Late heroics fall short

POLAND — Sarah Welch may not be known as a three-point threat, but her clutch shot nearly helped Fryeburg Academy snap a six-game losing skid.

Welch connected on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds Saturday to force overtime, but Poland rolled with a 13-4 run to capture a 58-49 victory.

After calling timeout with 5.5 seconds left in regulation, the Raiders flawlessly executed a play that found Welch open on the wing, where she drilled a 3-pointer sending the contest into overtime.

The Raiders (5-13) started overtime without center Skye Dole, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Senior guard Maggie McConkey would follow Dole to the FA bench shortly into the overtime frame when she picked up her fifth foul.

Poland (6-12) scored the first 8 points in overtime and the Raiders never recovered.

McConkey paced the Raiders with 12 points, 11 boards and 2 assists. Kendra Fox added 10 points and 8 boards, while Dole netted 7 points and hauled down 11 rebounds. Other FA scorers were: Emily Wilson 8, Welch 5, Maddie Smith 5 and Brenna Gerchman had 2 points.

“The game came down to the foul line. This was no surprise; it is Poland’s style. They want to get you out of rhythm and make you lose your composure,” FA Coach Dan Leland said. “We had a seven-point lead at half, a five-point lead after three, then we played into their hands. They took 21 more free throws than we did in the second half alone. That was the difference.”

While the Raiders fell short of their goal to reach the Class B West playoffs (one spot out of the hunt, posting their second straight 5-13 record), Coach Leland saw steady improvement as the season progressed.
“We played some great basketball in the final few games of the season. We were a much better team at the end of the year. I am proud of how the kids improved. They bonded as a group, they worked very hard and they were competitive in a very tough conference,” Coach Leland said. “I am fortunate to be part of such a tremendous program. I truly enjoyed the season and I can’t wait to get in the gym this summer.”

All Conference selections: Maggie McConkey was named a second-team Western Maine Conference All-Conference selection, and will play in the Senior Game. Skye Dole was a third-team selection, while Kendra Fox was an honorable mention pick. The Raiders will be honored at a banquet on March 12 at Southern Maine Community College.

Brenna Gerchman and McConkey were named All-Academic, All-Conference selections.

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