Gorham senior Bode Meader knocks down a jump shot during the Rams’ 62-53 win at Scarborough Monday afternoon. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

BOX SCORE

Gorham 62 Scarborough 53

G- 16 19 21 6- 62
S- 10 13 15 15- 53

G- Laskey 5-0-12, Meader 5-2-12, Smith 5-1-12, Leclerc 4-0-11, Nadeau 4-2-10, Michaud 1-0-3, Tukey 1-0-2

S- MacDonald 5-5-16, Haskell 3-5-11, Deniso 3-0-7, Simonton 3-0-6, Lewis 2-0-4, Thompson 1-1-3, Glidden 1-0-2, Porter 0-2-2, Sullivan 1-0-2

3-pointers:
G (7) Leclerc 3, Laskey 2, Michaud, Smith 1
S (2) Deniso, MacDonald 1

Turnovers:
G- 10
S- 14

Free throws
G: 5-9
S: 13-20

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s boys’ basketball team is coming of age the hard way.

Courtesy the veteran Gorham Rams.

Monday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium, the squads met for the second time in three days and for second time, the Rams did enough to get in the win column.

A pair of 3-pointers from freshman Ashton Leclerc got Gorham going in a first quarter which ended with the Rams on top, 16-10.

The Red Storm showed their promise early in the second period, as sophomore point guard extraordinaire Zander Haskell converted a pretty old-fashioned three-point and junior Rowan MacDonald followed with a 3-point shot for a short-lived 17-16 lead, but the next 12 points went to the Rams and they took a 35-23 advantage to halftime.

Scarborough never got closer than nine points in the second half, as Gorham extended its lead to 47-29 after three periods, then went up by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter before going on to a 62-53 victory.

The Rams placed five different players in double figures and improved to 3-0 on the young season, dropping the Red Storm to 0-2 in the process.

“Gorham’s a very good team and playing them back-to-back with an inexperienced team is tough,” said Scarborough coach Phil Conley. “I thought my kids played hard for the full 32 minutes.”

Monday matinee

Last winter, Scarborough went 9-10, losing, 71-48, to Bonny Eagle in the Class AA South quarterfinals.

Gorham got to the semifinal round before losing to South Portland, 51-37.

The Rams and Red Storm split two meetings a year ago, each winning on the road (Scarborough, 53-44, at Gorham, and the Rams, 70-46, at Scarborough).

The teams met Saturday in Gorham and the Rams held the Red Storm to just 11 first half points before going on to a 60-48 victory behind senior Bode Meader’s 28 points (junior Reid Deniso paced Scarborough with 13 points).

That game was the first for the Red Storm and the second for Gorham, which held off visiting Windham, 40-31, in its opener last Tuesday.

Monday, in front of a nearly empty gym, with players wearing masks and with social distancing at the forefront of everyone’s mind, Scarborough did its best to keep up with the Rams, but the visitors simply had too many weapons.

It appeared early that this would be a foul-fest, as four were whistled in the game’s first 44 seconds.

Just 10 seconds in, MacDonald made a free throw to put the Red Storm on top, but 13 seconds after that, MacDonald picked up his second foul. He stayed in the game.

Gorham’s first points came on a jump shot from senior Grant Nadeau.

After MacDonald scored on a putback, Nadeau set up Meader for a layup and a 4-3 lead.

Back came Scarborough, as MacDonald drove for a layup, Haskett hit a free throw, then Haskell knocked down a jump shot to make it 8-4.

The next nine points went to the Rams, as Nadeau converted an old-fashioned three-point play (layup after a steal, foul and free throw) and Leclerc made his presence felt with consecutive 3-balls, making it 13-8 Gorham.

A Haskell jumper which rattled around and in ended the run, but senior Mason Laskey countered with a 3 for the Rams, making it 16-10 after one quarter.

Haskell and MacDonald each scored five points to account for the Red Storm’s points, while Leclerc paced Gorham with six points.

For a fleeting moment at the start of the second period, Scarborough caught fire and it resulted in the Red Storm taking the lead for the final time.

After senior Ben Thompson opened the frame with a free throw, Haskell stole the ball, raced in and after a spin move, laid the ball up and in while being fouled. Haskell then added the free throw to complete the three-point play and with 6:36 left in the first half, MacDonald calmly knocked down a 3-point shot to make it 17-16 Scarborough.

Rams coach Mark Karter called timeout and it worked wonders as the visitors ran off 12 straight points in just 2-minutes, 30-seconds.

With 6:07 remaining before halftime, senior Garrett Smith scored on a runner to give Gorham the lead for good.

After Meader made a foul shot, Smith went coast-to-coast for a basket, Leclerc sank another 3, Smith stole the ball, passed it to Nadeau and Nadeau fed Smith for a layup and with 3:37 on the clock, a driving left-handed layup from Nadeau capped the surge, made it 28-17 and forced Conley to call timeout.

