Prelim hoops: Capers turn the tables on Raider girls

JULIA QUINN of Fryeburg Academy takes the ball strong to the hoop against Cape Elizabeth's Hannah Sawyer. (Rivet Photos)

JULIA QUINN of Fryeburg Academy takes the ball strong to the hoop against Cape Elizabeth's Hannah Sawyer. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — In crunch time, Madeleine Bowe was money.

The junior guard was 4-for-4 from the foul line in the last 30 seconds to help lead Cape Elizabeth to a 34-26 victory last Wednesday over Fryeburg Academy.

The victory moved the Capers to Tuesday’s Class B West quarterfinal, which they upset top-seeded and undefeated Spruce Mountain.

Bowe scored eight of her 10 points from the charity stripe as the Capers (10-9) turned the table on the eighth-ranked Raiders (9-10).

Fryeburg climbed out of a big hole in the fourth quarter as Lexi L’Heureux-Carland hauled down an offensive rebound and scored with 5:51 left, to give the Raiders a 26-25 lead — their first of the game.

There were plenty of whistles — not music to the ears of either coach — down the stretch, and Cape capitalized by making 7-of-9.

Fryeburg had chances to either tie or regain the lead, but a lob pass inside went out of bounds and a seemingly open shot by L’Heureux-Carland on a drive to the rim was blocked from behind by Cape’s athletic guard Montana Braxton with 15.5 seconds left.

“We just didn’t convert. We were looking for a good shot. We don’t have many ‘set’ plays. We thought we had some good options, but it didn’t work out,” FA Coach Sean Watson said.

BLOCKED FROM BEHIND — Fryeburg Academy's Lexi L'Heureux-Carland drives to the hoop only to have her shot blocked by Cape's Montana Braxton.

BLOCKED FROM BEHIND — Fryeburg Academy's Lexi L'Heureux-Carland drives to the hoop only to have her shot blocked by Cape's Montana Braxton.

L’Heureux-Carland was forced to foul, and Cape extended their lead to 32-26 as Bowe made the second pair of free throws.

Unlike their first meeting, the Raiders struggled on the offensive end, shooting at a 2-for-11 clip to start the prelim tourney game.

“The last time we played them, we did a better job against their 1-3-1 splitting gaps,” Coach Watson said. “For whatever reason — maybe they were thinking the gaps were closing — they were trying to do the right things. They stuck with the same game plan defensively as the last time, which I was a little surprised by, but they played well.”

L’Heureux-Carland (9 points, 20 rebounds, eight offensive boards) was aggressive to the hoop, keeping the Raiders close, down 5-4.

Over the final three minutes, Cape went on a 10-0 run as Braxton connected on a 3-pointer and Ashley Tinsman converted an offensive rebound into points.

Fryeburg made a mini run to start the second as Julia Quinn sank a pull-up jumper and L’Heureux-Carland went 2-of-4 from the line.

With Cape shooting just 1-of-11 from the floor, the door seemed opened for the Raiders to make a strong bid to narrow the gap before intermission.

McKenna Gerchman found Makenzie Buzzell inside the lane for a layup and Quinn scored off an aggressive take to the rim as Fryeburg closed within 19-12 at the half — not too bad considering a horrid 5-of-21 shooting clip from the floor.

“Unlike the first meeting, I thought we gave up a number of second chance points in the first half, that we didn’t in the second half,” Coach Watson said. “They hit some shots from the perimeter that they didn’t in the first game. They had other kids step up tonight.”

Fryeburg continued to play gritty defense, limiting the Capers to just two made shots — a Tinsman baseline jumper and an offensive rebound putback by Bowe — in the third quarter.

HOLDING HER GROUND — FA's McKenna Gerchman defends a shot attempt by Cape's Katherine Breed.

HOLDING HER GROUND — FA's McKenna Gerchman defends a shot attempt by Cape's Katherine Breed.

Starting out 3-of-6 from the foul line, the Raiders inched closer when Sage Boivin connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner. Cape responded with four points in the closing two minutes to lead 25-19 after three quarters.

Fryeburg turned up the pressure on Cape, scoring the first seven points of the final period as Buzzell picked up a foul call on a strong take to the hoop, and she converted both free throws.

After Nicole Bennett made 1-of-2 free throws, Boivin also was rewarded for her aggressive move to the hoop, netting a pair of foul shots to put the Raiders down just one.

Clawing back from a deficit all game, the Raiders seemingly let out a sigh of relief when L’Heureux-Carland scored off her eighth offensive rebound of the game for a 26-25 FA lead.

“Lexi had a monster game,” Coach Watson said. “She was sick the first part of the year, and it took a while for her to recover. The last five or six games, she has been super aggressive. Against Gray-NG, she had 15 rebounds and 16 points. Everybody plays hard, but sometimes with the matchups, she gets some opportunities. Sometimes, it’s Julia or Mackenzie. We don’t worry about individual points.”

Cape had one run of its own left in the tank. It proved enough to advance them to the next round, while leaving the Raiders somewhat stunned that their season had come to an end.

“We were gassed when we finally got a lead. I called a timeout after getting two stops in a row to catch our breath. Maybe I shouldn’t have because we had some momentum,” Coach Watson said. “I thought the rest was more important than the momentum, which was probably a mistake.”

“Overall, it was a low-scoring game, but we did play hard. There was no letdown. Their zone caused us some problems that I hadn’t anticipated. We got some good looks, but the perimeter shots didn’t fall for us,” Coach Watson said.

But, there is plenty of promise left. With no seniors on the team, the Raiders figure to be a formidable opponent next season — if they can take the next steps.

“Basketball aside, this was a trying season for these kids. There was a lot of adversity they had to deal with. They really hung together. There are things more important than basketball,” Coach Watson added. “They were able to focus on basketball, helped each other out when it wasn’t time for basketball. We didn’t use our youth as an excuse once (no seniors). It’s a special opportunity because there aren’t many teams that don’t have a senior on them. They get to come back with the same exact group for a second year. We had kids crying in the locker room. It sounds crazy to say I was glad they were crying. It means it really meant a lot to them to show that kind of emotion. I hope they learned nothing is given to you. When the opportunity presents itself, you need to do your darndest to take advantage of it. Early in the season, we looked past a few teams because we thought we were better than we were. We corrected that over Christmas break. The kids were resilient after starting 3-7. We notched a couple of big wins at the end. We need to carry that forward.”

Stat lines

Raiders: Julia Quinn 6, Nicole Bennett 1, Mackenzie Buzzell 4, Sage Boivin 6, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 9.

Capers: Hannah Sawyer 6, Ashley Tinsman 5, Montana Braxton 7, Madeleine Bowe 10, Katherine Breed 6.

Turnovers: FA 10, Cape 10

FT: FA 11-of-20, CE 12-of-17

FG: FA 7-of-44, CE 9-of-35

Rebounds: FA 34, CE 22



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