BOX SCORE

Wells 43 Cape Elizabeth 40

W- 8 14 12 9- 43
CE- 14 7 9 10- 40

W- F. Ramsdell 8-2-19, G. Ramsdell 3-2-8, Aromando 2-2-6, Bogue 3-0-6, Boucher 1-1-4

CE- Berman 5-2-13, Gerety 4-1-9, Chapin 2-3-7, Supple 2-0-5, Gray 2-0-4, Manning 1-0-2

3-pointers:
W (2) Boucher, F. Ramsdell 1
CE (2) Berman, Supple 1

Turnovers:
W- 13
CE- 13

FTs
W: 7-16
CE: 6-16

CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ basketball team was in dire need of a victory when it hosted Wells Thursday evening.

Despite a valiant effort, the Capers couldn’t produce one.

And as a result, they still have some work to do to make it to the upcoming postseason.

Cape Elizabeth started fast, as senior captain Isabel Berman sparked an 8-1 opening run and after the Warriors settled down and drew within two, a Berman 3-pointer helped produce a 14-8 lead after one quarter.

In the second period, Wells answered, as senior Franny Ramsdell, who was sidelined with two fouls in the opening stanza, scored nine points to spark a rally, which was culminated by a putback from junior Mallory Aromando, but at the horn, a putback from freshman Olivia Manning put the Capers on top at halftime, 22-21.

The third quarter was more of the same, as the lead changed hands three times and a 3-point shot from sophomore Grace Boucher put the Warriors in front, 32-30.

Wells twice went up by six points in the fourth period, but a jump shot from junior Alison Gerety pulled Cape Elizabeth even, 40-40, with 2:07 to go.

The Warriors then went on top to stay on a Ramsdell free throw 18 seconds later and with two top Capers bowing out on offensive fouls down the stretch, Wells got free throws from Boucher and Ramsdell and was able to escape, 43-40.

Ramsdell led all scorers with 19 points, the Warriors avenged an earlier loss to Cape Elizabeth, improved to 10-6 and in the process, dropped the Capers to 7-9.

“I went into the locker room and told (the girls) I had nothing negative to stay,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Chris Casterella. “We hung with a team that’s among the best and just came up a little big short. We just got unlucky.”

A lot on the line

Cape Elizabeth has been flirting with a playoff spot for much of the season and while the Capers entered Thursday’s game as the eighth and final seed in Class B South, nothing was guaranteed.

One thing that is always guaranteed is that Chris Casterella’s team is going to play hard, something Cape Elizabeth has demonstrated from the get-go this winter.

The Capers opened with a 27-18 home loss to Yarmouth, then downed visiting Waynflete, 37-20. After a 40-23 loss at Freeport in a playoff rematch, Cape Elizabeth lost at Falmouth (44-32). After downing vsiting Poland (49-25), the Capers fell at home to York (60-46). They then won three straight: 45-28 at Fryeburg Academy, 42-17 at Waynflete and 54-38 over visiting Old Orchard Beach. After a 65-30 setback at York, Cape Elizabeth edged host Wells (36-32) dropped an overtime heartbreaker to visiting Gray-New Gloucester, the defending Class B champion (36-35), then lost at defending Class A champion Greely (57-45). After a 35-32 home win over Fryeburg Academy on senior Karli Chapin’s buzzer-beater last Friday, the Capers lost Tuesday at Yarmouth, 37-30.

Wells is a perennial contender in the region and the 2019-20 campaign has been no different.

The Warriors started with a 57-32 victory at Lake Region. After a 61-49 home loss to Class A South contender Marshwood, Wells defeated visiting Poland (51-15), host Old Orchard Beach (54-19) and host Fryeburg (59-43). After falling at York (53-38), the Warriors handled visiting Waynflete (68-33). Wells lost a close one at Kennebunk (47-44), then downed visiting Lake Region (37-32). After a 69-34 setback at Greely and a 36-32 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, the Warriors beat visiting Traip Academy (62-50) and Yarmouth (53-38). After falling at home to Greely (61-50), Wells got back in the win column Tuesday with an impressive 49-45 victory at Gray-New Gloucester.

In the teams’ first meeting Jan. 14 in Wells, Gerety had 19 points, more than half of the Capers’ total, to lead the way to victory. Sophomore Grace Ramsdell paced the Warriors with 17 points.

Thursday, Cape Elizabeth hoped to sweep the season series, but it wasn’t to be.

Berman opened the scoring 48 seconds in with a pair of free throws and after Chapin stole the ensuing inbounds pass, she set up Berman for a jump shot and a quick 4-0 lead.

Wells’ first point came from Aromando at the charity stripe, but Berman answered with a jumper in the lane and with 6 minutes to go in the opening quarter, Chapin scored on a putback for an 8-1 advantage, forcing Warriors’ coach Don Abbott to call timeout.

Wells responded, as Grace Ramsdell scored on a putback, then hit two free throws before Aromando added a foul shot to cut the deficit to 8-6.

Berman responded with a 3-pointer, freshman Grace Gray banked home a shot and Chapin made a free throw for the Capers’ biggest lead, but a jumper from senior Meredith Bogue pulled the Warriors within six, 14-8, after eight minutes.

Berman had nine first quarter points, but Franny Ramsdell would score nine in the second, as Wells came all the way back.

Ramsdell opened the second period with a 3-pointer, then took a pass from Boucher and made a layup to pull the Warriors within one.

“It was frustrating early,” Ramsdell said. “It just wasn’t there to start. We just came back and laid it on the line. Coach called timeout and told us we were better than how we were playing. We picked it up on defense and that made it easier to score.”

