Back in early January, when asked how his Gorham High girls’ basketball team was handling a four-game losing streak, Coach Laughn Berthiaume responded that the only streak that mattered was at the end of the year, in Portland, where the championships are decided.

And his two-time defending state champion Rams are showing they still know how to win when it counts.

Fifth-ranked Gorham continued its stunning run through the Class AA South tournament, upending second-ranked Scarborough 47-28 in the regional championship game Friday at Cross Insurance Arena.

It was Gorham’s third consecutive regional title.

“This is the time of year you play to play again,” said Berthiaume. “The old ‘one game at a time’ seems to be working so that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve got a week now where we can take a look at our next opponent, so we’ll get back to work.”

Gorham will play Edward Little – the No. 3 seed in AA North – in the state title game at 6 p.m. March 2 at the CIA.

“This is special,” said Michelle Rowe, Gorham’s only senior who had four points, four rebounds and four assists. “To be a senior and able to go for it again is pretty great.”

Scarborough (17-4) had a 15-game winning streak snapped. Its last loss came Dec. 22 to Gorham.

The Rams defeated the fifth, first and second seeds in the tournament, using a long scoring run in each game to take control. On Friday it was a 21-0 run that lasted 9 minutes, 5 seconds and took Gorham from a two-point deficit in the first quarter to a 19-point lead in the second.

And the way the Rams did it was impressive.

Mackenzie Holmes, Gorham’s standout 6-foot-2 junior center, was negated for the most part by Scarborough’s collapsing defense. She finished with eight points – 14 below her regular season average, but the Rams didn’t miss a beat offensively.

Freshman Adele Nadeau led Gorham with 12 points (with eight rebounds). Brittany Desjardin had eight points and freshman Olivia Michaud added seven.

“We decided we were going to collapse around Mackenzie and make those younger kids beat us,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Girodano. “And they did. What happened is, yep, we gave them good looks but you expect some of those younger kids maybe not to make those. Hats off to them.

“They’ve certainly peaked at the right time. They’re well coached. They took the game away from us.”

Scarborough had early control, leading 6-2 and 8-6 after a Bella Dickinson jumper with four minutes left in the first period.

Then …

Desjardin hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Gorham a 9-8 lead. After a Nadeau steal, she hit one foul shot. A missed Scarborough shot led to two foul shots by Holmes, who was awarded the Red McMann trophy as the tournament’s outstanding player.

Nadeau hit a 3 from the left corner to make it 15-8. Michaud hit a jumper from the right baseline and Desjardin scored two baskets in the final 37 seconds to make it 21-8 after one.

Michaud and Courtney Brent hit 3-pointers in the second to increase the lead to 27-8. Scarborough went 0-of-12 shooting during that drought, which ended with 2:55 left in the half when Julia Freeman hit a 3-pointer.

“That was the game,” said Giordano, whose team shot only 17 percent 9 of 53 in the game.

The lead peaked at 21. Scarborough got no closer than 14, late in the third, before Rowe scored on a nice cut to regain the momentum.

“I think every game we come in and play for each other,” said Holmes. “We’re confident in ourselves and the work we put in.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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