PORTLAND, Maine — After losing on the Portland Expo floor last year in the quarterfinal round and after falling to No. 5 Westbrook at the venue earlier this season, the fourth-ranked Portland Bulldogs weren’t about to suffer another home defeat in the opener of the Western Class A boys’ basketball tournament Friday evening.
Standout juniors Jayvon Pitts-Young and Matt Talbot made sure of it.
Talbot dominated both ends of the floor and had 10 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot in the third quarter alone as the Bulldogs pulled away to beat the Blue Blazes, 54-32, improving to 15-4 on the season and advancing to Wednesday’s Western A semifinals vs. either top-ranked South Portland or No. 9 Sanford at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Play was sluggish early, but the scoring of Pitts-Young and senior Nate Smart made it 22-11 Bulldogs at the break.
Talbot then stole the show in the third as Portland pushed the lead to 37-23. The Bulldogs were never challenged in the fourth and went on to the win.
Talbot had 15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots. Smart added 13 and Pitts-Young had eight points and four assists.
Westbrook (13-6) was paced by eight points from senior Aaron Duncanson.
Portland forced 16 Blue Blazes’ turnovers and had a dominating 37-20 edge on the glass.