FREEPORT – The Freeport boys’ basketball team took an early lead at home Friday night against Greely, but Greely soon came back and spent the remainder of the game building to a 64-51 victory.

Freeport is now 1-8 on the year, but coach Matt Cook was proud of how his team played against a Greely team that is now 7-3 and on a five-game winning streak.

“Overall, everything considered, probably the best game we’ve played this year,” Cook said, “They’re showing improvement, and that’s been our goal since the beginning of the season, to get better every day, and it’s starting to pay off.”

Freeport senior forward Connor Dietrich won the opening tip-off and the Falcons put five quick points on the board. They held Greely scoreless until just past the halfway mark of the first quarter, when Greely dropped their first three. Freeport matched with a three of their own, going up 8-3, but the Rangers sank two from the line, then stole the ball and returned it up the court for another two, pulling within one. As the end of the quarter approached, they extended their run further, working the ball in quick passes around the offensive perimeter before dropping it inside and slamming it home, taking their first lead, 9-8. The Rangers sank several more free throws, and the quarter ended with them up, 14-10.

The Falcons battled back at the start of the second quarter, putting up a three and following that with a steal. Dietrich went one for two at the line, and the Falcons made another two, before Greely squarely took control. Despite another Freeport 3-pointer, the Rangers dominated the last half of the quarter, tallying eight points, including four McDevitt free throws, in the final three minutes alone. At the half, Freeport went to their locker room down by six, 25-19.

“I told them to just keep playing hard,” Cook said, “and we couldn’t let down for a second. We had a great opportunity at halftime to come out and beat an excellent basketball team, and fell a little short, but I’m proud of the way they played tonight.”

To start the third quarter, Freeport again came on strong. Senior Landon Easler sank two from the line and the Falcons scored two more to narrow the gap between them and their opponents. But Greely returned fire. McDevitt turned a takeaway into two points, and the Rangers finished the third having strengthened their lead to 43-36.

The fourth quarter saw the Rangers complete their rout of the Falcons. Late-game jumpers by Freeport juniors Matt Schultheis and Chandler Birmingham couldn’t kickstart a rally, and by the end of the game, Greely had nearly doubled their lead.

Nine Rangers put up points in their victory, including 6-foot-4 junior Bailey Train, who scored 17, and 6-foot-7 junior Michael McDevitt, who contributed 15. Falcon Birmingham had the game’s highest total, 20, and freshman teammate Jack Davenport turned in 10, but their efforts ultimately weren’t enough. Nevertheless, Cook remains optimistic.

“You can’t take wins and losses necessarily into consideration as far as your improvement is concerned,” he said, “and these last two or three games, I’m really starting to see things click with all the guys. We’re working a little harder defensively, we’re starting to understand how to execute and how to take care of the ball.

“If we can keep improving, and keep playing hard, and keeping having fun playing the game of basketball, we’ll be looking forward to it.”

The Falcons next test their developing chemistry on the road against the Lake Region Lakers, who stand 3-7 after their Friday night loss to Falmouth. The game takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Freeport senior Landon Easler leaps for a layup during Friday night’s matchup versus Greely. Photos by Adam Birt
Greely junior Michael McDevitt tries to block Freeport junior Mark Donahue’s jump shot during the schools’ meeting Friday night.
Freeport senior Landon Easler battles through a crowd of Greely defenders during the teams’ Friday night meeting.
Freeport junior Mark Donahue skirts a Greely defender during the teams’ Friday night bout.
Freeport junior Chandler Birmingham fights off Greely guard Nick Shain during Friday night’s matchup.
Freeport freshman Jack Davenport leaps for two against Greely defender Michael McDevitt during the teams’ meeting Friday night.

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