GORHAM—Scarborough’s boys’ basketball team has showed it can compete with anyone this winter.

But the Red Storm, like everyone else to date, haven’t been able to figure out a way to beat the Gorham Rams.

Saturday afternoon, visiting Scarborough borrowed a page from Gorham’s script, coming out sizzling in the first quarter, leading by as much as a dozen before enjoying a 16-6 advantage after eight minutes.

But the Rams weren’t remotely fazed and once senior sharpshooters Ashton Leclerc and Gabe Michaud began to heat up, they quickly got back in the game, drawing within a single point, 26-25, at the half.

The teams went back-and-forth in a third period which ended 40-37 Gorham.

The rivals then traded blows in a compelling fourth quarter, as Red Storm senior Liam Jefferds made four 3-pointers, including one with 3:22 to go to make it 51-49 Scarborough, but the visitors wouldn’t score again.


With 2:57 remaining, Rams junior Griffin Gammon made a 3 to put his team ahead to stay. Gammon added a putback dunk and Michaud capped the 9-0 game-ending surge with a layup after a steal and Gorham remained perfect by virtue of a 58-51 victory.

Michaud had 25 points, Leclerc added 23 and the Rams improved to 8-0, earned a measure of revenge over the Red Storm for last year’s playoff ouster and in the process, handed Scarborough just its second loss in nine games.

“First of all, we needed this,” said first-year Gorham coach Ryan Deschenes. “We knew we’d get a test today. Scarborough’s as good as anyone. They have size, physicality, defense, shooting. I’m proud of how the guys responded. They gave us a chance to win it in the fourth quarter.”

High powered

Scarborough started with a 40-35 home win over Deering and after a 49-41 setback at Windham, defeated visiting, two-time reigning Class AA state champion South Portland (55-52), visiting Lewiston (47-27), host Kennebunk (58-40), visiting Cheverus (59-51), host Bonny Eagle (56-51) and visiting Thornton Academy (62-37) in its most recent outing, Thursday night.

Gorham, under Deschenes, was highly touted coming into the year and hasn’t disappointed, defeating South Portland in the opener, 64-50, before downing Greely (76-42), Falmouth (73-56), Edward Little (60-45), Westbrook (71-53), Thornton Academy (75-41) and Sanford (84-55).


Last year, the Rams won both regular season meetings, 65-47 in Scarborough and 66-52 at home, but in the Class AA South quarterfinals, the Red Storm sprung a 59-58, overtime upset.

Saturday, Scarborough had its opportunity to win in Gorham again, but it would be the Rams closing the game like the champions they hope to become.

Scarborough sophomore Spencer Booth and Gorham junior Griffin Gammon take part in the opening tip of the Rams’ 58-51 win Saturday. Hoffer photos.

Gorham scored first, on a driving layup from Michaud 26 seconds in, but 16 of the next 18 points would go to Scarborough.

The Red Storm’s first points came on a 3-pointer from sophomore Carter Blanche. After senior Caden Smith drove for a layup for the Rams, senior Blake Harris hit a 3 from the corner, then he made another for a 9-4 lead.

Senior Liam Garriepy added to the lead with a layup, then Garriepy set up Blanche for a corner 3, forcing Deschenes to call timeout.

It didn’t initially help, as sophomore Spencer Booth made a layup with 39 seconds left to cap the run.


With 22 seconds to go, Leclerc scored his first points, getting a jumper to roll in, ending a 6 minute, 4 second scoring drought and cutting Scarborough’s lead to 16-6 heading to the second period.

There, Gorham right back in it.

Gorham senior Gabe Michaud defends Scarborough senior Liam Garriepy.

Michaud opened the frame with a step-back 3 and after senior Nate Glidden scored on a putback for the Red Storm, Leclerc sank two free throws, Michaud buried a 3, then with 3:51 left in the half, after a steal by Gammon, Leclerc sank another 3 to cut the deficit to just one, 18-17.

A Booth layup momentarily restored order, but Michaud again cut the deficit to one by banking home a runner.

Scarborough then heated up again from the outside, as Blanche made a 3 and after Leclerc converted an old-fashioned three point play (putback, foul, free throw), Garriepy made a 3 as well.

But it would be the Rams carrying momentum into the break, as a long 3 from Leclerc cut the Red Storm’s lead back to a single point, 26-25.


Leclerc had 13 points and Michaud added 10 to help Gorham get back in the game.

The Rams would go on top in the third quarter, but Scarborough didn’t buckle.

Just 15 seconds into the second half, Michaud’s leaner rolled around and in, giving Gorham its first lead since the score was 4-3.

Booth countered with a bank shot before Michaud buried a 3.

Jefferds tied the score with a runner off the glass, then he hit a 3. Gammon answered with a free throw, but with 4:29 on the clock, a putback from Booth made it 35-31 Red Storm.

The Rams then closed the frame on a 9-2 run.


Leclerc got things started with a 3 and after Jefferds set up Garriepy for a layup, Smith hit a contested jumper, Michaud was credited with a layup when Booth was called for goaltending, then Michaud drove for a layup to send Gorham to the final stanza up, 40-37.

The Rams then saved their best for last to remain perfect.

Scarborough sophomore Spencer Booth is defended by Gorham junior Griffin Gammon.

