The offenses for Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth were sputtering most of the first half of the rival’s matchup in the Maine Red Claws Christmas Showcase on Thursday night at the Portland Expo.

The Yachtsmen did enough offensively to build a 12-point halftime lead. Then Capers’ star Andrew Hartel picked up two quick fouls to start the third and was forced to the bench.

Falmouth (5-1) took advantage, pulling away to a 54-25 win. Falmouth. It had lost two straight games against the Capers at this tournament.

“This was a good team effort. We played a complete game – not a perfect game by any means,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan.

“We played great defense … it kept us in the game. It got our confidence up and we started to run a bit and things started to happen.”

Quinn Morse hit two free throws 37 seconds into the third quarter to cut Falmouth’s lead to 20-10. Hartel, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds, picked up his second and third fouls in less than two minutes into the third quarter and was forced to the bench.

Falmouth responded with a 15-3 run over the next 41/2 minutes to push its lead to 35-13 with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.

“When (Hartel) was out they didn’t have much size (on the floor) so they had to double down low and we kicked out and found our shooters,” said Falmouth guard William Graiver, who finished with 10 points.

Graiver started the run with a 3-pointer with an assist from center Nik Hester, who finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Michael Simonds then hit a layup and Hester converted a pass from Simonds to push the lead to 29-10. Simonds finished with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Yachtsmen ran off 11 straight points to go up 31-10 before Morse hit a 3-pointer with 2:26 left in third.

Cape Elizabeth, which finished 13-8 last year and lost in the Class B South finals, dropped to 2-5.

“(There was) not enough toughness, not enough self discipline and not enough understanding,” Capers Coach Jim Ray said.

“I just know (that) we are not playing well as a unit. And we are going to try to find the pieces that work the best. Right now we are not doing a good job of having the right pieces on the floor at the same time.”

Both teams started slow. It took Falmouth three minutes before it scored, then the Yachtsmen ran off six straight points, four on indentical back-door cuts by Hester.

Cape Elizabeth finally got on the board on a drive by Hartel midway through the quarter.

Jack Bassett got Cape within 8-6 early in the second quarter, but Falmouth went on a 12-2 run to take a 20-8 lead at the half.

The win was a nice bounce back for Falmouth, which lost to two-time state champion Greely on Dec. 21.

“This is a big win,” Graiver said. “After losing to Greely last week this is a big momentum changer for us especially since we play undefeated York on Saturday.”

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