YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s girls’ basketball team has been knocking on the door of a signature win this season.

Tuesday evening at Stroud Gymnasium, the Clippers got over the hump and earned their biggest victory to date.

At the most optimal time.

Hosting Wells, a team that has given Yarmouth fits in recent years, the Clippers shot out of the gate and scored the game’s first 10 points, but by the end of the first quarter, the lead was just two points, 10-8.

The Warriors took a short-lived lead in the second period, but late baskets from freshman Giselle Jabar and senior Cate King allowed Yarmouth to cling to a 21-20 edge at the half.

Wells then went on top again late in the third quarter, but a putback from King made it 29-28 Clippers heading to the fourth period, where they would never trail.


King would score seven points in the final stanza and Yarmouth was able to gradually open it up and prevail, 46-39.

King led the way with 17 points and 14 rebounds and senior Maya Hagerty ended up in double figures as well, with 11 points, as the Clippers improved to 9-7 and in the process, dropped Wells to 11-5.

“This solidifies what we believe we are,” said Yarmouth coach Tom Panozzo. “We’ve lost some close games, so I think our record doesn’t show what we’re capable of, but these final games will be the test. We’re ready for the challenge and we’re healthy.”

A team to watch

Yarmouth opened with a 52-44 setback at York, then downed host Kents Hill (61-21) and beat visiting Cape Elizabeth (50-26) before losing at home to Oceanside, 55-34, and at Freeport (36-34). The Clippers then rattled off three straight wins, beating Falmouth (49-38) at the holiday tournament in Portland, host Medomak Valley (42-37) and visiting Lake Region (47-45, in overtime). After falling at Wells (40-32) and at home to Gray-New Gloucester (47-37), Yarmouth rolled at Cape Elizabeth, 60-30, then dropped a one-point home decision to Biddeford (29-28) before beating host Fryeburg Academy (52-43) and visiting Freeport (59-39). Saturday, the Clippers dropped a close one at Greely, 42-39.

Wells, meanwhile, won its first five games and after a 3-4 stretch, had won three in a row coming in.


In the teams’ first meeting Jan. 4, the host Warriors got 12 points from sophomore Megyn Mertens and 10 from junior Maren Maxon in their victory. The Clippers were paced by 13 points from King and 10 from senior Neena Panozzo.

Tuesday, Wells hoped to make it 10 straight victories in the series, but instead, Yarmouth beat the Warriors for the first time since Jan. 25, 2019 (37-22 on the road).

But it didn’t come easily.

Yarmouth senior Cate King makes a layup for two of her game-high 17 points in the Clippers’ 46-39 win over Wells Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

Early on, the Clippers threatened to run away and hide, as senior Aine Powers drove for a layup 10 seconds in, then Panozzo hit a jump shot in transition, Hagerty drained a short jumper and King scored on a putback, forcing Wells coach Sandi McPadden to call timeout.

It didn’t initially help, as King got a leaner to roll in with 3:09 on the clock for a 10-0 advantage, but the Warriors would control play the rest of the frame.

With 2:16 to go in the quarter, Maren Maxon hit a 3 to get Wells on the board.


Mertens added a pair of free throws before Maxon set up junior Kendall Maxon for a 3 to pull the Warriors within just two points, 10-8, heading for the second period.

Which would prove to be back-and-forth.

After Hagerty scored on a leaner 20 seconds in, ending the Wells run, Maren Maxon countered with two foul shots.

Senior Lauren Keaney made a free throw for Yarmouth, but Maren Maxon banked home a shot to make it a one-point game.

After Hagerty scored on a putback, Wells sophomore Payton Fazzina tied the score with a 3, then with 2:57 remaining in the half, Fazzina made two free throws to give the visitors their first lead.

After Keaney drove for a layup to tie the score, freshman Payton Maxon put the Warriors in front with a foul shot, but Jabar drove and banked home a shot, then King got a jumper to rattle in.


Late in the half, Payton Maxon took a pass from Mertens and made a layup, but the Clippers were still up a point, 21-20, at the break.

In the first 16 minutes, Hagerty and King each had six points for Yarmouth, while Maren Maxon paced Wells with seven points.

There wouldn’t be much separation in the third quarter either.

Wells junior Maren Maxon drives on Yarmouth senior Lauren Keaney.

The second half began with King sinking two free throws and King setting up Panozzo for a layup to push the lead to five.

