Greely senior Moira Train drives on Falmouth sophomore Natalie Birkel during Tuesday’s contest. Train hit four first quarter 3-pointers and had 14 points total as the Rangers prevailed, 64-45.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
G- 23 12 18 11- 64
F- 12 6 11 16- 45
G- DeWolfe 12-0-26, Train 5-0-14, Porter 4-1-12, Obar 3-0-6, Fitzpatrick 1-1-3, Spoerri 1-0-2, Stewart 0-1-1
F- Cooke 4-7-15, Soucy 3-1-8, Birks 2-2-7, Ryan 2-0-4, Wiggin 2-0-4, A. Birkel 1-0-2, N. Birkel 1-0-2, Rouhana 1-0-2, Powers 0-1-1
G (9) Train 4, Porter 3, DeWolfe 2
F (2) Birks, Soucy 1
FALMOUTH—Prior to Tuesday evening’s contest, Falmouth first-year coach Dawn Armandi expressed hope that the visiting Greely Rangers girls’ basketball team would have a bad shooting night.
Greely started the game hitting four of five shots and made 8 of 11 in opening up a commanding early lead and the Rangers never looked back, going on to another impressive victory.
Senior Moira Train made four 3-pointers in the first period alone and the defense of senior Molly Chapin led to easy baskets from sophomore standout Anna DeWolfe as Greely opened up a 19-3 advantage.
The Yachtsmen would play hard throughout and pulled within 23-12 after one quarter, but the Rangers closed the first half on a 10-3 run to lead, 35-18.
In the second half, Falmouth senior Adelaide Cooke tried to rally her team, but Greely never let the hosts get any closer than 13 and rolled to a 64-45 triumph.
DeWolfe led all scorers with 26 points, Train added 14 and the Rangers improved to 6-1, dropping the Yachtsmen to 4-4 in the process.
“Offensively, we came out firing,” said Greely first-year coach Todd Flaherty. “We had some defensive goals we didn’t quite meet, but Falmouth came to play tonight. They hung tough and didn’t quit. They came out really well in the second half. Hats off to them.”
Greely dominated Class B two years ago, capturing a Gold Ball, but last season, there was one team better than the Rangers once they made the move to Class A South, York.
The Wildcats thrice beat Greely, including in the regional final en route to the state championship.
This winter, the Rangers are back in the favorite’s spot and with the exception of a close loss at the state’s best team, have lived up to billing.
Greely opened by handling visiting Cape Elizabeth (78-45), host York (72-42), visiting Brunswick (65-46) and visiting Yarmouth (54-37). A dramatic 67-64 loss at defending AA champion Gorham followed.
“It was fun having that kind of competition,” DeWolfe said. “I got to play against a lot of my (AAU) teammates. We learned to stick together even when we’re down and to keep pushing.”
The Rangers closed 2016 with a 71-45 triumph at Morse.
Falmouth, which missed the playoffs last winter, has been up-and-down in 2016-17, but has shown promise. The Yachtsmen captured their opener, 41-34, at Kennebunk, then downed visiting Cape Elizabeth (56-31) and Biddeford (41-19) before losing at Brunswick (54-30). After downing visiting Mt. Ararat (46-39), the Yachtsmen won on the road for the first time, 43-27, at Westbrook. Saturday, Falmouth let a late seven-point lead slip away and dropped a painful overtime decision to visiting York, 49-48.
The Rangers have dominated the rivalry of late (see sidebar below), winning 14 of the past 15 meetings, including a pair of lopsided decisions a year ago (71-34, behind 34 points from DeWolfe in Cumberland, and 60-30 at Falmouth).
Tuesday, Greely came out sizzling and built a quick lead.
It took all of nine seconds for the Rangers to go on top to stay, as DeWolfe passed to Train, who knocked down a 3-p0inter.
Chapin then stole the ball and fed DeWolfe for a layup.
After senior Alaina Birkel got the Yachtsmen on the board with a jump shot, Greely freshman Brooke Obar made a jumper and after another Chapin steal, DeWolfe converted a layup for a 9-2 advantage.
“I think turnovers gave us fire,” DeWolfe said. “Transition baskets are important for us to keep our energy going.”
