Deering freshman Shay Rosenthal passes the ball as Cape Elizabeth junior Emily Supple defends during the Rams’ 54-32 victory Tuesday afternoon. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

BOX SCORE

Deering 54 Cape Elizabeth 32

CE- 6 11 6 9- 32
D- 13 17 7 17- 54

CE- Supple 4-2-11, Gerety 5-0-10, Conley 2-0-5, Goulding 1-2-4, Manning 0-2-2

D- McGowan 6-0-13, Lia 5-0-12, Gayle 4-0-10, True-Magee 3-0-7, Santiago 2-0-5, Muka 2-0-4, Rosenthal 1-0-2, Soldati 0-1-1

3-pointers:
CE (2) Conley, Supple 1
D (7) Gayle, Lia 2, McGowan, Santiago, True-Magee 1

Turnovers:
CE- 21
D- 11

Free throws
CE: 6-18
D: 1-6

PORTLAND—It was a win a long time in coming, but for Deering’s girls’ basketball team it was absolutely worth the wait.

Tuesday afternoon, the Rams hosted Cape Elizabeth in a rare interclass meeting and after a pair of tough losses last week to South Portland, not to mention a winless 2019-20 campaign, Deering was primed to get in the win column.

The Rams trailed for just a couple minutes in first quarter, then opened up a 13-6 advantage after eight minutes, thanks to a 13-2 run, before rattling off 13 straight points in the second period to go up by as many as 20, before the Capers, playing their first game of the season, drew back within 13 points, 30-17, at halftime.

Cape Elizabeth wasn’t able to get any closer in the second half and while Deering only added one point to its lead in the third quarter, the Rams eventually pulled away and ended all doubt in the fourth, as contributors young and old helped produce a 54-32 victory.

Deering got 13 points from junior Ella McGowan, 12 from sophomore Nyabhana Lia and 10 from freshman Maya Gayle as it prevailed, 54-32, snapped a 22-game skid and earned its first victory since the 2019 Class AA North tournament.

“I’m happy for the kids to play with purpose and finish the deal,” said longtime Rams coach Mike Murphy. “Last year was a tough year. We competed against South Portland last week and we couldn’t finish. It’s a good group. They work hard.”

Sweet taste of victory

Cape Elizabeth and Deering have played girls’ basketball for decades, but had never before met in a countable game.

The Rams already have two contests under their belt this season, a pair of losses to South Portland (42-39 away and 38-32 at home), in which they let halftime leads slip away both times.

The Capers were supposed to play Waynflete twice last week, but those games were cancelled.

Tuesday, Deering turned up its defensive intensity in the first half and built a comfortable lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.

Cape Elizabeth scored the first four points, as senior Alison Gerety took a pass from classmate Emily Goulding and made a layup, then hit a short turnaround jumper, but the next eight points went to the Rams, who went ahead to stay.

A long jumper from McGowan got Deering on the board and freshman Shay Rosenthal set up senior Gloria Muka for the tying layup. With 2:24 left in the first quarter, a jump shot from sophomore Lia gave the Rams the lead for good and nine seconds later, after a steal, Rosenthal made a layup.

The Capers answered on a leaner from junior Emily Supple, but in the waning seconds of the frame, McGowan hit a runner in the lane, then McGowan drained a 3 from the corner with 4.4 seconds showing for a 13-6 advantage.

In the first eight minutes, the Rams forced six turnovers and making matters worse for the visitors, Cape Elizabeth missed all four free throw attempts.

Deering then threatened to run away and hide in the second period before the Capers closed the half strong.

After Lia made a layup after a steal to start the quarter, Gerety banked home a shot for Cape Elizabeth, but the next 13 points went to the Rams, as freshman Natalie Santiago banked home a 3-ball, Gayle made a layup after a steal, a Muka steal set up McGowan for a layup, Gayle knocked down a 3, senior Grayson Soldati made a free throw and with 2:15 to go before halftime, a Muka jumper made it 28-8.

The Capers stemmed the run when Goulding made two free throws, ending a 4-minute, 10-second drought, but McGowan pushed the lead back to 20 by banking home a runner.

Cape Elizabeth could have buckled, but finished the half in style, on a 7-0 run.

After Goulding hit a jumper, sophomore Olivia Manning made two free throws, Supple made a layup and with 4.5 seconds left, a foul shot from Supple pulled the Capers within 13, 30-17.

