Yarmouth 53 Freeport 50

Y- 6 11 8 28- 53
F- 12 7 14 17- 50

Y- Feeley 8-2-20, M. Panozzo 3-3-9, Powers 3-2-8,  Clark 2-1-6, King 2-1-5, N. Panozzo 1-1-3, Keaney 0-2-2

F- Baker-Schlendering 8-3-19, Cormier 1-8-10, Pillsbury 3-1-8, Gelhar 2-0-5, Orlando 2-1-5, Levesque 1-1-3

Y (3) Feeley 2, Clark 1
F (2) Gelhar, Pillsbury 1

Y- 13
F- 25

Y: 12-20
F: 14-23


FREEPORT—The unheralded Freeport Falcons and under-staffed Yarmouth Clippers put on quite the show in a late-season girls’ basketball rivalry game Saturday afternoon.

The host Falcons led most of the game, but it was the Clippers doing just enough at the end to steal one and get out of town with a critical victory.

Freeport scored the game’s first six points and went up by as much as eight before ending the first quarter on top, 12-6, as senior Mason Baker-Schlendering scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Falcons took a nine-point lead early in the second period, but Yarmouth, playing without senior standout Katelyn D’Appolonia, battled back within two at halftime, 19-17, on a late shot from junior Ava Feeley, who stepped up huge.

Freeport again opened it up in the third quarter, taking a seven-point advantage and after the Clippers drew within one, closing the frame on an 8-1 run, capped by a layup from freshman Isabelle Orlando, to lead, 33-25, heading to the fourth.

Where Yarmouth suddenly found its offense and saved its best for last.


The Clippers scored more points in the final eight minutes than they did in the first 24 and took their first lead, 45-43, on a layup from sophomore Cate King with 2:31 to play, but a clutch 3-pointer from junior Angel Pillsbury gave the Falcons the lead back.

Freeport clung to a 50-48 advantage before Yarmouth sophomore reserve Lexi Clark hit the biggest shot of her life to date, a 3-pointer which put the Clippers ahead to stay with 19 seconds to go.

After forcing a Falcons’ turnovers, senior Maya Panozzo and sophomore Neena Panozzo added one free throw apiece and Yarmouth went on to a 53-50 victory.

The Clippers got 20 points from Feeley as they improved to 11-3 and in the process, dropped Freeport to 5-10.

“I definitely feel like we stole one, but I’d also like to say that there’s a lot of character on this team and it showed,” said Yarmouth coach David Cousins. “To keep grinding and have it pay off was great. Freeport came to play and we’re short-handed and had to stay with it. To win it is icing on the cake.”

In the hunt


Yarmouth believes it has as good as chance as anyone to dethrone Wells in Class B South, while Freeport hopes to sneak up on the favorites in Class A South.

The Clippers opened with a 47-42 win at York, then beat visiting Lake Region (51-29). After a 36-33 home loss to Mt. Ararat, Yarmouth beat host Westbrook, 48-21, Dec. 29, then had a two-week COVID pause, before returning to action with wins over visiting Waynflete (50-7) and at Lake Region (42-31). The Clippers then lost at home to Wells (44-35), beat visiting Freeport (65-45) and after losing a close one to visiting Brunswick (42-40), the top-ranked team in Class A South, they downed visiting Gray-New Gloucester (30-28), Greely (38-25) and Cape Elizabeth (40-18) before holding on for a 40-36 win at Leavitt Wednesday.

The Falcons, meanwhile, began the season with close losses to visiting Gray-New Gloucester (49-42, in overtime) and at Morse (41-36) before beating host Fryeburg Academy (53-33). After home losses to Brunswick (60-35) and Greely (57-45), Freeport defeated visiting Lake Region (49-32) and host Poland (35-24) before losing at Mt. Ararat (40-25), to visiting Wells (50-40), at Yarmouth (65-45) and at North Yarmouth Academy (40-37). The Falcons then won at Cape Elizabeth (45-34) and at home over Waynflete (40-21) before losing at home to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday (30-23).

In the teams’ first meeting Jan. 22, Maya Panozzo’s 22 points helped the Clippers to victory. Baker-Schlendering had 17 points for the Falcons.

