Mallory nets 15 to lead Raiders past Greely

WALKER MALLORY (#24) has been a consistent scorer for the Raiders all season, and posted 15 points in a big win over Greely last week, propelling FA in the Heals. Here, Mallory fires a shot against Lake Region. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — When a team puts together effort and execution, good things usually happen.

Needing a “signature” win to get them off the playoff bubble, Fryeburg Academy moved up a couple of big spots in the Class B Heal Ratings with a 46-37 victory over Greely at Wadsworth Arena Saturday night.

The Raiders continued their late season surge, capturing their fifth win over the last six games as Walker Mallory netted 15 points.

Fryeburg opened quickly with a 19-7 run. The Raiders kept the pace up and built the lead to 30-13 at the half.

“We came out of the gates fast and our plan was to wear them down. My thoughts were it would be a dogfight until the fourth and hopefully we would wear them down with constant pressure and close the deal,” Raider Coach Sedge Saunders said. “But by jumping out to a 30-13 lead at the half, we really gave ourselves an opportunity to finish them off a lot sooner than we had hoped. We truly felt we had the advantage as far as quickness and endurance and we wanted to maximize both.”

Greely, which is ranked seventh at 8-6, showed plenty of fight in the second half — out scoring the Raiders 8-6 and 16-10.

“To Greely’s credit, they kept fighting and cut the lead to single digits, but we showed poise and a consistent effort on defense down the stretch,” Coach Saunders said. “It’s not easy playing with a lead against a half-court trap because you have conflicting thoughts — should I attack or just take time off the clock?  We wanted to do both and I thought the kids did a decent job of making that happen.”

Fryeburg felt the presence of 6-foot-7 Ranger center Mike McDevitt (game-high 19 points), who sent a few FA shots into the cheap seats.

“We did score just enough to maintain a comfortable lead and psychologically, this made a big difference,” Coach Saunder said. “The reality is, Greely having to dig out of a huge hole a halftime, was the difference for us. They were already tired at the half and they just didn’t have enough fuel in reserve to climb out of that hole.”

For the Raiders, Bright Amoako scored 9 pointns, Jaquan Causer chipped in 8 points and Tyler Saunders added 6 points. Ryan Gullikson and Alex Lazich each had 4 points.

With three games left, the Raiders want to keep playing their best ball as the tourney arrives — and maybe also climb a few more rungs in the Heal ladder.

“I don’t like to put too much emphasis on one game so we talked about continuing to play better and competing every possession, but obviously the kids knew this was huge in terms of heal points, and it in no way made them tense. They were excited for the challenge and felt it was their game to win,” Coach Saunders said. “This team is coming together...very similar to last year. It takes a while to build trust and get in sync when you have a lot of new faces. This team believes in each other and trusts each other. Roles have been defined and accepted. We are playing like a true team.”

Part of the success, Coach Saunders said, is due to the strong play from reserves, especially Alex Lazich and Ryan Gullikson.

“We are getting great play from our point guard, Bright Amoako. He is a unique player who can dominate a game without scoring many points. His line for the Greely game is a great example: 14 rebounds 6 assists and 7 steals — he also took a charge,” Coach Saunders said. “Jonathan Burk is another kid who is having a huge impact without big scoring numbers. His effort the other night was outstanding.”

 

Coach Saunders says the Raiders have a lot of work still to do. He feels the Raiders can play even better, which they will need to do facing a tough road ahead.

“We must take the same approach of trying to be the best team we can be down the stretch and just deal with the things we can control,” the coach said. “We’re not taking anything for granted at this point.”

Games remaining: The Raiders travel to Gray-New Gloucester on Friday for a 6 p.m. game. FA then travels to Lake Region on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game and close out the regular season next Friday, Feb. 8 at Poland at 7 p.m.

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