The Falcons picked up their first win of the season on Thursday night, lambasting Sacopee Valley 53-30. Nine of Freeport’s 11 players added points – TJ Morrill and Nate Pelletier dropped in 14 apiece – and the team never trailed as they cruised past the Hawks with ease.

“That’s the most complete game we’ve played,” said Freeport head coach Bill Ridge. “We went out and had a plan, and at no point did I feel like our guys were deviating from that plan. It was great; it was a really great team effort.”

Freeport jumps to 1-3 on the season. After opening with a narrow loss to Poland – in which they play some mighty strong b-ball, despite coming up short – the Falcons dropped two massive defeats to Waynflete, 63-23, and Spruce Mountain, 70-38.

“We went back to bad habits,” Ridge said of the sloppy stretch vs. the Flyers and the Phoenix. “As a unit, we weren’t on the same page, and we lacked intensity; it was almost like we had this feeling of waiting to lose the game, and not go out and do something about it.”

But Ridge took a pragmatic approach to his boys’ ups and downs: “That’s going to happen. I don’t expect us to play like [we did tonight] every game out; that’s tough. We’re still growing. Tonight we had a couple wake-up calls. We saw this as an opportunity; we had three really great practices this week, got some new things in, and the guys were excited about it. They felt like this was a good chance for them to go get a W.”

Freeport opened the scoring against Sacopee with a pair of threes, one each by Pelletier and Eli Fox. Brady LaFrance drained another two before the Hawks finally got on the board, courtesy of Travis Weeks. Both teams added two more (Jack Davenport, in his first appearance for the Falcons this season, knocked down a couple of frees) before the quarter ended in a rapid-fire back-n-forth, but no points: an Ethan Sclar steal, a Hawks defensive rebound, a Morrill steal and then the buzzer.

The Hawks’ Jameson Dehmer missed a pair of frees at the start of the second – the team went 4 of 17 from the line, over the course of the game – before Pelletier put Freeport two points further ahead. The Falcon compounded their lead from there, holding Sacopee completely silent for the majority of the quarter. Freeport played excellent defense during the stretch; Morrill, for example, turned two spectacular from-behind rejections to deny Hawks points.

Ridge nodded to some of this night’s most important playmakers. “Sclar and LaFrance,” he said, “just do such a nice job for us, when they’re on, of controlling the pace, so we can play with some more confidence, so we can get it over half-court and get into our offense, whatever offense we’re playing at that time.”

“Matt Nielsen’s coming along really well,” Ridge said. “Pelletier is what he is, he does a nice job, he’s pretty versatile; [Caleb] Rice and Fox and Morrill all flew around and made awesome plays defensively. And you can’t forget – this is the first time Jack’s played all year; you can see it when he’s out there. He adds some confidence that we didn’t have before and there’s a difference when he’s on the court.”

By the time the break arrived, Freeport stood on top 28-10. When the teams returned from the locker rooms, however, Sacopee Valley managed to dig up a bit of a run – a very small bit, just four consecutive points, all of them by Will Goforth. Morrill continued to strut his stuff after that. He drained a two, then followed it up with a successful offensive rebound, a third astounding rejection on defense and another bucket. 37-14.

The game was all but over. The Hawks did up their level of play for the remaining quarter and a half, matching Freeport point-for-point as each team hashed 16 more, but matching the Falcons clearly wasn’t going to be enough. 53-30 the final.

As mentioned, Morrill and Pelletier contributed 14 each. LaFrance tallied seven, and Sclar and Davenport added four apiece. A host of other Falcons posted baskets as well.

Ridge sees his boys maintaining the same intensity as the season progresses.

“I expect they liked the taste of victory tonight,” he said. “You could see there was just more energy on the bench in the second half than there has been. They wanted it.”

“One thing that I was really happy with,” said Ridge, “was that, at one point in the fourth quarter – I was confident we were going to win, but we went out and didn’t just score more points, we finished the game, too. Finishing like that is huge going forward.”

Freeport hopes to take another step toward .500 when they host Gray-New Gloucester (1-4) on Saturday the 19th.

Freeporter Eli Fox comes away with a huge ball vs. Sacopee Valley’s Jameson Dehmer.Falcon TJ Morrill, left, sneaks up on the Hawks’ Travis Weeks for one of Morrill’s numerous spectacular rejections on the night. Brady LaFrance backs Morrill up.Freeport’s Ethan Sclar dishes around Sacopee Valley’s Will Goforth.Jack Davenport returned to the court for Freeport on Thursday night, and his presence made an immediate difference. Here, he ascends to the net, trailed by the Hawks’ Jameson Dehmer.Caleb Rice turned in a battery of strong defensive maneuvers vs. the Hawks; here, he fights for a lay-up.Freeporter Brady LaFrance ducks around the Hawks’ Alex Mudgett for an inside shot.


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