Two basketball teams are locked in a tight playoff game with a quarter or less remaining. What are the key factors that are going to determine victory?

In the Class B South girls’ basketball semifinals Tuesday, there were two distinct answers.

In both games – a 46-31 win for No. 3 Wells against No. 7 Maranacook, and then a 50-40 upset for No. 5 Yarmouth over No. 1 Freeport – the score was tied at 31-31.

That was the score after three quarters in the Wells game. The Warriors didn’t allow another point, and senior Franny Ramsdell scored eight of her 20 points in the fourth quarter. Ramsdell, Wells Coach Don Abbott and Maranacook Coach Karen Magnusson all pointed to the Warriors’ tournament experience as the deciding factor.

“Before the tournament even began, I said to (Franny Ramsdell), ‘you’ve been here before, you’ve played a lot of games on this court before. You know what it takes,'” Abbott said. “So when the chips are down, Franny tonight was sort of the stabilizing force, not only from her play on the floor, but her just looking her teammates in the eyes and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got this.'”

Maranacook scored 17 points in the third quarter to tie the game. Ramsdell had played well, but she had missed all six of her 3-point attempts. Then she drilled one early in the fourth quarter. After tournament losses at the Expo the past three seasons (twice in the quarterfinals, last season in the semifinals), the Warriors were on their way to their first regional final since 2014 (when they loss to Lake Region).

“It’s pressure, but I’m confident. I don’t lose my confidence when I miss shots,” Ramsdell said.

So, if experience was the critical factor for Wells, then it stood to reason that Freeport was in good position after its senior star, Caroline Smith, made one of two free throws to tie the game against Yarmouth with 5:49 remaining. After all, the Falcons had been to the regional final the previous two years. Yarmouth last made it to a regional final in 2005.

But Yarmouth, playing with a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors, had a card up its sleeve to trump experience.

Margaret McNeil, the Clippers’ most veteran player, set up sophomore Maya Panozzo for an easy layup off an inbounds play under the basket. McNeil then fed Panozzo for a 3-pointer and followed with a 3 of her own. Panozzo capped Yarmouth’s 11-0 run with another trey, this one off a feed from Katelyn D’Appolonia.

Panozzo, who didn’t play as a freshman because of a torn knee ligament, air balled her first two attempts Tuesday. Maybe an experienced player, someone like Ramsdell, would be able to recover quickly, but a slender sophomore playing in her first regional semifinal?

“I mean, the team looks for me to shoot, so it’s very important that I pull the trigger and do that,” Panozzo explained. “I just let it go and forgot about (the air balls) and kept going.”

Similarly, Yarmouth freshman Ava Feeley was called for several traveling violations in the first half and was scoreless. But she made 3-pointers early in both the third and fourth quarters.

“We made big plays. Everyone stepped up,” said McNeil, a 5-foot-9 junior who scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Freeport’s taller frontcourt, to go along with six assists. “I was just trying to do what was needed for us to win.”

The game wasn’t quite over after Yarmouth’s run, but Freeport continued to misfire both at the free-throw line and in the paint, and its hopes of a third straight trip to the regional final were dashed.

So much for experience.

Yarmouth’s second-year head coach, David Cousins, tried to explain how his team pulled away, citing several reasons.

“But you can forget about all the (stuff) I just said and you can say, ‘We just hit shots,'” Cousins said.

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