Massabesic 51 Scarborough 42

M- 10 16 8 17- 51
S- 14 21 0 7- 42

M- Duong 5-3-15, Holt 4-2-10, Duffy 2-2-6, M. Jacobs 3-0-6, Frechette 2-0-5 Starbird 2-0-4, E. Jacobs 1-1-3, Graham 0-2-2

S- Conley 4-1-12, Fiorillo 4-0-10, Blanche 3-2-8, Dickinson 2-1-6, Foley 1-0-3, Djuranovic 1-0-2, LeFebvre 0-1-1

M (3) Duong 2, Frechette 1
S (7) Conley 3, Fiorillo 2, Dickinson, Foley 1

M- 19
S- 17

M: 10-14
S: 5-9

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team for awhile lived by the 3-point shot Saturday.

But ultimately, the Red Storm went cold and that proved fatal in a midseason battle against resurgent Massabesic at Alumni Gymnasium.

Scarborough, which needed overtime to survive the Mustangs in the season opener in Waterboro, held a 14-10 lead after one period, thanks to seven points from junior Lindsay Fiorillo, then, behind a flurry of 3-pointers, took a seemingly commanding 35-19 advantage late in the second period.

But the Red Storm managed just two field goals and seven points the remainder of the game.

Massabesic crept back within 35-26 at the half, then drew within one, 35-34, after shutting Scarborough out in the third quarter.

A free throw from sophomore Elisabeth LeFebvre snapped the Red Storm’s nearly 11-minute scoring drought early in the fourth period, but a free throw from sophomore Emily Jacobs gave the Mustangs a 37-36 lead.

Two free throws from senior captain Madison Blanche and a basket from junior Kayla Conley put Scarborough back on top, but again, Massabesic answered and led, 41-40, after a coast-to-coast layup from junior Marissa Holt.

With 4:11 left, Blanche gave the Red Storm the lead one final time, but the hosts wouldn’t score again and the Mustangs closed on a 10-0 run, featuring go-ahead free throws from Holt and an improbable 3-pointer from junior Satyra Duong, and prevailed, 51-42.

Massabesic got a game-high 15 points from Duong, 10 from Holt and improved to 5-3 on the season, dropping Scarborough to 4-4 in the process.

“Credit to (Massabesic),” said Red Storm coach Mike Giordano. “They wanted it way more than we did today. They made us play faster than we wanted and took it to us in the second half. We rushed shots. That’s what their tempo forced us to do.”

Chasing South Portland

The first half of the regular season has seen South Portland emerge as the clear favorite in Class AA South with several teams bunched together in pursuit.

Two of those squads are Massabesic and Scarborough, which both won four of their first seven contests.

The teams opened the regular season Dec. 6 in Waterboro, where the Red Storm eked out a 70-66 overtime victory.

The Mustangs then beat host Westbrook (75-39) and after falling at South Portland (76-42), edged host Sanford (55-51). After a 47-39 home setback to Cheverus, Massabesic downed visiting Noble (66-47) and Thursday, beat visiting Gorham by a point, 59-58.

Scarborough followed up its victory at Massabesic by losing at Cheverus (48-44), downing host Sanford (46-26), losing at Portland (45-35), winning at Gorham (52-35), falling at home to South Portland (45-33) and downing host Bonny Eagle (46-30).

In addition to the earlier result, the Red Storm won a pair of meetings a year ago, 67-56 at home in the regular season and 41-29 at home in the Class AA South quarterfinals.

Saturday, Scarborough sought its sixth straight victory in the series, but the Mustangs rallied and downed the Red Storm for the first time since Jan. 22, 2016 (58-57).

Fiorillo opened the scoring 34 seconds in with a 3-pointer from the corner, but Massabesic drew even on an old-fashioned three-point play from Duong (basket, foul, free throw), then took the lead on a long-range 3-pointer from Duong.

Sophomore Micaela Jacobs added a transition layup for the Mustangs, but Scarborough would close the frame on an 11-2 run.

After senior captain Bella Dickinson kept possession alive with an offensive rebound, Fiorillo hit a jumper. LeFebvre then set up sophomore Una Djuranovic for a layup and Blanche banked home a runner before junior Sylvia Foley sank a 3-pointer to make it 12-8.

Duong countered with a jumper for Massabesic, but with 18.8 seconds to go, the Red Storm broke the Mustangs’ press and Djuranovic set up Fiorillo for a layup and a 14-10 advantage after one quarter.

Duong had eight of Massabesic’s 10 first period points, while Fiorillo led Scarborough with seven.

The Red Storm then threatened to shoot the Mustangs out of the gym in the second period, but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow.

After Conley opened the quarter with a 3-pointer from the corner, Dickinson scored on a putback while being fouled and converted the and-one free throw. Conley then made another 3 and just like that, the lead was 23-10.

Junior Grace Frechette got two points for Massabesic with a layup, but Dickinson drained another 3 for a 14-point advantage.

Duong converted a three-point play for the Mustangs and sophomore Mary Duffy cut the deficit to 26-17 with a jumper, but Conley made a free throw, then Fiorillo and Conley both sank 3s for a 33-17 advantage.

After Holt set up sophomore Emily Jacobs for a layup, Blanche drove for a layup with 2:32 remaining in the half, restoring the 16-point lead.

But Scarborough wouldn’t score again for a long, long time.

Massabesic gained a little momentum heading into the half, as senior Taylor Starbird scored on a leaner, Frechette sank a 3 and Holt scored on a runner in the lane. Duong’s long 3-point bid at the horn rimmed out, but the Mustangs were backw ithin nine, 35-26, at the break.