This game was originally scheduled for Friday night but was pushed back by bad weather to a Saturday noon start where Freeport hoped to beat Yarmouth for the first time since Feb. 1, 2020, but instead, the Clippers made it five straight victories in the series.

Freeport senior Baker-Schlendering races up the court while Yarmouth sophomore Lauren Keaney gives chase during Saturday’s game. Baker-Schlendering had a double-double, but the Clippers rallied for a 53-50 victory. Hoffer photos.

The Falcons, despite seven first quarter turnovers, got off to a fast start.


Baker-Schlendering set up freshman Sydney Gelhar for a layup to get things started, then Baker-Schlendering made a jump shot after a steal before adding two free throws for a quick 6-0 lead.

With 3:52 to go in the opening stanza, Yarmouth got on the board, when King made a layup. King then stole the ball and fed Feeley for another layup, but Baker-Schlendering scored on a putback, Orlando banked home a runner and Baker-Schlendering scored on a putback for an eight-point advantage before the Clippers crept back to 12-6 on a pair of late free throws from sophomore Lauren Keaney.

Baker-Schlendering had eight points and seven rebounds in the first period.

Freeport couldn’t deliver a knockout blow in the second quarter, as Yarmouth rallied behind a pair of key reserves.

Freshman Mia Levesque opened the frame with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul and free throw) to give the Falcons their biggest lead, but Clark and classmate Aine Powers came off the bench and sparked a rally.

Powers made two free throws and added a layup before Clark hit a foul shot and scored on a putback to cut the deficit to just two, 15-13. Pillsbury answered with a runner off the glass, but Feeley made a free throw and King added another.


In the final minute, Baker-Schlendering banked home a shot to give herself a first half double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds), but a late hoop from Feeley pulled the Clippers within 19-17 at the break.

The back-and-forth continued in the third period before a late Freeport surge gave it a little breathing room.

Baker-Schlendering got things going in the second half with a short jumper and a layup off a feed from Levesque. After Maya Panozzo scored her first point with a free throw, the Falcons got a driving layup from freshman Maddie Cormier, but back came Yarmouth, as Powers hit a short jumper, Feeley drove for a layup and Maya Panozzo hit a long jumper to cut the deficit to 25-24.

Pillsbury countered with a runner and after Cormier and Panozzo traded free throws, Gelhar drained a clutch 3 from the corner before an Orlando layup on the fastbreak, from Levesque, made it 33-25 heading to the final stanza.

Where nothing was decided until the final seconds.

Feeley hinted at a huge fourth quarter to come when she scored on a reverse layup 19 seconds in.


After Baker-Schlendering took a pass from Levesque and made a layup, Panozzo hit a jumper, then Feeley drained a 3 from the corner to make it a 35-32 contest with 6:19 to go.

Baker-Schlendering countered with a free throw, but Powers drove for a layup to make it a two-point game.

Baker-Schlendering pushed the lead back to four with a layup, but Feeley countered with a layup after a nice spin move.

Freeport freshman Maggie Cormier knocks down a fourth quarter free throw.

The ebb-and-flow continued, as Cormier sank two free throws, but Neena Panozzo made a jumper.

With 3:40 to go, Cormier calmly made two more foul shots, but Maya Panozzo made a layup on the fastbreak, off a pass from Feeley, and after Pillsbury made one free throw with 3:11 to go, Feeley drilled a 3-ball from the corner 13 seconds later to tie the score for the first time, 43-43.

“I just shoot and hope the ball goes in,” Feeley said.


Then, with 2:31 left, King took a pass from Powers and made a layup and Yarmouth was on top, but 14 seconds later, Pillsbury hit a 3 in the corner and Freeport was back in the lead, 46-45.

Cormier added two free throws and when the Clippers turned the ball over, the Falcons got another foul shot from Orlando, but with 1:03 remaining, Feeley drove for a layup while being fouled and added the and-one free throw to make it a 49-48 contest.

Cormier pushed the lead back to two with one free throw with 31 seconds to go, but Yarmouth worked the ball around and it came to Clark behind the 3-point arc and Clark didn’t hesitate, draining the 3 with 19.1 seconds showing the give the Clippers the lead for good.

“I knew that we were down and the coaches had been getting on me to shoot more and so I shot,” said Clark. “It felt good off my hand. I feel like I just try to put in as much effort as I can and do whatever I can to contribute.”

“Lexi hasn’t had a huge amount of minutes, but she hit that big 3,” Cousins said. “She can shoot it, she just needed more confidence and she knocked that big shot down today.”

“Give Yarmouth credit, they made shots too,” said Freeport coach Seth Farrington. “I think we had a hand down, not knowing time and score and that’s a maturity thing, not knowing what to do in those situations.”


Freeport worked the ball into the frontcourt and called timeout with 9 seconds left. To no one’s surprise, the Falcons tried to work it inside to Baker-Schlendering, but Yarmouth knocked the ball away, out of bounds.

“We were trying not to foul because (Freeport) can make free throws,” said Feeley.

“We just wanted to get Mason a touch at the end,” Farrington said.

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Maya Panozzo swooped in and stole the ball and she was fouled with 5.3 seconds left.

Panozzo made the front end of the one-and-one and missed the second, but Neena Panozzo grabbed the rebound and with a second remaining, was fouled. She too hit the first free throw and missed the second and while Gelhar got the rebound, her desperation heave at the horn was well short and the Clippers had an exhilarating 53-50 victory.

“We came out a little slow, but once we got pumped up, we came back,” Feeley said. “It was a team effort. Everyone works so hard on our team. Missing players isn’t what we want, but we find a way. I think everyone stepped up. It feels great because Freeport’s always great competition.”


Feeley dazzled with 20 points.

“Coming off an injury, I’ve been getting back into it slowly and I think I finally did that today,” Feeley said.

“Ava came to play,” said Cousins. “She was a little timid coming back from an injury, but this game she said, ‘OK, I’m back.'”

Maya Panozzo added nine points, all in the second half.

Powers (eight points, three rebounds) and Clark (six points, two rebounds) were huge off the bench.

“Aine, defensively, she’s fast and makes a lot of things happen,” said Cousins.


King finished with five points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists, Neena Panozzo had three points and Keaney added two, to go with four steals.

“Every kid contributed in one way or another,” Cousins said. “As coaches, we always try to tell the kids to be ready. Neena had that rebound at the end. Maya became our leader. The resiliency of this group is just amazing. Being in these games short-handed helps us down the stretch.”

Yarmouth only turned the ball over 13 times and hit 12-of-20 free throws.

Freeport’s effort was paced by Baker-Schlendering, who had 19 points and 16 rebounds, as well as four steals and four blocked shots. Cormier added 10 points and seven boards, Pillsbury had eight points, Gelhar and Orlando five apiece and Levesque three.

The Falcons had a 38-24 rebound advantage and made 14-of-23 free throws, but they turned the ball over 25 times.

“Before you can win games, you have to eliminate what causes losing and what causes losing is not valuing the ball and giving up second-chance opportunities,” lamented Farrington. “We played 24 great minutes. We had 32 good minutes on offense, but we gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter on defense and that can’t happen.


“There are some positive things. We scored well and got shots we wanted, but our margin of error is small. We need close to 32 perfect minutes to win games.”

Still growing

Freeport (currently ranked ninth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) goes to Greely Monday, then closes the regular season at home versus Fryeburg Academy Wednesday.

“I think we’re a little ahead of where I thought we’d be from a skill perspective,” said Farrington. “There are some games we should have won, but we don’t have enough shared experience in close games. We’re getting that experience.”

Yarmouth (fourth in Class B South) has a chance to make a pre-tournament statement Monday when it visits Wells, which suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, at home to Greely. The Clippers then close at Poland Wednesday.

The team hopes to have D’Appolonia back in the lineup next week.

“I’m excited,” Clark said. “I think we can do really well in the tournament. We play really well together.”

“We just have to play as a team,” said Feeley. “We’ve really connected well this year.”

“We played Wells pretty tough the first time,” Cousins added. “I’m not sure we’ll be fully staffed down there or not, but we want another experience of being in a tough game. When we compete, with the athleticism we have, we can be pretty tough. This group is athletic and well-rounded. We can do things with our speed we couldn’t do a few years ago.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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