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Freeport’s girls’ basketball team celebrates at the final horn of Friday’s 46-36 home victory over Yarmouth.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Y- 11 5 9 11- 36
F- 9 7 14 16- 46
Y- Blaschke 5-2-12, McNeil 3-0-7, D’Appolonia 2-2-6, May 3-0-6, Whitlock 2-0-4, Keaney 0-1-1
F- Goodman 7-1-16, Smith 1-9-11, Rinaldi 3-4-10, Driscoll 2-1-5, Bogue Marlow 1-0-2, Dostie 1-0-2
Y (1) McNeil 1
F (1) Goodman 1
FREEPORT—You can only hold Allie Goodman in check for so long.
Freeport’s senior standout only scored two first half points in Friday night’s home showdown against Yarmouth, but with the game hanging in the balance in the second half, Goodman came to life and provided the Falcons with the spark they needed to produce yet another victory.
In a game rife with Heal Points implications, the Clippers hung tough in the first quarter and took an 11-9 lead when freshman Margaret McNeil stole the ball and hit a jump shot at the buzzer.
Freeport appeared to get a break in the second period, when Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia and junior Clementine Blaschke both picked up their third foul, but neither team could find the basket for the final five minutes and the game went to the half tied, 16-16.
When McNeil made a 3-pointer with 5:11 to go in the third quarter, the Clippers had a 21-18 lead, but Goodman took the game into her hands and in a 71-second span, she scored nine unanswered points, sparking an 11-0 run that put the Falcons ahead to stay, 29-21.
Freeport led, 30-25, at the start of the fourth period and while Yarmouth drew within two points on three occasions, it never could catch up and down the stretch, senior Taylor Rinaldi, playing for the first time in a couple of weeks, made four clutch free throws to help slam the door on a 46-36 victory.
Goodman led the way with 16 points, sophomore Caroline Smith added 11 and Rinaldi had 10 as the Falcons improved to 9-2 and dropped the Clippers to 5-8 in the process.
“I just told the girls it wasn’t our prettiest win, but it’s still a good win because we had to gut it out,” said Freeport coach Mike Hart. “We made free throws and took care of the ball at the end. We were weak with the ball tonight, but we got better at that at the end of the game.”
Freeport and Yarmouth have played at least once annually since the 2002-03 season and the rivalry has ramped up a notch with both squads being in contention (each team got to the Class B South quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons).
This winter, the Clippers have been competitive virtually every time out. They started with a 34-30 home loss to York, then won at Sacopee Valley (47-28). After a 44-35 home loss to Freeport, Yarmouth downed host Fryeburg Academy (38-18). After falling at home to defending Class B state champion Gray-New Gloucester (33-22), the Clippers beat visiting Waynflete, 24-22. After a 45-42 setback at Wells, Yarmouth defeated host Traip Academy (36-28) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (49-36), then fell at Gray-New Gloucester (34-20), at home to Greely (51-38) and Thursday at Lake Region, 44-40.
The Falcons, meanwhile, 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), at home over Traip Academy (54-27), Lincoln Academy (65-30) and Old Orchard Beach (56-46) and at Poland (55-42) before coming back to earth with an 80-41 loss at powerhouse Greely. That was a mere hiccup, as Freeport bounced back to down visiting Mt. Ararat (53-39) and host Morse (65-40).
The Falcons had played their last five games (and went 4-1) without Rinaldi and fellow seniors Johanna Bogue Marlow and Megan Cormier, who returned to action Friday.
The Clippers entered play Friday holding a 19-9 edge in the series dating to 2002 (see sidebar, below, for previous results), which includes a 13-game streak from 2002 through 2009.
Freeport had won the past two meetings, however, including a 43-30 win last year in Yarmouth and a 44-35 decision Dec. 16 in Yarmouth.
Friday, the Clippers hoped to beat the Falcons for the first time in three years, but Freeport kept its victory train rolling and swept Yarmouth for the first time since 2012-13.
Both teams struggled with shooting early before the Falcons opened up a lead.
It took 1 minute, 25 seconds for the game’s first points to be scored, as McNeil set up Blaschke for a layup after breaking the press.
Sophomore Jessie Driscoll answered with a free throw and two foul shots from Smith gave Freeport its first lead.
The Clippers went back on top when senior Sara D’Appolonia set up sophomore Adriana Whitlock for a layup, but after Blaschke picked up her second foul with 3:24 to go, Smith set up junior Taylor Dostie for a layup, then fed Bogue Marlow for another layup and a 7-4 lead.
Out of a timeout, Yarmouth answered, as D’Appolonia, in her final game with the Clippers before graduating early in advance of playing Division One soccer at the University of Delaware, made a free throw, then set up Blaschke for a layup.
