PORTLAND — It was the coronation most expected, but not in the one-team highlight film fashion many anticipated.

The inaugural Class AA boys’ basketball final may go into the history books as the best one for a while. Portland survived double overtime to shoo away age-old, next-door rival South Portland, 52-50, on Saturday night at Cross Insurance Arena.

Amir Moss fashioned the fourth and final lead change of the second extra session, slashing to a short jumper. Joe Esposito hit two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to provide the final cushion.

Portland (20-1) missed the front end of a one-and-one with 6.6 seconds remaining. South Portland pushed the ball up the court, resulting in a scramble for the ball and a collision between the Red Riots’ Riley Hasson and two of the Bulldogs.

A foul was called on the play, but Hasson was too dazed to attempt the free throws. Deandre White sank the front half of the double bonus with two-tenths of a second on the clock, then intentionally floated the second one off the front of the rim.

South Portland (12-10) couldn’t tip the rebound for a bid at the tie as time expired.


Moss had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead Portland, which won both regular-season meetings handily and breezed through the North tournament. Griffin Foley added 11 points.

Ruay Bol paced the Riots with 14 points and nine rebounds. Matt Pelletier and Jack Fiorini each produced 12. Fiorini scored eight of those in the fourth quarter and also hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the second OT.

South Portland trailed by nine in the third quarter but took the lead, 38-37, on a Fiorini trey with 4:11 left in regulation. He also added three free throws down the stretch.

Moss had all 10 Portland points in the fourth quarter, including a drive for the tying bucket with 45 seconds to go. The Riots missed the front end of one-and-one with 24 seconds left. Moss’ fadeaway for the win brushed off the front of the rim at the horn.

Bol’s drive answered two Moss free throws in the first extra session.

Portland led 11-9 after the first period and 22-16 at the half but could only crank up its fast break game in short bursts.


Fiorini, Pelletier and Hasson each knocked down two 3-pointers for South Portland, which was seeking its first title since 1992 in Class A. The Riots beat Bangor in a five-overtime thriller that year.

The Bulldogs won the 2014 Class A final and lost in 2015, both against Hampden.



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