SACO – The seventh-ranked Golden Trojans of Thornton Academy hosted No. 10 Windham in a Western Maine Class A boys basketball preliminary matchup Tuesday evening. The Trojans walked away victorious, 50-37, after playing a by-the-numbers game in which defense figured prominently.
The Trojans, who now improve to 12-7 on the season, will face second-ranked Deering in a quarterfinal bout on Friday. The Eagles' season ends at 7-12.
“Defensively we played well,” Thornton head coach Bob Davies said after the game. “When you do that, you can control the game offensively. If you control the defensive rebounds, you’ll get a good shot.”
The Eagles got on the board first, with 6-foot-5 senior Dylan Weisser dropping a three-pointer just over a minute and a half in. Trojan junior Quinn Richardson-Newton quickly matched with a three of his own, though. Windham senior Tom McGowan managed to add one more for the Eagles before the Trojans launched into a 12-point run, including a three (the first of four on the night) by junior Reuben Moses, four by senior Jeff Gelinas, and four by junior Evan right. The Eagles finished the first quarter strong, McGown tallying two more and Weisser fighting beneath the basket to secure a rebound he then converted, but Thornton had amassed a six-point lead already, 15-9.
The second quarter produced fewer points. Richardson-Newton opened with a steal he turned into three for the Trojans, though Windham soon got two back. Weisser walked away from the free throw line having missed, but junior Spencer Hodge had better aim from the three-point line. Thornton senior Malcolm Dopwell earned his first two of the night and Moses earned his second three, but that was last of the second quarter’s offense. At the half, the Trojans had increased their lead to 23-14.
The Trojans controlled the first minutes of the third, adding five, two more by Dopwell and another three by Moses. Hodge and senior Shaun Francoeur hashed four in answer for Windham, but Thornton came right back, Richardson-Newton and Gelinas each sinking another basket. The Trojans’ lead was mounting, and by the end of the third, had grown to 38-23.
“We had a couple breakdowns in the third quarter, but for the most part we played well,” Davies said. “It’s a playoff game, so anything can happen. [We just had to] maintain focus and take care of the basketball and hopefully the shots would go down.”
Windham fought hard in the final quarter, and played a closer game. But a closer game isn’t a comeback, and Thornton’s intensity never waned. Richardson-Newton gave the Trojans two from the line early, before Moses sank yet another three. The Trojans then added four from the line, two for Richardson-Newton and two for sophomore Kevin Barrett, though Windham attacked in turn, collecting five more on a three and two free-throws by Weisser. Windham senior Jacopo Secchi then caught fire, scoring eight points—all of Windham’s remaining offense—in the last four minutes.
Davies emphasized the evenness of his players’ skillsets. “We’ve got a good balance of both [defense and offense],” he said. “We want to play defense, and play team offense too, and we did that tonight.”
Moses had 14 for Thornton in the win, while Richardson-Newton had 15. On the Windham side, Secchi had seven, while Hodge had six.