Layne Brewer of Brunswick, left, looks to pass over Angel Pillsbury of Freeport during a basketball game on Tuesday night in Brunswick. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The sound of sneakers squeaking against the floor, a ball bouncing off the hardwood and coaches calling out plays can only mean one thing: Basketball season has officially arrived. 

After weeks of uncertainty surrounding high school basketball competition in southern Maine, opening night finally came for the Brunswick and Freeport girls on Tuesday, where the Dragons got the best of the Falcons to earn a 53-40 opening night victory. 

And while the game looked and felt much different compared to years past, Brunswick forward Hannah Fortier soaked it all in Tuesday.

“It was awesome, to actually be out there against someone from another school competing was kind of crazy when I think about it,” said Fortier, who scored nine points. “I loved every second of it.” 

It was a different atmosphere than usual inside the Brunswick High School gymnasium Tuesday, something Fortier didn’t notice in the heat of the game. 

“Honestly, I didn’t even notice that there were no fans because our bench was so loud throughout the entire game,” the Brunswick senior said.

Usually the second week in February means it’s time to play opening round postseasons tournament games, but Brunswick and Freeport are just now tipping off their season. Cumberland County schools had temporarily paused athletics in December before the Maine Principals’ Association reversed course and allowed schools in “yellow” counties to resume play late last month. 

Brunswick practiced for the first time on Jan. 22. Freeport took a different approach, starting with skills-and-drills sessions during the week of Jan. 25, then transitioned to full practices last week.

Freeport senior Rachel Wall said it was great to be playing a game again.

Morgan Foster of Brunswick, front, passes to a teammate while Hannah Groves of Freeport defends, during a girls basketball game on Tuesday night at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“It was nice; one of the big fears I had was not being able to play another game with my teammates, who I’ve played with for years,” said Wall, who will play soccer and basketball at Covenant College in Georgia next year. “Win or lose, it’s just good to be out here running up and down the floor.”

Wall finished with a game-high 24 points, but could’ve finished with more had she not gotten into early foul trouble. 

After the Falcons jumped out to a 13-6 lead behind nine quick points from Wall, the Dragons went on a 7-0 run to finish the quarter, all seven points coming from junior Logan Brown. 

Brown finished with a team-high 11 points. 

When the second quarter began, the Dragons continued their run and dialed up eight unanswered points to start the second, marking a 15-0 run overall to take a sizable lead. 

“We definitely hit our shots and ran our offense the way we wanted to,” said Fortier. “Our runs were the difference in the game.”

The Dragons maintained control to outscore the Falcons 18-4 in the second quarter to take a 31-17 lead into the break.

Wall and Mason Baker-Schlendering took over in the third, with the two combining for all of the 14 Freeport points in the third quarter. Baker-Schlendering finished with 11 points, with seven in the third. 

The Falcons put up a fight in the fourth, but the closest they got was five points. 

Meg Driscoll of Freeport dribbles past Layne Brewer of Brunswick during a girls basketball game on Tuesday in Brunswick. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Still, it was a good showing for the Falcons, who graduated nine seniors last year. 

“We’re working on getting the right flow together as a team, which is something that will come,” added Wall. “Our energy level was fantastic, as we say ‘a quiet gym is a losing gym’ and we brought that positive energy tonight regardless of the outcome.”

For the Dragons it was a well-earned opening night victory, but Fortier realizes there is still work to be done as they move forward.

“We need to pick up on our defense and hustle,” added Foriter. “That’s something we’ll work on tomorrow in practice, our defensive rotations and our movement towards the ball.

Meg Driscoll added four points for Freeport and Ryanne Galletta had two for the Falcons. 

 Layne Brewer and Morgan Foster each added eight points for the Dragons, while Sophia Morin chipped in with six.

 

Comments are not available on this story.