The top-seeded South Portland High School girls’ basketball team boasted a 19-1 record coming into Friday’s Class AA South regional final and an average margin of victory of more than 25 points in those 19 wins.
But No. 2 Scarborough High School handed the Red Riots their first loss in 10 weeks, holding the high-scoring South Portland — which was averaging nearly 56 points per game — under 40 points for the first time all season on the way to a 35-25 victory.
Scarborough now improves to 19-2 and moves on to to the state championship game, where the Red Storm will seek their second-ever gold ball. Scarborough won its only previous state title in 2010.
South Portland’s only previous loss this season came on Dec. 14 against undefeated reigning Class A champion Greely High School. The Red Riots, now 19-2, were held under 50 points only four times all season. But they were frustrated all game Friday by a swarming Red Storm defense, which held senior Scarborough captain and Miss Maine Basketball award semifinalist Katie Whitmore to just one point until the game’s final three minutes.
Whitmore would collect three more free throws over last 2:38 to finish with four points. Junior center Kaleisha Towle led the Red Riots with 13 points.
On the other end of the court, Scarborough got a dominant performance by junior captain Madison Blanche, who nearly kept up with South Portland all by herself with 16 points.
Teammate Kayla Conley scored seven for the Red Storm, while Julia Freeman added six.
To reach the regional final, the Red Riots knocked out No. 5 Bonny Eagle High School of Standish in the semifinals, 58-35, and defeated No. 8 Thornton Academy in the quarterfinal round, 66-33.
Scarborough reached the regional title game with a 39-32 win in the semifinals against No. 3 Gorham High School and a 41-29 win in the quarters over No. 7 Massabesic High School.
The Class AA girls’ state title game will take place on March 2 at 6:05 p.m. in Portland. The Red Storm will take on Class AA North champ Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, which dominated Deering High School Friday to advance to its third state title game since 2014.