PORTLAND, Maine — The defending champion is now the former champion.
The Deering boys’ basketball team has been ousted from the 2013 Western Class A tournament.
By a team, Thornton Academy, it beat by 49 points in the regular season.
The seventh-ranked Golden Trojans of Saco erased a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter, forced overtime and never trailed in the extra session, taking the lead for good on a shot from sophomore Kevin Barrett, who had a huge second half. Thornton Academy made 10 of 11 free throws in OT and forced six Deering turnovers in that session and went on to a shocking 49-40 victory.
The Golden Trojans improve to 13-7, end the second-seeded Rams’ season at 15-4 and advance to meet No. 3 Bonny Eagle (16-3), another team which handed them a one-sided loss in the regular season, in the semifinals, Wednesday at 6 p.m., at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
A sluggish first quarter ended with Thornton Academy ahead, 7-6, as Deering had more turnovers (seven) than points. The Rams seemed to take control in the second period, pushing the lead to as many as eight, 17-9, after a layup from senior Labson Abwoch, but the Golden Trojans rallied to within 19-13 at halftime before making a push in the third period. Thornton Academy took a short-lived 22-21 lead in that stanza on a three-point play from Barrett (11 points), but the Rams answered and took a 29-25 lead to the fourth period.
When Deering senior Medhane Haleform made a layup with 4:45 to go, Deering was up, 35-28, but it wouldn’t score again for 7 minutes, 33 seconds. A three-point play from junior Quinn Richardson-Newton with 2:06 left tied the score, 35-35. Neither team scored again in regulation before the Golden Trojans controlled the extra session.
Senior Jeff Gelinas had 15 points and Richardson-Newton 14 to lead Thornton Academy. Abwoch capped his career with 17 points to lead Deering.