Lake Region’s Liam Grass (14) shoots over a crowd of Freeport defenders during a road game on Friday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal) Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal

FREEPORT — A back-and-forth matchup that was just a two-point game at halftime, Freeport came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter and got the breathing room it needed to beat Lake Region 67-58 in a Class B South boys basketball game on Friday. 

Gabe Wagner got the Falcons (6-6) going to start the second half with a layup, and he had nine points in the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter to make a 37-35 game at halftime into a 50-39 Freeport lead. Wagner then drew a charge out of a timeout to help keep the Lakers (5-6) from getting closer. 

“In the second half you saw some big moments we took a few real-big offensive fouls,” Freeport coach Bill Ridge said. 

Wagner scored a game-high 26 points for the Falcons. 

“This is really his first game back since the 23rd of December, when he got hurt at Waynflete. He’s been back, but hasn’t really been truly healthy,” Ridge said. “He kind of just bought into a different type of role actually. He’s out there under control, working hard in the post, got six, eight points off second-chance opportunities. A lot of just those tip-ins that are impossible to defend. He was just kind of the catalyst for everything we have.” 

Lake Region coach Ryan Martin called Wagner a “real-good player.” 

“To me, when I watch him play, to me he’s like a college basketball player already,” Martin said. “He’s just a different physical player than the guys have seen.” 

Wagner and the Falcons fought themselves in a battle in the first half. The lead changed hands in the first quarter, but the Falcons couldn’t add on their five-point lead entering the second. Liam Grass scored nine of his 18 points in the first quarter for Lake Region. 

“Liam’s a guy that is just so good getting to the rim,” Martin said. “He’s an athlete who is just skilled finding a way to the basket. And he was the most aggressive we’ve seen him all year.” 

Grass added five more in the second, and Derek Langadas scored seven of his team-high 22 in the frame. 

“We always talk about we need that second and third scorer, and Derek has shown that he’s that guy in some games,” Martin said. 

The difference in the third quarter was the Falcons kept hitting their shots, while doing all they could defensively to make sure the Lakers didn’t hit theirs. 

“The emphasis all week has been contesting the 3-point shot, really, for these guys,” Ridge said. 

The Lakers made five 3s in the first half, but just one in the third quarter. Langadas then hit two in the fourth, and scored 10 points overall to try and get his team back into it. 

Colby Aresenault scored six of his 12 in the fourth for Freeport. Blaine Cockburn finished with 10.

Freeport’s Gabe Wagner dribbles the ball up the floor during a home win against Lake Region on Friday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal) Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal

Freeport’s Heath Cockburn flings a pass out of traffic during a home win against Lake Region on Friday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal) Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal

Lake Region head coach Ryan Martin looks on from in front of the bench during a road game at Freeport on Friday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal) Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal

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