BOX SCORE

Deering 65 Bonny Eagle 61

BE- 15 18 12 16- 61
D- 19 16 13 17- 65

BE- Maturo 5-8-20, Humphrey 6-4-19, Gardner 4-0-10, Ferris 2-1-5, Esty 1-0-3, Bouchard 1-0-2, Walcott 1-0-2

D- Anda 8-0-18, Houssein 5-2-14, Morrione 4-3-13, Randall 3-6-12, Germain 2-0-4, Semuhoza 1-0-2, Solomon 1-0-2

3-pointers:
BE (8) Humphrey 3, Gardner, Maturo 2, Esty 1
D (6) Anda, Houssein, Morrione 2

Turnovers:
BE- 20
D- 18

FTs
BE: 13-22
D: 11-16

PORTLAND—Deering’s boys’ basketball team found itself in a heavyweight battle against defending Class AA South champion Bonny Eagle Friday evening and in a performance which might just portend huge things to come, the Rams found a way to overcome adversity and make a powerful statement.

Host Deering was plagued by fouls throughout, but held a 19-15 lead after one quarter, thanks in large part to seven points from senior Loki Anda.

The Scots, behind their senior star, Zach Maturo, rallied in the second period and with 2:38 left in the half, Maturo made a free throw to not only put Bonny Eagle on top, but it allowed him to reach the 1,000-point plateau for his career.

The Rams responded and held a 35-33 halftime lead, as senior Max Morrione scored on a dunk in the waning seconds.

The second half would feature runs by both squads.

After the Scots opened up a 44-38 advantage in the third quarter on a 3-pointer from junior Jacob Humphrey, Deering closed the frame on a 10-1 run and held a 48-45 lead after an Anda 3.

Bonny Eagle bounced back to hold a 55-50 advantage midway through the final stanza, but Rams’ senior Mike Randall stepped up huge and scored six straight points to put Deering back on top. After a Maturo free throw tied the score, Rams’ senior Askar Houssein drained a 3-ball with 2:25 to go to put the hosts ahead to stay.

Houssein added a clutch basket and two free throws and Randall sank two foul shots as well to help Deering close out a 65-61 victory.

Anda led the Rams’ attack with 18 points, Houssein added 14, Morrione had 13 and Randall 12 as Deering improved to 4-1 on the season and in the process, dropped the Scots to 4-2.

“Good teams overcome,” said Deering coach Todd Wing. “We battled foul troubles with some of our key guys, but we showed what we’re made of tonight.”

Sign of things to come?

Bonny Eagle was a state finalist last winter and the Scots are a top contender again this winter.

Bonny Eagle opened with victories at Noble (66-46) and at home over Biddeford (65-41) and Gorham (55-46). After a 66-65 setback at South Portland, the Scots held off visiting Sanford, 65-57, Monday.

Deering, meanwhile, rolled at Oxford Hills, 84-60, in its opener, then lost at South Portland, 74-62. After a 74-51 home win over Lewiston, the Rams overcame a slow start Monday to down host Windham, 60-43.

Last year, Bonny Eagle beat visiting Deering, 60-46.

Friday, the Rams returned the favor for their biggest win to date.

But it didn’t come easily.

It took 90 seconds for the scoring ice to be broken before Morrione drained a 3. Senior Darryl Germain hit a runner in the lane for a quick 5-0 lead, but senior Cam Gardner countered with a 3-ball to get the Scots on the board with 5:38 left in the first quarter.

Thirteen seconds later, Deering’s foul troubles were first felt, as Houssein picked up his second and had to sit the remainder of the quarter.

Anda added a 3 for the Rams and after Humphrey made two free throws, Anda scored on a putback for a 10-5 advantage.

After Maturo scored his first point, at the charity stripe, after Germain’s second foul, sophomore Aidan Walcott stole the ball and made a layup to pull Bonny Eagle within two, but Germain set up sophomore Kymique Solomon for a layup and Anda found junior Mpore Semuhoza for a layup to stretch the lead to 14-8.

