Freeport senior Allie Goodman drives on Old Orchard Beach freshman Julia Clark during the Falcons’ 56-46 victory Saturday.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
OOB- 13 5 18 10- 46
F- 11 16 12 17- 56
OOB- B. Plante 5-2-15, Greenlee 4-1-9, Strohm 2-4-8, LaPlante 2-2-6, S. Plante 1-2-5, Donnell 1-0-3
F- Goodman 7-2-16, Smith 6-2-16, Gould 5-0-11, Driscoll 4-0-8, Dostie 1-1-3, Spaulding 1-0-2
OOB (5) B. Plante 3, Donnell, S. Plante 1
F (3) Smith 2, Gould 1
FREEPORT—Freeport’s girls’ basketball team has a chance to be something special this winter and the Falcons took a huge step in that direction Saturday afternoon.
Hosting a big, quick and talented Old Orchard Beach squad, the Falcons, playing without a couple of starters, were pushed to the brink in the second half, but when they had to get key stops and make crucial baskets, that’s exactly what they did.
Freeport shot to an early 11-4 lead, but the Seagulls rallied to take a 13-11 advantage after one quarter. The Falcons then rode the hot hand of sophomore Caroline Smith, who scored eight points in 84 seconds, to help Freeport go back on top. The Falcons then closed the first half on an 8-0 run to hold a 27-18 advantage at halftime.
When Freeport twice extended its lead to 13 points early in the third period, it appeared it was well on its way to victory, but Old Orchard Beach went on a 16-4 run, capped by two free throws from freshman Shani Plante, to pull within a point.
The Falcons took a 39-36 advantage to the fourth quarter, where the Seagulls again drew within one and had a couple opportunities to take the lead, but Freeport didn’t let it happen and senior Jessie Driscoll made a pair of critical shots to give her team some breathing room.
Down the stretch, Smith and senior Allie Goodman both set up teammates with pretty passes and finished on the fastbreak as well and the Falcons went on to a 56-46 victory.
Goodman and Smith both had 16 points as Freeport won its fourth game in a row, improved to 5-1 and in the process, dropped Old Orchard Beach to 4-2.
“It was a gutsy win,” said Falcons coach Mike Hart. “We never quit. We were down two starters and with a shorter bench, the girls came out and played hard. Some kids had great minutes. I’m proud of them. They worked hard today.”
Freeport has reached the Class B South quarterfinals before losing to Gray-New Gloucester the past two seasons, but this winter, the Falcons have an opportunity to go even deeper in a balanced region.
Freeport opened with a 55-30 victory at Sacopee Valley. After falling at home to Gray-New Gloucester (57-45), the Falcons won at Yarmouth (44-35) and at home over Traip Academy (54-27) and Lincoln Academy (65-30), in its last outing, eight days ago.
Old Orchard Beach had also won four of its first five, starting with victories over visiting North Yarmouth Academy (65-27), host Cape Elizabeth (49-38), host Traip Academy (39-35) and visiting St. Dom’s (42-37). The Seagulls suffered their first loss last Saturday, 38-25, at home to Wells.
Last year, Old Orchard Beach held off visiting Freeport, 44-41.
Saturday, the Seagulls made things interesting for 32 minutes, but the Falcons, playing without seniors Johanna Bogue Marlow, Megan Cormier and Taylor Rinaldi, refused to be denied and extended their win streak.
Goodman came out sizzling, scoring on a floater, then on a putback for a quick 4-0 lead.
Old Orchard Beach got on the board when senior Brianna Plante made a layup, but Driscoll set up sophomore Catriona Gould for a layup. After Plante fed junior Emily Greenlee for a layup, the next five points went to the hosts, as Driscoll scored on a putback and Gould knocked down a 3 for an 11-4 advantage with 4:37 left in the first period.
Freeport wouldn’t score again in the frame, however, and the Seagulls rallied to go ahead.
Old Orchard Beach started its 9-0 quarter-ending run with a pair of free throws from senior Megan LaPlante. Sophomore Maggie Strohm added a foul shot, Greenlee drove for a layup, Strohm made a layup to tie it and LaPlante made a layup for a 13-11 advantage after eight minutes.
The hosts returned to form in the second period.
Just 18 seconds into the new quarter, Smith first made her presence felt with a 3-pointer that put the Falcons ahead, a basket which ended the Seagulls’ 9-0 run and a 4-minute, 55-second scoring drought.
After Old Orchard Beach freshman Shani Plante tied the score with a free throw, Smith gave Freeport the lead for good when she hit a jumper with 7:04 to go in the half. Smith then drained a 3-pointer 46 seconds later for a 19-14 advantage.
“When we put the ball inside and they kick it back out, that’s kind of my shooting spot,” said Smith. “I was glad to see the ball go in.”
“I tell ‘Smitty’ that she has a good shot and not to hesitate, to shoot the ball,” Hart said. “I never complain when she shoots. She had a stretch where she hit some big shots.”
Old Orchard Beach rallied behind a free throw from Greenlee and a 3-pointer from Brianna Plante, but the Falcons closed the half strong, as Smith made a free throw, Goodman hit a floater after a dazzling crossover dribble, sophomore Hannah Spaulding knocked down a jumper, Goodman made a free throw, then with 9.4 seconds remaining, a Goodman runner extended Freeport’s advantage to 27-18.
In the first half, Goodman and Smith both had nine points to lead the way.
