FREEPORT GUARD TAYLOR RINALDI drives up to the hoop over Wells defender Sara Ring during a girls high school basketball game at Freeport on Tuesday. The Falcons were edged, 35-32.

FREEPORT GUARD TAYLOR RINALDI drives up to the hoop over Wells defender Sara Ring during a girls high school basketball game at Freeport on Tuesday. The Falcons were edged, 35-32.

FREEPORT

With 3:34 left in Thursday night’s girls high school basketball game between Freeport and Wells, Falcons coach Mike Hart called a timeout. It came with the score deadlocked at 28 after the Warriors had stormed out of the gates with a 6-0 run to begin the final frame.

REGAN LYNCH OF FREEPORT goes up to the basket over Wells’ Taryn Lambert (15) during a girls basketball game at Freeport High School on Thursday. The Warriors won the game, 35-32.

REGAN LYNCH OF FREEPORT goes up to the basket over Wells’ Taryn Lambert (15) during a girls basketball game at Freeport High School on Thursday. The Warriors won the game, 35-32.

Freeport surged out of the brief break with two quick buckets, and for a minute, it looked like the home side was going to hold on.

Then, on the other end, Wells’ Natalie Thurber followed a Hale Ramsdell bucket with a corner trey and two clutch free throws to come back and stun the Falcons, 35-32, and earn the Western Maine Conference road win.

“It was a hard-fought battle, and the kid hit a great shot,” Hart said. “Hats off to them, they hung around, they played well. Thurber with a great three in the corner, we didn’t get out and guard her.”

Freeport (9-7) maintained its seven-point halftime lead in the third quarter, but felt the tide turn in the fourth. Wells (8-7) tightened up on defense and forced turnovers that weren’t coming in the first half. The same looks that sparked a 19- 11 start to the game for the Falcons weren’t falling in the deciding fourth quarter.

“They did a great job,” Hart said. “But in a lot of cases, we were our own worst enemy in some possessions where we didn’t finish the easy stuff. Some of the kids had some mental slippages that, eventually we’ll iron out. I was proud of the fact that they hung around and proud that we had a chance to win right up to the last shot.”

A hoop-and-harm play from Taryn Lambert, who split 16 points with Thurber to lead the Warriors, started the run in the final quarter. Two more buckets from Ramsdell tied the game. Wells shot 34 percent from the floor on 14 field goals and two treys, including Thurber’s game-sealer.

Despite a hot first quarter with no turnovers, Freeport ended up shooting just 25 percent on the night. Sophomore Taylor Rinaldi led the way with eight points, with Jessie Driscoll, Megan Cormier and Kayla Belanger each chipping in with six. Cormier grabbed eight boards inside.

“When it was 28-28, I wasn’t disappointed in our shot selection, I was disappointed in our ability to put our shots in,” Hart said. “We got good looks. I’m not disappointed in what we’re doing, we just need to get those shots to fall. We just didn’t.”

Defense sets tone

But in a stingy, low-scoring game, it was the Falcons’ defense that set the tone. The hosts forced seven turnovers in the first quarter, working a full-court press from the get-go. Swarming defenders led to sloppy giveaways, which then led to quick transition points for Hart’s side. In total, the Warriors turned it over 23 times.

“Mike (Hart) and I go way back,” Wells coach Don Abbott said. “He’s a great pressure coach. It’s one thing to know it’s coming, but it’s another thing to be able to handle it. I thought his kids showed a lot of heart to just keep coming at us like that.”

“I think we defended the whole night, well,” Hart said. “Except the last play. It only takes one play in a tight game like that. I feel like our pressure was good. We just didn’t close out that last possession.”

Lambert and guard Ally O’Brien combined for nine steals for Wells, which switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense after the slow first quarter. While the Warriors didn’t apply the same type of full-on pressure that the Falcons did, the defense was enough to force 25 turnovers in the final three quarters and hold Freeport to just nine points in the second half.

In the end, though, all the numbers came down to one sequence resulting in a kickout and made 3-pointer.

“It was a heartbreaker. The kids are heartbroken after that loss,” Hart said. “They played hard, they battled hard, and unfortunately we came up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.”

Regan Lynch, who hit the Falcons’ only trey of the game in the first quarter, finished with four points and nine boards for Freeport, which will travel to Gray- New Gloucester on Tuesday to try and rebound.

Five more players scored for Abbott and the Warriors, who used all 12 of their players in the game.

After the game, Abbott noted the competitive nature of Class B, saying that it makes for a great tournament and that Freeport can “beat any one of us.”

“I’d like to believe every time we play, we have a chance to win,” Hart said. “Every time we play, we have a chance to lose. It’s just the way the league is.”

Wells 35, Freeport 32

Thursday, at Freeport High School

Wells 11 5 6 13 35
Freeport — 19 4 5 4 32

Wells — Natalie Thurber 2-3-8, Alyssa Loukola 2-0-4, Ally O’ Brien 0- 2-2, Sara Ring 0-0-0, Halee Ramsdell 3-0-6, Taryn Lambert 4-0-8, Mackenzie Foss 0-0-0, Anya Chase 1-0-3, Leah Tufts 1-0-2, Megan Schneider 1- 0-2, Delaney O’Brien 0-0-0, Hannah Moody 0-0-0. Totals — 14-5-35. Freeport — Jessie Driscoll 2-2-6, Johanna Bogue Marlowe 0-2-2, Taylor Rinaldi 4-0-8, Regan Lynch 1-1-4, Kayla Belanger 3-0-6, Megan Cormier 3-0-6, Jessie Gray 0-0-0. Totals — 13-5-32. 3-point field goals — (W) Natalie Thurber, Anya Chase; (F) Regan Lynch. Records — Wells 8-7, Freeport 9-7 Next up for the Falcons — Tuesday at Gray-New Gloucester, 5:30 p.m.


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