BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 57 Freeport 31

Y- 20 13 9 15- 57
F- 8 9 5 9- 31

Y- Psyhogeos 8-4-23, Waeldner 5-0-12, Walsh 3-0-9, Augur 2-1-5, Snyder 1-2-4, Hickey 1-0-2, McCosh 0-2-2

F- Arsenault 4-0-9, T. Casale 2-3-7, Abbott 2-0-4, D. Casale 1-0-3, Shea 1-0-3, Slocum 1-1-3, Cockburn 1-0-2

3-pointers:
Y (8) Psyhogeos, Walsh 3, Waeldner 2
F (3) Arsenault, D. Casale, Shea 1

Turnovers:
Y- 17
F- 19

FTs
Y: 9-15
F: 4-7

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FREEPORT—Peter Psyhogeos is back and so are the winning ways of Yarmouth’s boys’ basketball team.

Friday afternoon, the Clippers traveled to take on rival Freeport and two nights after suffering their first loss of the season, with Psyhogeos out of action, they promptly returned to form.

Psyhogeos scored seven first quarter points and junior Stevie Walsh added a pair of 3-pointers as Yarmouth opened up a quick 20-8 lead.

The second period was more of the same, as Psyhogeos scored eight more points, including consecutive 3s, and by halftime, the Clippers were up, 33-17.

The Falcons had their chances to get back in the game in the third quarter, but never drew closer than 14 and by period’s end, the score was 42-22 before Yarmouth went on to a decisive 57-31 victory.

Psyhogeos had a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Clippers improved to 10-1, dropping Freeport to 5-5 in the process.

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“It’s great to be back,” said Psyhogeos. “I was bored at home all week, so it’s awesome to be back with the team. I was really happy to play today.”

Back in the win column

Yarmouth had a perfect first half of the regular season, starting with a 55-54 home win over visiting York in overtime in the opener. The Clippers then held on for a 48-38 win at Lake Region before downing host Mt. Ararat, 53-29, visiting Westbrook (62-48), host Wells (45-34), visiting Fryeburg Academy (52-32), visiting Greely (40-30), visiting Leavitt (48-24) and host Waynflete (57-25). Wednesday, playing without Psyhogeos, as well as senior Sutter Augur, Yarmouth was beaten by visiting Lake Region, 35-32.

“That loss was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Clippers coach Jonas Allen. “I didn’t really feel we were a 9-0 team. We had the best practice we’ve had all year yesterday. It’s hard to get kids’ attention sometimes when you’re winning. We had their attention yesterday.”

Freeport 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 with a 44-36 setback at Wells. Monday, the Falcons lost at Cape Elizabeth, 78-57.

The teams played twice last winter during the COVID-shortened, postseason-less campaign and the Clippers won both games, 57-35 in Freeport and 43-26 at home.

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The Falcons had swept the two meetings during the 2019-20 season.

Friday, Yarmouth started fast and didn’t look back.

Yarmouth junior Stevie Walsh looks to get past Freeport sophomore JT Pound during the Clippers’ 57-31 win Friday. Hoffer photo.

Any concerns that Psyhogeos would be rusty were dispelled in the game’s first two minutes.

After senior Cole Snyder put the Clippers on top with a layup 13 seconds in, senior Tony Casale made a free throw for Freeport, but Psyhogeos scored on a putback, put home another miss, then drained a 3 to make it 9-1 Yarmouth with 6:17 to go in the opening stanza.

“We got off to a hot start, which was good,” Psyhogeos said.

“I can’t even put into words how important it was to have Pete back,” said Allen. “It’s his physicality and he made shots, but it’s more than just his scoring. He’s just a great player and he’s the ultimate difference-maker at this level.”

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Casale answered with a layup, but after Augur kept possession alive with an offensive rebound, he fed senior Matt Waeldner for another 3. and moments later, Walsh hit his first 3-pointer for a 15-3 advantage.

The Falcons tried to answer, as senior Nathan Abbott banked home a shot and Arsenault made a 3, but Walsh countered with another 3-ball and with just over a second to go, Snyder made two free throws for a 20-8 Yarmouth lead.

Psyhogoes had seven first quarter points, while Walsh added six.

The Clippers got a little sloppy with the ball in the second period, but Freeport couldn’t take advantage and Yarmouth extended its lead by the break.

