GORHAM — It did not matter that Gorham High sizzled the nets in it own gym, shooting 51 percent, including 11 3-pointers.

It did not matter that Deering High missed 27 shots, plus 10 missed free throws.

Because Deering kept shooting and shooting.

Deering dominated the rebounding Monday night in a battle of unbeaten Rams, and topped Gorham 61-58.

Gorham (2-1) whittled an 11-point deficit to three in the closing minute. Gorham had the last possession with seven seconds remaining, but could not tie it.

“We could have folded when we were down, but our kids played hard and made a game of it,” Gorham Coach Mark Karter said.

Deering’s Ben Onek makes a move while being defended by Gorham’s Tyler Haines during Deering’s 61-58 win on Monday in Gorham. Onek had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Karter knew the game was not decided in the last minute, but on the boards. Deering (4-0) crashed hard and grabbed 36 rebounds, 19 of them on the offensive end. Gorham recorded 16 rebounds, only two on the offensive end.

“You’re not going to beat many good teams giving up as many offensive rebounds as we did,” Karter said.

Two Deering forwards recorded double-doubles, with 6-foot-4 senior Ben Onek leading with 20 points, along with 11 rebounds, and 6-5 junior Loki Anda adding 11 and 11.

“We didn’t rebound as well (in early games),” Onek said. “This time, we came out and rebounded as a unit; boxed out and was plenty aggressive on the offensive and defensive side.”

“We got some size and we put an emphasis on rebounding this week,” Deering Coach Todd Wing said.

What had Wing smiling was Anda’s contribution. With Onek drawing so much attention, Anda has a golden opportunity to capitalize. He did on Monday.

“Loki is a player we’ve been waiting to step up,” Wing said. “He has a load of potential. I think this might be his breakout party.”

Point guard Darryl Germain scored 10 and Deering’s other two starters were near double-digits – Mike Randall (nine) and Max Morrione (eight). Mpore Semuhoza had seven rebounds.

Germain gave Deering a 15-10 first-quarter lead with a buzzer-beater, just past the half-court line.

“Lucky shot,” Germain said.

Gorham guard Jordan Bretton scored 12 points, and forward Tyler Haines and guard Nick Strout both added 11 points.

Gorham’s shooting kept the game close. Except for the early minutes of the game, Gorham held the lead only once, 35-33 in the third quarter, with three consecutive 3-pointers, by Strout, Haines and Bode Meader.

Deering missed four shots on its next possession, rebounded every miss, and Semuhoza finally converted a put-back, and added a free throw.

Gorham tied the game late in the third quarter on Tom Nelson’s 3-pointer, but Anda countered with a 3-pointer, and Deering stayed ahead.

“We’re a team,” Anda said. “Last year, we relied too much on Ben. Now we all try to step up.”

But Deering could not shake Gorham, which made five 3-pointers in the fourth.

“We threw multiple defenses at them,” Wing said. “They worked the ball around enough until we had a breakdown.”

Deering built a 59-48 lead and held on to stay unbeaten in Class AA North.

“To get a win over a real quality team like Gorham is key,” Wing said. “We knew Gorham would be one of the top teams in AA South. Now we can say goodbye to them, move forward, and collect the Heal points.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH