Freeport’s Connor Slocum fights for a loose ball during last week’s Class A South semifinal round loss to Gray-New Gloucester. Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal

The Freeport boys’ and North Yarmouth Academy girls’ basketball teams enjoyed terrific campaigns this winter, but last week, their respective dreams of playing for regional titles were dashed in close semifinal round losses.

Best season since 2008

Freeport’s season was one of extremes, win streaks of six and four games and a stretch of three losses in four outings to close, but the Falcons still went 13-5, their best record since the 2007-08 team got all the way to the then-Western Class B Final

Freeport earned the fourth seed for the Class A South tournament and returned to form with a 64-54 victory over No. 5 Kennebunk in the quarterfinals.

Last Wednesday at the Portland Exposition Building, Freeport took on top-ranked Gray-New Gloucester in the semifinals and after falling behind early, 17-11, after one quarter, came to life and forged a 32-32 halftime tie. The Falcons even took a short-lived third period lead, but went down, 50-43, heading to the fourth quarter where a rally fell short and a 62-56 setback ended their season at 14-6. JT Pound had 18 points, Connor Slocum added 17 and Conner Smith finished with a dozen.

“It was a great high school basketball game,” said Freeport coach Tyler Tracy. “We gave them our best and they responded to all our runs, stops and big scores. It was a game that reflected the best of athletics. They brought out the best in us and we did the same for them.


“Losing hurts, but I wouldn’t trade this team for any other. I have 15 high-character guys who give their best effort to each other every night. It showed during the GNG game and I couldn’t be more proud.

“I’m so happy this group had a great season. They have an incredible work ethic, they all embrace their role and they are committed to getting better every day. This is also a team that played their best when their backs were against the wall. They went from a team that lost a handful of games by five pts or less in 2023, to 2024, where we won a lot of games when we were trailing in the fourth. This is just one example of the toughness and resilience of this team.”

The Falcons will be hard hit by graduation, as top contributors Pound, Slocum, Max Maneikis and Will Maneikis all depart. Smith is the lone returner who saw a lot of playing time this winter.

“We lose a lot with eight seniors graduating,” said Tracy. “As much as we will miss the seniors, they set an example for our younger guys of what it takes to be good. This team generated a lot of energy in the program and we have a group of returnees who are all eager for an opportunity to be part of the rotation. I’m optimistic about next year.”

North Yarmouth Academy’s Emily Robbins attempts to grab a rebound during last week’s Class C South semifinal round loss to Madison. Anna Chadwick /Morning Sentinel

The NYA girls, who reached the regional final in both 2022 and 2023 and suffered agonizing losses both times, again put together a terrific campaign, with a program-best-tying 17-1 record, good for the top seed in Class C South.

The Panthers had no trouble with No. 8 Carrabec in the quarterfinals last Tuesday in Augusta, advancing by virtue of a 37-19 victory. Graca Bila had a team-high 10 points, as well as eight rebounds, eight steals and two assists. Athena Gee added eight points and seven rebounds and Ella Giguere had six points, as well as nine rebounds, six steals, four assists and three blocked shots.


“We gave each other energy,” Bila said. “We calmed down when we needed to on offense.”

“We got the job done,” Giguere said. “There’s definitely pressure on us, but we wanted to come up here and relax and just focus on our play.”

“It wasn’t a game where we had a lot of opportunities,” Panthers coach Tom Robinson added. “We moved the ball well against the pressure. We played really good defense. I was impressed the way we played defense and rebounded.”

NYA returned to Augusta last Thursday to meet No. 4 Madison in the semifinals and the Panthers appeared poised to advance to a third straight regional final when they took a 13-4 lead after one quarter, but the Bulldogs cut the deficit to two by halftime, then outscored NYA, 29-17, in the second half to prevail, 47-37, ending the Panthers’ fine season at 18-2. Gee had 11 points, Giguere added eight and Emily Robbins had a dozen rebounds.

“We knew going in it was a tough matchup for us, with (Madison’s) aggressive man-to-man defense, because we faced a lot of zones during the season,” Robinson said. “I give them all the credit in the world. We played hard and we made some shots.

“It’s never a good feeling when you lose, but I’m happy with how the girls battled to the end. They left everything on the court.”


Bila is the lone player who will graduate and NYA should be in line for another deep run next winter.

“Graca is a great athlete,” Robinson said. “She brings energy. The kids gravitate to her. I don’t think she’s missed a practice or a game in four years.

“We will have eight out of our nine varsity players back. It will all depend if our returning players can continue to make improvement in their games. It’s a very coachable, hard-working team that still has room for growth.

“We have four returning starters. Ella does everything on the floor, both ends. Athena had some big games for us this year and can really shoot the ball. Emily made a huge jump from JV last year and looks to add more shooting. Ava Wilkinson made a huge jump from JV. She has good size and is really coming along.

“Our bench players, Alicia Fontana, Delia Fontana, Anaya Roundy and Dicey Speirs, have potential to really contribute.”

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

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