After allowing a 10-point lead to slip away in the first half, Cape Elizabeth was determined not to let it happen again in its Class B South boys’ basketball quarterfinal Saturday against Freeport at the Portland Expo.

The third-seeded Capers withstood one more comeback bid by sixth-ranked Freeport in the fourth quarter, holding on for a 56-49 win to advance to the semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday against No. 2 Maranacook.

Andrew Hartel, a 6-foot-9 senior, scored 23 points for the Capers (12-7). He was the central figure in a 13-2 run that gave Cape Elizabeth a 41-30 lead late in the third quarter, scoring six points and setting up shots for Tanner Carpenter and Quinton Morse with his passing.

“They were giving us the inside in the first half, but they tried to double-team me in the second and I was able to kick the ball out for open shots,” said Hartel. “Things open up inside when we are hitting from the outside.”

But Freeport (12-7) again came back. Alex Helie’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 48-44.

Amaniel Hagos of Cape scored twice inside, the second off a pass from Hartel, to make it 52-44. After a 3-pointer by Kaleb Barrett closed the gap to 54-49 with 37 seconds remaining, the Capers missed the front end of 1-and-1 free throws three times but retrieved each rebound.

“We had done such a nice job boxing out throughout the game. We did that for 31 minutes so that was frustrating for the kids at the end,” Freeport Coach Bill Ridge said.

“We should have hit those free throws, something we work on every day,” said Hartel, who also had 12 rebounds. “Our communication really came through in the end, and the work we do in practice on those types of situations really came through today.”

Toby Holt and Leap Ngoal led Freeport with 12 points apiece.

Cape used an 11-0 run in the first quarter to open a 21-13 lead. Hartel had eight first-quarter points.

“We had that matchup with single coverage and we were able to get the ball to him several times,” said Cape Coach Jim Ray.

Hartel got four more points early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 25-15 before heading to the bench. Freeport quickly took advantage of his absence, going on an 11-1 run to make it 26-26.

“We made a run when Hartel was out of the game. He’s a tough matchup for us. When he came out we were able to put some more pressure on them,” Ridge said. “(Hartel) does a lot more than a lot of people give him credit for.”


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