Fryeburg Academy weekly sports recaps
Raiders 32, York 31: On a night that both teams struggled to put the ball into the hoop, Zoe Bodwell picked a great time to find her shooting stroke.
Bodwell showed both cool under the gun, as well as not being uptight moving onto the bigger high school stage on opening night. With five seconds left in regulation, Bodwell sank the game-winning 3-point shot to lift Fryeburg Academy to a 32-31 come-from-behind victory over York in the teams’ season opener at the Academy.
FA held a 3-2 lead after one, but then fell behind in the second half as the Wildcats jumped ahead with a 9-0 run to break a 12-12 halftime tie.
“I’m not sure that we played particularly well, but I haven’t watched the tape yet. I do know that we played with a lot of poise. Our kids were cool. Being down late didn’t seem to phase them. They were very focused and matter of fact,” FA Coach Sean Watson said. “I am not sure if any team really plays well on opening night. It certainly wasn’t the best game we have ever played, but it was one of the most exciting. Our student section behind our bench was really supportive. It was one of the better student sections we’ve had.”
Since his arrival, Watson has stressed defense, defense, defense. Fryeburg players delivered in the fourth quarter, getting key stops to trigger a 12-7 rally that ultimately enabled them to knock off the Cats.
“In the fourth quarter, York took quite a few shots that were one-and done-misses. We were able to get a stop, secure the rebound, and run our zone offense,” Coach Watson said. “Our zone offense wasn’t particularly impressive, but we got some good looks at the end. Senior starter Ali Fraize left the game with an injury and it forced us to go pretty deep into our bench. In the last couple of minutes. we decided to sub offense for defense every stoppage we could. We had Tina Leblanc (3 points) playing on the defensive end and got Zoe Bodwell in the game when we were going to have the ball.”
Makayla Cooper (4 points) and Nicole Bennett (5 points) really did a nice job securing rebounds in the second half. They combined for 14 second half rebounds (Nicole 9 and Makayla 5). Kaylie Eastman and Kaylee Emery (2 points) also had two rebounds each in the second half.
“Those eliminated the opportunity of York to get second chance point,” the coach said.
Kaylin Delaney netted a game-high seven points.
“Mackenzie Buzzell (6 points) was a rock for us, just as she has been since her freshman year,” Coach Watson said. “She played all but roughly 30 seconds (broken shoelace). She does everything. She has seen just about everything there is to see on a basketball court. She provides a real calming presence for us.”
Another key down the pivotal stretch was FA’s free throw shooting — 5 for 5 from the stripe as Delaney went 3-for-3 and Buzzell 2-for-2.
Coach Watson said the game-winning shot by Bodwell was not a set play.
“It came off of a couple of good passes in one of our zone offenses. We were trying to penetrate their zone a bit more to try and get two of their zone players to be forced to play the ball. If I remember the series correctly, Mackenzie penetrated the zone near the top and drew two defenders. She then kicked it out to the left wing to Kaylin,” Coach Watson said. “The bottom person in the zone was forced to come out and cover her. Kaylin then passed to Zoe in the corner. Zoe was open, her feet were behind the line, and she let it fly. The ball went through the net.”
York elected not to call a timeout as the Wildcats tried to quickly advance the ball and not let the Raiders set up their defense. But, FA picked off a pass with a second or so left to seal the deal.
“When we put Zoe into the game, we told her we were putting her in to shoot the basketball and to not pass up an open look. She had scored earlier in the quarter on a long jump shot. We gave her a little grief in a subsequent timeout, for shooting it with her foot on the three-point line. We don’t want kids shooting the ball from that distance without the benefit of the chance for an additional point,” Coach Watson added. “She did the right thing at the right time and we all benefitted.”
The Raiders’ motto for the season is, “Find A Way.” Before the game, Coach Watson wanted each player to find a way to do the right thing at the right time.
“They did when it counted,” Watson said.
- Tuesday, the Raiders dropped a tough 34-30 overtime loss to Poland.
Up next: The Raiders host Leavitt this Thursday at 6:3o p.m. The Hornets knocked off the Raiders in the playoffs a year ago.
“They will be really good. They have a ton of talent returning and will be one of the top contenders in Class A South,” Coach Watson said.
York 52, Raiders 35: Although the final score might indicate that York breezed to an opening night win over the Raiders, FA was actually within striking distance.
“The game was a lot closer than the final score,” FA Coach Sedge Saunders said.
Despite 26 turnovers, 1-of-10 shooting from behind the arc and three offensive rebounds · two came with a couple of minutes left), the Raiders were still hanging around with six minutes to go.
FA trailed 11-8 and 26-21 at the half.
“The turning point was probably the beginning of the second half when we had three empty possessions and York capitalized to build on its lead,” Coach Saunders said. “We didn’t roll over and we battled back time and time again, but when you don’t convert on the offensive end it puts a lot of pressure on your defense and eventually you’ll have a few breakdowns.”
For the most part, Coach Saunders felt his Raiders made York earn just about everything they got.
“Ultimately, we were just a step slow with the help on their big gun Trevor Labonte (26 points, 9-of-9 from the foul line) and that was the difference,” Coach Saunders said. “Tucker Buzzell did a great job on him, but he gave up 4 to 5 inches and we didn’t rotate quick enough to keep Labonte from getting to the rim on several occasions.”
The coach felt Ryan Hewes also played stellar defense and he could be one of the best on the ball defenders in the league as his confidence grows.
“We got the ball into the paint whether it be dribble penetration or post entry, but we either turned it over or didn’t finish,” the coach added. “I was very pleased with the way we attacked the basket. We just have to do a better job making a play after we beat our man. I expect our decisions and technique to vastly improve as the season progresses.”
Saunders was disappointed that his Raiders didn’t take care of the ball better, but was encouraged that despite not playing their best, FA was in the game on the road against a very tough opponent.
“I’m confident we will get better as the year goes on, and we will be a very dangerous team,” he said.
For the Raiders, Cody Gullikson was high scorer with 7 points, while Tucker Buzzell added 6 points, Oscar Saunders 4, Scott Parker 4, Caleb Bowles 2, Joe LeBrun 2 and Damian Eldrige 1.
- Tuesday, the Raider offense was red hot to start the game, opening with a 17-0 run en route to a 36-13 halftime lead, which they never gave up in a 62-44 victory over Poland (1-1).
Oscar Saunders was top gun for the Raiders with 15 points, including a pair of treys. Ryan Hewes added 12 including two treys, while Francesco Gianefilice netted 11 points.
FA connected for seven 3-pointers with Caleb Bowles dropping two and Cody Gullikson one.
Scorers were: Tucker Buzzell 8, Joe LeBrun 6, Bowles 6, Gullikson 4.
Up next: The Raiders host Cape Elizabeth on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Westbrook on Tuesday at 7 p.m.