Top-seeded South Portland High School continued its dominant run in the Class AA South girls’ bracket Tuesday with a 58-35 win over No. 5 Bonny Eagle High School to advance to the regional final.
The victory came despite a valiant effort by senior Scot captain Samantha Averill, who scored 15, including the first five points of the second half to bring the lower-seeded team to within nine points, 32-23, early in the third stanza.
But the Red Riots regained control, led by 6-foot-2-inch junior center Kaleisha Towle, who finished with 12 points and matched up defensively with 6-foot-5-inch sophomore Scot center Emily Bartash – who scored 14 and controlled the paint in a 56-35 quarterfinal win over Noble High School Thursday, but was held scoreless Tuesday.
South Portland used long-range shooting to build a 32-18 halftime lead. Four Red Riots combined to bury six three-pointers over the first two quarters, including two each by junior Maggie Whitmore and senior Isabela Cloutier.
Whitmore would finish with a game-high 16 points, while teammate Jena Leckie added 11 points.
The Red Riots handily defeated Thornton Academy in the quarterfinal, 66-33.
The Red Riots improve to 19-1 and will next play Friday at 3:45 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, where they will face No. 2 Scarborough High School. The Red Storm topped Gorham High School Tuesday in Portland in the semifinal round, 39-32.
Bonny Eagle finishes its season with a 13-7 record.
Both teams were knocked out in the semifinal round of last year’s tournament, with South Portland losing to eventual regional champ Gorham High School and Bonny Eagle falling to Scarborough.