“Molly sets the tone on defense,” said Flaherty. “She reads passing lanes well and makes a good pass. She makes good decisions.”
Cooke made a free throw, but the next 10 points went to the Rangers, as Train buried a 3, Chapin stole the ball and fed DeWolfe for a layup, DeWolfe pulled up and drained a jumper and with 3:38 left in the frame, Train hit another 3 for a 19-3 lead, forcing Armandi to call timeout.
“I came out strong,” Train said. “In warmups, I felt good. I was just feeling it. I didn’t think that last one was going in. I thought it was going to be an airball. I don’t really love shooting here, to be honest. It usually doesn’t go well.”
“Moira hasn’t had a game like this since she had an injury,” Flaherty said. “I told one of my assistants that I had a feeling she’d come out strong tonight and she did.”
The Yachtsmen ended the surge as Cooke scored on a leaner, but Train made her fourth 3 of the period to make it 22-5.
Falmouth got consecutive baskets for the first time, as junior Shannon Birkel knocked down a jumper and senior Maddie Rouhana took a pass from junior Grace Dimick and made a layup, but Greely freshman Katie Fitzpatrick hit a foul shot.
The Yachtsmen got a jolt of momentum when Shannon Birks knocked down a long 3 at the horn, but that only cut the Rangers’ lead to 23-12.
In the first eight minutes, Train had 12 points on four 3s, DeWolfe added eight and Greely shot 9-of-15 from the floor. Only two fouls on Chapin and five turnovers slowed the Rangers’ Express. Falmouth committed eight turnovers in the quarter.
In the second period, the Yachtsmen tried to hang tough, but ultimately, the Rangers opened up their lead even more.
DeWolfe started the quarter with a driving layup, but junior Grace Soucy countered with a long 3.
After Obar made a runner in the lane. Soucy made a free throw to cut the deficit to 27-16, but DeWolfe countered with a runner off the glass, then on an inbounds set, DeWolfe passed to sophomore Emma Spoerri for a layup and a 31-16 lead.
Falmouth responded with an inbounds layup of its own, as junior Candice Powers fed sophomore Natalie Birkel for a layup, but Greely got a layup from senior Isabel Porter (from Train) and as time expired, DeWolfe stole an inbounds pass and made a layup to open up a 35-18 advantage at the break.
DeWolfe had 14 points and Train added a dozen in the first half as the Rangers forced 16 turnovers.
Greely never let Falmouth get closer than 13 points in the third period.
After DeWolfe opened the second half with a long 3, Soucy set up senior Hadley Wiggin for a layup and after a steal, Alaina Birkel passed to senior Abby Ryan for a layup. Porter countered with a 3 to push the lead to 41-22, but the next six points went to the hosts, as Wiggin made a layup, Ryan drove for a layup and with 3:46 to go in the quarter, Soucy sank a jumper in transition to cut the deficit to 13.
The Rangers then ended all doubt with a 12-1 run to end the period.
After Porter and Cooke traded free throws, Obar scored on a putback and Porter canned a 3.
Then, in the final minute, Train made a layup after a steal, DeWolfe got a rebound and raced in for a layup and as time expired, Fitzpatrick scored on a putback for a 53-29 advantage.
The Yachtsmen continued to fight hard until the final horn, but Greely went on and put the win away.
Cooke started the fourth with a driving layup, but DeWolfe set up Porter for another 3. Cooke then made a layup after a drop step, Cooke sank two foul shots, Cooke took a pass from Ryan and made a layup, then Cooke completed her personal seven-point run with a foul shot to cut the deficit to 56-38 with 6:03 to play.
DeWolfe stemmed the tide with a 3, but Birks made two free throws and Cooke added two more.
DeWolfe answered with a leaner, but Powers made a free throw.
After DeWolfe scored her final points on a driving layup, Soucy hit a long jumper.
Greely senior Hannah Stewart then hit a free throw to account for the 64-45 final score.
“We kept it up on defense as much as we could,” Train said. “They went on some runs, but we didn’t let them have too many.”
“We’ve learned from our loss,” Flaherty said. “We’re working on things in practice and we’re showing growth. It’s a great group. They work hard in practice.”
