GORHAM—Grant Nadeau and Nick Strout hashed nine apiece on Friday night, Dec. 6, but the Rams as a whole couldn’t keep up with visiting South Portland, who got double-digit performances from a trio of players: Geremi Baez, Cade Carr and Pamba Pamba.

62-39 the final.

“It’s certainly early in the year,” Gorham head coach Mark Karter said. “And that’s a tough team to open up against; they’re very athletic and they have a lot of good players. We have to clean up a lot of little things and hopefully step up our urgency a little bit and play a little harder.”

Gorham began the bout out front – because the Riots somehow pulled a pre-game tech foul. Strout took the shots for the Rams, sinking both. South Portland recovered almost as soon as they hit the floor, however, and steamrolled ahead after that.

Gorham got early defensive rebounds from Nadeau and Ryan Reno, and points from Nadeau (following a midcourt steal) and Jordan Bretton (on a three-point play). But by the time the end of the first quarter rolled around, the Riots had already built a 16-9 lead. Baez, Carr and Pamba all contributed.

“We have some good shooters,” Karter said. “We just didn’t put ourselves in position to get good-quality shots for an extended period of time. We got some sporadic good shots, but we have to be a little more consistent with our offense to be able to compete against a team like that.”

SoPo surged further ahead, 23-9, to begin the second. Gorham then settled down a bit, with Bode Meader hitting a three, Bretton driving for two and Nadeau draining a two and a free-throw. Still, by the time the break arrived, the Riots had extended their lead further, to 32-22.

“We just struggled to put the ball in the basket,” Karter said. “That shouldn’t be the case with us. So we’re going to get back to work and figure out how to fix that.”

Unfortunately, the second half looked much like the first. The Riots powered ahead to 38-22 at the start of the third, at 49-29 at the start of the fourth. As the final buzzer neared, Gorham – to their great credit – began to claw back. Strout hit a pair of frees and a two to cut SoPo’s advantage to 49-33, and Nadeau turned a steal into two for 53-39. But the Riots prevailed in the end, 62-39.

Beyond Nadeau’s nine and Strout’s nine, Garrett Smith finished with six for the Rams, Bretton and Reno with five each, Meader with three and Mason Laskey with two.

“We have a lot of talent,” Karter said. “We’ve just got to put it together – and we will. We’ll get back to practice, get back to work, and see what we can do.”

The Rams followed the loss with a Monday night, Dec. 9 triumph over Oxford Hills, 73-58. Nadeau tallied 15 in the W, Strout 17 and Bretton 18. Gorham thus opens their 2019-20 season at 1-1. The team travels to Bonny Eagle on Friday night, Dec. 13.

Ram Stephen Graham tries to block a SoPo opponent. Adam Birt / American Journal

Nick Strout dishes on the run.

Gorhamite Grant Nadeau tries for the net.

Ram Jordan Bretton lofts up a ball.

Ryan Reno battles along the baseline for Gorham.

Bode Meader fires off a three for Gorham.

Garrett Smith denies a South Portlander.

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