In the end, Victoria Garand came through.

Garand, Deering’s junior center, scored all 10 of her points and pulled down five of her team-high six rebounds after intermission to power the Rams to an 48-43 victory over Portland in the Red Claws Christmas Showcase at the Portland Expo.

Garand only saw a handful of minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. But down the stretch she touched the ball on almost every possession.

Portland (3-2) led 41-37 with 5:14 left but Deering scored 11 of the final 13 points, including five by Garand, to secure the win.

“To her credit (Garand) made most of the plays down the stretch, which we didn’t expect,” said Portland Coach Gerry Corcoran. “I said to her in the line at the end of the game that (she was) the one that won the game.”

Garand gave Deering (3-1) a 46-43 lead with 1:37 left in the game on a three-point play down low.

After Delaney Haines (18 points, three assists, three steals) made a free throw – following a flurry by the Bulldogs where they got six shots in a possession only to come up empty – Garand rebounded a Shayla Eubanks miss and threw a quick outlet pass to Mandy Mastropasqua (16 points, four assists). She was fouled and her free throw made the score 48-43.

Garand then rebounded a miss with less than one second remaining on the next Bulldogs possession.

“She does fundamentally exactly what she is capable of, which is she plays a great post and knows exactly how to seal someone on her back,” Corcoran added.

Garand was happy to play a pivotal role in such an important game.

“This was a big win because the Portland-Deering (game) is always a rivalry,” said Garand. “It felt good to be able to help my team out by getting a few points, rebounds and fouls (on Portland). I think I came out a little off in the first half. In the second half I was ready.”

Mastropasqua had nine of her 16 points and Haines had 12 of her 18 before intermission, when Portland led 27-25. Deering Coach Mike Murphy said he noticed Portland keying on those two scorers in the third and fourth quarters.

“Victoria was the difference in the second half. I didn’t think they could handle her, and they didn’t. Delaney and Mandy carried us in first half and in the second half Portland worried about those two and it opened the lane for Victoria.”

Deering also turned up the defense in the second half, limiting the Bulldogs to only 16 points. Portland went scoreless for 6:02 covering the end of the second quarter and 5:31 of the third, but the Rams were only able to score seven points, turning a 27-24 deficit into a four-point advantage.

Eubanks scored 16 points but only three in the second half.

“We talked about it at halftime. Eubanks was their lone threat from the outside,” said Murphy. “So we had to make sure we’re in the area with her and stop penetration and make them run some offense and pass the ball more than once.”

Corcoran saw his first Portland-Deering battle as a coach.

“I’m just getting use to the Portland-Deering thing,” he said. “I was excited for these girls tonight. Now I am starting to get the vibe about what this thing is all about.

“The nice thing now is we are there, competitively.”

Gemima Motema led Portland with 17 points and five steals.