Conley and Fiorillo had 10 points apiece for the Red Storm in the first half, while Duong paced Massabesic with 11.

After a disappointing end the first half, the third quarter was downright frustrating for Scarborough, as it turned the ball over seven times and missed every shot it attempted.

And the Mustangs drew ever closer.

After a putback from Micaela Jacobs 32 seconds into the second half, the visitors didn’t score for over four minutes, but Holt hit a jumper, then Holt made a layup after a steal to cut the deficit to 35-34 heading for the final stanza.

“Emily and Micaela are up top with their long arms to get deflections and steals and that led to easy baskets,” Holt said. “Our communication has gotten so much better over the course of the year.”

“We weren’t displeased how we were playing (in the first half),” said Massabesic coach Chris Aube. “They made a bunch of 3s and we weren’t making shots. I told the girls it’s a 32-minute game and it will balance out. We wanted to make them tired and that might have had something to do with their shooting performance in the second half.”

“We came up late at halftime and that’s on me because I have to get the kids on the floor earlier than that,” Giordano said. “We didn’t score a point in the third quarter and we didn’t look like we were ready. I’ll take the blame on that.”

Massabesic then finished off its comeback.

Fifteen seconds into the fourth period, LeFebvre made the second of two free throws to snap a 10:47 drought and the Mustangs’ 15-0 run, but Massabesic tied it on a reverse layup from Starbird (set up by Holt), then with 6:36 remaining, a free throw from Emily Jacobs gave the Mustangs their first lead since the score was 8-7 in the first period.

The Red Storm went back on top with 5:44 left, as Blanche made two free throws.

Twenty-eight seconds later, Conley’s leaner in the lane snapped a 13:16 field goal drought and made it 40-37 Scarborough, but Duffy hit a jumper and Holt went coast-to-coast for a layup and Massabesic clung to a 41-40 advantage.

With 4:11 remaining, Blanche got to the rim and made a layup to put the Red Storm ahead for the final time.

Thirty seconds later, Duffy’s free throw tied it, then with 2:50 on the clock, Holt calmly sank two foul shots to give the Mustangs the lead for good.

After Duffy added a foul shot, Blanche missed the front end of a one-and-one.

At the other end, Holt found Micaela Jacobs for a layup and Massabesic was up, 47-42, with 2 minutes to go.

After Scarborough turned the ball over, the Mustangs milked the clock, then Holt found Duong in the corner. With 1:07 remaining, Duong threw up a shot that hit every inch of the rim and bounced multiple times before dropping through the net to ice it.

“She had no right shooting that 3 in the corner, but it bounced around for a half hour and dropped in,” Giordano said. “It was just their day. You work hard and you get breaks.”

After Dickinson missed a 3, Duong got the rebound and was fouled and she added one more free throw to finish off Massabesic’s 51-42 victory.

“This feels so nice,” Holt said. “We hadn’t beaten Scarborough in so long. We took them to overtime last time, but this feels so good, especially at their house. We forced it in the beginning, but we talked at halftime about slowing down and being patient. We focused on what we needed to do and we got it done.”

“We took them to overtime at our place, so I think we’re so evenly matched,” Aube said. “It was going to come down to who made shots and who didn’t. They went cold and we did a good job with defensive rebounds and hit some big shots down the stretch to put it away.

“These girls have played in big games in other sports, so the moment wasn’t too big for them. We’re expecting to win. We’re not happy with  moral victories anymore. It’s exciting for our community. It’s my third year and I think we’re a little ahead of where I thought we’d be. I’m not surprised, but we’re not there yet. It’s a great group to be around. We’re trying to play a fun style that keeps everyone involved.”

Duong paced the Mustangs with 15 points. Holt added 10 points, six assists and four rebounds. Duffy and Micaela Jacobs had six points apiece, Frechette (nine rebounds) finished with five points, while Starbird had four, Emily Jacobs three (to go with five steals) and Graham two.

Massabesic had a 42-38 rebounding advantage, overcame 19 turnovers and hit 10-of-14 free throws.

Scarborough was led by Conley’s 12 points and six rebounds. Fiorillo had 10 points, Blanche eight (seven boards), Dickinson six (eight rebounds, four steals and three assists), Foley three, Djuranovic two and LeFebvre one (to go with seven rebounds).

The Red Storm turned the ball over 17 times and made 5-of-9 foul shots.

“We ran sets and got some looks, but we shot quicker,” Giordano said. “The shots went in in the first half, but not in the second. Chris is doing a great job with (Massabesic). There’s a good chance we might see them again.”

Busy week

Both teams have three games coming up next week.

Massabesic looks to keep rolling Tuesday at Lewiston. After hosting Thornton Academy Thursday, the Mustangs welcome resurgent Falmouth next Saturday.

“We just have to work on some of our offensive principles, but our defense is playing really well,” Holt said. “Our press is phenomenal. We work really well together. This boosts our confidence so much. We know we’re capable. It feels so good knowing what’s in store for us the rest of the year.”

“We think we can play with anyone in the league,” Aube said. “Our biggest thing is converting turnovers into baskets. If we can do that and become a better defensive rebounding team, we’ll be a tough out. It’s going to be a great tournament.”

Scarborough will host Deering Tuesday, welcomes Noble in a pivotal contest Thursday, then plays at South Portland next Saturday.

“We have to take care of the ball better and value possessions,” Giordano said. “We had too many turnovers today. Our losses are against teams that come after you. We have to do a better job. We’ll either figure it out or we won’t, but we’ll keep working hard.”

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

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