It was a different story this year for the Gorham girls’ basketball team, going into the Class AA South tournament as the favorite after winning as No. 3 seed a year ago. The result, though, was the same.

Ellie Gay scored 18 points, including a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, and the top-seeded Rams defeated No. 3 Scarborough, 46-37, in the regional final Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Vanessa Walker and Kalin Curtis (nine rebounds) had seven points apiece for Gorham (18-3). Scarborough (15-6), which trimmed a 14-point deficit to five in the fourth quarter, was led by 11 points from Caroline Hartley and nine from Helena Bukarac.

It’s the third straight regional title for the Rams, and their sixth in eight seasons. Gorham will meet North champion Cheverus next Saturday, seeking its first state title since 2017.

“I’m just so proud of my team and proud of everything we did this week to prepare for this game,” said Gay, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player for the second straight year, and who set an AA South tournament record for total points with 51. “I think we really came through.”

Maddie Hasson of South Portland set the previous tournament record of 50 points in 2016.


Last year, the Rams were an upstart who returned one starter, yet stunned No. 1 Thornton Academy to reach the state final. This year, there were expectations for success, as Gorham returned every starter and spent most of the season in the No. 1 spot.

“Anytime you have expectations and you don’t meet them, it doesn’t feel great,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “This was a team that was fine with the talk, and they stayed together and never really got too high or too low.”

That’s not to say the Rams were immune from self-doubt. When Scarborough trimmed its 34-20 deficit to 39-34 on an Emerson Flaker putback with 1:58 to go, the players acknowledged there was some concern.

“I was a little nervous. I was a little shaken up,” Walker said. “But I knew that we were capable of … finishing strong.”

Gorham knew where to go with the ball on the next possession, finding Gay in the corner for a 3-pointer that made it 42-34 with 1:40 left. The Red Storm never got closer than eight points, with Gay scoring the Rams’ final seven points.

“It could have been our last game, and none of our teammates wanted that,” Gay said. “We wanted another week of practice, we wanted to play another game together. … We were kind of in denial, like, ‘This can not be our last game.'”


Scarborough Coach Mike Giordano said Gay’s 3-pointer “sealed the deal.”

“You’re thinking next possession, we get one more, maybe get it to a one-possession game, and then you never know,” he said. “(Gay) hit some huge shots when they needed them.”

After hitting eight 3s against Sanford in the semifinals, Gorham knocked down seven Saturday. Before Gay’s shot, Gorham got a key 3 from Walker, who connected with 5:25 left to answer a Bukarac 3-pointer and push the lead to 37-27.

It was a sweet moment for Walker, who missed last year’s playoff run because of a torn ACL.

“It’s definitely special for the whole team, but going into this game, (I thought) this is my comeback game,” she said. “I kind of had an offseason coming back. … I wanted this game so badly.”

Scarborough kept up the rally, but couldn’t overcome the initial hole created by trouble scoring early against Gorham’s defense.

“We’ve struggled to score against them all year,” Giordano said. “They’re more physical than we are. They’re bigger, stronger, physical kids. … We struggled to get open looks, especially anything around the basket.”

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