Raider Hoops: Girls upset Wells, boys try to solve skid

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Sean Watson has been waiting for a “signature” win in his two years as head girls’ basketball coach at Fryeburg Academy.

He finally got it last week.

Sophomore Alexis L’Heureux-Carland scored a career-high 19 points as the Raiders shocked third-ranked Wells 51–40 at Wadsworth Arena.

It was just the Warriors’ second loss of the season, and the upset propelled Fryeburg Academy into the thick of the playoff race.

“What an impressive effort by the girls. I’m going to guess that’s the biggest win for the program in quite awhile. I couldn’t be happier for them. Seeing their happiness and excitement was special,” Coach Watson said. “While that’s the biggest win for the program in a while, I hope we get even bigger ones real soon.”

Fryeburg started out quick with a 12-6 lead, and won three of the four quarters. That first quarter tied FA’s second best first quarter differential for the season. (Sydney Charles 2 points, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 4 points, Julia Quinn 6 points).

“Wells is a very good basketball team and they are very well-coached. On the defensive side, we thought going in that we matched up pretty well with them. Allison Furness is a tremendous scorer and nets over one-third of their points. With the exception of a couple of outings, the girls have done a good job defending teams with a primary scoring option. Sarah Welch and Mackenzie Buzzell have been fantastic at keeping star offensive players well under their season averages (Furness led Wells with 13 points),” Coach Watson said. “The rest of the team has also contributed to those efforts. It’s asking a lot for the other defenders to see their person, the ball, and Sarah and Mackenzie’s person. We’ve gotten a lot better doing that and communicating with one another in those situations. We ask Sarah to give us four straight minutes of pure unrelenting hustle and focus on the other teams scorer and then we rotate Mackenzie in and ask the same from her.”

Senior center Skye Dole has been incredible on the boards during the Raiders’ current streak. She had 15 rebounds versus Wells with nine in the second half. She also had four steals and three assists.

Point guard Julia Quinn netted 13 points, 4 steals and 2 assists. She had three first half 3-pointers (two in the first quarter), which really set the tone early and gave the Raiders a big shot of confidence.

Sophomore forward Alexis L'Heureux-Carland finally had a breakout offensive night.

“Lexi did a fantastic job finishing in our transition game. She was also able to get to the basket off the dribble from her spot on the wing,” Coach Watson said.

Fryeburg enjoyed a 22–18 lead at the half (Mackenzie Buzzell 2 points, Skye Dole 2 points, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 3 points, Julia Quinn 3 points).

L’Heureux-Carland scored six of the Raiders’ 11 points in the third period (Sarah Welch 1 point, McKenna Gerchman 2 points, Skye Dole 2 points).

“During the past few games the girls have done a nice job of limiting the opponents offensive production in the third period,” said Coach Watson, whose club held an 11–7 advantage in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Wells hit four 3-pointers (two by Nicole Moody and one each by Sydney LaChapelle and Allison Furness), and went 3 for 6 from the line for 15 points. Fryeburg scored 18 in the fourth (Skye Dole 2, Mackenzie Buzzell 3, Sarah Welch 3, Julia Quinn 4, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 6). The FA girls were 6 for 7 from the line in the quarter.

“We needed at least one big win down the stretch to keep our postseason hopes alive and beating Wells certainly qualifies as a big win,” Coach Watson said.

For the Raiders, Dole had 6 points, Buzzell 5, Welch 4, Charles 2 and McKenna Gerchman had 2 points.

No letdown

Riding a five-game win streak, Coach Watson wasn’t nervous before the Wells game.

“I didn’t know if we would win or not, but I was very confident we would play well. After that big win against Wells, I couldn’t have been more nervous before the Falmouth game,” he said.

When the coach showed up before the Falmouth game, he went in the training room to see who was receiving treatment and he started to tell a few of the girls how concerned he was about the possibility of a letdown.

“Before I could finish, McKenna Gerchman and Julia Quinn said, ‘Coach, we’ve already talked about this.’ I was still concerned, but I knew that girls had the proper frame of mind,” Coach Watson said.

The Raiders took care of business, beating the Yachtsmen 44–34 behind 12 points from Julia Quinn and 11 points by Skye Dole.

The first game against Falmouth was the start of the Raiders’ good run.

