FALMOUTH—The team with the promising present was a little too much for the squad with a very bright future in a key interclass showdown Monday night.
Falmouth’s girls’ basketball team looked to strengthen its playoff positioning when it hosted rival Yarmouth, which was seeking a statement victory to get into the postseason picture.
The Yachtsmen, thanks to a decided height advantage which spelled several second chance points, a smothering pressure defense and all-round dominance from senior Ally Hickey, shot to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and enjoyed a 27-11 advantage at halftime.
When sophomore Abby Ryan drained a 3 early in the third period, Falmouth was firmly in command, up, 32-11, but the Clippers saved their best for last and made things interesting.
A 13-2 fourth quarter run pulled Yarmouth within eight, 39-31, with just under two minutes to play, but the Yachtsmen got four key free throws from senior Jess Burton and held on for a 43-33 victory.
Hickey finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds and Burton and senior Dayna Vasconcelos each added eight points as Falmouth improved to 9-5 and dropped the Clippers to 6-8 in the process.
“We got a little frantic toward the end because the game was speeding up,” Hickey said. “They’re a team that can come back. They got us a little jumbled, but we held it together.”
Yarmouth won its opener, 47-24, over visiting Kennebunk, then lost to host Poland (40-28) at home to Greely (50-29), at Fryeburg Academy (43-21), at home to Cape Elizabeth (41-31) and at Gray-New Gloucester (59-34). The Clippers then turned things around by downing visiting Waynflete (36-32), host Traip (53-33) and host Cape Elizabeth (50-35). Following a 34-17 home loss to Falmouth and a 54-22 setback at Greely, Yarmouth handled visiting Wells, 33-26, and Freeport, 47-24.
The Yachtsmen dropped their opener, 63-49, at York, then defeated host Wells (36-26), visiting Poland (44-29) and visiting Lake Region in overtime (42-41). A 54-28 loss at Greely then closed the old year. The new year began with a 63-31 home win over Cape Elizabeth. After downing visiting York (65-55) and winning at Fryeburg Academy (39-32), Falmouth lost at home to Greely (37-13). A 34-17 win at Yarmouth was followed by losses at Lake Region (58-35) and at home to Fryeburg Academy (33-32). The Yachtsmen got back on track Friday at Kennebunk, 49-25.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, Falmouth had won 16 of 26 meetings (see sidebar, below), including the past five and 16 of the last 19.
Monday, in take three (scheduled meetings Dec. 9 and Saturday were postponed by snow), Yarmouth was seeking to beat the Yachtsmen for the first time since a 53-33 win in the 2012 preliminary round and for the first time in Falmouth since Feb. 10, 2012 (55-43), but the Yachtsmen proved to be too much.
The Clippers did strike first, as sophomore Johanna Hattan took a pass from freshman point guard Sara D’Apppolonia and made a baseline jumper.
Falmouth got a free throw from Hickey to get on the board, then Hickey added another to tie the score.
After Hattan banked home a long shot, senior Dayna Vasconcelos scored on a putback to tie the score and with 4:12 left in the first quarter, sophomore Adelaide Cooke set up Burton for a layup to put the Yachtsmen ahead to stay.
After Hickey fed Cooke for a layup in transition, Hattan made a free throw, but Falmouth closed the first period on a 7-0 run, as Hickey knocked down a 3, Burton made a layup and Hickey scored on a putback to make it 15-5 after eight minutes.
In the first quarter, Hickey had seven points, six rebounds and two steals. Falmouth forced six turnovers and had eight offensive boards.
A putback from Hickey and a foul shot from junior Jessica Collins early in the second quarter, capped a 10-0 run for an 18-5 advantage.
With 5:27 left in the half, a Hattan free throw ended a 5 minute, 59 second drought, but Hickey answered with a 3 for a 21-6 lead.
With 4:16 to go before halftime, sophomore Cory Langenbach became the first Clipper other than Hattan to score, when she made a free throw, but Vasconcelos countered with a pair of foul shots.