With 37.7 seconds remaining, Blaschke picked up her third foul.
The Falcons retook the lead on a jumper from senior Taylor Dostie, but as time wound down, after a steal, the Clippers tied it on a D’Appolonia layup, then just before the horn, McNeil stole the ball and hit a jumper for an 11-9 lead.
The teams combined for 15 turnovers in the first eight minutes (Yarmouth had eight).
In the second quarter, the Clippers found themselves without their two best players, as Blaschke and D’Appolonia both got in foul trouble, but thanks to their defense, they hung tough into the half.
A Goodman jumper tied the game 19 seconds into the period, but Whitlock answered with a jumper.
Driscoll tied things up again with a baseline jumper, but with 6:02 on the clock, sophomore Avery May made a layup for a 15-13 Yarmouth lead.
That would prove to be the final field goal of the half.
With 5:31 remaining, Smith was fouled by D’Appolonia, her second, and D’Appolonia was called for a technical foul as well, her third, which sent her to the bench for the rest of the quarter.
“Our fouling is happening the same way every time,” said Yarmouth coach Chris Strong, D’Appolonia’s mother. “We’re not boxing out and we’re fouling on the putback. It’s becoming a pattern. We have to box out and secure a rebound. We’re a tall team.”
Smith made one of her two free throws from the foul, then added both from the technical for a one-point lead, but 33 seconds later, a free throw from freshman Kathryn Keaney pulled the Clippers even.
And that would be in for first half scoring, as neither team could hold on to the ball or make a shot, and the game went to the break deadlocked at 16-16.
In the first half, the teams combined for 31 turnovers (Freeport had 16) and Yarmouth missed 6 of 8 free throws, any one of which would have put it ahead.
“(Yarmouth) slowed us down quite a bit,” Goodman said. “We didn’t get out in transition as much as we usually do. That’s a big part of our offense.”
“I thought we were lucky to be even at halftime,” Hart said. “We could have been down 10 or 15. We didn’t execute offensively and thankfully, they had a hard time too. We couldn’t take advantage of their fouls.”
“We played tremendous defense,” said Strong. “We weren’t scoring, but we contained them well. We went man-to-man and it worked.”
Smith led all first half scorers with five points (all from the foul line). Blaschke and Whitlock paced the Clippers with four each.
The offense returned in the third period, as the Falcons got some separation.
Thirty-one seconds into the second half, a D’Appolonia putback ended Yarmouth’s 5:29 drought and with 6:10 to go in the third, a bank shot from Smith ended Freeport’s 7:21 drought.
The complexion of the game changed again with 5:40 on the clock when D’Appolonia was called for a charge on Bogue Marlow that the Clippers’ cheering section thought was dubious at best.
“Jo played great defense,” Hart said. “That charge changed the complexion of the game.”
McNeil hit a long 3 to put Yarmouth on top, but Goodman then roared to life to give the Falcons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
With 4:32 left, she made a 3 to tie the score.
Goodman then scored on a putback 23 seconds later and added another 24 seconds after that.
With 3:21 remaining, she banked home a shot to complete her 9-0 run.
“I just needed to be more aggressive, assert myself more, look for holes in the defense and attack,” Goodman said. “I just try to get open as much as I can and look for my shot.”
“Allie has a lot of confidence and likes to shoot the ball,” Hart said. “When she has an open jump and she shoots with confidence, it’s a beautiful thing. She stretched the lead.”
With 1:29 on the clock, Rinaldi took a pass from Smith and made a layup to extend the lead to 29-21.
The Clippers ended the run with 31.6 seconds to go, as Blaschke scored on a putback and eight seconds later, McNeil made a layup after a steal, but with 3.6 seconds remaining, Goodman capped her memorable 10-point quarter with a free throw to make it 30-25 with eight minutes left.
Down the stretch, the Falcons did just enough to hold on and prevail.
May started the final stanza with a jumper and D’Appolonia made it a two-point game when she sank a free throw with 7:08 left, but Smith countered with two foul shots and after a steal, Smith set up Rinaldi for a layup and a 34-28 lead.
With 5:57 remaining, May fed Blaschke for a layup and 58 seconds later, Yarmouth again drew within two, as D’Appolonia set up Blaschke for a layup.
At the other end, Smith set up Goodman for a layup, but with 4:24 on the clock, May hit a jumper to pull the Clippers within two again, 36-34.
They would get no closer.
First, with 3:28 on the clock, Goodman hit a clutch jumper from the elbow.
With 2:40 left, Smith sank two free throws to push the lead back to six.
