GORHAM—Despite double-digit performances by Tyler Haines and Grant Nadeau, the Rams couldn’t keep up with visiting Scarborough on Friday night, Dec. 21. The Storm got a trio of double-digit takes of their own – including 32 from start Nick Fiorillo and 20 from Brian Austin – to outstrip Gorham 74-59 in the end.
“We made great decisions on the offensive end,” Scarborough head coach Phil Conley said. “And we really rebounded the ball well, on the defensive end. And this was a total team win. Everyone that played tonight did their job…We shared the ball on offense, we got some ball reversals, and I’m really proud of these kids.”
“I didn’t think we came out with the defensive intensity that we needed to, against a really good team,” Gorham head coach Mark Karter said. “We made a couple of runs at ‘em, and each time they kind of answered that. The Austin kid hit a couple big threes on us and the Fiorillo kid played like one of the best players in the conference. You got players like that, if you don’t play good defense, they’re gonna kill you.”
The first quarter unfolded as a back-and-forth: Gorhamite Jordan Bretton opened the scoring with a three, but Fiorillo promptly hit one, too; Nadeau hashed a pair of frees after that, only for Stormer Brian Austin to drop in another three. 6-5. Ram Ryan Reno – an inside big – then added a two before teammate Nick Strout cleverly coaxed Fiorillo into an offensive foul. Strout hit both his freethrow attempts, and since it was Fiorillo’s second foul and the game was barely halfway through the beginning stretch, Conley brought him to the bench.
Reno next picked up an offensive rebound for two more, pushing the Rams out front 9-6, but a Paul Kirk bucket and a pair of Rowan McDonald frees gave the Storm back the advantage at 10-9. Gorhamite Bode Meader and Stormer Jack Simonton traded twos to close the quarter, leaving Scarborough on top 12-11.
“Oh yeah,” Conley said, asked if Gorham gave his boys any tough looks. “Gorham’s a very good team, they’re very well coached. They have three or four guys that can score the ball from beyond the arc and take it in. So we had to play our best tonight to beat them.”
Key to the Rams’ success in the first was muffling Fiorillo, one of the best players in the State; his only points came on that initial three. Of course, Strout gets the credit for luring Fiorillo into his second foul; otherwise, it’s not clear Gorham would’ve been able to contain him. After all, when Fiorillo returned to the floor in the second, he found an immediate groove. Over the course of the ensuing three quarters, he piled up points like slot-machine winnings.
“He’s a tough matchup for us,” Karter said of Fiorillo. “We don’t have somebody that can really check him as well as we would like. We tried to contain him early, but he came out and played a great game tonight.”
Meader kicked off the second with a bucket for Gorham, but then Scarborough broke into a run and seized a respectable lead: Austin, Simonton, MacDonald and Fiorillo all hit baskets for 21-13. Haines next hit a three and a two – his first points of the evening – to bring his boys back within three at 21-18. But the Storm were running in a higher gear than the Rams at this point, and they would never trail again.
Scarborough jumped ahead 31-20 midway through the second, and held a 36-25 upper-hand at the break; the Rams charged back in the third, coming within five at 38-33 on a Nadeau bucket, then within four at 40-36 on another Bretton three. But the last run of the quarter belonged to the Storm, who pushed ahead to 55-41.
“We really needed this win,” Conley said. “We’ve struggled the last three games. We lost to Falmouth, and then we lost the other night to South Portland – we didn’t play Scarborough basketball. So we addressed that in the last two days of practice and they came out tonight and played Scarborough basketball. That means tough defense and sharing the ball on the offensive end.”
“Offensively, some of our players who normally have pretty good games,” Karter said. “didn’t play as well tonight. And whether that was them shutting us down or us not being as focused on offense is up for debate.”
Scarborough hit bonus territory, and then double-bonus territory, early in the fourth, meaning every foul the Storm committed thenceforward, no matter where it happened on the court, would send Gorham to the line. It was a critical opportunity for the Rams: If they could slow down the Scarborough offense, keep their own fouling to a minimum and hit a bunch of shots, they might pull off a comeback.
But it didn’t happen. The Storm, in fact, built a still-bigger lead, powering forward to 74-52, an insurmountable obstacle for the Rams. Zach Beaumont hit a pretty buzzer-beater three to end the evening in style, but Scarborough still earned the W: 74-59.
Both sides got points from a lot of boys: In addition to Haines’s 15 and Nadeau’s 13, Meader finished with five for the Rams. Breton had six, Strout three, Reno four, Beaumont three, Tom Nelson four, and Alex Burghardt, Nate Burchill and Henry O’Neill two apiece.
Karter applauded Haines, Nadeau and Reno as well. “But,” he said, “we’re a team who, we have to have multiple people really playing well, and if that doesn’t happen for us, we’re going to struggle.”
Beyond Fiorillo’s 32 and Austin’s 20. MacDonald had 10, Simonton six – MacDonald and Simonton are both just freshman, believe it or not; the former is 6-foot-3 already and the latter 6-foot-6. Kirk had four and Tyler Gobeil two.
“Jack Simonton and Rowan McDonald are freshmen and they did a heck of a job,” Conley said. “And that’s not an easy job going from eighth grade ball to varsity ball. But they’ve been very impressive.”
Gorham slips to 2-2 on the winter. The Rams travel to Sanford on Friday the 28th. Scarborough advances to 2-3; they next drop in on defending State Champs Edward Little. That game is also slated for Friday.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Gorham’s Grant Nadeau fends off Scarborough’s Tyler Gobeil.
Gorham’s Nick Strout dashes around Paul Kirk, defending for Scarborough.
Henry O’Neill battles for a Gorham bucket.
Tyler Haines hashed 15 for Gorham in their loss.
Grant Nadeau launches himself toward the basket.
Gorham’s Bode Meader struggles to match up against 6-foot-8 Stormer Nick Fiorillo.
Bode Meader makes for the basket.