The Rams couldn’t shake Cape Elizabeth in the third quarter either.

A long jumper from senior Kaylee True-Magee opened the second half and ended Deering’s 3:56 drought.

After a Gerety layup after a steal, Lia drove for a layup and Gayle knocked down a 3 to push the lead back to 18, but again, the Capers closed a quarter strong, as Manning set up Conley for a layup and Supple hit a runner with a second to go and heading the fourth quarter, the Rams’ lead was 14, 37-23.

In the final stanza, Deering finally put the wraps on its elusive victory.

Supple sank a free throw to start the fourth period, but True-Magee countered with a 3.

After Gerety scored her final points, on a jumper, it was Lia’s chance to sink a 3. McGowan followed with a putback, Lia set up True-Magee for a fastbreak layup, Santiago got a jumper to roll around and in and with 2:41 left, a Lia 3-pointer gave the Rams a 52-26 advantage.

Down the stretch, the Capers got consecutive 3s from Conley and Supple before a runner from Gayle accounted for the 54-32 final score.

At 5:19 p.m., Deering finally got to celebrate a win.

“It’s a dream come true to win,” said Lia.

“It’s definitely a great feeling,” said True-Magee. “I haven’t won since sophomore year. It’s a big win for our team. I think we all contributed, it wasn’t just one player. The focus at halftime was to calm down, take good shots and not foul. We focused on getting the ball inside.”

“No lead is safe,” Murphy added. “At halftime, I told them we were in the same spot last week. We were up in both games at halftime. I told them we couldn’t settle for jump shots and to be aggressive offensively. I was pleased with the second half effort.”

McGowan led all scorers with 13 points.

Lia scored 12 points and had a pair of assists.

“I try to score, I get everyone involved and make sure everyone is connected,” Lia said.

Gayle added 10 points and two steals, while True-Magee wound up with seven points and six rebounds.

“I was very pleased with Kaylee,” Murphy said. “She’s worked hard and I’m glad to see her knock down some shots. She can play defense, rebound and shoot it.”

Santiago had five points and three assists, Muka four points, six rebounds and three steals, Rosenthal two points and Soldati one.

“The younger girls score, know how to compete and bring a lot of good energy,” Lia said.

“It’s great to have the younger players,” said True-Magee. “We have a great chemistry.”

“The young kids are very talented,” Murphy added. “It reminds me of a number of years ago when I had Chelsea Saucier and (Marissa) MacMillan and (Keneisha) DeRamio come in. They’re basketball players and they want to be coached and they like to compete, which is great to see. They know they have to work hard for playing time and that nothing is given to them. It’s a nice addition for Deering.”

The Rams made just 1-of-6 free throws, but only turned the ball over 11 times.

Cape Elizabeth was paced by Supple, who had 11 points, and Gerety, who also wound up in double figures with 10 points (and eight rebounds). Conley added five points (and five rebounds), Goulding had four points (and eight rebounds) and Manning finished with two points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Capers held a 37-31 rebounding advantage, but made only 6-of-18 free throws and committed 21 turnovers.

“This was a year and a day since we’d played a game,” said longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella. “Deering is physical and they were all over us for 84 feet. That was quite eye-opening. We have 12 kids in the program. We can’t simulate games in practice. Going forward, we’ll do better handling pressure. We got it to 13, then we couldn’t get baskets. They got wide-open 3s and they shot well.”

Next up

Cape Elizabeth is back in action Friday at Freeport. The Capers meet Greely twice next week, Tuesday in Cumberland and Friday in Cape Elizabeth.

“Everyone is just happy to be out here,” Casterella said. “It gives the seniors a chance to play games that mean something. They’ve worked hard. For them, it’s a nice send-off. For the rest of us, we have to build for next year. It’s different, but I still get butterflies and I want to win. It’s about being out here. The girls play to win. Keeping the group together is a bright spot. It’s neat to play Deering. We’re happy to play anybody.”

Deering is idle until Tuesday of next week. The Rams play at Cheverus that day, then host the Stags next Thursday before playing at Scarborough a week from Saturday.

Deering’s future is clearly bright.

“We think we can compete in the future and make a run next year,” said Lia.

“We want everyone to get involved and experience in playing at the varsity level, so they’re ready for next year,” True-Magee said.

“I want to get these younger kids to see what varsity level is all about,” Murphy added. “That’s a big piece of why I’m happy we get to play again. That and I want the seniors to play their 10 games and enjoy it.”

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

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