Rams stumble against top-ranked Rangers

Bode Meader splits a pair of Greely defenders on his way to the rim.

GORHAM — The Rams squad, comparatively inexperienced this year, couldn’t stand up to the visiting Rangers on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 6. While Nick Strout posted Gorham’s high score – a mere seven – three Greelyites broke double-digits: Logan Bagshaw, Zach Brown and Andrew Storey.

The runaway result, 61-29, lands squarely in Greely’s win column.

“We’re playing hard,” Gorham head coach Mark Karter said. “But a lot of times, we don’t play very smart. We’re hustling, but we’re missing assignments, and then we’ll miss rebounds and they’ll kick it out and hit a three. We’ve got a lot of loose ends we need to clean up before we’re a good team.”

“Youth is certainly a factor in it,” Karter said. “Strength is certainly a factor. We need to get stronger, as a group.”

The Rangers controlled from the outset, charging ahead to 6-0 in the opening minutes on twos by Bagshaw, Brown and Mike Coppersmith. To Gorham’s credit, they controlled the ball well, assembling multiple long possessions; they simply found themselves stuck around the perimeter, unable to penetrate the Rangers’ defense and ultimately finish. The Rams never scored until a mere 1:58 remained in the first, when Michael Knight popped in a three. Knight made the play look easy; still, Greely remained firmly in command, and held a 13-3 upper-hand after one.

“They’re a very good defensive team,” Karter said of Greely. “And they’re stronger than us. So our movement in the first half really was more side-to-side, when it should’ve been more north-and-south, to the basket.”

Karter also complimented Greely’s attack. “They’re a very good offensive team; they have good height inside and good shooters on the outside. So we knew it would be kind of difficult to match up with them.”

Gorham warmed up a bit in the second. Sean Pocock fought through the middle to finger-roll in a two near the start of the stretch; Strout sank a three shortly thereafter; Ryan Reno hit two from the line. But of course the Rangers continued to add buckets as well, and kept healthily out front. 22-12 at the break.

Jordan Bretton nailed a three for the Rams to start the third, cutting Gorham’s deficit to seven. That’s as close as they would come to nabbing their guests, however – in fact, Greely broke into a blistering, 14-3 run after that. Bagshaw, Storey, Brown and Shane DeWolfe combined to ratchet the Rangers’ advantage all the way to 36-18.

“We struggled to score for a while,” Karter said. “But even with that, in the third quarter it’s a seven-point game. But at that point, we missed a lot of assignments and they made some shots. You can’t give a good team that many opportunities.”

“Throughout the first 2½ quarters,” Karter said, “I thought our defense was pretty good. It was our offense that struggled. Then the last quarter and a half, our defense struggled as well.”

Gorham logged their best eight minutes in the last quarter – but so did Greely: While the home team put up 11 on twos by Bretton, Tom Nelson and Stephen Klatt, as well as frees by Strout, Klatt and Bode Meader, the visitors heaped up 25 on contributions by nine boys, from Bagshaw, Brown and Storey to Jakob Bernheisel, Jake Kane and Luke Miller. 61-29 the final.

The Rams slipped on the loss to 3-4. Gorham – ranked fifth in AA South at present – has notched wins against No. 6 Massabesic (70-60), No. 8 Sanford (58-56) and No. 7 Noble (56-40). Meanwhile, they’ve fallen to a bevy of top teams, including Portland (No. 1 in AA North at 7-0; 73-52), Deering (No. 4 in AA North at 5-3; 67-53) and Scarborough (No. 2 in AA South at 6-2; 60-54).

Karter’s tone was patient, despite the steep loss. “We’ve got a lot of good kids on this team, and they all work hard. So we’re just kind of waiting for them to put it together.”

“I’m not sure, as you say that, who had really a great game,” Karter said, asked which of his boys played especially well. “I think we all pretty much struggled, throughout the game. We need certain people to be able to step up and take control of a game, and that hasn’t happened yet. Until that happens, we’re going to have more games like this.”

“We know who those guys are,” Karter said of his step-up players. “But we’ve got to develop some consistency, where they can do it game after game. We’re not there yet.”

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.

Bode Meader splits a pair of Greely defenders on his way to the rim.

Drew Meader lofts up a jumper for the Rams.

Mid-shot, Ram Stephen Klatt clashes with a Ranger.

Grant Nadeau takes to the air for Gorham vs. Greely.

Gorhamite Nick Strout volleys a jumper.

Sean Pocock ascends toward the basket for Gorham.

Tom Nelson dishes a pass for Gorham vs. visiting Greely.

Gorham sophomore Jordan Bretton underhands a ball toward the net.