FALMOUTH—If you told Falmouth girls’ basketball coach Dawn Armandi prior to the game that her team would hold Thornton Academy junior standout Addisen Sulikowski to eight points, she would have liked the Navigators’ chances Friday night on their home court.

And Falmouth did exactly that, but the other four Golden Trojans starters produced double figures in points and that balance proved to be too much to overcome in an interclass showdown.

Thornton Academy held a 19-12 lead after one quarter and after the Navigators drew within two early in the second period, the Golden Trojans went on a 10-0 run and were up, 33-26, at the half.

Falmouth got no closer than seven in the second half, as Thornton Academy opened up a 47-34 advantage after three quarters, then pulled away to prevail, 66-46.

Senior Hannah Cook led the way with 20 points, as the Golden Trojans responded positively to its first loss, suffered 48 hours prior, improved to 14-1 on the season and in the process, dropped the Navigators to 9-5.

“They’re such a great team,” Armandi said, of Thornton Academy. “We wanted to go out there and make it a game, but we were out-sized. They’re a great shooting team, they can go in and out. I would have liked it to be less than 20 (points), but we battled.”


Too big, too strong

Thornton Academy, which lost to Scarborough in last year’s semifinals, entered the 2022-23 season as the Class AA South favorite and the Golden Trojans haven’t disappointed.

Thornton Academy dispatched its first 13 foes with varying degrees of ease.

The Golden Trojans opened with decisive wins over Scarborough (58-33) and Noble (75-25), then downed Bonny Eagle (61-40), South Portland (46-30), Gorham (58-40), Windham (55-43), Scarborough (52-42), Sanford (55-47), Portland (60-29), Gorham (50-45), Noble (60-15), South Portland (58-55) and Gorham (64-30).

Then, Wednesday, Thornton Academy went cold and lost at home to Cheverus, 49-35.

“I think it was something we needed,” Sulikowski said. “It prepares us for the tournament.”


Falmouth, which lost to Greely in the Class A South semifinal round last winter, is playing without senior standout Sloane Ginevan this season (due to the after-effects of a knee injury she suffered last spring), but the Navigators have remained competitive.

Falmouth won its first two outings, 74-16 over visiting Biddeford and 50-34 at Kennebunk, then lost at home to Marshwood (35-26), beat host South Portland on a late hoop (44-43), fell at home to Brunswick (61-36), handed host Mt. Ararat its first loss (49-37), lost at home to Gorham (52-32), then beat visiting Morse (72-28), downed host Greely (48-34), host Marshwood (46-34), visiting Westbrook (54-39) and host Portland (54-50). Tuesday, the Navigators’ five-game win streak came to an end with a narrow 42-37 setback at Brunswick.

Last year, the teams met in Saco, where Thornton Academy prevailed, 68-55.

Friday, Falmouth hung tough for much of the game before the Golden Trojans ended all doubt in the fourth period.

Falmouth junior Emily Abbott races past Thornton Academy senior Hannah Cook early in the Golden Trojans’ 66-46 victory Friday. Hoffer photos.

The Navigators scored first when junior Emily Abbott found senior Katie Lozoraitis for a layup and after Sulikowski made a layup off a feed from senior Jessica Dow, senior standout Anna Turgeon found senior Justine Means for a layup and a 4-2 Falmouth lead.

And that would be as good as it got for the home team.


With 5:02 to go in the opening stanza, an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) from Sulikowski put Thornton Academy on top to stay.

After Sulikowski set up Cook for a layup in transition, Lozoraitis made a free throw, but promising freshman Kylie Lamson set up Dow for a layup, then Lamson grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back with a reverse layup to make it 11-5.

Means countered with a 3, but Lamson hit a 3-ball of her own to keep the margin at six.

After Turgeon got a leaner to roll in for her first points, Cook buried a long 3.

In the final minute of the quarter, Means set up junior Reese Farraher for a layup, then Lamson drove for a layup to give the Golden Trojans a 19-12 advantage after one quarter.

The Navigators started the second period fast, as Turgeon sank a long 3, then junior Maddy Christman scored on a putback to make it a two-point game, but Thornton Academy went on a 10-0 run to get some breathing room.


First, senior Emily Coleman found Cook for a layup, then Lamson set up senior Morgan Bolduc in transition for another layup, forcing Armandi to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as Dow made two free throws, Coleman scored on a putback, then Dow capped the run with a putback for a 29-17 lead.

Abbott made a layup to end the surge, then Turgeon put home her own miss and added a free throw before Abbott buried a long 3 to cut the deficit to just four.

Sulikowski answered with a bank shot, but Abbott made a free throw to apparently give Falmouth momentum going to the half.

Then, at the horn, Lozoraitis was whistled for fouling Cook (much to the Navigators’ chagrin) and Cook made both free throws for a 33-26 lead at the break.

The Golden Trojans extended their advantage in the third period.


