Cheverus is buying in to what Coach Ryan Soucie is saying, and the result is a pair of huge wins at the midway point of the season.

Four nights after knocking off defending Class AA South champion Scarborough, the Stags welcomed Gorham to Keegan Gymnasium on Tuesday night. While the Rams gave them everything they could handle, Cheverus made enough shots – inside, outside and at the foul line – to hold on for a 68-64 win.

The Stags (6-4) got 21 points from Nick Galli, including a pair of free throws late to clinch it, along with 14 from Matt Duchaine and 11 apiece from Owen Burke and Akera Oryem.

“I credit the kids,” said Soucie. “It’s all them. They’re going hard and executing what we want. We have a synergy and toughness about us right now that I really love.”

Cheverus missed several layups to open the game and Gorham took advantage, opening a 14-11 advantage after one quarter behind six points from Henry O’Neill. Three-point shots from Duchaine, Oryem and Dylan Morrison kept the Stags close.

Cheverus got its offense in gear in the second quarter. Duchaine buried three 3-pointers and Galli’s two free two throws put the Stags on top.

A runner from Grant Nadeau just before the horn pulled the Rams within four, 32-28.

Burke scored six points in the third quarter and the Stags took a 10-point lead when Duchaine threw an alley-oop pass to Oryem, who floated in the air for a layup.

“I just provide energy for the rest of the team when I come in,” Oryem said.

Gorham clawed back and Tyler Haines’ 3-pointer just before the horn made the score 49-44 heading for the fourth quarter.

Cheverus went up by seven, 58-51, on a leaner from Burke with 4:54 to play, but the Rams twice pulled within three points (58-55 and 60-57), and once to within two (64-62) on a 3-pointer by Haines with 46 seconds to go.

But Duchaine made two foul shots for his only second-half points. After Nadeau made two free throws for Gorham, Galli’s two foul shots secured the win for the Stags.

“I like the challenge,” said Galli. “I just blocked everything out and hit the free throws. We’ve been able to get good looks, rebound and make free throws.”

Nadeau had 21 points for Gorham (4-4) and Haines finished with 12.

“We put ourselves in a hole early in the game and we couldn’t get over the hump,” said Gorham Coach Mark Karter. “There are a lot of competitive teams this year and you have to be ready to play when you step on the court. Our goal is to try to play our best in February.

“We’re not there yet, but hopefully we can take the next step.”


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