Yarmouth pulled within 12 when sophomore Alison Clark made a bank shot and Hattan hit a baseline jumper, but a jumper from sophomore Alaina Birkel and a Vasconcelos jumper gave the Yachtsmen a 27-11 advantage at the break.
Falmouth outrebounded Yarmouth, 20-9, in the first half, and rode Hickey’s 12 points and eight boards to a commanding lead.
When Vasconcelos made two free throws and Ryan drained a 3 with 5 minutes to go in the third period, the Yachtsmen led, 32-11, and appeared en route to a rout, but the Clippers would play well the rest of the way and make things interesting down the stretch.
A free throw from Clark ended Falmouth’s 9-0 run and a 6:26 drought. Clark then banked home a shot and Langenbach made two free throws. After a Collins foul shot, Yarmouth freshman sparkplug Jessica Kirk scored on a putback and the visitors were down, 33-18, heading for the fourth quarter.
There, the Yachtsmen pushed their lead back to 19, 37-18, when Hickey drove for a layup, then took a pass from Vasconcelos after a steal and made another layup just a minute in.
A jumper from junior Sophie Harrison and an old-fashioned three-point play from Kirk (a coast to coast layup, foul and free throw) pulled the Clippers back within 14, 37-23.
After Cooke made a free throw, Yarmouth sophomore Ella Antolini made a baseline shot. Cooke hit another foul shot, but Clark got a hook shot to fall, Kirk made a layup after a steal and with 1:54 remaining, just after Hickey fouled out, Hattan made two free throws to make it a 39-31 game.
Falmouth wouldn’t let it get any closer, however, as with 1:21 to play, Burton made two clutch free throws. Seventeen seconds later, D’Appolonia scored on a putback with her left hand, but Burton hit two more foul shots with 36.9 seconds to go and that brought the curtain down on the Yachtsmen’s 43-33 triumph.
“We went in with the mindset that we were older and more experienced,” Hickey said. “That’s what we told the underclassmen too.”
“You can’t underestimate any team that’s down, because they’ll do what they have to do,” Falmouth coach Mari Warner said. “They went for 50-50 balls and came up with them and they were scoring that way. We had a couple kids with three or fouls and we got tentative. We weren’t running any kind of smooth offense from the four minute mark on down.”
Hickey had 16 points, 10 rebounds, three rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.
“She’s playing so well,” Warner said. “She’s so valuable because she’s so versatile. She’s recognizing she doesn’t have to be a great scorer. She does everything else. If you’re open, she’ll find you. She blocks shots. She was a human press-breaker tonight. She keeps her wits about her. She’s having a great senior year.”
Burton had eight points and three rebounds, while Vasconcelos also had eight points and grabbed four rebounds. Cooke finished with four points (as well as seven rebounds and three blocks), Ryan had three and Birkel and Collins (four rebounds) each added two.
Falmouth had 18 turnovers, but enjoyed a 29-27 rebounding advantage and made 14 of 24 foul shots.
Yarmouth was paced by Hattan’s 10 points. She also had three rebounds, a steal, an assist and a blocked shot. Clark (seven rebounds and a steal) and Kirk (seven boards and two steals) both had seven points.
“(Jessica) was hungry tonight,” Clippers coach Christina Strong said. “It was really her defense that made good things happen.”
Langenbach had three points. Antolini had two points, eight boards and three steals. Harrison added two points.
Falmouth did a good job on D’Appolonia, holding her to two points.
“I was put on Sara because she’s a shooter,” Hickey said. “We really keyed on helpside (defense) in case we did get beat because Coach wanted us to play on their shooters.”
Yarmouth committed 23 turnovers and made 9 of 17 free throws.
“We had a lot of challenges tonight,” Strong said. “We got offensive fouls. That got in our heads in the first half. We had to learn to deal with the adversity and try to execute our game and not lose our composure. I felt we did that in the second half. We changed our defense. We went man-to-man because we weren’t getting on their shooters fast enough and they were transitioning on us quickly. Even their post players got down the floor faster than we were. We wanted to force some turnovers. They killed us in the first half, but we got key rebounds and key transition baskets to turn it around. What Falmouth has is experience and the know-how to win. We’re still figuring out how to get that confidence.”
