BOX SCORE

Gorham 70 Scarborough 46

G- 21 22 12 15- 70
S- 13 12 14 7- 46

G- Meader 6-2-20, Bretton 5-0-14, Nadeau 4-2-10, Strout 3-0-7, Laskey 2-0-6, Burghardt 2-0-4, Reno 2-0-4, Graham 1-1-3, Bassingthwaite 1-0-2

S- Lewis 5-1-12, Austin 5-0-11, Haskell 5-0-10, McDonnell 2-0-4, MacDonald 1-0-3, Estrella 1-0-2, Galarraga 1-0-2, Simonton 1-0-2

3-pointers:
G (13) Meader 6, Bretton 4, Laskey 2, Strout 1
S (3) Austin, Lewis, MacDonald 1

Turnovers:
G- 13
S- 9

FTs
G: 5-8
S: 1-6

SCARBOROUGH—In case you were wondering why Gorham’s boys’ basketball team was so highly touted entering the 2019-20 season, all you needed was to catch a glimpse of the Rams’ shooting acumen Friday evening.

Gorham, which has hit its stride after a tough start to the campaign, came to Alumni Gymnasium to battle Scarborough and from nearly the get-go, the Rams seemingly couldn’t miss.

And as a result, went on to an impressive and decisive victory.

An early barrage of 3-point shots from junior Bode Meader set the tone and Gorham opened up a 21-13 advantage after one quarter.

The Rams then put up 22 points in the second period, as Meader drained two more 3s, and by halftime, Gorham was in command, up, 43-25.

The Red Storm turned up the intensity in the third quarter and got as close as 11, but a Meader 3 at the horn made it 55-39 Rams and in the fourth period, Scarborough had no answers as Gorham pulled away for a 70-46 victory.

Meader had a game-high 20 points to help the Rams improve to 7-5 on the season and in the process, drop the Red Storm to 7-6.

“Gorham’s a very good team with some veterans and they deserved to win tonight,” said Scarborough coach Phil Conley. “They were picked to be one of the top teams in the South. We played very well the first (time we played them), but tonight wasn’t our game.”

On fire

In a deep and balanced Class AA South, each team has made an impact this winter.

Scarborough started by downing host Massabesic (60-49) and visiting Cheverus (64-58). After falling at Sanford (72-66), the Red Storm held off visiting Portland (52-48) and won at Gorham, 53-44. After a 54-39 home loss to South Portland, Scarborough ended the 2019 portion of its schedule with a 48-47 loss at Bonny Eagle. After opening the new year by surviving visiting Massabesic in double-overtime (56-52), the Red Storm lost at Deering (61-47), then downed visiting Noble (68-56). After a 57-37 loss at South Portland, Scarborough won at Oxford Hills Tuesday, 59-44.

Gorham, meanwhile, started with five losses in six games, then turned things around. After falling at home to South Portland (62-39) in the opener, the Rams defeated visiting Oxford Hills (73-58). Losses at Bonny Eagle (55-46), at Edward Little (66-55), at home to Scarborough (53-44) and at Thornton Academy (72-64) followed. Gorham then got on track with victories at Massabesic (54-30), at home over Windham (52-32), at Sanford (61-55), at home over Thornton Academy (60-59) and at Portland (49-40).

In the teams’ first meeting Dec. 20, senior Brian Austin led the Red Storm with 21 points, as they erased a 24-18 halftime deficit. Meader had a team-high 10 points for the Rams.

Friday, Scarborough looked for its third straight win in the series, but instead, Gorham extended its overall win streak to six games thanks in large part to a dazzling shooting display.

A putback from Rams’ senior center Ryan Reno opened the scoring.

The Red Storm forged the game’s lone deadlock on a layup from junior Adam Lewis, but in a 90-second span, Meader made not one, not two, but three straight 3-point shots, for a quick 11-2 lead.

After Lewis got a point back at the line, senior Jordan Bretton drove for a bank shot to give Gorham a double-digit advantage.

Senior Liam McDonnell answered with a layup, but a 3-point shot from junior Mason Laskey made it 16-5 Rams.

Scarborough looked to rally, as sophomore Jack Simonton drove for a layup and freshman point guard extraordinaire Zander Haskell fed Lewis for a layup, but senior Nick Strout countered with a 3 for the visitors.

After Haskell hit a runner, Rams’ junior Grant Nadeau banked home a shot for his first points.

Late in the frame, Simonton fed Haskell for a layup, but that only pulled the Red Storm within 21-13 after eight minutes.

Meader had nine points in the first quarter, as Gorham drained five 3s.

