PORTLAND – The No. 8 Falcons hung with the top-ranked Patriots through the first quarter of Tuesday’s 2:30 quarterfinal at the Expo, but they couldn’t keep up the pace as the game unfolded. Through the second, third and fourth G-NG pulled away – Skye Conley in the lead – and triumphed in style, 57-24.
“Looking at what they do, they’re patient,” Freeport head coach Mike Hart said of the Patriots. “They’re very disciplined and they work hard at running their stuff, and they’re committed to their stuff. We didn’t put that kind of commitment to ours, and the difference showed in the scoreboard.”
“Luckily, our defense was good, our foul shooting was good,” said G-NG head coach Mike Andreasen, summarizing his girls’ performance. “We threw the ball away a lot. We had a number of turnovers too, which is a little bit uncharacteristic of us recently. But [Freeport were] fighters, and you hate to play that team a third time – because you saw the Yarmouth-Lake Region game today; you see it in all sports, the third time: Usually, the team that doesn’t win makes those adjustments.”
G-NG never trailed, even if the opening eight minutes did prove tight: Patriot Izzy DeTroy kicked off the scoring, laying up a quick two, but Caroline Smith soon responded for the Falcons. The Patriots scooted ahead to 8-4 on to frees and a deuce by Grace Kariotis, and Freeport kept in it on a Taylor Rinaldi two and a buzzer-beater three-point play by Regan Lynch. 10-9 after one.
“It was our third time with Freeport,” said Andreasen, “and Mike (Hart) is a really good coach, and you knew he’d make adjustments. They’re a team that, I think all year, hasn’t played any zone. And they came out, played that zone, and it was a high-level zone, where they were wanting us to put the ball in the corners early on – and we obliged.”
“We did a good job not giving penetrating passes but rather perimeter passes, and so our offense is, kind of, what kept us down,” Andreasen said. “Our defense was good, because we kept them in the 20s, I think, for the game. That’s been pretty standard for us all year. But offensively, they threw some wrinkles at us, and it had its effect on us.”
The action sweetened for G-NG – and soured for Freeport – in the second. The Patriots outscored the Falcons 14-2 in the stretch, Conley contributing two, Jordan Grant three, DeTroy four, Bri Jordan three and Alicia Dumont two.
“We mixed up a zone there, and played a little defense we hadn’t shown yet this year,” said Hart, “and probably caught them off-guard and got them on their heels a little bit. Then they started moving the ball around, finding the open seams, and making some shots. I think that was the big difference…in the second quarter.”
“At the end of the second, we spurted,” Andreasen said. “I think it was [18-11] and then we made it 24-11. That right there gave us a little bit of breathing room,” Andreasen said of his girls’ second. “Because we came into halftime saying, ‘It’s double-digits.’”
Freeport narrowed the gap by a hair as the third got underway, at one point coming within nine at 28-19, but the ground crumbled from beneath their feet after that. The Patriots simply took over, closing the stretch with a fiery, eight-point run to put them on top by 17, 36-19. They continued to dominate in the fourth, nearly doubling their advantage and running away with victory.
Conley posted the game-high, with 10. Jordan finished with nine, DeTroy and Dumont with eight each, Grant with seven, Kariotis with six, Thayer with five, and Eliza Hotham with two.
Though they didn’t score many points, the Falcons also spread their offense out nicely: Smith finished with six, Jessie Driscoll with five, Lynch and Johanna Bogue-Marlow with four apiece, Rinaldi with three and Taylor Dostie with two.
Hart took a moment to praise a handful of his players. “Caroline had a couple nice moments out there for a freshman that has a lot of pressure on her; Jo had a couple good penetrations early on; early on, Driscoll had some good moves. We just didn’t finish the shots we needed to finish in the open floor, and free-throws hurt us in the second quarter.”
Freeport retires till next winter at 12-8. The Falcons entered the tournament at 11-7 and picked up an impressive prelims win over Lisbon.
The Patriots, now 17-1, advance to Thursday the 23rd’s semifinal round, where they will tackle Lake Region. The Lakers looked quite sharp in their 45-30 upset of Yarmouth earlier on Tuesday afternoon.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Falcons Caroline Smith (left) and Megan Cormier (right) put a midair pincer move on Patriot Bri Jordan.
Caroline Smith drives forward on the attack for Freeport on Tuesday.
Freeporter Jessie Driscoll and Patriot Jordan Grant clash in midair.
Falcon Megan Cormier stands in the way of Patriot Skye Conley’s progress on the attack.
Taylor Rinaldi fights in a tangle of off-balance bodies beneath the net.