Box Score

Scarborough 45 Deering 32

S- 12 5 5 23- 45
D- 11 8 5 8- 32

S- Hartley 4-8-18, Fiorillo 2-6-10, Flaker 2-2-7, LeFebvre 2-2-6, Djuranovic 1-0-2, E. Rumelhart 1-0-2

D- Gayle 4-2-12, McGowan 2-0-6, Sibo 3-0-6, Lia 1-0-3, Santiago 1-0-3, Ishimwe 0-1-1, Rosenthal 0-1-1

S (3) Hartley 2, Flaker 1
D (6) Gayle, McGown 2, Lia, Santiago 1

S- 19
D- 19

S: 18-31
D: 4-5


PORTLAND—Scarborough’s girls’ basketball team expected to get a test Thursday evening when it went to Deering for the regular season finale.

But the Red Storm, and frankly no one else, expected them to be trailing after three periods against the resurgent Rams, who stifled Scarborough’s attack.

But these Red Storm fancy themselves a title contender and in the fourth quarter, at winning time, they stepped up like the champions they hope to become and rallied for yet another victory.

Deering came out confident and only trailed Scarborough by a point, 12-11, after one period, then, thanks to an 8-0 run that featured 3-point shots from junior Nyabhana Lia and sophomore Maya Gayle, the Rams held a 19-17 advantage at halftime.

Neither team could do much in the third quarter and Deering took a 24-22 lead to the fourth.

Where the Red Storm promptly ended any upset hopes.


Sophomore Caroline Hartley came up huge, scoring five quick points to put her team ahead to stay and Scarborough hit its free throws down the stretch as it pulled away for a 45-32 triumph.

Hartley led all scorers with 18 points as the Red Storm ended the regular season at 14-4, dropping the Rams to 3-15 in the process.

“We’re a team that can really hang in there,” said Hartley. “We’re always there for each other no matter what. We knew coming in that Deering is very athletic and tough. We weren’t surprised by how they played us. Being able to gut this one out was good for us.”

Exceeding expectations

Scarborough barely had a season to speak of a year ago, then was a largely unknown quantity when the 2021-22 campaign began, but the Red Storm have been as good as anyone the second half of the season.

Scarborough got off to a strong start with a 57-37 victory at Sanford, then took visiting Thornton Academy to the wire before falling, 43-40. After a 49-34 victory at Bonny Eagle, the Red Storm lost at powerhouse Gorham (40-26). Scarborough then defeated visiting Bonny Eagle (30-25) rolled, 50-31, at Thornton Academy, downed visiting South Portland (49-40), then gave coach Mike Giordano his 300th career victory, 44-39, over visiting Gorham before downing another visiting contender, Cheverus (45-40). After a 47-39 setback at Lewiston, Scarborough beat host South Portland (33-28) and visiting Noble (49-38), Edward Little (41-17) and Sanford (55-39), then lost at Massabesic (45-44) before downing host Noble (48-36) and visiting Massabesic (45-34).


The Rams, meanwhile, started by losing at Bonny Eagle (35-25), at home to Cheverus (62-20), at home to Bangor (65-20) and at home to reigning Class AA state champion Oxford Hills (52-33). Deering then took host Portland to the wire before falling, 47-44. The Rams then lost at home against Edward Little (50-33), at home to Windham (44-32) and at Cheverus (60-47) before beating visiting Westbrook, 57-30, to get in the win column. After falling at Lewiston (66-28), Deering beat host South Portland (44-41) and host Edward Little (51-39) before losing at home to Lewiston (51-24), at Oxford Hills (65-27), at Windham (43-33), at Hampden Academy in overtime (42-38) and at home to Portland (43-31).

The teams last met Jan. 7, 2020, a 68-40 Red Storm win in Scarborough.

Thursday, the Red Storm prevailed again, but it didn’t come easily.

Scarborough got a runner in the lane from Hartley and a Hartley foul shot to start the game, then senior Yipsi Sibo made a layup to get Deering on the board.

After senior Elisabeth LeFebvre made two free throws for the Red Storm, senior Ella McGowan stepped back and sank a 3 to tie it up before a free throw from senior Molly Ishimwe gave the Rams their first lead.

A jumper from LeFebvre put Scarborough back on top, but after a steal, Gayle made her first 3.


A 3-pointer from freshman Emerson Flaker gave the Red Storm the lead again, but Gayle countered with two foul shots before a late jumper from freshman Ellie Rumelhart put Scarborough up, 12-11, after one quarter.

Deering then started the second period hot, but cooled off dramatically.

A 3-ball from Lia eight seconds in put the Rams up and Gayle followed with a runner before she hit a 3 with 6:22 to go in the half for a 19-12 lead.

But Deering wouldn’t score again before the break.

The Red Storm ended the 8-0 run on a driving layup from senior Lindsay Fiorillo, then LeFebvre scored on a putback before a free throw from Flaker cut the deficit to 19-17 at halftime.