The fourth period began with two Leclerc free throws, but in transition, Jefferds took a pass from Blanche and sank a 3, then with 5;24 on the clock, Garriepy found Jefferds in the corner, who soared and drained another 3 for a 43-42 advantage.

The Rams countered 18 seconds later, as Michaud made another 3, but at the other end, the anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better continued with Jefferds hitting another 3, from Booth, to allow Scarborough to cling to a 46-45 lead.

With 4:11 left, off an inbounds set, Michaud set up Leclerc for a layup to give Gorham the lead again, but 19 seconds later, Blanche set up Booth for a layup to put the Red Storm back on top.

With 3:39 to play, the lead changed again, as Leclerc hit a runner, but with 17 seconds later, Jefferds struck again, this time taking a pass from Booth and making a 3, his fourth of the frame, from the top of the key for a 51-49 advantage.


But that’s as good as it would get for Scarborough.

Fourteen seconds later, Jefferds was called for an intentional foul and while Gammon missed both free throws, he would get another opportunity to play the hero, as with 2:57 remaining, Gammon got the ball from Michaud, lined up a 3-pointer and found nothing but net to put the Rams ahead to stay.

“I was wide open and I knew it was going in,” said Gammon.

“I knew it was going,” Michaud said. “All week in practice, I’ve passed him the ball and told him to shoot it and he’s gained confidence.

“Griffin can do that,” added Deschenes. “He can step up and hit 3s.”

Booth tried to answer for the Red Storm, but he missed a shot in close.


Gorham then ran some time off the clock and attempted a shot that was off target, but Gammon snared the rebound, went back up and slammed it home to make it 54-51.

“Dunks always get the crowd going and I knew I had to get the crowd going in such a close game,” Gammon said. “Putting that one in really helped.”

“Every time (Griffin dunks), he gets the whole crowd fired up and the team fired up,” said Michaud.

Jefferds then had a 3-point look to tie it, but this time, he missed and the Rams got the ball back.

With 1:28 left, Michaud went to the line and missed the first free throw, but hit the second to make it a two possession contest.

After Michaud blocked a 3-point attempt by Garriepy, Smith got the rebound.


With exactly a minute left, Leclerc went to the line and like Michaud, made one of two attempts to push the lead to 56-51.

Then, with 45 seconds remaining, Michaud stole the ball and ended all doubt by racing in for a layup.

“I love playing defense,” said Michaud. “It gets me fired up.”

After a Blanche miss, Gammon got the rebound and that allowed Gorham to run out the clock and celebrate its 58-51 victory.

“Everything we do in practice leads up to these moments,” said Michaud. “We didn’t crack under pressure. We’re a mentally strong team. We know we have talented players and that we’ll hit shots eventually. We just had to keep playing defense and doing the little things.”

“We’ve played a lot of games this week and we were a little tired, but we didn’t make any excuses and performed,” said Gammon. “Our first quarter wasn’t our best. We knew we had the potential to come back. ”


“We were too quick offensively against their physicality, so we had to space them out,” added Deschenes. “We made a switch on defense that helped and we hit some shots. One possession at a time, it worked out.”

Michaud led all scorers with 25 points. He also had five rebounds and three assists. Leclerc dazzled as well with 23 points, six rebounds and three steals.

“Between Michaud and Leclerc and Smith, it’s tough to cover us and usually, we’ll get two or three of them to have a big night and that’s a big advantage for us,” said Deschenes.

Gammon added six points and five rebounds and Smith had four points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.

The Rams enjoyed a 32-27 rebounding advantage, made 8-of-13 free throws and only turned the ball over nine times.

Scarborough was paced by Jefferds, who scored 17 points before fouling out. Booth had 10 points (as well as eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots), Blanche nine (to go with five assists), Garriepy seven (as well as five assists and five rebounds), Harris six and Glidden two in limited action.


“Nate missed the second half and he’s a big part of our team,” said Scarborough coach Phil Conley. “He’ll be a healthy Nate Glidden the next time we see them.”

The Red Storm made 11 3-pointers to Gorham’s eight, but missed their lone free throw attempt and gave the ball away 13 times.

“I thought it was a really good high school basketball game with two really good teams,” Conley said. “They made a couple shots late, so credit Gorham for that. I’m proud of the way my kids battled. Gorham was picked to win the whole thing and this was a good test. We’re getting better and better every game. This is a confidence-builder. I thought our bigs did a really good job and Liam Jefferds hit some really big shots late for us.”

Race to the top

The teams meet again in the regular season finale Feb. 8 in Scarborough.

In the meantime, Gorham (ranked first in the Class AA South Heal Points standings) hopes to keep the good times rolling Tuesday when it faces its next big test, at Cheverus. The Rams host the Deering Rams Friday.


“We can definitely get a lot better,” Gammon said. “I think we can make a run.”

“We can’t take anyone lightly,” Michaud said. “We have to work hard in practice and never be satisfied.”

“We’re playing the way we need to play and there’s a long way to go,” Deschenes added. “The guys are adapting well to a new system. We’ll focus on our strengths and fine-tune a few things. Anyone can beat anyone in this league.”

Scarborough, meanwhile, which is ranked second in Class AA South, stays on the road to face Edward Little Tuesday, then comes home to meet Sanford Friday.

“I really like this team.,” said Conley. “They’re close on and off the court and come to practice every day and work hard. We’ll keep moving forward.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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