Raider girls carve up Freeport press, 74-36

Mackenzie Buzzell (#13) enjoyed a solid shooting night for the Raiders, scoring a game-high points against Freeport. (Rivet Photo) RAIDERS (74) Julia Quinn 6-0-13, McKenna Gerchman 4-1-9, Nicole Bennett 1-1-3, Mackenzie Buzzell 8-2-18, Katherine Parker 1-0-2, Sage Boivin 1-0-2, Bridget Bailey 2-0-4, Makayla Cooper 3-2-8, Kaylin Delaney 1-3-6, Alexandria Fraize 0-1-1, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 4-0-8. 3-Pointers: Quinn, Delaney Turnovers: 20 FT: 10-of-19 (53%) FG: 31-of-63 (49%) Rebounds: (33) L’Heureux-Carland 7, Fraize 5, Bennett 4, Gerchman 44, Bailey 4, Delaney 3, Buzzell 2, Quinn 2, Parker 1, Cooper 1. FREEPORT (36) Megan Cormier 3-1-7, Regan Lynch 5-2-13, Taylor Rinaldi 6-1-16, Mackenzie Ackley, Kayla Belanger, Lauren Cormier, Jessie Gray, Bailey Karnes, Morgan Karnes, Jessica Wall. 3-Pointers: Lynch, Rinaldi 3 Turnovers: 38 FT: 4-of-13 (31%) FG: 13-of-41 (32%) Rebounds: 19

Mackenzie Buzzell (#13) enjoyed a solid shooting night for the Raiders, scoring a game-high 18 points against Freeport. (Rivet Photo)
RAIDERS (74)
Julia Quinn 6-0-13, McKenna Gerchman 4-1-9, Nicole Bennett 1-1-3, Mackenzie Buzzell 8-2-18, Katherine Parker 1-0-2, Sage Boivin 1-0-2, Bridget Bailey 2-0-4, Makayla Cooper 3-2-8, Kaylin Delaney 1-3-6, Alexandria Fraize 0-1-1, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 4-0-8.
3-Pointers: Quinn, Delaney
Turnovers: 20
FT: 10-of-19 (53%)
FG: 31-of-63 (49%)
Rebounds: (33) L’Heureux-Carland 7, Fraize 5, Bennett 4, Gerchman 44, Bailey 4, Delaney 3, Buzzell 2, Quinn 2, Parker 1, Cooper 1.
FREEPORT (36)
Megan Cormier 3-1-7, Regan Lynch 5-2-13, Taylor Rinaldi 6-1-16, Mackenzie Ackley, Kayla Belanger, Lauren Cormier, Jessie Gray, Bailey Karnes, Morgan Karnes, Jessica Wall.
3-Pointers: Lynch, Rinaldi 3
Turnovers: 38
FT: 4-of-13 (31%)
FG: 13-of-41 (32%)
Rebounds: 19

