Deering senior Mpore Semuhoza is thrilled to be playing basketball this winter, and even though he is hobbled by a leg injury, he sparked his team to another win on Saturday.

Semuhoza, who hurt his ankle Friday night, only scored one point in the first half, while the Rams were held to 14 points and turned the ball over 14 times. Semuhoza got going in the second half, however, scoring 12 points to help Deering pull away for a 49-40 win over Scarborough.

The Rams have won four straight games, improving to 4-2.

“I slipped on the snow last night and I tried to gather myself, then I tweaked it again, so I knew coming into this game I wouldn’t be at my strongest,” said Semuhoza, who also had eight rebounds and three steals. “I had to move the ball around to my teammates. I’m glad my teammates came through today.”

Deering led 8-7 after a first quarter filled with turnovers and fouls. Scarborough then held a 15-14 lead at halftime after a late putback by Adam Lewis.

The teams combined for more turnovers (31) than points in the first half.

The pace changed dramatically in the third quarter, as Lewis scored six quick points to put Scarborough ahead by five, 21-16. The Rams rallied to take the lead for good, 30-29, on a Semuhoza leaner with 1:44 to go in the third.

“Mpore was noticeably limping, but it was more a pain tolerance thing,” said Deering Coach Todd Wing.

“(Basketball) matters to him. He’s a senior and he knows every game can be his last. He battled through.”

Semuhoza added another basket, and Max Chikuta’s runner put Deering up five heading for the fourth quarter.

“We took better care of the ball, moved it around, and we knew we had to be energized,” Chikuta said.

“Seeing Mpore inspired me and made me want to step up.”

The Red Storm trailed 41-35 after a basket from point guard Zander Haskell. But Chikuta made a leaner, Semuhoza went coast-to-coast for a layup and Chikuta hit a bank shot to put it away.

“The best thing about our group is energy,” said Semuhoza. “First half was really slow. Second half, we came with energy, and that’s why we won the game.”

Chikuta also finished in double figures with 11 points.

“Max is a quality outside shooter, and he’s crafty-smooth getting into the paint,” Wing said.

Ben Thompson scored 12 points, Haskell had 11 and Lewis 10 for Scarborough.

“Inexperience was a big difference,” said Red Storm assistant coach James Philbrook, who was filling in for head coach Phil Conley, who is quarantining.

“A lot of guys who played today haven’t really played significant minutes. They got a lot of time and fatigue might have been a factor at the end there. Deering hit a couple shots and went on a run and separated, and it stayed that way.”


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