BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 35 Freeport 31

F- 10 7 3 11- 31
CE- 3 12 8 12- 35

F- Arsenault 4-0-10, B. Cockburn 3-2-9, Wagner 2-1-5, Helie 1-0-3, H. Cockburn 1-0-2, Holt 1-0-2

CE- Bowe 6-2-19, Mullen 1-1-4, Reeves 1-2-4, Swift 1-1-4, Smith 1-0-3, Bassett 0-1-1

3-pointers:
F (4) Arsenault 2, B. Cockburn, Helie 1
CE (8) Bowe 5, Mullen, Smith, Swift 1

Turnovers:
F- 14
CE- 9

FTs
F: 3-4
CE: 7-14

CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team was in dire need of a victory when it hosted Freeport in an early season Class B South showdown Saturday evening.

And as has been the case for over a decade, when the Capers really need a win, it’s a good thing to have a Bowe on hand.

Cape Elizabeth started slowly and dug a 10-3 hole after one quarter, as Falcons sophomore Colby Arsenault scored five points.

Sophomore Will Bowe then drained a pair of 3s in the second period to get the Capers going and by halftime, they had cut the deficit to two, 17-15.

Cape Elizabeth then held Freeport to just one basket in the third quarter and 3-pointers from Bowe and senior Nolan Smith made it 23-20 Capers heading for the fourth period.

There, Freeport did all it could to rally, but each time the Falcons got close, the Capers answered, and Bowe came up huge late, hitting a 3-ball, scoring on a layup, then clinching it with two free throws and Cape Elizabeth prevailed, 35-31.

Bowe led all scorers with 19 points and the Capers improved to 1-2 on the season and dropped Freeport to 2-1 in the process.

“It’s a big boost for us,” said Bowe. “We have to work hard for every win. No game will be easy on our schedule. Freeport’s a good team and it was close, but we had enough to win it.”

Deja vu

Last winter, Cape Elizabeth rallied to beat Freeport in the regular season, 46-43, then beat the Falcons, 56-49, in the Class B South quarterfinals in the first step of the Capers’ run to the state final, which ended with an agonizing 49-47, double-overtime loss to Caribou.

In the early going this season, the Falcons had been victorious while Cape Elizabeth has struggled.

Freeport started with a 49-41 home win over Poland, then downed visiting Lincoln Academy in more emphatic fashion, 66-38.

The Capers, meanwhile, dropped a 46-43 decision at Yarmouth in their opener, then fell, 61-52, at Waynflete.

“Yarmouth was a very athletic team and we didn’t play well,” said longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray. “It came down to decision-making. We made some bad decisions and we gave it away. Waynflete’s legit. We hung for awhile, but we couldn’t hit shots.”

Saturday, The Falcons hoped to beat Cape Elizabeth for the first time in nearly a dozen years, since a 53-51 home victory Dec. 18, 2007, but instead, the Capers got in the win column for the first time this winter and beat Freeport for the 15th consecutive time.

Arsenault opened the scoring with a runner in the lane 54 seconds in, but Bowe countered with his first 3-point shot with 5:55 remaining in the first quarter.

That would be it for Cape Elizabeth’s offense in the frame, however, as the final eight points went to the Falcons

After senior Gabe Wagner tied the score with a free throw, a pair of foul shots from sophomore Blaine Cockburn put Freeport back on top.

After a Wagner steal, senior Heath Cockburn made a layup and Arsenault added a 3, but not everything was rosy for the Falcons, as both Wagner and Heath Cockburn picked up their second fouls.

The Capers couldn’t take advantage, however, and Freeport held a 10-3 advantage after eight minutes.

Cape Elizabeth then came to life in the second period.

Just 19 seconds in, Bowe buried a 3-point shot from the corner, snapping his team’s 6-minute, 14-second drought.

Freshman Evan Reeves added two free throws and senior Jack Bassett added one for the hosts and with 5:07 remaining in the half, Bowe drained another 3 for a 12-10 lead.

A jumper from Blaine Cockburn tied the score, but a long 3 from junior Dylan Swift gave the Capers the lead again.

