FREEPORT — This time around, Stevie Walsh was held in check.

But his teammates came up huge in the clutch to lead Yarmouth to a 45-39 boys’ basketball victory over Freeport on Tuesday evening.

Walsh, who scored 40 points in the first meeting between the teams this season, finished with 10, but big fourth-quarter baskets from Matt Gautreau, Evan Hamm and Nate Hagedorn helped the Clippers prevail for their third consecutive victory.

“It was a tough one,” said Yarmouth Coach Ilunga Mutombo. “(Freeport) adjusted to how we played them the first time around and did a good job on Stevie, but our guys just kept on pushing.”

Hamm led the Clippers (7-4) with 16 points, and Gautreau contributed 15.

“I feel like my teammates just set me up with good looks,” said Gautreau, Yarmouth’s point guard, who didn’t turn the ball over in the pressure-packed fourth quarter. “We did a great job getting the defense to collapse, then kicking the ball out.”


Gautreau hit a pair of 3-pointers and Hamm made another as Yarmouth opened a 12-10 lead after one quarter.

The Clippers then made it 21-14 on a Walsh floater with 1:38 left in the first half, but the Falcons (4-8) closed strong, snapping a nearly four-minute drought on a 3-pointer from Conner Smith, then cutting Yarmouth’s lead to a point when Connor Slocum made a 3-pointer just before halftime.

A 6-0 run, capped by a hook shot from big man JT Pound, gave Freeport a momentary lead late in the third quarter. Gautreau countered with a 3-pointer and the Clippers clung to a 28-26 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

There, Hagedorn scored a couple key hoops, Hamm twice scored on putbacks and Gautreau banked home a shot with just over a minute to go to clinch it.

“We’re getting our identity,” said Mutombo. “We’re jelling. You want to peak at the right time and if we do get in the playoffs, the guys will be ready to compete at a high level.”

Mutombo also credited the play of senior captain Liam Hickey, filling in for Justin Dawes who missed the game due to illness.


Hickey didn’t score, but did his best to minimize the damage of Pound (20 points, nine rebounds).

“I knew coming in I was going to help guard (JT),” Hickey said. “He’s really good and he made those hard hook shoots. I tried my best to guard him. That’s what Coach wanted me to do and that’s what I tried to do.”

Smith added 10 points for the Falcons, who had their chances down the stretch, but lost their fourth in a row.

“I love this team and they’re grinding and they’re getting tougher,” said Freeport Coach Tyler Tracy. “Every night they compete harder and harder. I keep telling them that we’re due for a big (win). Luckily, we have a handful of games left worth a lot of Heal points.”

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