After Maturo made two free throws, Anda countered with a bank shot, but Maturo hit a runner in the lane and after Anda got his second foul, Maturo buried a long 3 to cut the deficit to one.

Deering restored a little more momentum with 37.2 seconds on the clock, as Randall first made his offensive presence felt, making a layup while being fouled, then adding the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play for a 19-15 advantage.

In the first eight minutes, Anda, despite being limited by fouls, had seven points and five rebounds, but Maturo countered with eight points.

The Rams started the second quarter fast, as after Maturo made two free throws to make it a two-point game, Anda drove for a layup, then Houssein pulled up and buried a 3 to make the score 24-17.

Back roared the Scots to tie the score, as Gardner made a 3, Maturo banked home a runner and Maturo hit a floater to make it 24-24.

A Germain jumper put Deering back on top, but Maturo set up senior Nate Ferris for a layup, then with 4:25 on the clock, a Ferris putback gave Bonny Eagle the lead for the first time, 28-26.

After Morrione tied the game with two free throws, Maturo was fouled with 2:38 remaining in the half and after missing the first foul shot, he drained the second to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

“It’s tough to get 1,000 points in a loss,” said Bonny Eagle coach John Trull. “Zach wanted to do it in a win. He’s a great kid. I’ve coached him for four years and I’ve been here for all of his points. He cares about winning more than points, but it’s a great accomplishment for him.”

Play was momentarily stopped for Maturo to be congratulated by his teammates and for an announcement to be made, then the action resumed with Anda making a baseline jumper.

A Humphrey putback of his own miss gave the Scots the lead back, but Morrione took a pass from Houssein, made a layup while being fouled, then added the and-one free throw.

With 1:27 left in the half, Humphrey’s jumper tied the game, but with 31.6 seconds remaining, Randall passed ahead to Morrione, who slammed the ball home and Deering held a 35-33 advantage at the break.

Anda (11 points) and Morrione (10) reached double figures for the Rams in the first half and while Maturo led all scorers with 15 points, he wouldn’t be as productive in a second half which saw each team take turns at trying to put away the other.

The scoring pace slowed in a third period which saw a couple of lead changes.

After Randall set up Houssein for a left-handed layup to open the third quarter, Humphrey buried a 3.

Germain then was whistled for his fourth foul and that was followed by a corner 3 from Maturo for a 39-37 Bonny Eagle lead.

After Gardner hit a leaner, Randall got a point back at the line, but Humphrey’s 3 gave the Scots their largest advantage, 44-38, with 3:50 remaining in the quarter.

A runner from Anda ended the 11-1 run, but Ferris made a free throw for a 45-40 lead.

Deering then ended the frame on an 8-0 surge.

A hustle play by Anda, saving a ball that appeared to be going out of bounds, got things started, as Randall fed Morrione for a 3. Anda then tied the score, eluding a defender with a crossover dribble before making a layup.

With 26 seconds left, Anda drained a 3, but with 2.9 seconds remaining, Anda picked up his fourth foul and the Rams clung to a 48-45 advantage heading for the fourth period.

There, Deering, despite being short-handed, showed its heart and character and pulled out a hard-earned victory.

Just 44 seconds into the final stanza, Germain was called for his fifth foul, a charge, and was finished for the night.

Bonny Eagle capitalized, as senior Jake Esty tied the game with a 3-pointer.

Freshman Elliot Bouchard added a layup, then Humphrey made a 3 to put the Scots on top, 53-48, with 4:44 remaining.

Anda snapped the 8-0 Bonny Eagle run with a driving layup, but with 4:18 left, Gardner scored on a reverse layup and the visitors were back on top by five.

And then Randall completely turned the game around.

With 4:03 left, Randall was fouled and made both free throws.

A mere 24 seconds later, Houssein found Randall with a pretty no-look pass and Randall made a layup to cut the deficit to one.

Then, with 3:01 to go, Randall stole the ball and made a layup and Deering returned to the lead, 56-55.

“My role is to score occasionally,” Randall said. “Darryl and Loki got in foul trouble and we needed another scorer to step up and it was my time to do so. It’s a senior-led team. As a captain, one of my responsibilities is make sure we’re ready to roll and we did that. We did fantastic.”

“Mike Randall was a grown man and he imposed his will on the boards,” Wing said. “That’s been one of our struggles this year.”

A Maturo foul shot (after Solomon picked up his fifth foul) tied the game five seconds later, but with 2:25 left, Houssein coolly buried a 3 and the Rams were finally in front to stay.

Fourteen seconds later, Maturo made one of two free throws (after Anda’s fifth foul), but with 2:01 on the clock, after a Randall steal, Houssein made a runner for a 61-57 advantage.

After Humphrey missed a 3, Randall got the rebound and was fouled and with 1:45 showing, Randall made one free throw to stretch the lead to five.

With 1:28 left, Humphrey made two free throws to make it a one-possession contest, then with 24.8 seconds to play, after a steal, a Humphrey layup made things very interesting.

But Bonny Eagle wouldn’t score again and Deering did just enough to hold on.

With 22.8 seconds left, Houssein was fouled and after he got his first free throw to rattle home, he swished the second.

The Scots had a chance to tie it with a 3, but they never managed a shot, as Randall stole the ball and was fouled with 9.7 seconds remaining.

Randall made his first free throw and while he missed the second, that was just enough to allow the Rams to go on to a 65-61 victory.

“It was team basketball,” Randall said. “We kept it moving, we didn’t panic. We’ve been in these situations before. Maturo and Humphrey are great players. It’s hard to play those guys full court and not foul. I’m glad we didn’t freak out and responded well.

“These are games we lost last year and these are games we need to win this year if we want to finish at the top. We were in tough situations last year, so we don’t panic. We keep our heads and just play ball.”

Anda fouled out but managed to lead Deering with 18 points. He also had seven rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

Houssein added 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Morrione finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals.

Randall was also in double figures with a dozen points. He added six rebounds and three assists.

Germain had four points in limited action, while Semuhoza (eight rebounds) and Solomon had two points each, playing key roles off the bench.

“It’s a team sport,” Randall said. “Kymique had to guard one of the best players around (Maturo) and he did a great job. Mpore has done it all year. It’s great to have depth, to lose some starters and still beat Bonny Eagle.”

“Kymique is a sophomore who knows his role, energy and defense,” Wing said. “He doesn’t worry about offense and he’s bought in. Mpore is a kid who does the dirty work down low.”

The Rams had a 38-29 rebounding advantage, overcame 18 turnovers and hit 11-of-16 free throws.

Bonny Eagle got a game-high 20 points from Maturo, who also had nine rebounds and four assists.

“We ran a James Harden-like defense at (Maturo),” Wing said. “We knew he had 15 points at the half, but he had to work for everything and he only had five points in the second half.”

Humphrey added 19 points, Gardner had 10, Ferris five (to go with eight rebounds), Esty three and Bouchard and Walcott two apiece.

The Scots made just 13-of-22 free throws and committed 20 turnovers.

“(Deering) made their free throws and executed down the stretch and we just didn’t execute,” Trull lamented. “Credit to them for making plays in front of their home crowd. We wanted to make sure it was more of a halfcourt game. At the end, they just made more plays.”

Tests keep coming

Next week, Bonny Eagle is home against Scarborough, then has a showdown at Thornton Academy.

“I don’t think we played our best game yet,” Trull said. “We can still get better.”

Deering will welcome the other state finalist from a year ago, defending champion Bangor, Monday afternoon. The Rams then welcome Cheverus Thursday of next week.

“We have to keep our same hunger and intensity going forward,” Randall said. “It’s early in the season. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We have to keep our intensity. I think we’re up there with the contenders. We still have things to work on. Every team does at this point.”

“We need to stick together and ride this and not be satisfied with beating Bonny Eagle in December,” Wing said. “We have to work on playing through foul trouble and staying the course. We’re still far from a finished product, but that’s a good thing.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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