“We had just lost to Lake Region and were sitting at two and five. We went to Falmouth on a Thursday, went down by five in the first quarter and then cut their lead to two at the half. We had it tied after three and pulled away by three in the fourth. Falmouth hit a three pointer to tie it at 40-40 at the end of regulation. The girls showed their resolve by outscoring them 7–1 in overtime,” Coach Watson recalled.

After a grueling but fun three weeks, which saw the Raiders finally rise in the Heal Ratings, Coach Watson remained concerned.

FA got off to a good start against Falmouth, up 11–6 at the end of one. Julia Quinn, just like the night before, knocked down two threes in the period, Sara Welch and Skye Dole also had a basket each and McKenna Gerchman hit a free throw.

In the second quarter, Fryeburg expanded the lead to 24–12. Five players scored (Sarah Welch 2, Sage Boivin 2, Julia Quinn 2, McKenna Gerchman 2 and Skye Dole 5).

The rotation of Welch and Buzzell, with a lot of help from the rest of the defense, held Falmouth’s leading scorer Ally Hickey to one point in the half. She had just 6 points for the night.

Falmouth cut one point off the lead in the third period, outscoring FA 9–8. (Alexis L’Heureux-Carland 2, Skye Dole 2, McKenna Gerchman 2, Nicole Bennett 2.)

“Our depth really helped us out in this one. After an emotionally-charged win on Friday and with sickness affecting a lot of our players, we needed contributions from everyone. We had to deal with a bunch of illness this week. One day, we had to cut practice short with only eight players in school,” the coach said. “All 11 players saw important minutes before the third period was over. Most coaches don’t have the luxury of going 11 deep by the third period in a close game, especially with seven sophomores and freshmen on the roster.”

Coach Watson added, “Even if it is just one minute or two mistake-free minutes, even if you don’t add one item to the stat sheet, that minute or those minutes are crucial in close games. I know the bench players hear that a lot from the coaches, but I really hope they understand their importance to the team. We needed them versus Falmouth and they all stepped up and contributed.”

The Raiders held Falmouth off down the stretch in the fourth quarter. (Mackenzie Buzzell 2, Sydney Charles 2, Alexis L'Heureux-Carland 2, Skye Dole 2, Julia Quinn 3.)

“It’s been quite a run. We’ve been saying for the past three weeks that we can only control two things. We can’t control the bounce of the ball. We can’t control bad breaks. We can’t control the officials. We can’t control cheers and jeers,” Coach Watson said. “We can control two things, effort and attitude. The girls have given each other their best efforts and have given each other a great attitude, and it has certainly paid off.”

Streak snapped

Greely ended the Raiders’ win streak Tuesday night with a 44–39 victory in Cumberland.

Skye Dole led Fryeburg (8–7) with 11 points. Other scorers were: Julia Quinn 8, Mackenzie Buzzell 6, Sarah Welch 5, Alexis L’Heureux-Carland 4, McKenna Gerchman 3 and Sage Boivin 2.


Fryeburg Academy needs a turnaround game, right now.

The Raiders have a tenuous hold on a playoff spot, but after losing their fourth straight game Tuesday night to Greely, FA is in desperate need of a victory to hold on.

At 7–8, the Raiders are ninth in the current Heal Ratings, just ahead of Poland and Wells. The Top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs, with the Number 7 vs. Number 10 squaring off in one prelim game and Number 8 hosting Number 9 in the other opening round matchup.

Fryeburg battled top-ranked Greely tough for three quarters — tied 12–12 after one, up 23–18 at the half, and tied 27–27 after three. But, the Rangers pulled away with an 18–5 run in the fourth quarter to improve to 14–1.

Ryan Gullikson led the Raiders with 13 points. Jaquan Causer added 8 points while Ignacio Calleja had 5, Alex Blake 4 and Jon Burk 2.

• In other action, the Raiders fell to Falmouth 53–44. FA scorers were: Ryan Gullikson 16, Alex Blake 14, Jon Burk 10 and Jaquan Causer 4.

• In tight games, the Raiders haven’t fared very well this season. FA dropped another heartbreaker, falling to Wells 44–42 in overtime last week. Ryan Gullikson netted a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation, but the Raiders came up short.

Alex Blake paced the Raiders with 11 points, while Gullikson finished with 8 points. Other FA scorers were: Ignacio Calleja 7, Jon Burk 6, Jaquan Causer 5, Henry Santana 3 and Nicholis L’Heureux-Carland 2.



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