Back came the visitors, as Fazzina drained a pair of foul shots and after Hagerty scored on a putback, Fazzina hit a jumper, Mertens made two free throws, then with 1:54 remaining in the quarter, Mertens got a jumper to fall in to put Wells in front, 28-27.

But with 39 seconds to go, King gave the Clippers the lead for good, as she scored on a putback, and the score was 29-28 heading to the fourth period.


There, Yarmouth did just enough to put it away.

Twelve seconds in, King scored on a layup.

With 6:59 remaining, King hit a jumper in the lane, getting a friendly bounce in the process, stretching the lead to 33-28.

“We put in one offense that has Maya and I down low and I think that worked,” King said. “Coach has taught me to demand the ball down low. He’s taught me to use my size as an advantage.”

“When the ball comes down low, people double us and Cate is wide open on the opposite side,” Hagerty said. “We have good chemistry down there.”

After Keaney made a free throw, Maren Maxon drove for a layup, but a Panozzo layup with 4:25 left made it 36-30 and the Clippers were feeling good.


But they weren’t home free yet.

After Maren Maxon hit a turnaround jumper, Hagerty made one of two free throws and with 3:11 to go, Mertens sank two foul shots to pull the Warriors within a single possession, 37-34.

Yarmouth then, finally, slammed the door.

First Powers went to the line and calmly sank both free throws with 1:47 to play.

Eleven seconds later, after a Keaney steal, Hagerty was fouled and she too made both foul shot attempts to push the lead to seven.

“I’ve been taught to visualize a lot before my free throws and it helps me calm down and tune everything else out,” Hagerty said.


After Kendall Maxon’s 3-point attempt went in-and-out, King scored on a putback with 1:15 remaining, seemingly icing it, but Mertens countered with a 3, then with 47 seconds left, a driving layup from Kendall Maxon pulled Wells within just four, 43-39.

The Warriors wouldn’t score again, however, and after King hit one free throw with 39.3 seconds on the clock, Keaney ended all doubt with two more foul shots with 15.9 seconds showing and the Clippers were able to finish it off, 46-39.

“We’ve had a lot of really close games we’ve lost this season, but we all knew we could beat Wells,” Hagerty said. “Proving it tonight felt good.”

“This gives us confidence,” said King. “We’ve been trending in the right direction. We’ve been super-close a couple times, but to beat a team like Wells feels great, especially for the seniors. It’s a really fun win.”

“It was a nice win,” Tom Panozzo added. “The girls played great defense, which is what we’ve been preaching all year. Defense and free throws win games and we had some composure at the end and didn’t throw it away. (Wells is) just a tough team, well coached, they’ll always keep fighting. We had a little size advantage and we utilized that.”

King was unstoppable in the paint and led the way with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Hagerty added 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Keaney (four rebounds) and Neena Panozzo (five rebounds) finished with six points each, while Powers had four (to go with four rebounds) and Jabar tallied two.


Yarmouth didn’t make a 3-pointer all night, although Keaney had three attempts go in-and-out, and made just 12-of-19 free throws, but enjoyed a 36-31 advantage on the glass and only turned the ball over on nine occasions.

Wells got 11 points apiece from Maren Maxon (who also contributed four rebounds, three steals) and Mertens (12 rebounds). Fazzina had nine points (as well as four rebounds and two steals), while Kendall Maxon finished with five points (as well as five rebounds and four assists) and Payton Maxon had three points.

The Warriors made 13-of-15 free throws and only committed 11 turnovers, but fell just short.

Two remain

Wells (currently ranked third in the Class B South Heal Points standings) wraps up its regular season with a game at Cape Elizabeth Friday and a home tilt versus Lake Region Monday.

Yarmouth, which is in the No. 7 spot in Class B South, stays home to face York Thursday, then welcomes Lake Region in the regular season finale Wednesday of next week.


The Clippers still have an opportunity to move up the standings.

“They’re both going to be tough games and if we win them, we’ll be in a good spot for playoffs,” Hagerty said.

“I feel like we snuck up people last year,” said King. “Hopefully this year, everybody knows we’re a pretty good team and I think we can surprise some people.”

“It’s just really coming together,” Tom Panozzo added. “We want to peak at the right time. We just have to refine our scoring, keep playing team defense, communicating and playing with confidence.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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