“I thought Bode came out and hit a lot of shots for us and got us rolling,” said Rams’ coach Mark Karter.

Austin’s first points, on a long jump shot, opened the second quarter to pull Scarborough within six, but Nadeau countered with a leaner.

Austin then set up Lewis for a layup to make it a six-point contest one final time, but the Rams opened it up again, as Laskey sank a 3 from the corner and after Austin scored on a floater, Meader made another 3 for a 29-19 lead.

Haskell hit a jump shot for the Red Storm, but Nadeau found senior Alex Burghardt for a layup, Nadeau scored on a runner, Bretton drained a 3 and with 2:44 to go in the half, a Nadeau jumper for Gorham ahead, 38-21.

Senior Manny Galarraga made a jump shot for the hosts, but Meader made yet another long 3 and Nadeau hit a pair of free throws before a putback from freshman Joseph Estrella pulled Scarborough within 43-25 at halftime.

In the first half, Meader made five 3s for 15 points, while Nadeau was also in double figures with 10.

The Red Storm showed improved defensive intensity in the third period, but weren’t able to draw any closer than 11.

Just 20 seconds into the second half, Reno made a layup for the visitors and Bretton added a transition 3-pointer for a 48-25 advantage.

Scarborough then rattled off nine straight to make things interesting, as Haskell banked home a runner, Austin sank a 3, Lewis scored on a putback and with 4:28 left in the quarter, Haskell’s leaner cut the deficit to 48-34.

Strout countered with a layup, but Haskell found McDonnell for a layup and Lewis made a 3 from the corner to pull the Red Storm within 11.

That’s as close as they’d get, however, as Meader made two free throws, then as time expired, he hit a long 3 for a 55-39 Rams’ advantage heading for the final stanza.

“(Scarborough) dug in and played hard in the third quarter and I was happy our kids hit some shots,” Karter said. “Jordan hit a couple big 3s, then Bode hit a big 3 at the end of the quarter.”

In the fourth quarter, Gorham ended all doubt.

Austin started the frame with a bank shot, but Bretton countered with a 3.

After Austin made a jump shot, Bretton hit another 3, Nadeau fed Burghardt for a layup and Strout made a layup to stretch the lead to 65-43.

With 3:33 to play, a long 3-point shot from sophomore Rowan MacDonald gave Scarborough its final points.

Down the stretch, junior Stephen Graham converted an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) and sophomore Curan Bassingthwaite drove for a layup to close out the Rams’ 70-46 victory.

“Scarborough’s a good team, but defensively, we did a good job and generated some offense off our defense,” Karter said. “It’s a tough league. We’ve put some wins together, which is great and it’s good for our confidence.”

Meader led all scorers with 20 points, as he made six 3-pointers by himself.  Meader also had three assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals.

Bretton added 14 points.

Nadeau had 10 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Strout contributed seven points, Laskey had six, Burghardt and Reno four apiece, Graham three and Bassingthwaite two.

Gorham made 13 3s to Scarborough three, out-rebounded the Red Storm, 27-26, only committed 13 turnovers and hit 5-of-8 foul shots.

The Red Storm were led by Lewis, who had a dozen points and six rebounds.

Austin had 11 points.

Haskell impressed with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.

“Xander has had a tremendous year,” said Conley. “For a freshman to run point in the toughest league in the state is credit to how hard he’s worked. He gets into the paint. He’s been a pleasure to coach.”

McDonell added four points, MacDonald had three and Estrella, Galarraga and Simonton all finished with two.

Scarborough only committed nine turnovers, but made just 1-of-6 free throws.

“I’m disappointed with our defensive effort tonight,” said Conley. “That’s not how we normally play. They hit 13 3-pointers and we have to work on that. They capitalized on our struggles. We got better in the second half with our defensive pressure, but we built a huge hole.”

Opportunities abound

Gorham (now third in the Class AA South Heal Points standings) goes to Noble Monday, then hosts Sanford and Bonny Eagle, travels to South Portland and closes with home games versus Noble and Massabesic.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Karter said. “There are no nights off in this region. I think our defense still needs to improve. It’s come a long way, but we’ll continue to work on it. Everything kind of comes off our defense for us.”

Scarborough (fifth in Class AA South) is idle until next Friday when it goes to Thornton Academy. The Red Storm also have home games remaining against Sanford, Thornton Academy and Bonny Eagle with a trip to Noble mixed in.

“This is a little bump in the road, but I know we’ll get better,” Conley said. “It’s on the defensive end we need to work right now. We’re a good team and we’ll be ready the next game.”

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

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