FREEPORT—Freeport’s girls’ basketball team is young but promising and while there have been growing pains at times during the early portion of the 2022-23 season, the Falcons are serving notice that they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Sooner rather than later.

Wednesday evening, Freeport hosted Fryeburg Academy in a makeup game and while it committed too many fouls and turnovers for coach Seth Farrington’s liking, the Falcons also demonstrated their balance and skill.

The Falcons never trailed, but led by just two points, 13-11, with just over two minutes to go in the first period before they closed the frame on an 11-3 run, capped by an improbable 3-point shot, from beyond midcourt, from sophomore Mia Levesque, to grab a 24-14 advantage.

With sophomore Maddie Cormier and freshman Emily Groves leading the way with double-digit scoring in the first half, Freeport pulled away in the second quarter to make it 38-16.

The short-handed Raiders weren’t able to rally and the Falcons pushed their advantage to 56-30 after three periods and rolled to a 66-37 victory.


Cormier led the way with 19 points, Groves added a double-double and four different players wound up in double-figures as Freeport evened its record at 2-2 and in the process, dropped Fryeburg Academy to 0-4.

“I think this is the first time not having a (returning) first-team All-Conference player, so the way we win is to do it together,” Farrington said. “We have to defend, rebound and share the ball and if everybody is engaged on both ends of the floor, I think we’re tough to beat. We might not have the best individual players, but together, we’re pretty darned good.”

Growth potential

After falling in the preliminary round of the Class A South playoffs a year ago and finishing with a record of 6-12, the 2022-23 Falcons are inexperienced, but hopeful. After opening with a 39-27 setback at Gray-New Gloucester, Freeport got in the win column at home over Morse (53-30) before falling at powerhouse Brunswick Monday (73-39).

Fryeburg Academy also dropped its opener, at Greely (59-45), then lost at home to Westbrook (59-39) and Tuesday, fell at Leavitt (39-15).

Last year, the Falcons won both meetings, 53-33 in Fryeburg and 46-27 at home.


Wednesday, Freeport rolled again.

Fryeburg Academy sophomore Alysa Grawe goes up for a reverse layup in traffic as Freeport sophomores Sydney Gelhar (21) and Maddie Cormier (33) look on during the Falcons’ 66-37 victory Wednesday night. Hoffer photos.

Just 59 seconds in, Groves, who has replaced Mason Baker-Schlendering as the Falcons’ dominant post presence, took a pass from sophomore Sydney Gelhar and made a layup to put the home team ahead to stay.

Groves was then fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and added two free throws.

The Raiders got on the board when dynamic junior point guard Sydney Shaw set up classmate Jilyan Byrne for a layup, but Cormier answered with her first points, on a putback, then Levesque set up Cormier for a layup to make it 8-2.

Sophomore Alysa Grawe hit a 3-point shot for the visitors, but senior Angel Pillsbury answered with a free throw before two Byrne foul shots made the score 9-7.

After Cormier hit a jump shot, Grawe converted a pretty reverse layup and after Groves banked home a shot, Byrne did the same to keep the deficit at two, 13-11.


But from there, it was all Freeport, as Gelhar got a runner to roll in, Groves made a free throw, Groves hit a bank shot, freshman Abbie Cormier added a foul shot and Maddie Cormier scored on a putback.

Fryeburg Academy appeared to get some momentum back when Grawe banked in a 3 with 4.1 seconds on the clock, but Levesque one-upped her with an improbable heave from beyond midcourt at the horn, which kissed off the glass and in to make it 24-14.

The Falcons then started the second quarter with a layup from Maddie Cormier (set up by Levesque).

With 6:10 left before halftime, Shaw drove for a layup, but the Raiders wouldn’t score again in the period.

The final dozen points went to Freeport, as Gelhar stole the ball and made a short jumper, Levesque drove for a layup, Gelhar set up Groves for a layup, Pillsbury made a free throw, Gelhar hit a pair, Pillsbury sank another, then Groves made a leaner at the horn for a commanding 38-16 advantage, capping a 25-5 surge.

