Cape Elizabeth junior Evan Reeves goes way up but can’t corral the ball for a dunk during Monday’s home game versus Freeport. Reeves would get his dunk later in the contest, a 78-57 Capers’ victory. Photos courtesy Lisa Mims.

BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 78 Freeport 57

F- 12 17 13 15- 57
CE- 23 19 21 15- 78

F- Arsenault 7-0-19, Pound 3-4-10, T. Casale 5-2-12, D. Casale 4-0-8, Shea 3-2-8

CE- Bowe 12-0-28, Frame 6-0-17, Lee 4-0-8, Lombardo 3-0-6, Tighe 3-0-6, Reeves 2-1-5, Trachimowicz 1-3-5, Dell’Aquila 1-0-3

3-pointers:
F (5) Arsenault 5
CE (10) Frame 5, Bowe 4, Dell’Aquila 1

Turnovers:
F- 14
CE- 13

FTs
F: 8-12
CE: 4-6

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CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team is battling to put a consistent winner on the floor, but when the Capers are moving the ball well and knocking down shots, as they did with regularity Monday evening against visiting Freeport, they’re almost impossible to beat.

Cape Elizabeth made five 3-pointers, with senior sharpshooter Will Bowe draining three and classmate Jake Frame hitting two, to open up a 23-12 lead after one quarter.

The Falcons tried to stay close behind the shooting of senior Colby Arsenault, but after drawing within five early in the second period, the Capers opened it up with a 12-3 run and held a 42-29 advantage at the half.

Frame opened the second half with a long 3 and by the end of the third quarter, Cape Elizabeth was up, 63-42, and Freeport never got closer than 14 points from there as the Capers closed out a 78-57 victory.

Bowe led all scorers with 28 points and Frame added 17 as Cape Elizabeth improved to 6-5 and in the process, dropped the Falcons to 5-4.

“It’s about quick decisions and ball movement,” said Capers coach Jeff Mitchell. “That’s how we try to keep it really simple. If the guys make quick decisions, the ball will be moving and we’ll expose the defense at some point. We stress that every day in practice and it’s good to see it in game mode.”

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Making a move

Both Cape Elizabeth and Freeport believe they’ll be at their best next month and both have shown positive signs this winter.

The Capers opened with wins at Wells (72-39) and at home over Waynflete (74-55), then dropped three in a row: 58-38 at York, 55-52 at Westbrook and 66-60 at Lake Region. After bouncing back to defeat visiting Brunswick (72-50) and Poland (76-43), Cape Elizabeth fell at Gray-New Gloucester (68-54) and Fryeburg Academy (54-52), then Friday, rolled at Traip Academy (69-25).

Freeport, meanwhile, under new coach Tyler Tracy, opened with close losses at Gray-New Gloucester (67-62) and at home to Morse (46-45), then defeated visiting Fryeburg Academy (49-41), host Greely (70-58, in overtime), host Lake Region (61-54), visiting Poland (79-56) and visiting Mt. Ararat (57-25) before its five-game win streak was snapped Thursday with a 44-36 setback at Wells.

The teams played twice a year ago, with the Capers winning both in close fashion, 44-40 at home and 52-49 in Freeport.

Monday, the Falcons hoped to beat Cape Elizabeth for the first time in over 14 years, since a 53-51 home victory Dec. 18, 2007, but instead, the Capers made it 18 straight in the series.

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Cape Elizabeth senior Will Bowe is hounded by Freeport seniors Nathan Abbott, left, and Colby Arsenault.

Cape Elizabeth set the tone off the opening tip, as 6-foot-8 junior Evan Reeves got the ball to Frame, who fed Bowe for a layup. Junior Sam Lombardo then added a floater after a Frame steal.

Freeport would settle in and behind a putback from Arsenault and an Arsenault 3-pointer, went on top, 5-4, but Reeves made a jump shot, then Bowe sank his first 3, from long range, to make it 9-5.

Senior Tony Casale answered with a layup, off a nice feed from senior Nathan Abbott, and Arsenault knocked down another 3 to produce the Falcons’ final lead, 10-9.

With 4 minutes to go in the first, Frame hit a 3 and Cape Elizabeth was ahead to stay. Lombardo added a runner, then Bowe buried consecutive 3s and just like that, the Capers were up by 10, 20-10.

“My teammates get me the ball in good spots,” Bowe said.

“(Will) knows coaches are watching film and they’re going to adjust, so it’s up to us to get him good looks,” said Mitchell. “He’s as consistent a shooter as I’ve seen. He’s silky-smooth. When he’s on, he’s on. Those 3s are daggers.”

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In the final minute of the quarter, Freeport ended the 11-0 run when senior Keigan Shea fed senior Danny Casale for a layup, but Frame countered with a pull-up 3 and after eight minutes, Cape Elizabeth had a double-digit advantage, 23-12.

Bowe scored 11 points in the first period, while Frame added six.

The Falcons started the second quarter strong, as Arsenault took a pass from sophomore JT Pound and made a layup and after junior Andrew Trachimowicz got a runner to roll for the hosts, Arsenault sank a 3 and Shea knocked down two free throws.

Trachimowicz got a point back at the line, but with 4:26 left in the first half, Tony Casale made two foul shots to pull Freeport within five, 26-21.

That’s as good as it would get for the Falcons, however.

