Raiders win second straight with clutch free throw shooting

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH— With the game on the line, Fryeburg Academy free throw shooters made their shots count.

The Raiders were 8-of-10 over the final 2:30 and 23-of-28 for the game as Fryeburg held off Cape Elizabeth Saturday night, 56-48.

Center Skye Dole made seven free throws en route to a game-high 15 points and six rebounds, while freshmen Lexi L’Heureux-Carland and Julia Quinn (five assists) made 5 and 6 shots respectively. Quinn finished with 12 points while L’Heureux-Carland (nine rebounds, two assists, 5 of 6 from the line) added 10 points, including a big 3-pointer off an in-bounds play to break a 39-39 tie in the fourth quarter.

After the Raiders (2-4) led 25-19 at the half, Cape Elizabeth (1-5) rallied with an 11-1 run over the last five minutes of the third quarter to take a 1-point lead. L’Heureux-Carland helped the Raiders steal back some momentum with the clutch trey.

“It wasn’t a set play for her, but she had a wide open look and didn’t hesitate to shoot it,” FA Coach Sean Watson said. “It was our only three-point attempt of the game.”

The Raiders closed out the game by out scoring the Capers 24-17 to notch their second win of the season. Part of the success has been the emergence of the two freshmen, L’Heureux-Carland and Quinn.

“Each day and each game, Lexi and Julia, along with the rest of our players, have improved. The Western Maine Conference is a tough conference with some great talent. Having freshmen step up and contribute is a laudable feat,” Coach Watson said. “I think both Lexi and Julia have gained confidence and it is starting to manifest in games. It’s been there in practice and now we are seeing it more and more in games.”

Quinn gives the Raiders an extra ballhandler on the floor, which has helped FA against full court pressure.

“She also does a nice job of defending the ball when teams go with a smaller line-up,” Coach Watson said. “Lexi has started to show more intensity around the basket. Her nine rebounds off the bench against Cape really helped us in the second half. She is also becoming more assertive on offense. Lexi is versatile, in that she can and has played shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center for us.”

Part of their development process has been the willingness of FA veteran players to welcome them into the fold and help the rookies along.

“Our upper classmen have been very accepting of our younger players from day one. I know it must not be easy for seniors and juniors to be giving up quality minutes to freshmen and I’m sure it isn’t a lot of fun at times,” Coach Watson said. “However, we’ve made it a point not to have ‘freshmen’ or ‘sophomores’ or ‘juniors’ or ‘seniors,’ we have ‘players’ and we have ‘teammates.’ Our captains — Ellen Bacchiocchi and Kendra Fox — have been fantastic leaders in that respect. There have been a couple of games where Ellen has come off the bench instead of starting and she couldn’t have been better about it. To a person, the girls have put the team ahead of any individual wants.”

A reason the Raiders have won recently is the fact they have started games better.

“We talked after the Poland game (our fourth loss in four games) about weathering the early season storm. Weathering the storm wasn’t necessarily about wins and losses, but about whether or not we could stick together as a team and continue to practice and play hard and as one unit after a lot of early season adversity,” Coach Watson said. “I couldn’t be happier with how the girls responded at Yarmouth and again at Cape. Getting back-to-back wins on the road is a heck of an accomplishment, especially in this conference.”

The Raiders were “balanced” offensively against Cape. Fox added nine points and five rebounds, while Sydney Charles had six (four in the first quarter) and Sarah Welch chipped in four points and hauled down six rebounds. Bacchiocchi had two rebounds.

“I’m not sure if we’ve turned any corners. It sure is nice to break the ice and get of couple wins under our belt. As a coaching staff, you really need the kids to buy what you’re selling. After four consecutive losses to start the season, as a coach, you hope the kids don’t tune you out. I’m so happy for the kids. You want their hard work and effort rewarded,” Coach Watson said. “We still have a tough row to hoe.”

Up next: The Raiders head to Wells tonight, Jan. 3 for a 6:30 p.m. game. FA is home on Saturday against Waynflete at 7 p.m. Next week, the Raiders host Freeport on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Please follow and like us: