointer to jump-start Portland. Deering pulled within four twice, but a third Chadbourne 3, this one from the right corner with 23 seconds left in the first half, kept the Bulldogs in the lead. Portland led 25-19 at the half.

“It felt good to help out my team,” said Chadbourne. “Hitting the first shot makes me feel good throughout the game, gets me more pumped.”

While Chadbourne said he’s just there to do whatever the team needs, his shooting touch adds a huge dimension to the offense.

“It’s pick-your-poison,” said Wing. “When you’ve got Terion who can penetrate and him in the corner, it’s tough to play help defense. That moment that you help down, they make you pay.”

Russo, meanwhile praised the defense of Pedro Fonseca. He guarded Onek, who led Deering with 15 points, but Russo noted, “he’s giving up six, seven inches. Pedro played like he was 6-5 tonight.”

Moss said the victory simply showed how good the Bulldogs can be.

“We’ve got a good team,” he said. “The good thing is that we can go 10 deep and keep going.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH