PORTLAND—With mere seconds to go in the fourth – 30 seconds, give or take – Bonny Eagler Jake Humphrey stole control back, stole the ball from a Deering opponent as the Rams tried to widen a three-point lead over the Scots into five, into a sure thing.

Humphrey wasn’t having it: He whipped around, dribbled the length of the court and laid up a two, carrying his boys back within one: 62-61.

But BE’s couldn’t capitalize on the momentum shift. Moments later, the final buzzer dealt them their second defeat of the season, a 65-61 defeat.

The Rams hosted the contest, held on Friday night, Dec. 27.

“We had some bad turnovers and some bad fouls,” Bonny Eagle head coach John Trull said. “That’s kind of what cost us…We all played okay. I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet this year. I think everyone needs to be better, to be honest.”

It took the teams a full 90 seconds to put up the first points of the night: Deering’s Max Morrione did it, nailing a three. Ram Darryl Germain followed with a drive and a layup, pushing his boys to an early 5-0 advantage. Bonny Eagle’s Cam Gardner answered with a three, but Lokiron Anda hit a three in turn for 8-3.

Humphrey stepped to the line twice consecutively after that, hashing one free each time. Anda then added another two, 10-5, before BE star Zach Maturo kicked in his first contribution of the night. Less than four minutes into the outing, Deering had already committed seven fouls, handing bonus territory to the Scots far, far earlier than is usual. Maturo drained one free on a one-and-one.

Aidan Walcott shortly sank a BE two for 10-8; the Scots were closing the gap. Still, Deering would keep out front through the remainder of the quarter. Maturo heated up – he drained a two and, after Gardner nimbly planted his feet to draw a Rams player-control foul, a three. But an Anda two and a Mike Randall three-point-play set the tally at 19-15, come the buzzer.

Deering threw a possession away to begin the second, and Khymique Solomon sent Maturo to the line. Maturo sank both his frees for 19-17. The Rams dashed to 24-17 before Gardner knocked down a three and Maturo sailed up the key for a two. Maturo earned another two when Ram Askar Houssein goaltended and, suddenly, finally, Bonny Eagle pulled even with their hosts. 24-24.

The Scots pulled even again at 26-26: Elliot Bouchard reeled in a defensive rebound for BE and fired across-right for Maturo; Maturo blasted long leftward to Nate Ferris, and Ferris laid up the two.

Ferris next snatched an offensive rebound and another two to grab Bonny Eagle their first lead of the evening, 28-26. The Scots stayed out front at 29-28 on a Maturo free – the 1000th point of his fiery high-school career. BE retook the upper-hand at 31-30 when Humphrey curled along the baseline, shot, missed, picked up his own o-reb in midair, shot…and hit.

Morrione added the last points of the half, dunking home an inauspicious two shortly before the buzzer signaled the break. 35-33.

Trull did offer some tempered praise for his guys. “I thought Zach was great. Hump made shots when he had to. Nate’s always a big body inside. But I think we all need to be better.”

Deering notched the first bucket of the third, a Houssein bucket. BE then broke into an eight-point run, during which they played their best – or at least their most dialed-in – ball of the game. The Scots looked settled, confident, in control, and their swift ball-movement and pin-point shooting grabbed them a small lead.

Esty dished to Gardner, Gardner to Maturo and Maturo to Humphrey, who sank a three: 37-36. On back-to-back possessions, the Rams player-control fouled and traveled, turning control over twice. Humphrey capitalized: From the right, he shoveled to Esty underneath. Esty relayed out for Maturo on the left; Maturo fired…and hit another three. 39-37.

Gardner added a two. Deering interrupted the surge with a single free, but the Scots smacked ‘em down. Maturo fed inward for Chase Graves underneath, Graves kicked out again for Humphrey and Humphrey drained yet another three. 44-38.

One couldn’t help but wonder what Trull had said to his guys in the locker room. Turns out, he’d merely reassured them:

“At halftime, we just had to keep doing what we were doing,” Trull said. “We had to limit their guys. Askar and Darryl do a very good job, and they didn’t have it the first half, but guys like Morrione and Mpore (Semuhoza) and Loki had it going early, so credit to those guys.”

Deering rebutted on Morrione and Anda threes, as well as an Anda two. 48-45. Germain incurred his fifth foul and sat down for the Rams; BE then surged again. Maturo fed long for Esty, who hit a three. Humphrey dished inside for Elliot Bouchard, who laid up a two. The team stole control on a hard-fought alternating possession; moments later, with Humphrey under heavy assault along the sideline, they retained control by calling timeout.

30 seconds later, Gardner inbounded the ball – volleyed it across the floor for Humphrey. Humphrey juked calmly around a Ram, took to the air beyond the arc and added a three. 53-48.

“We didn’t change the gameplan the second half,” Trull said, “we just didn’t execute the gameplan the first half. Same gameplan. We tried to run more offense; we know teams are going to play us different ways, so we have to wait and see and make adjustments. We did make some adjustments at halftime, but it was really just doing what we expected to do.”

Bonny Eagle’s newfound composure looked like it might pave the way to a big triumph – but no. The Scots didn’t roll over and die, they just slipped back into a more frenetic, disjointed style of play. A Gardner reverse layup kept them out front 55-50, but Deering charged ahead in the ensuing few minutes, 62-57, despite losing both Solomon and Anda to fifth personal fouls.

A minute and a half remained, but it wouldn’t be enough. Trull protected Ferris with another possession-saving timeout, but when play resumed, Maturo no-look passed on the attack straight to Morrione. Humphrey had Maturo’s back: At the other end of the floor, he stole. He spun, barreled forward, and dropped in that clutch two, the 62-61 basket.

With time winding down, BE sent the Rams twice to the line, a strategy that didn’t work out in the Scots’ favor. Deering hit three of four chances, inching to the 65-61 result.

“Down the stretch, they had some guys that made some free-throws,” Trull said. “We were trying to be aggressive without fouling – we fouled a little bit earlier than I wanted to. But they made their free-throws, they executed down the stretch and we really didn’t.”

Maturo finished with a game-high 20 on three twos, two threes and eight frees. Humphrey trailed him by one at 19 – that’s a trio of twos, a trio of threes and four frees. Gardner collected 10 total, Ferris five, Esty three, and Bouchard and Walcott two apiece.

Bonny Eagle drops to 4-2 this season; their other loss came by a single point vs. No. 1 South Portland (6-0).

Anda led the Rams with 18, while Houssein had 14, Morrione 13, Randall 12, Germaine four, and Solomon and Semuhoza two each.

Deering improves to 4-1 on the winter. The Rams’ lone loss also came at the hands of SoPo, who upended them 75-62.

Jake Humphrey attacks for the Scots; Humphrey finished with 19 on the night. Adam Birt / American Journal

Jake Humphrey ascends toward a layup. Adam Birt / American Journal

Cam Gardner hurtles the ball along the baseline, getting air to extend his reach and keep the ball inbounds. Adam Birt / American Journal

Cam Gardner skirts inward. Adam Birt / American Journal

Ellliot Bouchard brings height inside. Adam Birt / American Journal

Jake Esty battles for the Scots. Adam Birt / American Journal

Nate Ferris lofts up a ball. Adam Birt / American Journal

Zach Maturo wends inside. Adam Birt / American Journal

Zach Maturo sails towards the net. Adam Birt / American Journal

Aidan Walcott battles a Deering opponent for access to the net. Adam Birt / American Journal

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