FREEPORT — For Freeport to beat a team like the Greely Rangers, who entered Friday’s Western Maine Conference showdown riding a 42-game winning streak including a 4-0 start to the season, the Falcons had to avoid turnovers and make things uncomfortable for the visitors.

At times, Freeport did make the Rangers uncomfortable, battling for loose balls and ramping up the intensity.

But, Greely showed its poise when it counted most, forcing 21 turnovers and making its free throws en route to a 58-45 victory.

The Rangers are 5-0 and now on a 43-game winning streak, while the Falcons fell to 4-1 and have some time before heading to rival Gray-New Gloucester on Jan. 2.

Sophomore Chelsea Graiver was one of the difference-makers for Freeport. She came off the bench and scored 20 points, including a perfect 14-of-14 effort from the free-throw line as the Rangers shot 90 percent from the charity stripe (19-of-21).

“I tried to get people the ball and get open looks,” said Graiver. “Camille (Clement) was getting guarded intensely, and she is our top scorer. She played her heart out tonight. We all played really good. Every team wants to beat us. It is a challenge, but we like challenges. It is a challenge in practice, and we bring that out to the games.”

“There are not many teams that have six or seven kids that will play collegiately,” said Freeport coach Seth Farrington of the Rangers, who forced 14 first-half turnovers in taking a 28-19 halftime lead. “Those turnovers came off of hustle, and Greely forced those turnovers.”

Freeport hung with Greely in a close first quarter. Caroline Smith scored seven points and Rachel Wall picked up three as the Falcons trailed 11-10 through eight minutes despite seven turnovers.

“At least the first half of the first quarter, Freeport outplayed us, out-hustled us and wanted it more,” said Greely coach Todd Flaherty, whose Rangers also knocked off South Portland this week. “Our girls are just resilient and take a punch in the nose and come back. It is nothing that I do. They are just very competitive.”

Smith finished a pass from Wall for a 12-11 Freeport lead in the early stages of the second quarter, and after Sophia Ippolito hit a 3-pointer for the Rangers, Mason Baker-Schlendering scored inside for a 14-14 deadlock.

The tide turned from there as Clement found her range, picking up six of the next eight points for a 20-16 Ranger advantage. The run kept going for the visitors as Graiver hit a trey and sank a pair at the line for a 25-16 lead.

Wall finished a hoop and harm, but Brooke Obar hit a fade-away 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Rangers to the locker room with a 28-19 advantage.

Lead out to double digits

Forward Katie Fitzpatrick, who led the Rangers with 12 rebounds, five steals and three assists, scored her four points in the third quarter, giving Greely a 14-point lead, 36-22. Greely’s largest lead came later in the frame when Clement scored inside for a 43-28 edge.

Freeport hung in, closing the quarter on a 6-0 run, but the Rangers went point for point with the Falcons throughout most of the fourth quarter, with Graiver making all eight of her free throws.

“All the credit to (Greely). Their starting five are very good players and I have tons of respect for them,” said Smith, who had a game-high 24 points to pace the Falcons. “Luckily we won’t have to worry about them in playoffs. It is a character-building game and will prepare us for the postseason. We want that challenge and to be prepared physically and mentally going forward.”

“We want to play the best, and that is Greely, Gray and Brunswick. It is what makes you prepared for the playoffs,” Farrington added.

Playing this season without graduated Anna DeWolfe, Flaherty likes the way his team battles when the times are tough.

“It is the fact that we can bounce back. Without Anna, we will have close, more competitive games, and they look forward to that competition. We didn’t shoot our best tonight, but we were resilient,” said Flaherty, who leans on several players to contribute.  “We have several girls, like Abby Taylor who only played three minutes tonight but played 24 minutes the other night. Whatever minutes these girls play, they are ready to go. They play for each other.”

Clement finished with 17 points and five rebounds for Greely, which shot 30% (17-of-56) from the floor and held a slight 31-30 edge in rebounds. Obar chipped in 12 points.

For Freeport, Wall picked up 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals, with Baker-Schlendering adding five rebounds and six points. Smith led the Falcons with 10 boards and three assists. Freeport shot 36% (18-of-49) and made 7-of-11 from the free-throw line.

Greely 58, Freeport 45

Friday at Freeport

Greely — 11 17 15 15 — 58

Freeport — 10 9 15 11 — 45

Greely — Sophia Ippolito 2-0-5, Camille Clement 6-4-17, Mollie Obar 0-0-0, Katie Fitzpatrick 2-0-4, Brooke Obar 5-1-12, Chelsea Graiver 2-14-20, Abby Taylor 0-0-0, Kaiyla Delisle 0-0-0, Emily Small 0-0-0, Halle Roy 0-0-0. Totals — 17-19-58.

Freeport — Mason Baker-Schlendering 3-0-6, Rachel Wall 5-2-12, Hannah Spaulding 0-0-0, Catriona Gould 0-1-1, Caroline Smith 10-2-24, Abby Brier 0-0-0, Hannah Grovers 0-2-2, Lindsay Routhier 0-0-0, Meredith Feller 0-0-0, Maggie Riendeau 0-0-0, Angel Pillsbury 0-0-0, Megan Driscoll 0-0-0, Ryanne Galletta 0-0-0. Totals — 18-7-45.

3-point field goals — (G) Graiver 2, Ippolito, Clement, B. Obar; (F) Smith 2.

Records — Greely 5-0, Freeport 4-1.

Up next for the Falcons — Jan. 2 at Gray-New Gloucester, 7 p.m.

 

 

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