FREEPORT — After being upset in last year’s Class B South girls’ basketball semifinals, Freeport wanted nothing more than to hand Yarmouth its first loss of the season Friday night and earn a measure of revenge.

But you can’t win if you can’t score, and Yarmouth’s defense completely squeezed the life out of the Falcons in the second half, allowing just 10 points while the Clippers did just enough offensively to earn a 38-28 victory.

Yarmouth forced 23 turnovers, held Freeport scoreless for nearly eight minutes and went on to its sixth consecutive victory.

“The key for us is how we play defensively. No question,” said Yarmouth Coach David Cousins. “When we get out and deny and we help, we’re good.”

Yarmouth started fast, forcing five turnovers and getting five points from Margaret McNeil in the first four minutes. The Clippers led 9-4 after McNeil set up Katelyn D’Appolonia for a layup, but Freeport’s Hannah Groves made two free throws, Rachel Wall scored her first points on a layup, and Mason Baker-Schlendering’s putback put the Falcons ahead after one quarter, 10-9.

Wall got her offense going in the second quarter, scoring six points as Freeport stretched its lead to 18-13. Back came the Clippers, sparked by D’Appolonia, who made a sensational block at one end to prevent a Wall layup, then converted a go-ahead layup. She also set up McNeil for a shot just before the horn that gave Yarmouth a 21-18 halftime advantage.

“We made good passes,” said McNeil, who had a team-high 11 points. “We’ve played together long enough to know how to play and make cuts.”

The Falcons (2-5) got the first three points of the second half and drew even on a layup from Baker-Schlendering with 5:19 left, but they didn’t score again in the third quarter. A pair of hoops from McNeil and another from Kathryn Keaney, who was terrific filling in for foul-plagued Calin McGonagle, helped Yarmouth take a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

Keaney had three points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Freeport ended its drought with a free throw from Meg Driscoll, but McGonagle (nine points) returned to hit a jumper and a 3-pointer and that helped the Clippers close it out.

“We just picked up the intensity and we communicated more,” said D’Appolonia, who finished with six points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals. “We had to figure out how to defend Mason. Helping, switching and talking really helped us.”

“Overall, we controlled the tempo the way we wanted it, and that’s a good thing,” added Cousins. “We’ve been pushed, but we can push back. That’s a good sign. I’m just looking for a complete game when we put it all together.”

The Falcons got 13 points from Wall and eight from Baker-Schlendering.

“Offensively, we’re not a juggernaut,” said Freeport Coach Seth Farrington. “Turnovers really hurt us. Yarmouth’s one of the better teams, but we’ve got them again Monday.”


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