Freeport freshman Emily Groves looks to pass as Fryeburg Academy junior Sydney Shaw defends.

The Falcons didn’t let up to start the second half, as Pillsbury stroked a 3-ball from the corner and Maddie Cormier added two free throws to make it 43-16.


With 6:38 to go in the third, a Grawe layup snapped the Raiders’ 7 minute, 32 second scoring drought and a 17-0 Freeport run. Byrne added a free throw, but Pillsbury countered with another 3 and after a 3 from Grawe, Maddie Cormier scored on a putback. Byrne made a layup, but Gelhar hit a jumper to push the lead to 50-24.

After Byrne made a free throw, Pillsbury sank her third 3-pointer of the frame.

“I just made one and kept shooting,” said Pillsbury.

Sophomore Celia Hernandez made a bank shot and Shaw set up Byrne for a layup, but in the final minute, Maddie Cormier converted an old-fashioned three-point play (putback, foul, free throw) and while Byrne made a free throw with 5.4 seconds on the clock, Freeport took a 56-30 lead to the final stanza.

There, Fryeburg Academy started fast, as Byrne drove for a layup and Shaw made a pair of free throws, but Gelhar sank a 3, then Levesque found Maddie Cormier for a layup.

“We’re figuring out other ways to get to the rim now that Mason’s gone,” Maddie Cormier said. “We’re doing a lot drills in practice on driving to the rim and kicking out to a shooter. That’s been very helpful.”


Junior Emma Keaten got two points back at the line for the Raiders, but Pillsbury countered with her final 3.

After a free throw from Shaw, sophomore Morgan Vachon scored the Falcons’ final points with a jumper and a late free throw from Shaw brought the curtain down on Freeport’s impressive 66-37 victory.

“It’s been amazing,” Maddie Cormier said. “We’ve bonded so much as a team this year. I think that translates to how we play on the court. We’re just showing up and seeing what we can do and playing our hardest. It’s fun to play against older players and see where we stand.”

Maddie Cormier, who received the team’s “hard hat” award for her play, wound up with 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

“Maddie is the workhorse,” said Farrington. “She does everything well. There’s really no weakness in her game and her effort is never in question.”

Pillsbury, the team’s lone senior, contributed 15 points, three rebounds and three steals.


“I have to show I’m a good role model,” Pillsbury said. “I try to be positive and not bring anybody down.”

“Angel is the best captain I could ask for,” said Maddie Cormier. “She’s a great teammate. She’s like a sister to me. She’s taught me so much about the game and keeping my composure and having fun as well.”

“Angel has a beautiful shot,” Farrington added. “She went from a quiet freshman, sophomore and junior into the leader of the program. The girls really look up to her and respect her opinion.”

Groves, who didn’t score in the second half, had 13 points, 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.

“Em brings a lot in the post because we lost (Mason) from last year,” Pillsbury said.

Gelhar also wound up in double-digits with 11 points, to go with six assists, six rebounds and three steals.


Levesque (six rebounds, five assists) added five points, Vachon had two and Abbie Cormier one.

Freeport enjoyed a 42-33 rebounding advantage, shot 12-of-20 from the free throw line and overcame 24 turnovers.

Fryeburg Academy, playing with just eight players available, was without junior star Mila Milosevic, who was out of the country.

The Raiders were paced by 14 points from Byrne (who also had six rebounds) and 13 from Grawe (who added five rebounds and a pair of steals). Shaw had six points (as well as seven rebounds, six assists and five steals) and Hernandez and Keaten each wound up with two.

Fryeburg Academy made half of its 20 free throw attempts and turned the ball over 30 times.

Long way to go


Fryeburg Academy tries again to get in the win column Thursday when Waynflete pays a visit.

Freeport is idle until Jan. 3, when it goes to Greely.

“We just need to continue playing together as a team,” Pillsbury said. “We play our best basketball when we play together.”

“We have to get better defensively and that starts with the coaching,” Farrington said. “I have to teach it better. We have to be able to guard the ball first, then finish the possession with a rebound. We go through stretches where we look really good defensively, then we have stretches where we kind of olé everybody.”

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

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