Portland sophomore Pita Donato drives on Biddeford senior Will Harriman during the Bulldogs’ 53-38 victory Wednesday night.


Portland 53 Biddeford 38

B- 13 5 14 6- 38
P- 13 15 9 16- 53

B- McAlevey 4-0-12, Crowell 3-0-8, Goodwin 3-0-7, Harriman 2-2-7, Kelly 1-2-4

P- Bouchard 5-0-14, Khamis 4-3-11, W. Donato 1-4-7, P. Donato 3-1-7, Gerber 1-2-5, Cross 1-2-4, Kiala 1-1-3, Giromugisha 1-0-2

B (8) McAlevey 4, Crowell 2, Goodwin, Harriman 1
P (6) Bouchard 4, W. Donato, Gerber 1

B- 18
P- 22

B: 4-8
P: 13-15


PORTLAND—Tuesday evening, Portland’s boys’ basketball team let a late seven-point lead slip away and went on to an agonizing loss at rival Deering.

Wednesday, the Bulldogs returned to the court, at home, versus Biddeford, and once again, Portland got pushed in the fourth quarter, but this time, it pushed back and snapped a losing streak.

The teams were tied, 13-13, after one quarter, but the Bulldogs got 3-pointers from seniors Jake Bouchard and Sam Gerber in the second period and held a 28-18 advantage at halftime.

The Tigers then roared back with a 12-0 run to go on top, but a Bouchard 3-pointer late in the third quarter put Portland ahead to stay.

The Bulldogs took a 37-32 lead to the fourth period and after Biddeford drew within two, Portland made 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch and went on to a 53-38 victory.

Bouchar finished with a game-high 14 points and Portland snapped a five-game skid, improved to 3-5 and dropped the Tigers to 3-5 in the process.


“I’m happy for the kids to get a win,” said longtime Bulldogs coach Joe Russo. “It helps with their confidence level and makes them feel good about their efforts. Everyone got in and contributed.”

Coming of age

The Bulldogs started with a pair of victories over Cheverus, 52-45 at home and 44-30 at the Stags, then fell twice to South Portland, 67-47 at the Red Riots and 56-46 at home. Last week brought a pair of losses to Gorham, 62-34 away and 54-36 at home. Tuesday, Portland was on the brink of winning at Deering, but the Rams closed on a 13-3 run to prevail, 38-35.

Biddeford, meanwhile, opened with a pair of losses to Thornton Academy and after sweeping Massabesic, the Tigers lost twice to Kennebunk. Tuesday, Biddeford defeated Sanford, 55-38.

Wednesday’s matchup was the first between the Bulldogs and Tigers since a 67-33 Portland victory Jan. 19, 2015.

The Bulldogs prevailed again in this one and took a 67-23 all-time advantage in the series, but it took awhile to put it away.


A layup from sophomore Pita Donato gave Portland an early lead, but Biddeford tied it on a layup from senior Scott Kelly.

Bouchard then drained his first 3, but the Tigers countered on a 3-ball from senior Alex McAlevey.

Bouchard then made another 3, but senior Ashton Crowell hit a 3 for Biddeford, then senior Will Harriman made a 3-pointer from the corner for an 11-8 lead.

Donato countered with a driving layup, but junior Will Goodwin made a layup for the Tigers before junior Wani Donato got a 3-pointer to roll around and in at the horn to pull the Bulldogs even, 13-13.

Freshman Jeissy Khamis then made his presence felt for the hosts, scoring on a putback, junior Jose Kiala converted an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul and free throw), Pepito Giromugisha made a layup after a steal, Bouchard sank his third 3-pointer and with 1:44 to go in the half, Gerber’s 3 put Portland on top, 26-13, capping a 16-0 run.

With 1:09 left before halftime, Goodwin made a 3 to snap Biddeford’s 7-minute, 33-second drought and Goodwin added a layup after a steal.


With 8.8 seconds to go, a Khamis putback made it 28-18 Bulldogs at the break.

Bouchard’s nine points led Portland in the first half, but the Bulldogs still had plenty of work to do in the second half.

