FALMOUTH — Abby Ryan, who hadn’t scored in the first three quarters Thursday night for the Falmouth girls’ basketball team, helped make the difference with the game on the line as the Yachtsmen rallied past Lake Region for a 37-35 victory in a Western Maine Conference game.

Ryan scored five points in the final period, including a pivotal 3-pointer.

“I’m beyond happy for her,” said Coach Dawn Armandi.

“She’s a senior and she brought the senior leadership tonight, and it showed. We’ve been working as a team on taking care of the basketball. Abby is a tough kid and she’s strong with the ball.”

With Lake Region clinging to a two-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, Ryan unleashed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

After the teams traded the lead, Ryan then slipped behind the defense to break the press, catching a long pass down the middle of the court and hitting a layup that put the Yachtsmen (5-4) ahead to stay.

“She’s been a little cold early this season, so seeing her hit that 3 was not only good for her but good for the whole team,” said Armandi. “It was awesome to see her have such a good fourth quarter.”

Alaina Birkel (seven points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals) and Adelaide Cooke (13 points, 14 rebounds) also were key for Falmouth against the Lakers (4-3).

“We have great senior leadership,” said Armandi. “They’ve played together since they were little kids and it’s really starting to show. They know they need to step up now.”

Candice Powers chipped in with six points and 11 rebounds for the Yachtsmen.

The teams played to a 10-10 tie through the first period. Lauren Jakobs (11 points) led the way for Lakers in the quarter, scoring seven points and recording a pair of steals. Birkel paced the Yachtsmen, scoring five points in the quarter.

Falmouth rode an impressive defensive effort in the second quarter for a 22-17 halftime lead, fueled by forcing six steals as well as holding a 20-15 rebounding advantage in the first half.

“Our defense was tremendous tonight,” said Armandi. “Our defense is going to save us on nights our offense isn’t really working. The girls worked really hard and really, really wanted it.”

Cooke led the way in the second period with five points for the Yachtsmen.

She went into halftime with seven points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.

In the third quarter, Lake Region got a quick basket from Brooke Harriman, followed by a 3-pointer from Kristen Huntress, who finished with eight points, to make it 22-22.

The Lakers opened the quarter on an 11-2 run and ultimately rode nine third-period points from Chandler True (12 points, six rebounds) to a 31-28 lead at the end of the period.

“We had a close loss against York and they didn’t want to have another end like that,” said Armandi.

“We wanted to be on top this time. We said next time we were in a close game, this is what would happen and the seniors really stepped up.”

UPDATE: The secondary headline on this story was corrected at 10:25 a.m. on Jan. 6 to show Abby Ryan led Falmouth in the fourth quarter.


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