Bench players for the Yarmouth Clippers cheer during Saturday afternoon’s 46-38 victory at Waynflete.

Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 46 Waynflete 38

Y- 13 11 17 5- 46
W- 10 11 5 12- 38

Y- Olson 6-3-17, McNeil 5-2-14, Blaschke 1-0-3, D’Appolonia 1-1-3, May 1-1-3, McGonagle 1-1-3, Whitlock 1-0-2, Panozzo 0-1-1

W- Boedeker 5-1-12, Ojut 4-2-10, K. Sherry 2-2-8, Aronson 2-0-4, Wildes 2-0-4 

3-pointers:
Y (5) McNeil, Olson 2, Blaschke 1
W (3) K. Sherry 2, Boedeker 1

Turnovers:
Y- 19
W- 24

Free throws
Y: 9-16
W: 5-14

PORTLAND—Hope Olson returned home to Yarmouth this school year and it’s safe to say that the Clippers girls’ basketball team is very glad that she did.

Olson, who spent her freshman and sophomore years at the erstwhile Maine Girls’ Academy, helped Yarmouth continue its strong start this winter Saturday afternoon at Waynflete in an early-season Western Maine Conference battle.

Olson had nine points in the first quarter as the Clippers went on top for good, 13-10.

Yarmouth added four more points early in the second period before the Flyers snapped a long drought and eventually pulled within 24-21 at the break after a late putback from junior Sophi Aronson.

The Clippers led by just two, 26-24, early in the third quarter before sophomore Margaret McNeil caught fire, sparking a 15-2 run to end the frame, good for a 41-26 advantage.

When freshman Katelyn D’Appolonia made a long jumper with 5:20 to play, Yarmouth was in cruise control, up, 45-26, but the young and plucky Flyers roared back with 12 points in a 60-second span and got as close as seven before the Clippers held on and prevailed, 46-38.

Olson led all scorers with 17 points, McNeil added 14 and Yarmouth improved to 4-1, dropping Waynflete to 0-4 in the process.

“It’s so much fun being back with all of my friends,” said Olson. “I try to be a leader, but we have awesome seniors and captains who pull us together. I think we’ve worked really hard and we’ve come together as a team. We hang out together on and off the court. Our team chemistry is really great this year.” 

Learning how to win

After going 5-13 last winter and missing the playoffs, Yarmouth entered the 2018-19 campaign with a new coach, David Cousins, and a dose of optimism. After winning at York, 41-33, in the opener, the Clippers lost at home to Freeport, 39-30, then turned around and downed visiting North Yarmouth Academy (41-35) and Fryeburg Academy (42-33).

Waynflete also has a new coach this winter in Jim Marshall. The Flyers, who made it to the Class C South preliminary round last season, opened with losses at Wells (48-22), Traip Academy (44-32) and at home to Cape Elizabeth (53-28).

Last year, host Yarmouth edged Waynflete, 24-22, to make it five straight wins in the series.

Saturday, the Flyers sought their first victory over the Clippers since a 58-37 home win Jan. 15 of 2013, their state championship season, but Yarmouth did enough to prevail.

D’Appolonia scored the game’s first point, on a free throw, but promising Flyers freshman Margaret Ojut converted an old-fashioned three-point play, scoring on a driving layup while being fouled and adding the free throw.

After Olson scored her first points, on a 3-pointer, she added two foul shots to make it 6-3.

Junior Emi Boedeker drove for a layup for Waynflete, but Olson countered with a putback.

The hosts then took the lead for the final time, as a Boedeker jumper was followed by a 3-pointer from sophomore Kilee Sherry to make it 10-8.

After junior Adriana Whitlock hit a long jumper to pull the Clippers even, freshman Maya Panozzo put Yarmouth ahead to stay with a free throw and Olson contorted herself and hit a spinner in the lane for a 13-10 advantage after one quarter.

Olson’s nine points were the difference and while she wasn’t as prolific in the second period, her teammates stepped up to keep the Clippers on top.

Yarmouth began the new quarter with a free throw from junior Avery May and an Olson three-point play, as she made a layup off an inbounds pass, was fouled and added the free throw to make it 17-10.

With 5:05 remaining in the first half, Waynflete ended a 6-minute, 31-second drought and the Clippers’ 9-0 run when junior Anna Wildes scored on a putback.

Boedeker added a jumper to pull the Flyers within three, but McNeil scored her first points at the line, then added a 3-point shot from the corner for a 22-14 lead.

After Wildes hit a runner, McNeil made a leaner, but down the stretch, Waynflete got a pretty up-and-under layup from Ojut, a free throw from Boedeker and a putback from junior Sophi Aronson to cut the deficit to 24-21 at the break.

In the first 16 minutes, Olson had 12 points and McNeil added seven. The Flyers were paced by Boedeker’s seven points.

McNeil started the second half with a coast-to-coast layup, but Waynflete got a free throw from Ojut and an Ojut driving layup to draw within two.