Yarmouth (12th in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) still needs a big win or two to make the playoff cut, as only 10 teams qualify. The Clippers host York Wednesday, go to Lake Region Saturday, welcome Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week, then close at Freeport Feb. 5.
“We need a big win,” Strong said. “We’ve got to get one. Hopefully Wednesday will be our night.”
Falmouth (sixth in Western A) goes to Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, hosts Freeport Friday, plays at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and closes at home versus Kennebunk Feb. 5.
“I think we’re looking pretty good,” Hickey said. “We won’t take any games lightly. We need to win. We want to finish as high as we can. This is one of the strongest years we’ve had. We have a lot of leaders. The younger kids have caught on quickly. We have a chance to go far. The big wins we had against Lake Region and York told us we might make it somewhere. We’re excited.”
“There are still (Heal Points) out there,” Warner said. “Those would be helpful for us. We might be able to move up to fifth or stay in sixth.
“I think we can make a run. We’re on the verge of having great games from start to finish. We just have blips here and there. Sometimes, (the girls are) still finding what they can do with each other. The seniors are giving us good leadership. I’m happy with that. We’re in it. Now we have to see if we can peak at the right moment.”
Falmouth sophomore Maddy Adams heaves the ball over Yarmouth freshman Sara D’Appolonia.
Falmouth senior Jess Burton goes up for a shot.
Falmouth junior Jessica Collins goes up for a shot as Yarmouth sophomore Johanna Hattan defends.
Yarmouth freshman Jessica Kirk drives on Falmouth sophomore Maddy Adams.
Yarmouth sophomore Cory Langenbach looks to pass while breaking Falmouth’s press.
Yarmouth freshman Sara D’Appolonia drives to the basket.
Yarmouth freshman Jessica Kirk knocks the ball away from Falmouth sophomore Adelaide Cooke.
Falmouth sophomore Abby Ryan tries to keep up with Yarmouth sophomore Cory Langenbach.
Yarmouth freshman Sara D’Appolonia tries to swat the ball away from Falmouth senior Dayna Vasconcelos.
Yarmouth coach Christina Strong calls out instructions.
Falmouth 35 @ Yarmouth 17
Falmouth 38 @ Yarmouth 35
@ Falmouth 65 Yarmouth 38
@ Falmouth 79 Yarmouth 40
Falmouth 61 @ Yarmouth 23
Falmouth 33 @ Yarmouth 27
Yarmouth 55 @ Falmouth 43
Western B preliminary round
@ Yarmouth 53 Falmouth 33
Falmouth 56 @ Yarmouth 30
@ Falmouth 44 Yarmouth 31
@ Falmouth 45 Yarmouth 43
Falmouth 59 @ Yarmouth 46
@ Yarmouth 46 Falmouth 36
@ Falmouth 47 Yarmouth 32
Falmouth 40 @ Yarmouth 32
@ Falmouth 57 Yarmouth 24
Falmouth 50 @ Yarmouth 39
@ Falmouth 53 Yarmouth 34
Yarmouth 55 @ Falmouth 48 (OT)
Falmouth 33 @ Yarmouth 31
Yarmouth 45 @ Falmouth 32
@ Yarmouth 63 Falmouth 37
Yarmouth 40 @ Falmouth 31
@ Yarmouth 49 Falmouth 36
@ Yarmouth 55 Falmouth 31
Yarmouth 57 @ Falmouth 33
Falmouth senior Ally Hickey dribbles through traffic during the Yachtsmen’s 43-33 home win over Yarmouth Monday night. Hickey had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Ben McCanna photos.
More photos below.
Y- 5 6 7 15- 33
F- 15 12 6 10- 43
Y- Hattan 3-4-10, Clark 3-1-7, Kirk 3-1-7, Langenbach 0-3-3, Antolini 1-0-2, D’Appolonia 1-0-2, Harrison 1-0-2
F- Hickey 6-2-16, Burton 2-4-8, Vasconcelos 2-4-8, Cooke 1-2-4, Ryan 1-0-3, Birkel 1-0-2, Collins 0-2-2
F (3) Hickey 2, Ryan 1