Cape Elizabeth responded, as Berman got a bank shot to rattle in and sophomore Emily Supple sank a 3, but Ramsdell scored on a runner in the lane, then hit a jump shot to make it 19-17 Capers.

After Gerety made a free throw for the hosts, Aromando scored on a putback and with 46.8 seconds on the clock, Bogue’s layup put Wells ahead for the first time, but as time expired, Manning’s putback snapped a 6-minute, 13-second field goal drought and gave Cape Elizabeth a 22-21 halftime advantage.

“We came out flat and (Cape) flew around, to their credit,” said Abbott. “I called timeout and said, ‘The good news is there’s 30 minutes left in the game. Just get stops and scores.’ We settled down and ratcheted up the defensive intensity. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.”

Gerety opened the second half with a bank shot, but Chapin soon picked up her third foul.

After Franny Ramsdell drove for a layup, Gerety made a layup, but she then picked up her third foul and after Ramsdell drove for a layup, finishing with her left hand, Grace Ramsdell made a layup and with 3:01 remaining in the frame, a putback from Bogue gave Wells a 29-26 advantage.

The Capers bounced back, as Supple drove for a layup and Berman added a leaner with her left hand to put the hosts on top for the last time.

With 48.6 seconds left, a Boucher 3-point shot sent the Warriors to the final stanza with a 32-30 advantage.

Wells started the fourth quarter strong, as Grace Ramsdell set up Aromando for a layup, then Ramsdell drove for one of her own for a six-point edge.

Gray countered with a bank shot, but Franny Ramsdell took a pass from Boucher and made a layup to make it 38-32 with 6:11 to play.

Cape Elizabeth crept back within two, as Chapin made two free throws, then Gerety got a contested leaner to drop, but with 4:51 remaining, a Franny Ramsdell putback put Wells up, 40-36.

The Capers got a runner from Chapin with 3:06 left, then Gerety hit a short jumper a minute later to tie the score for the only time, 40-40.

At the other end, Franny Ramsdell was fouled and made the second of two free throws to put the Warriors on top to stay.

Gerety was fouled with 1:20 left and had a chance to tie it or put Cape Elizabeth on top, but she missed both attempts.

After Franny Ramsdell missed a shot at the other end, Berman got the rebound and the Capers looked to go ahead, but Gerety was whistled for charging, her fifth foul, and the Warriors got the ball back.

With 34.8 seconds on the clock, Boucher went to the line for a one-and-one and sank her first attempt, but she missed the second to keep Cape Elizabeth very much alive.

Then, with 18.8 seconds to go, Chapin drove to the basket and scored on a finger roll, but the basket was waved off due to a controversial offensive foul and Chapin, like Gerety, had to leave the game with five fouls.

“We had to get a stop,” Abbott said. “They had opportunities, but Meredith Bogue stepped in and took a charge. It looked like to me she got there. That’s the type of play you have to make. If she’s not there, it’s a bucket and maybe we go to overtime and who knows?”

Wells then threw the ball away, giving the Capers one more chance, but they couldn’t get the ball across midcourt, turning it over, and Franny Ramsdell pounced on the ball and was fouled with 5.1 seconds remaining.

“We lost two starters and the way they fouled out hurt, but we still had a chance,” Casterella said. “We were looking to go long, but they didn’t give it to us, so we had to get it in and attack. We had kids in positions they’re not used to being in.”

Ramsdell made her first foul shot, then missed her second, but Grace Ramsdell’s offensive rebound iced it and the Warriors ran out the clock and celebrated their 43-40 victory.

“We had to keep our composure and lock them down and not take any fouls,” said Franny Ramsdell.

“We have a little saying of ‘Win Anyway’ and we knew we’d get (Cape’s) best shot,” said Abbott. “This would have probably sealed them into the tournament. They played like a team on a mission, particularly early on. We played through some adversity. Cape’s well-coached, disciplined and plays well and we’re lucky to get out of here with a ‘W.'”

Franny Ramsdell not only led all scorers with 19 points, she also had six rebounds and three steals.

Grace Ramsdell added eight points and nine rebounds, Aromando (a game-high 11 rebounds and four steals) and Bogue (nine boards) had six points apiece and Boucher ended up with four points.

“Someone else had to fill the void after (Franny) got her second foul and I was happy with the minutes we got off the bench,” Abbott said.

Wells enjoyed a 37-34 rebounding advantage, overcame 13 turnovers and made 7-of-16 free throws.

Cape Elizabeth was paced by 13 points, five rebounds and three assists from Berman. Gerety had nine points before fouling out, Chapin added seven points, eight rebounds and three steals before fouling out, Supple had five points (and five rebounds), Gray four and Manning two.

The Capers made just 6-of-16 foul shots and turned the ball over on 13 occasions.

“Tonight was a huge letdown because we were so close,” said Casterella. “We’ll keep fighting. We don’t have big names or big scorers, but we find a way to compete.”

One week to go

Wells (ranked fourth in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) is back in action Tuesday at home against top-ranked Freeport in another pivotal showdown, then closes the regular season Thursday with another key game, at Yarmouth.

“This solidifies our spot in the playoffs,” Franny Ramsdell said. “I think we have a really good chance at it this year.”

“I like that we finish we three Class B games,” said Abbott. “This is our peer group going into the tournament. We’ll take stock of ourselves and see what we need to work on. It’s going to be a fun tournament.”

Cape Elizabeth (eighth in Class B South, where eight teams qualify) goes to Lake Region Tuesday and closes at home versus Poland Thursday.

“We’ve got to win and the girls know that,” said Casterella. “We have to go to Lake Region and win and that’s never easy. They’re playing well. We want to be in control of our own destiny and if we can win a couple games, we’ll put pressure on other teams as opposed to hoping other teams lose and we back in.”

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

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