Two weeks ago, facing a quarterfinal matchup on the road against Maine Girls Academy, the 2-time defending champs were ranked 14th in the state and had a 1.89% chance to win their third in a row. Now they’re 5th in the Power Rankings and a 69.9% favorite. All in the span of three games. What happened?
Well…they started winning.
After winning their first 5 games, Gorham proceeded to lose their next 4 and stumbled to the finish line. They lost by 10 to South Portland. They lost by 11 to Bonny Eagle. They lost by 13 to Oxford Hills. Still, they had a point differential of +204 on the regular season, thanks to some blowouts against the weaker half of their schedule. They played 6 games against teams outside the top 60. They put up a Win% of at least 95% in all of those games. They played 10 games against the top 50. They went 2-8 in those games. You could have made a really good argument they were ranked too high.
So naturally, they dominated #32, #2, and #11 in the tourney. Of course they did. You can read all about the behind-the-scenes things Gorham did to right this ship at the Press Herald and elsewhere. That’s not my beat. But I can tell you teams don’t blow out the teams Gorham did in a tournament setting without being for real. None of these games were close. They shut out South Portland in the first quarter. This is a good team.
One of those rare quality wins in the regular season was against Edward Little, a convincing 48-36 victory.
Edward Little also struggled down the stretch, but you would too against their schedule.
Five(!) Top 10 teams in a row. Five. No one else in the state did that. No one else in AA played 3 in a row, even if you include the tournament. That’s a brutal schedule. They even got 2 wins and 2 quality losses out of it, which is more than impressive.
In the Regional Finals, Gorham destroyed Scarborough despite losing the turnover battle (18-9), only grabbing 4 offensive rebounds (20%), and getting a 2-8 shooting night from MacKenzie Holmes. They cleaned up the defensive glass (77%) and Holmes blocked 4 shots. Oh, and they held Scarborough (the 4th highest-scoring team in AA) to 17% shooting.
In their much closer matchup with Oxford Hills, Edward Little pretty much played them to a draw. Field Goals made, 3s made, rebounds, steals, fouls, blocked shots…all basically the same. The big difference? Edward Little took 6 more free throws (despite committing 2 more fouls). They made 3 of them. Sometimes, that’s the difference.
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