There wouldn’t be much scoring in a third quarter that ended with the Rams still clinging to a two-point advantage.


Fifty seconds into the second half, McGowan set up Sibo for a layup which snapped a 7-minute, 12-second scoring drought, but Gayle was then whistled for her third foul, which was immediately followed by her fourth.

Scarborough got got a 3 from Hartley, but McGowan countered with one for Deering before a late layup from Hartley, off an inbounds pass from Flaker, made it 24-22 Rams heading to the fourth period.

And there, the Red Storm finally hit their stride.

Just 18 seconds in, Hartley lined up a 3 and drained it and Scarborough head the lead for good.

“Honestly, I didn’t think about it much, I just wanted it go in,” Hartley said. “I knew it would put us ahead.”

Hartley then added two free throws before Flaker stole the ball and set up Fiorillo for a layup and a 29-24 advantage with 6:10 to go.


Deering answered with 4:52 left on a layup from Sibo (assisted by McGowan), ending a 5:27 drought, but that’s as close as the Rams would get.

Seventeen seconds later, senior Una Djuranovic drove and scored her lone basket, a bank shot, then Flaker made a layup after a steal.

Flaker added a free throw before sophomore Natalie Santiago made a 3 for Deering to cut the deficit to 34-29 with 1:57 to go.

The Red Storm then finished it off at the free throw line.

First, Fiorillo sank a pair.

Next, Hartley hit two and after a Rams’ technical foul, Hartley hit one more attempt to make it 39-29 with just 1:17 to go.


“We practice free throws every day,” Hartley said. “Coach always tells us how important they are.”

Hartley then added two more free throws and after sophomore Shay Rosenthal got a point back at the line for Deering, Fiorillo sank a pair.

Lia made a reverse layup for the Rams’ final points, then Fiorillo hit two more foul shots to account for the 45-32 final score.

“It was a struggle,” Giordano said. “This league is so difficult. There are challenges every night. Deering played well early and got confidence, but we kept grinding at it and found a way and obviously, it starts on the defensive end. The dam had to break at some point. We’re too good offensively to not make things happen, then we made some free throws and the game was over.”

Hartley led all scorers with 18 points and also had five rebounds and blocked two shots.

“Caroline had some big baskets,” Giordano said. “She’s our second leading scorer. Every team tries to take Lindsay away and Caroline is the next kid in line. She does a great job scoring inside and out. She’s a physically tough kid.”


Fiorillo added 10 points and six rebounds, Flaker had seven points, seven steals and four assists, LeFebvre six points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Djuranovic and Rumelhart two points apiece.

Scarborough had a 33-21 advantage on the glass, overcame 19 turnovers and made 18-of-31 free throws.

Deering was paced by Gayle, who had 12 points, five rebounds and four steals despite being limited by foul trouble. McGowan (four rebounds, three assists) and Sibo (three rebounds) each added six points, Lia and Santiago had three points apiece and Ishimwe and Rosenthal both added one.

The Rams made 4-of-5 free throws, but turned the ball over 19 times.

“That’s been our narrative against good teams,” Deering coach Mike Murphy said. “The effort was phenomenal. Tonight, when it got tight, we didn’t have all five kids on the same page, but that’s just getting over the hump and learning to win. That final score is not even close to the way the game went.

“It’s like night and day from the start of the year. I’ve really enjoyed watching the progress. It crushes the coaches to see the kids work so hard and make progress and not win. It’s not easy. That’s a hard thing to hurdle when kids haven’t won on a consistent basis. Schools around our league expect to win because they’ve won before.”


Let the fun begin

Deering will be the No. 8 seed for the Class AA North playoffs and will have to beat No. 9 Edward Little (2-16) in a play-in game Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals.

If that happens, the Rams will visit top-ranked Oxford Hills (16-2) at a date and time to be announced.

Regardless of what happens next, Murphy believes the program’s future is bright.

“People ask me why I didn’t retire five years ago,” Murphy said. “There are many reasons, but I like the challenge. People forget that we have the ball in the hands of a sophomore playing against older kids and Natalie has made an unbelievable jump in her game. Maya’s another sophomore who is as strong as any player in the league. Nyabhana has been terrific the past few games.”

Scarborough projects to finish second in Class AA South and will host a quarterfinal round contest next week, likely against Bonny Eagle or South Portland.

“This team has so much love for each other and faith in each other,” Hartley said. “We have quickness and athleticism. That’s really helped us. We just really need to get our heads in the game and be focused. We know what we want and we want to go get it.”

“We were 2-2 coming out of the bye and we finished 12-2 in the last 14, so compliments to the kids and the fun stuff starts now,” said Giordano. “The kids enjoy each other and play for each other. They’re committed to the defensive end and we score enough to be dangerous.

“We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Somebody will earn the championship this year. I’m thrilled for the kids to have this great experience. Getting to go downtown would be a fun thing they won’t forget.”

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

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