PORTLAND — As a freshman, Johanna Bogue Marlow played on a Freeport girls’ basketball team that won two games.
Three years later, Bogue Marlow and her teammates are to heading to where the Falcons haven’t been in more than four decades – the regional semifinals.
Tuesday morning at the Portland Expo, Bogue Marlow stole a pass and then hit a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining to clinch a 46-42 victory over Wells in the Class B South quarterfinals.
“I baited (the pass) and it was just instinct,” she said. “I was super nervous (at the line). I missed free throws earlier in the game. Everyone was screaming. I was just trying to pretend I was back at our home court during practice.”
Third-seeded Freeport (15-4) advances to meet No. 2 Poland in the regional semifinals Thursday at 1 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena. The Falcons last appeared in the semifinals in 1977, when they were in Class C.
Freeport got off to a fast start Tuesday, as Megan Cormier came off the bench and produced a three-point play for a 9-4 lead. After Wells drew even at 9-9, the Falcons closed the first period on an 8-2 run, capped by a jumper from Bogue Marlow for a 17-11 advantage.
The Warriors cranked up the defensive intensity in the second quarter and Freeport went cold, scoring just one field goal. Wells drew even on a three-point play from Megan Schneider. The Warriors went ahead on a layup from Franny Ramsdell, who had 27 points in the teams’ regular-season meeting, but was held scoreless in the first period. A jumper by Freeport’s Caroline Smith jumper tied the game, but a late putback from Mallory Aromando gave the Warriors a 22-20 halftime advantage.
The Falcons then turned to two of their leaders, Smith and Allie Goodman, to go on top for good in the third period. They clung to a 33-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“(Caroline and I) knew we had to pick it up and be more assertive,” said Goodman. “This is a different environment.”
The Falcons expanded their lead by eight points in the fourth quarter. A layup by Smith with 1:43 to go seemingly iced it, making it 44-36, but the Warriors battled back within 44-42 on a Ramsdell layup with 18 seconds remaining.
When Goodman missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Wells had a chance to tie the game or go ahead. But Bogue Marlow stepped in front of a pass and clinched the game with her free throws after being fouled.
“For me, it’s all about getting past the first game,” said Falcons Coach Mike Hart. “It’s huge mentally for this group to win. It won’t get any easier from here on out, but it will be fun.”
Freeport was paced by 12 points from Goodman, 11 from Smith and 10 from Jessie Driscoll.
No. 6 Wells (10-9) got nine points apiece from Ramsdell and Schneider.
“We were down two and had the basketball and that’s all you can ask for,” said Warriors Coach Don Abbott. “I would have loved to have won the game, but it was a fun game to be in. That’s what Maine high school tournament basketball is all about.”