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer
FRYEBURG — Julia Quinn and Mackenzie Buzzell each may have had sore arms by the end of last Friday night’s basketball game.
Fryeburg Academy’s starting guards chewed up Freeport’s full-court press by either sending quick, long passes to open teammates or, when they saw a crack in the Falcon defense, they were rarely shy about attacking the hoop.
Buzzell scored a game-high 18 points and collected seven steals, and Quinn chipped in 13 points as the Raiders mauled Freeport 74-36 at Wadsworth Arena.
The Raiders gave former coach Mike Hart a rude welcome back as they ripped the Falcon’s (0-3) press en route to a 25-9 spurt in the second quarter to take command of the contest.
“Even our forwards have some court presence and can handle the ball, so our motto has been if there is an open player in front of you kick it ahead to her. Some teams won’t look to push the ball in transition because they are afraid their forwards will turn the ball over. We’ll take some gambles in transition,” FA Coach Sean Watson said. “I don’t mind the transition turnovers, it’s the half-court turnovers that kill you. Tonight, we did a good job kicking it ahead in transition against their pressure and even when they didn’t pressure we moved the ball quickly.”
Coming off a tough loss at Gray-New Gloucester and staring at a 0-2 start, the Raiders played with great intensity and urgency.
After falling behind 5-3 and 8-7 on a three-pointer by freshman Taylor Rinaldi (team high 16 points), the Raiders zeroed in on getting the ball inside the lane. Center Nicole Bennett powered past the Freeport defense for a bucket, and Buzzell scored six straight points, two off a steal and ensuing layup. Quinn got into the act, knocking down an outside jumper and closing out the quarter on an inside drive off a touch pass from Bennett.
Up 17-10, the Raiders really pushed the pedal to the metal in the second quarter, shooting a sizzling 9-of-12 from the field and 7-of-11 from the foul line to build a 42-19 lead at halftime. Buzzell continued to torment the Falcon backcourt by coming up with two steals and two quick scores.
Then, Coach Watson sent in his press team. Along with Buzzell, the FA combo of McKenna Gerchman, Kaylin Delaney, Alexandria Fraize and Katherine Parker pushed the lead to 15 as Gerchman scored seven of her nine points during a three-minute span.
Over the final 1:49, the Raiders went on a 9-0 run with Quinn and Buzzell triggering the damage. Delaney helped the cause by sinking 3-of-4 foul shots.
If someone was keeping a shot chart for the first half, the Raiders’ board would be chock-full of dots inside the lane — just what Coach Watson wants to see, especially since some players have struggled early on finding the range with their outside jumpshots.
“We’ve harped on getting the ball inside. We’ve taken kids out of the game because they don’t understand the situation. It is so much easier for our perimeter players to shoot the ball if it is coming from the inside out — kicking it out to them so they can step into the shot, than off the dribble,” Coach Watson said. “37 shots in the first half. That’s a whole bunch.”
What Coach Watson liked the most was the fact the Raiders were receiving quality minutes from nearly the entire squad.
“They understand that if it is a game like tonight or a close one, they must compete and show the moment is not too big for them. If they want varsity minutes, they need to prove themselves in practice and play well in varsity games,” the coach said. “We changed our substitution patterns a little bit, tried to conserve fouls, tried to use kids that may be best suited to press together. It is still a feeling out period for me, trying to figure out when we can and can’t press and which players we have confidence in. Ideally, I’d like to press for 32 minutes, but it appears we will have to pick our spots. Maybe this group will be our press group, with the goal to stretch the lead. We wore them down.”
Coach Hart seemed determined to keep his young Falcons in press mode, which ultimately backfired as the Raiders continued to manufacture easy scores with strong ball-handling, crisp passing and good decision-making. The end result: a 25-7 run.
Just how good was the offense in the middle quarters? The Raiders were 20-of-27 from the field — 74%! Meanwhile, Freeport was just 6-of-19 with 23 turnovers.
Forward Lexi L’Heureux-Carland was the early beneficiary of the Raiders’ ability to bust the press, scoring six straight points to start the third quarter. Of the team’s nine field goals in the period, eight were shots taken in the paint — the lone perimeter score was a 3-pointer by Delaney.
When the buzzer sounded, the Raiders had extended their lead to 67-26.
“What I liked most about tonight was our full court pressure (Freeport committed more turnovers — 38 — than they scored points), which was probably the best we’ve been so far. Our transition from defense to offense was very good. We kicked the ball ahead and it didn’t matter who was out ahead. We got some easy layups,” Coach Watson said. “Our kids are unselfish. To a fault, sometimes they are too unselfish, making another pass when I would like to see them shoot it and score it. They all seem to get along. The chemistry is very good.”
With FA bench players getting most of the court time in the fourth quarter, Freeport eked out a 10-7 advantage.
While it was just one night and one win, Coach Watson learned a few more things about this edition of Fryeburg Academy girls’ basketball.
“We’re experimenting right now to find out what works best in the long haul. The preseason is so short that you have to learn some things on the fly. I am always learning,” Coach Watson. “I told the kids they are a special group. Their parents think they are special. The community thinks they are special. But, we were a special group of kids who were 0-2. The record doesn’t lie. We didn’t want to be 0-3. Now, we are 1-2 and need to get to 2-2. It’s one game at a time.”
RAIDER SCOREBOARD
Gray-NG 52
Raiders 49
The Raiders rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit, but saw a final shot rattle off the rim in a loss at Gray-New Gloucester (2-0) last week.
Mackenzie Buzzell paced the FA attack with 12 points while Nicole Bennett added 11. Other scorers were: Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 8, Julia Quinn 6, Kaylin Delaney 4, Sage Boivin 4, McKenna Gerchman 3, Katerine Parker 1.
“It’s always a battle with them — really tough place to play. We were down 12 or 14 in the second quarter, and had foul trouble again. With 2:40 left, we were down one, but could never quite get ahead. With 20 seconds left, down one, the ball went out of bounds, and I felt it was ours. Apparently, it was off us, and was forced to foul. We had a shot to tie at the end, but it rimmed out,” Coach Watson said. “The kids have always been resilient — able to come back from adversity. Another minute or two, maybe it would have had a different outcome. We can’t dig ourselves holes. Same old story.”
Raiders 69
Kennebunk 45
Fryeburg put up 33 points by halftime and cruised past the Rams Monday night at Kennebunk as center Nicole Bennett fired in a game-high 19 points and junior Julia Quinn chipped in 17 points.
The Raiders won each quarter, outscoring the Rams (0-4) 18-12 in the second, third and fourth periods.
Other FA scorers were: Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 8, Bridget Bailey 8, Mackenzie Buzzell 7, Kaylin Delaney 4, Sage Boivin 2, Alexandra Fraize 2 and Rhianna Willard 2.
Up next: The Raiders travel to Poland this Saturday for a 7 p.m. game.

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