Fourteen seconds later, junior Antonio Dell’Aquila sparked another Capers’ surge with a 3-pointer from the corner. Then, after Dell’Aquila kept possession alive, Bowe hit another 3 and the lead was back to 11.

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Arsenault countered with a 3-ball, but Lombardo fed junior Caden Lee for a layup, Frame threaded a beautiful pass to Lombardo for a layup and Bowe scored on a putback to make it 38-24.

Arsenault made another 3, but Bowe answered with a long jump shot and after a runner from Shea, junior Owen Tighe capped the half with a putback and Cape Elizabeth held a comfortable 42-29 advantage.

Bowe scored 18 points in the first half and the Capers only turned the ball over three times and while Arsenault had 19 points, Freeport just couldn’t keep up.

Freeport senior Colby Arsenault lines up a 3-point shot as Cape Elizabeth junior Jack Carignan defends.

The third quarter was more of the same.

Frame got things started with a 3 and after Tony Casale hit a leaner, Frame set up Lee for a layup after a steal.

Abbott fed Danny Casale for a layup, but Frame hit another 3 and after Pound made a foul shot, Bowe set up Lee for a layup, then Reeves found Lee for another layup, stretching the lead to 20 points, 54-34.

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Pound countered with a putback, but the easy looks kept coming for the Capers, as Lee found Bowe for a layup.

After Danny Casale made a jumper for the Falcons, Bowe knocked down a jumper to keep the lead at 20.

Pound scored again on a putback, but Reeves sank a free throw, then Tighe made a layup.

In the final seconds, Pound put back a missed shot, but just before the horn, Frame’s driving layup made it Cape Elizabeth 63 Freeport 42.

Trachimowicz began the final stanza with two free throws, then Bowe went coast-to-coast for a layup.

The Falcons then rattled off nine straight points, as Shea made a layup after a steal, Danny Casale made a layup, Pound sank two foul shots, then made another and with 4:07 to go, a layup from Tony Casale cut the deficit to 67-51.

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Reeves then took center stage, attempting a 3 from the left corner, missing it, but grabbing his own rebound and finding no resistance in his path, racing in for a thundering slam dunk.

A thundering and therapeutic dunk, considering he had failed to convert an earlier golden opportunity.

“That one felt good,” said Reeves. “I’d been trying to get one.”

Tony Casale answered with a layup after a steal and Danny Casale hit a jumper to make it 69-55 with 2:46 remaining, but the Capers then slammed the door, as Reeves set up Bowe for a fastbreak layup, Frame found Bowe for a layup and Tighe made a layup after a steal.

After a driving layup from Shea produced Freeport’s final points, Frame delivered the punctuation mark with a long 3-pointer and Cape Elizabeth closed out its 78-57 victory.

“We’re tough to beat when we share the ball,” said Bowe. “We’re trying to find that consistency that we need.”

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Bowe didn’t just score a game-high 28 points, he also had three assists and three rebounds.

Frame stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Lee finished with eight points, Lombardo (six rebounds, three assists) and Tighe each had six,

Reeves added five points (to go with nine rebounds and four blocked shots).

“I didn’t have my best offensive night tonight, so I tried to make up for it on defense,” said Reeves.

Trachimowicz also had five points and Dell’Aquila ended up with three.

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The Capers out-rebounded the Falcons, 35-33, made 10 3-pointers, hit 4 of 6 free throws and only committed 13 turnovers.

Freeport was paced by Arsenault, who had 19 points, but none after halftime. Arsenault also had nine rebounds.

“Colby hit some tough shots to keep us around,” said Tracy. “There was a feeling we could go on a run, but it just didn’t happen.”

Tony Casale (12 points) and Pound (10 points, nine rebounds) also wound up in double figures, while Danny Casale and Shea (three assists, three rebounds, three steals) had eight points apiece.

The Falcons turned the ball over 14 times and made 8 of 12 free throws.

“Give Cape credit,” Tracy said. “They executed well and shot really well today. Their secondary movement is really good. They had some guys finish shots today that hadn’t been and made us pay.

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“We’ve been without guys the past few weeks. We got two back today and we lost another one. We get into a flow, then we lose somebody. Not making excuses, our mentality is next guy up, but it definitely changes roles. I think we played hard. We didn’t have that game-day hop that we needed to have.”

Home test

Freeport is back in action Friday at home versus undefeated Yarmouth. The Falcons hope to have senior Blaine Cockburn, who missed Monday’s game, back and put forth a stronger effort.

“We just have to put one foot in front of the other,” Tracy said. “It felt like we were taking 10 big steps last week, then in the middle of the week, it felt like we took eight steps backwards. We had great practices Friday and Saturday and I felt like we were OK, but I’m surprised how flat we were tonight. We know what we’re capable of. Yarmouth’s another challenge and we could completely turn it around if we make some adjustments.”

Cape Elizabeth is also home Friday, versus rival Greely, as it looks to produce a win streak.

“Our ability to handle pressure on the road has been the problem,” said Mitchell. “In every loss but York, we’ve had the lead. It’s hard to create the noise and confusion of the road in practice, but we do drills to hold on to the ball without giving it up under pressure.

“Being healthy is really important. Every team is going through the same thing. I think if we’re healthy by February and continuing ‘we versus me,’ we’ll be fine. We spent a lot of time on the road the first half of the season. Now, we’ve got six out of eight at home. That’s comforting.”

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

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