The second half would see the Falcons open up a seemingly safe lead, then be tested physically and emotionally before answering in the affirmative.
Driscoll opened the third quarter with a jumper that rolled around and in. Then, after a Driscoll steal, Gould made a layup for a 13-point advantage.
Strohm got two points back at the line, but Smith set up Goodman for a layup and a 33-20 lead with 6:01 remaining in the period.
The Seagulls then came to life to make the home team and its fans very nervous.
Two free throws from Brianna Plante got things started and 3-pointers from Shani Plante and junior Samantha Donnell followed to cut the deficit to five.
After Smith got two points back for Freeport with a driving layup, Greenlee countered with a layup, Strohm set up LaPlante for a layup and with 2:03 on the clock, Greenlee’s jumper pulled Old Orchard Beach within a single point, 35-34.
Senior Taylor Dostie momentarily stemmed the tide with a bank shot from a tough angle, but Shani Plante again cut the deficit to a point with two foul shots before a putback from Goodman sent the Falcons to the fourth quarter with a tenuous 39-36 lead.
Just 12 seconds into the final stanza, a jumper from Brianna Plante again cut the deficit to a single point and the Seagulls twice got the ball back with a chance to go ahead, but Freeport hung tough and with 6:44 to go, Goodman threw a gorgeous bounce pass to Smith in transition and Smith somehow came up with the ball and in the same motion put it in for a 41-38 lead.
“That was a nice pass,” Hart said. “That threaded the needle. Allie put it right there. It was one of the nicest assists of the year.”
LaPlante had a chance to again cut into the deficit, but she missed two foul shots and with 4:11 remaining, Driscoll put home her own miss.
Driscoll struck again 35 seconds later, taking a pass from Smith and making a short jumper, to push the lead to 45-38.
“I was pleased how Jess adjusted her game in the second half,” Hart said. “I was a little concerned early when we got in foul trouble. They have size and we don’t have much after Jess.”
A Brianna Plante 3-ball with 3:25 on the clock pulled Old Orchard Beach back within four, but the Seagulls would draw no closer.
First, Smith broke the press and found Gould for a layup with 3:13 left.
Then, 24 seconds later, Gould delivered a perfect pass to Goodman, who made a layup while being fouled and she added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play, which was essentially the dagger, making it 50-41.
“We work hard on getting out in transition,” Smith said. “When we’re able to get the fastbreak layups, it’s big.”
A leaner in traffic by Strohm got two points back, but Smith made a free throw, then with 1:38 remaining, Smith made a layup after a Dostie steal to restore a double-digit advantage, 53-43.
Brianna Plante’s 3 provided some slim hope for the visitors, but Dostie made a free throw with 51.5 seconds to play and with 36.2 seconds to go, Smith set up Gould for a layup and that brought the curtain down on Freeport’s 56-46 triumph.
“It was a tough spot for us, but we kept working hard,” Goodman said. “We picked it up on defense and pushed the ball in transition. It means a lot winning against a good team. It’s good for our confidence.”
“Old Orchard put on a good run,” said Hart. “I feel like I’ll see their 3s in my sleep. It was nip and tuck for awhile there. I was happy how we closed out and rebounded.”
The Falcons placed three players in double figures.
Goodman had 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
“I keep telling Allie to do what she does,” said Hart. “She doesn’t need to be the leading scorer, she’ll get hers.”
Smith also finished with 16 points and added six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Gould added 11 points (three steals and two blocks), Driscoll had eight (to go with a dozen rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block), Dostie three (to go with four rebounds, three blocks and three assists) and Spaulding two.
The Falcons had a 36-26 rebounding advantage, overcame 22 turnovers and made 5 of 12 free throws.
Brianna Plante led the Seagulls with 15 points. Greenlee added nine, Strohm had eight (to go with four blocks and three rebounds), LaPlante six (to go with seven rebounds), Shani Plante five and Donnell three.
Old Orchard Beach turned the ball over 25 times and missed 12 of 23 foul shots.
January will be a hectic month for both squads, who have multiple games in the days to come.
Old Orchard Beach is back in action Tuesday at St. Dom’s. The Seagulls return home Thursday to face Waynflete.
Freeport (now second behind Gray-New Gloucester in the Class B South Heal Points standings) has key tests at Poland Tuesday and Greely Thursday, then welcomes Mt. Ararat Saturday.
“I feel like we’re coming along,” Goodman said. “Every game, we’re trying to improve and build up for playoffs. We’re confident in our skill-set. We’re looking to put it all together.”
“We’re working together and we’ll keep up our defensive intensity,” said Smith. “We’re having a lot of fun.”
“We still have a few things we need to become great at,” Hart added. “We work hard every day. When we hit open jumpers, things will happen for us. We’re on the right path. Poland and Greely will both be tough. We’ll have to get after it.”
Freeport sophomore Catriona Gould goes up for a shot over Old Orchard Beach senior Brianna Plante.
Freeport sophomore Caroline Smith goes up for two of her 16 points.
Freeport senior Taylor Dostie shoots over Old Orchard Beach sophomore Maggie Strohm.
Freeport sophomore Hannah Spaulding throws up a shot as Old Orchard Beach freshman Julia Clark defends.
Freeport senior Jessie Driscoll shoots in traffic. Driscoll made a couple big baskets late.
Freeport senior Allie Goodman races past an Old Orchard Beach defender.