After Harriman started the third quarter with a jumper, Bouchard scored on a jumper, but the Tigers erupted for the next dozen points.

McAlevey started the run with a 3-pointer. Kelly added two free throws and Harriman sank one. McAlevey cut the deficit to one with a 3-pointer and with 3:22 to go in the frame, a floater from Crowell put Biddeford ahead.

Harriman added one more free throw to cap the 12-0 run before Bouchard answered with a 3 with 1:39 left in the quarter, snapping Portland’s 3:52 drought.

“I’m always ready to shoot,” said Bouchard. “I’ve been known as a shooter. As of late, I go to the rim and try to find open shooters, but if they don’t respect it, I’ll shoot it.”


In the final minute of the period, Bouchard set up Pita Donato for a layup and Gerber sank two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 37-32 advantage heading for the final stanza.

There, Portland was able to seal the deal.

First, McAlevey made things very interesting by sinking a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game.

Wani Donato then fought hard for an offensive rebound and was fouled before sinking both free throws.

After Gerber set up junior Spencer Cross for a layup and a 41-35 lead, the Tigers scored their final points on a corner 3 from Crowell with 3:32 to go.

Cross answered by calmly sinking two free throws, Pita Donato added a free throw and Khamis scored on a putback.


With 1:58 left, Khamis made one of two technical foul free throws and seven seconds later, Wani Donato sank two foul shots to push the Bulldogs’ lead into double digits.

In the final minute, Cross fed Khamis for a layup and Khamis made two more free throws to bring the curtain down on Portland’s 53-38 victory.

“We slowed down,” Bouchard said. “When it’s a close game, we get a little jittery. We’re young. It was hard yesterday against an athletic Deering team. That was a learning experience for us. Especially for the younger guys. We learned the lesson. We’ve had some losses that sting.”

“We took care of the ball better tonight,” Russo said. “Biddeford’s scrappy and kept the game close. The kids played really hard last night and it slipped away. I’m glad this game got tight. Biddeford took the lead and I wanted to see what happened. We kept our composure and regrouped. We bent, but didn’t crumble. The guys stuck together.”

Bouchard made four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 14 points. He was also the Bulldogs’ verbal leader on the floor.

“As a senior captain, I want to show the younger group the way,” Bouchard said.


“Jake’s heart and soul is in basketball,” Russo said. “Nobody loves the game anymore than he does. Find somebody that when you talk basketball and he has a sparkle in his eye and that’s a guy you want on your team. That’s Jake Bouchard. He works his butt off.”

Khamis added 11 points and five rebounds, Wani Donato (eight rebounds) and Pita Donato (four rebounds, three assists, three steals) both finished with seven points, Gerber had five, Cross four, Kiala three and Girmugisha two.

“This year is about the younger group,” said Bouchard. “These games will help them in the years to come. We have some really good young talent.”

“We are young,” Russo said. “I have only three seniors, but they’re so good to the younger kids. Sam was rooting for Jeissy, telling me how good he’s going to be. I’m so glad the seniors are getting playing time. They’re not superstars, but they’re great leaders. ”

The Bulldogs had a 31-18 advantage on the glass, overcame 22 turnovers and shot an impressive 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.

For Biddeford, McAlevey led the way with a dozen points, all on 3-pointers. Crowell added eight points (and four assists), Goodwin and Harriman (five rebounds) had seven apiece and Kelly finished with four.


The Tigers turned the ball over 18 times and made 4-of-8 foul shots.

What a finale

Portland will wrap up the season Thursday evening at home against Deering and as far as the Bulldogs are concerned, what could be better than punctuating their season by beating their fiercest rival.

“We’ll be ready for Deering,” Bouchard. “We’re hungry and we want to beat them. (Biddeford) was just practice for them.”

“A win tomorrow would be huge for a lot of reasons,” Russo said. “A big reason would be for the kids, city bragging rights. Splitting with Deering would be good. They’ll come out and try the best they can. It means a lot to them and it means a lot to (Deering). If we win, it will be well-deserved.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Comments are not available on this story.