Falmouth senior Anna Turgeon defends Thornton Academy junior Addisen Sulikowski in a matchup of two of the state’s premier players.

Sulikowski opened the second half by setting up Coleman for a layup and after Abbott made a free throw, Dow banked home a shot for a 37-27 edge.

After Lozoraitis made a layup, Turgeon hit a free throw, but Lamson spun and banked home a shot and after Turgeon was off-target on a pair of 3-point attempts, Lamson sank two foul shots.

A bank shot from freshman Jane McPheeters pulled Falmouth within nine, but Lamson countered with a driving layup.

After Turgeon got a contested leaner to drop, Dow set up Cook for a layup, then Lamson got a jumper to rattle in to make it 47-34 heading to the final stanza.

Where Thornton Academy ended all doubt.

Abbott started the fourth quarter with a jumper and after Sulikowski found Cook for a layup, Lozoraitis sank two foul shots and Turgeon made one to make it a 10-point game, 49-39, with 6:38 to play.


Another 10-0 Golden Trojans’ run then slammed the door.

Coleman made one free throw, then missed the second, but Cook grabbed the rebound and threw it to Coleman while falling out of bounds and Coleman hit the short shot. After Sulikowski made a foul shot, Coleman scored on putbacks on consecutive possessions, then with 3:35 left, Sulikowski found Dow with a pretty pass and Dow made a layup for a 59-39 lead.

“We work in practice on rebounding, someone outlet passing and getting a wide open layup,” Sulikowski said. “That helps us go. Making a good pass gets me more hyped than scoring myself. That’s one of my favorite things.”

“When we’re most successful, we score off assisted baskets,” Golden Trojans coach Eric Marston said. “Addie has a motor that just doesn’t stop. When she’s distributing the ball and rebounding the ball, that’s when we’re at our best.”

Abbott countered with a 3 and Means set up Lozoraitis for a layup, but Cook made a 3, then Cook got a leaner to roll in and senior Camden Roche got a jumper to bounce in for Thornton Academy’s final points.

Abbott then hit two free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining and that brought the curtain down on the Golden Trojans’ 66-46 victory.


“Win or lose, we always play hard,” Sulikowski said.

“The girls were laser-focused coming in, but were really relaxed and loose without being undefeated hanging over their heads,” said Marston. “It’s like there was pressure off now and they played more freely. I’m happy how we responded from the other day. The girls didn’t hang their heads for a minute. They rallied around each other.

“I liked the pace we played at. We gave up some baskets at the defensive end, but you have to live with that when you play fast. Everyone stepped up.

“I think Falmouth’s a good squad. They’re a different team without Sloane, but Coach Armandi does a great job with them. They came ready to play.”

Cook led all scorers with 20 points and also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Lamson added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, Coleman had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds and Dow also wound up in double figures with 10 points (as well as 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots).


Sulikowski had eight points and also produced 14 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

“We wanted to take their best player out of the equation, but she found her teammates and they capitalized,” Armandi said.

Bolduc and Roche wound up with two points apiece.

Thornton Academy enjoyed a commanding 44-24 rebound advantage, made 9-of-11 free throws and overcame 16 turnovers.

Falmouth’s offense was paced by Abbott, who had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.

“Emily did an excellent job Tuesday against Brunswick and she took over a little bit tonight,” Armandi said. “She’s a great shooter and we’re always looking to her to score.”


Turgeon added a dozen points, to go with seven rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks. Lozoraitis had nine points, Means finished with five (to go with three assists) and Christman (six rebounds, three steals, two blocks), Farraher and McPheeters all contributed two.

The Navigators turned the ball over 13 times and shot just 10-of-18 from the free throw line.

“If we hit more free throws and shots we could have put more pressure on them and they might not have run away with it,” Armandi lamented.

Two weeks left

With the regular season rapidly winding down, both teams still have work to do to secure the best playoff positioning.

Thornton Academy (ranked first in the Class AA South Heal Points standings) is idle until next Friday, when Edward Little pays a visit. The Golden Trojans then host Bonny Eagle before closing at Sanford.


“We need to keep running our offense and not get frazzled by pressure,” Sulikowski. “We just need to stick together.”

“I can’t say enough about this team,” Marston said. “Everyone is all-in. We’re not quite at the point where we need to be to win a championship, but we’re getting close. We’re trying to dial in a few things on both ends of the court. I thought we took some big steps tonight, but we still have to get better to make a run.”

Falmouth (now sixth in Class A South) looks to bounce back Tuesday when it hosts second-ranked Mt. Ararat in a pivotal game. After visiting Biddeford and Westbrook, the Navigators finish up the regular season at home versus Kennebunk.

“We need to win out,” said Armandi. “Mt. Ararat is a must-win for us. I’ve said to the girls along that we have to trust the process because all these games are quizzes leading up to the final. As long as we’re ready by February, I’ll be happy. I believe in this group. Having Sloane out hurts, but we have great players. If they trust themselves and play like a team, we’ll go pretty far.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected].

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