An up-and-under layup from Thompson ended the run, but Laskey quickly answered with a 3.

After MacDonald knocked down a jump shot, Smith spun and made a layup.

A layup from MacDonald was countered by a Meader layup (after a nice save and feed from Nadeau) and at halftime, the Rams enjoyed a 35-23 advantage.

“We did our job with Bode, who’s a heck of a player and a great shooter, and Nadeau, another great player,” Conley said. “At halftime, they had (five points apiece), so we did our job there, but they had other kids make some big-time plays. They have a lot of weapons.”

Laskey’s 10 points led Gorham, while MacDonald led all first half scorers with a dozen points.

The Rams never let Scarborough entertain comeback hopes in the third quarter.

After MacDonald started the second half with two free throws, Meader hit a jump shot, Nadeau set up senior Ben Tukey for a layup and after a turnover, Laskey fed Nadeau for a layup and the lead was up to 16, 41-25.

Senior Adam Lewis got two points back for the Red Storm with a layup, but Nadeau countered with a pullup jumper.

After Deniso scored on a putback for Scarborough, Laskey hit a leaner and a layup after a steal by Meader put Gorham in command, up, 47-29.

After a Red Storm timeout, junior Jack Simonton made a short jumper, but Nadeau countered with a free throw. After Simonton hit another short jumper, Smith made a 3 and Meader converted a three-point play to push the lead to 21, 54-33.

After Deniso sank a 3 for the hosts, Smith banked home a jumper before two late free throws from Haskell made it Gorham 56 Scarborough 38 heading for the final stanza.

There, the Red Storm fought hard to the end, but the Rams were able to put it away.

Gorham freshman Gabe Michaud opened the fourth with a 3-pointer. After Haskell and Smith traded free throws, MacDonald hit two foul shots, Deniso and Lewis each made layups and with 1:56 to go, two free throws from freshman Mason Porter pulled Scarborough within 13, 60-47.

The Rams wouldn’t buckle, however, as four seconds later, Leclerc raced in for a layup for their final points.

Down the stretch, Simonton scored on a spinner, freshman Nate Glidden hit two free throws and junior Cade Sullivan made a layup, but the horn soon sounded on Gorham’s 62-53 victory.

“It’s certainly different playing a team twice in three days,” Karter said. “It helps with scouting a little bit, since you can’t go scout teams (this year). You get a good look who you’re playing against. I think the way we’re playing, we’ll give up runs, but we make some runs too. We tried to wear them down. It’s an adjustment playing with masks and without fans, but I think it’s going as well as could be.”

The Rams had a remarkably balanced attack, as Laskey (three assists), Meader (four rebounds) and Smith (five rebounds, three assists and two steals) all produced 12 points. Leclerc scored 11 points and had four rebounds, while Nadeau also wound up in double figures with 10 points, to go with six assists, five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

“Grant and Bode are having a great season up to this point,” Karter said. “They’re great leaders for our young guys. They help us compensate for our lack of size. Garrett Smith has played really well and Mason Laskey’s played well. Ashton, as a freshman, has come on well.”

Michaud (three points) and Tukey (two) rounded out Gorham’s scoring.

The Rams hit seven 3-pointers, made 5-of-9 free throws and only committed 10 turnovers.

For Scarborough, MacDonald had a game-high 16 points, to go with four rebounds. Haskell also wound up in double figures with 11 points. Deniso had seven points (and six rebounds), Simonton added six, Lewis had four, Thompson three and Glidden, Porter and Sullivan two apiece.

The Red Storm held a 29-24 rebounding advantage, hit 13-of-20 free throws and turned the ball over 14 times.

“We’re still learning how to play as a group,” Conley said. “We don’t have a lot of kids back with a lot of varsity minutes. It’s going to take time, but I know we’re going to get better.”

Just getting started

Gorham has two games upcoming against Bonny Eagle, Wednesday at home and Friday in Standish.

“I’m happy with our group,” said Karter. “We’ll just try to play as hard as we can for our seniors and try to develop our younger guys. I’m enjoying working with our group. Hopefully, we would have been in the mix this year. It’s too bad we didn’t get a chance to take a shot at it.”

Scarborough doesn’t get a breather either, as it will meet defending Class AA South champion Thornton Academy twice in three days, Wednesday at home and Friday in Saco. The Red Storm then face South Portland twice.

“Coming into the season (Gorham), TA and South Portland were picked 1, 2, 3 in the South, if not the state, but we’re up for the challenge,” Conley said. “We want to get guys experience. I played 12 guys today, three who are freshmen. They handled themselves well on the court. We want to get better, so we’ll be ready for the summer and then for next year. We have three seniors, so the other nine guys can get better. They work their tails off for me in practice and that’s all you can ask for.”

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

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