Psyhogeos opened the second quarter with a 3, then, he took a pass in transition from Waeldner and made another for a commanding 26-8 advantage.

After an Arsenault leaner ended the Clippers’ 11-0 run, Psyhogeos countered with two free throws.

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Arsenault made a runner and sophomore Connor Slocum sank a free throw, but Walsh answered with his third 3.

After Casale hit a pair of foul shots for the hosts, Walsh set up Augur for a layup before senior Keigan Shea set up Casale for a late layup to cut Yarmouth’s lead to 33-17 at the half.

In the first 16 minutes, Psyhogeos went off for 15 points, while Walsh added nine.

The Clippers weren’t as effective on the offensive end in the third period, but the Falcons couldn’t make them pay.

Arsenault opened the second half with a layup, but Augur answered by driving and finishing with his left hand before Waeldner scored on a putback.

A 3-point shot from Shea pulled Freeport within 15, but Psyhogeos scored on a putback, then finished on a spinner in the lane before an Augur free throw put Yarmouth up, 42-22, heading to the fourth.

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The Clippers continued to surge when the final stanza began, as junior Liam Hickey scored on a putback, Waeldner drove for a layup, Wealdner hit a 3, then Psyhogeos added a free throw to make it 50-22.

Senior Blaine Cockburn ended the run with a driving layup for the Falcons, then Shea set up Abbott for a layup, but Psyhogeos countered with a jumper.

After senior Danny Casale made a 3 for Freeport, Psyhogeos set up Waeldner for a layup, then Psyhogeos scored his final point at the line before two free throws from senior Jack McCosh accounted for Yarmouth’s final points.

In the final minute, Slocum made a layup and that put the finishing touches on the Clippers’ 57-31 victory.

“Our defense is something we focus on and our offense was hitting shots,” Psyhogeos said. “We played well as a team and worked hard together. I think it was really important to win. It’s always good to beat Freeport. We bounced back well.”

“I think our kids are so bought in on the defensive end that when we execute, we can be great,” Allen said. “We have a different man-to-man scheme every game and the guys need to be flexible in understanding what we’re asking of them. Sometimes it’s complex and sometimes it’s not. Blaine and Colby are both very good players. We knew if we let either of them go off, we’d be in trouble.”

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Psyhogeos led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but he got plenty of help.

Waeldner finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Walsh had nine points and four rebounds off the bench.

Augur had five points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals and played stellar defense.

“We also got Sutter back tonight and let’s not forget about that,” Allen said. “If Sutter played in the Lake Region game, it’s a different game. (Sutter and Pete) being out together was huge.”

Snyder had four points, five rebounds and five steals, while Hickey and McCosh added two points apiece.

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The Clippers had a 38-14 rebound advantage, made 9-of-15 free throws and overcame 17 turnovers.

Freeport was led by Arsenault, who had nine points. Tony Casale added seven, Abbott had four, Danny Casale, Shea (four assists) and Slocum three apiece and Cockburn two.

The Falcons made just 4-of-7 foul shots and had 19 turnovers.

“Offensively, Yarmouth did a great job of keeping us on one side of the court,” Freeport first-year coach Tyler Tracy said. “They’re quick and rotate well together. We struggled to create any space. Defensively, we lost track of shooters early and struggled to finish off possessions on the boards. I thought we adjusted well in the second quarter, but could never convert on the other end. We need to be better at responding when we get down. We work hard, but revert to bad habits when things don’t go our way early. We know what we need to do on both ends, but we need to do it consistently.”

Stretch run

The teams will play again Feb. 4 in Yarmouth, but both have stern tests in the meantime.

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Freeport is back in action Monday at Brunswick. The Falcons host Cape Elizabeth Thursday, then visit Waynflete two days later.

“It’s been a up and down year for a lot of teams,” Tracy said. “We can easily be on the up when guys get into rhythm with each other and a few adjustments.”

Yarmouth has a quick turnaround, visiting Brunswick for a makeup game Saturday. The Clippers’ road gauntlet then continues with games at Gray-New Gloucester, Greely and Cape Elizabeth.

“We’re excited and we have to keep working hard,” said Psyhogeos. “We know it will only get tougher from here.”

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

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