Freeport point guard Catriona Gould, left, puts her shoulder down while trying to drive past Yarmouth defender Margaret McNeil. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

PORTLAND — The old saying goes it is tough to beat the same team three times in a season. This couldn’t have been more true for top-seeded Freeport on Tuesday at the Portland Expo in a girls Class B South basketball semifinal.

No. 5 Yarmouth, which lost to the Falcons twice during the Western Maine Conference regular season by 10 points both times, turned the tables on its rival, scoring a 50-40 victory.

Yarmouth coach David Cousins said his team struggled to get past tough times in games. This wasn’t the case on Tuesday. After Freeport rallied for a 29-28 lead after three quarters, the Clippers (12-8) hit several big shots in the fourth to pull away, sending them to Friday’s Class B South regional final at Cross Insurance Arena against No. 3 Wells.

“Three weeks ago, we would hit a dry patch and not get out of it. Now, we are getting past it,” said Cousins after his Clippers outscored the Falcons, 22-12, in the fourth quarter. “We hit shots. That was our nemesis this year, not being able to hit those big shots when we needed them. Today we hit those.”

“Credit to Yarmouth. They earned the win,” said Freeport (15-5) coach Seth Farrington after an emotional talk with his team, a squad that includes seven seniors who turned around a program and led it to back-to-back regional finals. “This senior group changed the culture. Just a credit to them. They put a lot of energy and effort into this program.”

“It has been incredible being a part of this program,” Freeport senior captain Caroline Smith said. “It was a great run these four years and has been the best of times. I have no words. It was great to be part of this.”

Freeport’s Rachel Wall (40) collides with Yarmouth’s Adriana D’Appolonia (3) during Tuesday’s Class B South girls basketball semifinal at the Portland Expo. Wall was called for a player control foul, and her Falcons fell to the Clippers, 50-40. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

The teams began the game by hitting shots. Freeport forward Mason Baker-Schlendering was tough to deal with inside, scoring six points to pace the Falcons, while Margaret McNeil had five points, and teammates Adriana D’Appolonia and Maya Panozzo picked up four points apiece as the Clippers grabbed a 13-10 lead.

The shooting went ice cold in the second quarter. Freeport committed nine turnovers, Yarmouth had 11, and the teams combined to make 4-of-18 shots from the floor. Yarmouth carried a 19-15 advantage to the half behind eight points from D’Appolonia and seven from McNeil, with Catriona Gould tallying all five of Freeport’s points in the second quarter.

Third quarter run

Things were still slow going for the Falcons throughout most of the third quarter, while Yarmouth turned up the pressure. Calin McGonagle twice went inside for tough points, while Ava Feeley found an open area and hit a 3-pointer, giving the Clippers a 28-19 lead.

Held in check by Yarmouth’s tough defense, Freeport finally found its flow. Smith and Gould began penetrating the paint before dishing off for easy baskets underneath. Rachel Wall, who struggled with fouls in the opening half, scored six points, while Baker-Schlendering was a handful underneath the basket.

Gould ended the quarter with a basket, completing a 10-0 Freeport run and giving the Falcons a one-point lead heading to the fourth.

“I thought we did a much better job of stopping their penetration, but they did it three times in the third quarter and it got them into the game,” Cousins said.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, Yarmouth’s defense put a stop to Freeport’s penetration. Plus, the Clippers began making their shots. Feeley hit a trey from the corner for a 31-29 Yarmouth lead, and after Freeport tied it twice, Panozzo hit a pair of 3-pointers before a steal and layup by D’Appolonia made for a 44-36 Clipper advantage.

“We had a one-point lead going to the fourth, so we need to find a way to win there,” said Farrington.

“These kids began believing in themselves, and they are believing. Everyone contributed. Everyone came together and made those shots,” Cousins said.

McNeil iced the game, scoring seven of her game-high 16 points down the stretch, with D’Appolonia and Panozzo adding 12 points apiece.

Freeport was led by 14 points from Baker-Schlendering, 10 from Wall, nine from Gould and seven from Smith, who also added six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

“It is super hard to beat a team three times in a season, and we just didn’t get it done offensively,” Smith said after her team made just 16-of-46 shots and 7-of-16 from the free-throw line.

Comments are not available on this story.