Lisbon senior guard Kaylin Le (12) looks for room against Freeport in a girls’ Class B South preliminary game at Freeport on Friday. Defending for the Falcons is Taylor Dostie (31).
FREEPORT — Just 14 seconds into Friday’s Class B South girls’ high school preliminary basketball game against Freeport, Lisbon coach Julie Petrie used a timeout. Two quick turnovers had the coach concerned.
Petrie’s worries only grew throughout a nightmarish first quarter, as the eighth-seeded Falcons pressed the Greyhounds into 11 turnovers and a quick 20-point deficit en route to a 64-37 victory.
Freeport, which improved to 12-7, will face top-seeded Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals at the Portland Expo on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Lisbon, which advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2011-12 season, ended at 9-10.
Behind 11 first-quarter points from freshman Caroline Smith and a ball-hawking press defense, the Falcons took control, leading 22-2 after eight minutes.
“This was my first playoff game, so the start was great,” said Smith, who finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists. “We came out with a lot of intensity on our own court in front of our crowd. I am typically more of a distributor of the ball, but luckily tonight my shots went in.”
“We wanted to have Caroline come out of the gate quick, and she has been a real calming factor for us this year,” Freeport coach Mike Hart said. “They ran the floor well, defended well, shot the ball extremely well.”
Petrie watched her team miss all 11 of its shots from the floor in the opening quarter, with several turnovers occurring near mid-court, allowing the Falcons to score several easy baskets.
“We played completely panicked and shell-shocked,” said Petrie of her team’s poor start. “Once they settled down, we did better. But, once we dug that hole, it was tough.”
Freeport kept the momentum going early in the second quarter, extending its lead to 26-2. Lisbon’s first field goal was a 3-pointer from Giana Russo with 6:12 remaining before halftime.
“They were just running the floor, and we weren’t getting back on defense, boxing out, at the beginning,” said Lisbon sophomore Valerie Doucette, who had seven points for the Greyhounds. “They pressed pretty much until the last quarter, and that frazzled us. We weren’t ready for that.”
Friday’s contest was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but due to this week’s snowstorms, the teams had to wait.
Hart used the extra time to get his team focused on ending a four-game regular-season closing losing skid.
“On Thursday we had a great practice. The kids were engaged, and it was a very aggressive practice. That is what you need to get ready to play,” Hart said.
“We really wanted to play Wednesday, then when it got postponed on Thursday, we were really bummed,” added Smith. “We were ready to go tonight, and our home crowd contributed to that.”
Trailing 28-7, Lisbon found some offensive flow. An 8-1 Greyhound run brought the visitors to 29-15 before a late Falcons surge sent the teams to the intermission with Freeport holding a 40-19 advantage.
“Lisbon wanted to win too, and sometimes you have the momentum and sometimes you don’t,” Hart said. “I expected them to push back and they did. But, we pushed back again and just had a great game.”
“It just isn’t easy to come all the way back from a 20-point deficit,” Petrie said.
Any chance Lisbon might have had heading to the second half quickly evaporated as Freeport senior forward Regan Lynch scored seven of her game-high 15 points in the third quarter and the Falcons extended their lead to 57-24 heading to the fourth quarter.
For Petrie, leading her team to the playoffs for the first time since her first season, was a big step after three straight near misses.
“We got a taste of this for the younger kids, and they will keep chipping away, set new goals and get back at it next season,” said Petrie, who talked about her six seniors — Kaylin Le, Jasmin Le, Bree Daigle, Ali Sult, Alika McMurrin and Kipri Steele. “They have been with me from the start. They have shown amazing growth. They worked hard tirelessly, and they will be irreplaceable in my heart.”
Russo led Lisbon with eight points, including a pair of treys, while Sult picked up five points, and Steele and Kaylin Le four points apiece. Steele had four steals, while Kaylin Le, Sult and Charlee Cox had five caroms apiece. Lisbon was 11-of-23 from the charity stripe and shot just 24 percent (12-of-49) from the field.
The Freeport defense forced 30 turnovers and held a 27-24 rebounding edge. The Falcons shot 34 percent from the field (23-of-66) and made 16-of-24 from the free-throw line.
Taylor Rinaldi joined Smith with 13 points for Freeport. She also had five steals and dished out three assists. Jessie Driscoll chipped in nine points, Lynch pulled down five rebounds and had three steals, while Catriona Gould led the Falcons with four steals.