FA girls nearly zone out Greely

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — When your team loses by 25 points, you need to try something different.

Fryeburg Academy Coach Sean Watson admittedly “swallowed his pride” and abandoned a man-to-man defense approach against Greely and switched to a two-three zone.

It worked.

Almost.

The Raiders gave fourth-ranked Greely all the Rangers could handle Saturday in Cumberland before falling 35-25.

“We may have played our best 28 consecutive minutes of basketball of the season,” Coach Watson said. “Unfortunately, the game is 32 minutes long. We were patient and poised against their zone. We moved the ball well, got a lot of open looks and made shots.”

After getting blown out early in the season (54-29) and getting a chance to see Greely against York, Coach Watson decided to install a zone defense last week.

“Our girls did a fantastic job playing zone for the first time,” he said.

The Raiders trailed 11-8 after one quarter and went to the locker room tied a 19-19. Fryeburg continued to stay close as both teams struggled to score in the third quarter. Greely had a 5-4 edge.

With about four minutes to go, Greely was up four and pulled the ball out against the FA zone.

“We made a decision to let them stall until about the two minute mark. I figured we were right in it if we were down four with two to go,” Coach Watson said. “We extended the zone a bit and they turned it over twice, but we gave the ball right back each time. We were in a position where we had to match up and then foul. They made six consecutive free throws without us scoring and that was the difference.”

Greely changed up their defensive look in the fourth quarter, playing man-to-man. FA had good looks at the hoop, but were unable to convert, scoring just 2 points — a pair of Julia Quinn foul shots — over the final eight minutes.

“I told the girls after the game how proud I was and that we’ve come a long way, but this is varsity basketball and winning is important,” Coach Watson said. “We need to finish games and that we’ll get there.”

For the Raiders, Sarah Welch was high scorer with 8 points. Other scorers were: Julia Quinn 5, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 4, Skye Dole 4 and Sydney Charles had 4 points. Ashley and Jacyln Storey each had 11 points for Greely (12-2).

With just three games left, time is certainly running out on the Raiders’ hopes to make the post-season. With point rich games left with Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region and Poland, Coach Watson has yet to give up hope.

“I was and still am really hoping that the girls would get to experience the post-season. They’ve worked hard all season and I’d like to see their efforts rewarded. We knew going into the Greely game that we would need at least two wins in our last five games to even have a chance to get to a prelim game. A win against Greely, with all of their points, would have put us in an excellent position to make the prelims with one more win. At this point, the girls know it might now take three wins,” Coach Watson said.

The Raiders have been so close all season from knocking off teams eyeing the playoffs. They just keep falling short.

“I’m really not sure if the girls know how close they are to their competition. They should be fully aware. They’re smart kids, Honor Roll, National Honor Society students, (things I was totally unfamiliar with, when I was at the Academy). If I’m aware of their potential I bet they know, they’re a heck of a lot smarter than I am,” Coach Watson added. “Win or lose, if we can play well in our last four (games) I’ll be happy and I hope the girls will be happy. I’d like to have our seniors — Kendra, Ellen, and Sage — finish the season on a high note and I’d like the returning members to have some positives to build on that might allow them to look forward to summer basketball.”

Games remaining: The Raiders host Gray-New Gloucester Friday at 6 p.m., then travel to Lake Region on Monday for a 7 p.m. contest, and close out the regular season with a home game against Poland next Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

 

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