AUGUSTA, Maine — That playoff-tested maxim about the third game being a charm, or a curse, when two close rivals play each other in the aftermath of two similar regular-season results?
Forget it. If Portland High School played the way they did on Friday night at the Augusta Civic Center, they would beat Deering a dozen more times. Everybody else, too.
The No. 1 Bulldogs breezed to their third consecutive boys basketball regional title, collecting the inaugural Class AA North boys’ crown with an authoritative 70-39 victory over the No. 2 Rams.
It was a startlingly similar result to the 70-43 semifinal rout of Edward Little three nights earlier for Portland (19-1), which will face its other main rival, South Portland, in the state final next Saturday, Feb. 27.
Amir Moss scored 19 points and Terion Moss added 18 to pace Portland, which was never challenged after a 14-0 run late in the first quarter.
Joe Esposito chipped in 12 points and Griffin Foley 11 for the Bulldogs.
Rafaelle Salamone and Malik White topped Deering (17-3) with eight points apiece. The Rams rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to oust Oxford Hills in the semis.
In a rare development, a player who wasn’t in the final was named tournament MVP. Andrew Fleming of Oxford Hills scored 70 points in his two games against Bangor and Deering.