Yarmouth then went on a 15-2 run to close the quarter to seize control.

A long McNeil jumper and a 3-point shot from senior Clementine Blaschke got things started. Olson added a leaner and McNeil hit a 3 to make it 36-24, forcing Marshall to call timeout.

It didn’t help initially, as D’Appolonia delivered a pretty pass in the lane to May for a layup, but with 1:18 remaining, the Flyers ended a 5:01 drought when Ojut set up Aronson for a layup.

In the final minute, Olson buried a 3-pointer and the Clippers took a 41-26 advantage to the fourth period.

“Third quarters are killing us,” Marshall said. “We’ve done well the other quarters, but we have to play a full game.”

Yarmouth extended its run to 19-2 when sophomore Calin McGonagle hit a pullup jumper and D’Appolonia, with a toe on the 3-point line, drained a long jumper to extend the lead to 19.

The game appeared over, but Waynflete would save its best for last and make things very interesting before falling short.

A pair of Sherry free throws with 4:06 to go sparked a 12-points-in-60-seconds run. Sherry and Boedeker hit consecutive 3s and after Boedeker made a layup while being fouled and missed the and-one free throw, Ojut scored on a putback to cut the deficit to 45-38 with 3:06 to go.

The Flyers had ample chances to pull even closer, but they couldn’t score again and with 7.3 seconds on the clock, McGonagle made one of two free throws to give the Clippers a 46-38 victory.

“We kind of lost our intensity and we weren’t going as hard as we could,” Olson said. “We’ll learn from that.”

“That seems like a pattern for us, we get up, then we have to hold on,” Cousins said. “We’re young, but it’ll come. The girls are working hard. We just have to get the ball in the right spot. So far, we’ve been good at that. I couldn’t be happier stepping in as a new coach. The girls have worked their tails off and deserve to be 4-1.”

Olson herself a day, scoring 17 points and adding four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

“My teammates were helping me and finding me,” said Olson.

“Hope brings an inside game, outside game, she’s athletic, she’s long and she does a lot of good things,” Cousins said.

McNeil, despite battling foul trouble, added 14 points and five rebounds.

“Margaret helps us a lot,” Olson said. “She was smart. She was aware of how many fouls she had.”

Blaschke, D’Appolonia (three steals), May (four rebounds) and McGonagle (seven boards) all had three points, while Whitlock (four rebounds) had two and Panozzo one.

“Every game it seems like someone else steps up for us and I preach that,” said Cousins. “I tell the girls never think you’re not playing, because you might.”

Yarmouth overcame 19 turnovers and made 9 of 16 free throws.

The Flyers were led by Boedeker, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four steals.

Ojut also finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and she added a pair of resounding blocks.

“(Margaret’s) making an impact now and she’s just going to get better and better,” Marshall said. “She came here to take advantage of the full Waynflete experience and education and she gets to play basketball at a high level.”

Sherry had eight points, Aronson (11 rebounds) added four and Wildes (seven boards, two assists, two steals) also had four.

Waynflete had a 50-36 advantage on the glass, but missed nine of 16 free throws and turned the ball over 24 times.

“There’s a saying that talent is your floor and character is your ceiling,” Marshall said. “We have a ton of character on this team and I’m excited to keep working with these kids. The girls know what they’re up against and how much work they have to do. We lost our first game against Wells by 26, then lost a close game to Traip and we were tied in the third quarter against Cape. The girls play with a ton of enthusiasm and a lot of energy and we’ll keep getting better and better.”

Victory quest

Waynflete will try again to get in the win column Friday when its plays at St. Dom’s in its final game of 2018.

“We’ll break through,” Marshall said. “We have a lot of Class C games starting next week. We’re really focused on doing well there. I think we can play with anybody. The kids play really hard. They just need more time playing together and figure out how to work on offense. Come January and February, we’ll put those pieces together.” 

Yarmouth will be tested Friday when it goes to perennial power Gray-New Gloucester.

“I think we just have to keep working hard in practice and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Olson said. “When we get used to each other and our new coach, it’s just going to get better.”

“We’ve played some good teams,” Cousins said. “I think the biggest thing for us is learning how to close out games. Other than that, we’re fine. We’ll keep competing.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Yarmouth junior Hope Olson leans in for two of her game-high 17 points.

Yarmouth sophomore Calin McGonagle and Waynflete junior Sophi Aronson battle for a loose ball on the floor.

Waynflete junior Anna Wildes battles Yarmouth sophomore Margaret McNeil for possession.

Waynflete junior Sophi Aronson takes a jump shot over Yarmouth juniors Avery May, left, and Hope Olson.

Yarmouth junior Hope Olson drives on Waynflete junior Emi Boedeker.

Yarmouth sophomore Margaret McNeil shoots over Waynflete junior Sophi Aronson.

Yarmouth junior Hope Olson makes a layup as Waynflete freshman Margaret Ojut defends.