The Falcons then closed the half strong, as junior Alex Helie tied it with a 3-ball and Heath Cockburn fed Arsenault for a layup and a 17-15 halftime advantage

In the first 16 minutes, Bowe led Cape Elizabeth with nine points and Freeport was paced by seven from Arsenault.

Offense remained at a premium in the third quarter.

After Smith and Arsenault traded 3s, the hosts went ahead to stay with 4:57 to go in the third, as Bowe made another 3.

After three scoreless minutes, junior Nate Mullen added a free throw and in the final minute of the frame, Swift made a foul shot for a 23-20 Cape Elizabeth advantage.

The Capers would go ahead by as many as six points in the final stanza, but the Falcons never buckled and made things interesting all the way to the final horn.

After Reeves opened the fourth period with a short bank shot, a long jumper from senior Liam Holt pulled Freeport within 25-22, snapping his team’s 7:09 drought in the process.

Mullen then coolly hit a 3-pointer and after Wagner drove for a layup, Blaine Cockburn drove for a layup with 5 minutes to go and the Falcons only trailed by two, 28-26.

After nearly two scoreless minutes and multiple chances for Freeport to tie the game or take the lead, Bowe came up huge once again, draining a 3 from the corner to make it 31-26 with 3:08 to go.

“I was definitely feeling it, so if I was open, I was shooting it,” Bowe said.

Wagner made it a one possession game again with a putback with 2:10 on the clock, but after breaking the press, Smith set up Bowe for a layup with 1:05 left and Cape Elizabeth clung to a 33-28 advantage.

“I was just open and he got me the ball and I made the layup,” Bowe said.

“Nolan had a nice pass and that was a big shot,” Ray said.

The Capers kept the Falcons in the game by missing the front end of a pair of one-and-ones, then with 8.2 seconds showing, Blaine Cockburn hit a 3 from the corner to pull Freeport within just two.

The Falcons still had hopes of pulling it out if they could get the ball back, but with 5.5 seconds left, Bowe was fouled and he wasn’t about to cap his best varsity game to date with anything other two free throws that found the bottom of the net.

“I just had to clear my mind and focus and make them,” Bowe said. “I just let it fly.”

“(Will) knocked them down,” said Ray. “He’s got some good DNA.”

That slammed the door and Cape Elizabeth was able to celebrate a 35-31 win.

“We’re the (New England) Patriots of Southern Maine Class B basketball, struggling on offense,” Ray said. “Our defense cannot have lapses. (Freeport’s) a tough team to hold down over the course of the game. They have some good, quick athletes. We knew this would be tough.”

Bowe led the way with 19 points and he also grabbed six rebounds.

Bowe, the younger brother of former Capers’ stars Alex Bowe, Theo Bowe and Finn Bowe, has shown glimpses that he’s a star in the making.

“I had a lot of one-on-one games (with my brothers) in the driveway,” Will Bowe said. “Finn was the one I was most able to compete with.”

Mullen (eight rebounds, two assists), Reeves and Swift all added four points, Smith had three and Bassett finished with one.

The Capers made 7-of-14 free throws, but turned the ball over only nine times.

Freeport’s top scorer was Arsenault, who had 10 points. Blaine Cockburn added nine (to go with seven rebounds), Wagner had five (as well as a game-high 14 boards), Helie three and Heath Cockburn and Holt two apiece.

The Falcons had a 39-31 rebounding advantage and made 3-of-4 free throws while committing 14 turnovers.

“It was a good effort,” said Freeport coach Bill Ridge. “We knew with Cape we had to play the full 32 (minutes). We didn’t have the shooting night we’re accustomed to and we had foul troubles. We have some things to clean up. The guys know we were a couple mental mistakes from getting a win.”

Goodbye to the old year

Freeport is back in action Monday at Morse, then has a week off before going to Waynflete.

“We play Monday, no practice,” said Ridge. “It’s a fun group. They’re working really hard. We have athletes who like to play together.”

Cape Elizabeth has a showdown at three-time defending Class A champion Greely Friday, then finishes off the 2019 portion of its schedule Dec. 28 against Falmouth in a game played at the Portland Exposition Building.

“Now we have to play Greely and Falmouth,” Ray said. “It’s a tough schedule. We’ve got to earn it, but it’s fun going to practice every day with these guys.”

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

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