DeWolfe led all players with 26 points. She also had six assists and five rebounds.
“I told Anna on the bench that I take for granted how well she plays,” Flaherty said. “She does things I haven’t seen before.”
Train had 14 points (and four steals), Porter had 12, Obar six, Fitzpatrick three (to go with six rebounds), Spoerri two and Stewart one.
Chapin didn’t score, but she had seven steals and three assists.
“We had a different rotation today to go deeper and play fast and be rested,” Flaherty said.
The Rangers made 3 of 6 free throws and only turned the ball over 12 times.
Falmouth was paced by 15 points and 11 rebounds from Cooke.
“Adelaide is a great player,” Armandi said. “She works super-hard. She wants the ball and wants to score. That’s nice to have. We have to do a better job getting the ball inside to her. We have to keep pounding it in.”
Soucy added eight points, Birks had seven, Ryan and Wiggin four apiece, Alaina Birkel (seven boards), Natalie Birkel and Rouhana two each and Powers one.
The Yachtsmen had a 36-28 rebounding advantage, but committed 27 turnovers and made just 11 of 20 foul shots.
“We knew they liked to run and we did a much better job controlling that in the second half,” Armandi said. “They’re a tough team. They have five girls who can shoot 3s and run the floor. I think we came out a little nervous, to be honest. We came back and showed we could handle pressure in the second half. I told them to not give up and work hard and get better.”
Falmouth looks to get back on track Thursday, but it won’t be easy as Lake Region comes to town. The Yachtsmen are then idle until next Thursday when they go to York.
“I believe in this team,” Armandi said. “I think we’ll respond well. We’re still getting to know each other. It’s a learning experience. We’ll take this game and what we learned and apply it to next game. Lake Region’s a good team. They like to run and jump and shoot 3s like Greely. We’ll be ready to go.”
Greely is at dangerous Poland Friday and goes to Yarmouth Tuesday.
“We have to keep playing our game and adjust on defense,” Train said. “We’re working hard in practice.”
“We need to improve on defense,” DeWolfe said. “We’re trying to mix it up and surprise some teams.”
“When it comes down to it, the tournament will be a defensive and rebounding game and that’s not our strength, so we want to make that a priority in the second half of the season and tighten things up,” Flaherty added.
Falmouth senior Hadley Wiggin blocks the shot of Greely sophomore Anna DeWolfe.
Greely senior Molly Chapin launches a shot.
Greely senior Isabel Porter is hounded by Falmouth seniors Abby Ryan (20) and Hadley Wiggin.
Greely sophomore Anna DeWolfe gets past Falmouth senior Alaina Birkel. DeWolfe had a game-high 26 points.
Greely senior Isabel Porter drives past Falmouth senior Hadley Wiggin.
Falmouth senior Adelaide Cooke looks to shoot as Greely freshman Katie Fitzpatrick, left, and senior Moira Train defend.
@ Greely 71 Falmouth 34
Greely 60 @ Falmouth 30
@ Greely 54 Falmouth 28
Greely 37 @ Falmouth 13
@ Falmouth 53 Greely 45
@ Greely 55 Falmouth 44
@ Greely 46 Falmouth 32
Greely 30 @ Falmouth 25
Western B prelim
@ Greely 42 Falmouth 40
Greely 37 @ Falmouth 30
@ Greely 43 Falmouth 37
@ Greely 36 Falmouth 27
Greely 41 @ Falmouth 34
@ Greely 63 Falmouth 39
Greely 60 @ Falmouth 27
@ Greely 62 Falmouth 59
@ Falmouth 58 Greely 40
Falmouth 52 @ Greely 44
@ Falmouth 49 Greely 45
Western B semifinals
Falmouth 47 Greely 44 (OT)
@ Falmouth 54 Greely 41
Falmouth 62 @ Greely 46
Falmouth 35 @ Greely 27
@ Falmouth 69 Greely 63 (3 OT)
Falmouth 57 @ Greely 30
Greely 45 @ Falmouth 44 (OT)
Greely 56 @ Falmouth 10
@ Greely 48 Falmouth 22
Greely 67 @ Falmouth 32
@ Greely 69 Falmouth 17