Yarmouth got its final points 15 seconds later when Blaschke made two free throws, but Rinaldi countered with two foul shots and after Blaschke missed a 3, Rinaldi sank two more with 48 seconds on the clock.
Freeport then got the ball back and ran the clock down to 16.8 seconds before Smith fed Driscoll for the layup which brought the curtain down on the Falcons’ 46-36 victory.
“It’s a challenge, but it makes us a better team to go up against everyone’s best effort,” Goodman said. “It was very important for us to get the whole team back together tonight.”
Freeport was paced by 16 points and a dozen rebounds from Goodman.
“(Allie’s) a great player,” Strong said. “She’s a tough matchup for us. She’s a taller guard who can do a little of everything.”
Smith hit nine free throws and finished with 11 points. She also had nine assists and three steals.
Rinaldi added 10 points.
“Taylor had some great free throws at the end and got out and ran the floor,” Hart said.
Driscoll finished with five points (to go with eight points and three steals) and Bogue Marlow and Dostie added two apiece.
Freeport overcame 24 turnovers and made 15 of 21 free throws.
Yarmouth got 12 points and six rebounds from Blaschke.
McNeil had seven points, May six, Whitlock four and Keaney one.
D’Appolonia bowed out with six points, five rebounds and four assists and despite picking up her fourth foul early in the second half, stayed in the game until the end.
“It was a tough game for Sara,” Strong said. “There were emotional aspects to this game. They called quick fouls early. It was hard for her to get back in the game.
“She’ll be missed. She’s a very important part of this program. We’ll have to find a way to fill her spot.”
The Clippers had a 39-31 rebounding advantage, but missed 10 of 15 free throws and turned the ball over 24 times.
“The momentum shifted when we missed a lot of shots and we got frustrated,” Strong said. “They’re a solid team with a lot of weapons. It’s fun to play them.”
Yarmouth, which is currently clinging to the ninth and final playoff spot in the Class B South Heal Points standings, begins the post-D’Appolonia era Tuesday at Cape Elizabeth. After welcoming Wells Thursday, the Clippers visit Old Orchard Beach and close with home games against Poland and Lake Region.
“We don’t have an easy road ahead, but it’s an opportunity for us to put things together,” Strong said. “We’ll work hard every game. We played a lot of freshmen tonight and they stepped up. The sophomores too.”
Freeport (second to Gray-New Gloucester in Class B South) is at Waynflete Tuesday and hosts Fryeburg Academy Thursday. The Falcons then host Cape Elizabeth, play at York and Lake Region, host Wells, then close at Gray-New Gloucester.
“We still need to work on executing on both ends of the floor,” Goodman said.
“We’ve always kind of been the underdog and now, we’re higher on the pecking order and it’s a different way to prepare for a game,” Hart said. “We’ve got to get better. We’ve got things to work on, but we’re doing the best we can.”
Yarmouth junior Ceanne Lyon lines up a shot.
Freeport senior Taylor Rinaldi shoots over Yarmouth freshman Kathryn Keaney.
Freeport senior Allie Goodman defends Yarmouth freshman Margaret McNeil.
Yarmouth sophomore Avery May is blanketed by Freeport senior Taylor Rinaldi.
Freeport sophomore Caroline Smith drives on Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia.
Freeport senior Allie Goodman shows off her ballhandling skills as Yarmouth freshman Calin McGonagle defends.
Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia looks for a shot as Freeport senior Johanna Bogue Marlow defends.
Freeport 44 @ Yarmouth 35
Freeport 43 @ Yarmouth 30
Yarmouth 51 @ Freeport 47
@ Yarmouth 47 Freeport 24
Yarmouth 62 @ Freeport 38
@ Yarmouth 45 Freeport 38
@ Freeport 55 Yarmouth 36
Freeport 69 @ Yarmouth 31
@ Freeport 60 Yarmouth 43
@ Freeport 53 Yarmouth 52
@ Yarmouth 46 Freeport 37
@ Freeport 42 Yarmouth 31
Freeport 44 @ Yarmouth 24
Freeport 49 @ Yarmouth 48
Yarmouth 57 @ Freeport
@ Yarmouth 46 Freeport 19
Yarmouth 51 @ Freeport 23
Yarmouth 34 @ Freeport 19
@ Yarmouth 56 Freeport 45
Yarmouth 47 @ Freeport 37
@ Yarmouth 34 Freeport 28
@ Yarmouth 49 Freeport 41
Yarmouth 55 @ Freeport 35
@ Yarmouth 55 Freeport 34
Yarmouth 58 @ Freeport 40
@ Yarmouth 51 Freeport 31
Yarmouth 50 @ Freeport 31
Yarmouth 49 @ Freeport 19