Gray-New Gloucester’s Roland Buzzel drives to the hoop against Freeport’s Kenny Brewer-Frazee. Gray-New Gloucester’s David Ayer trails the play during Tuesday’s game.
FREEPORT — Freeport rallied from seven points down late in the second half to slip past Gray-New Gloucester 40-39 in Unified basketball action Tuesday.
Kenny Brewer-Frazee scored all of his points at the end of the game — he had Freeport’s final 10 points — including a steal and a hoop to seal the victory in the exciting finish.
In a game that saw 14 lead changes, the Patriots seemed to have started to pull away with a bucket from Andrew Michaud with under eight minutes to play, giving GNG at seven-point lead, 31-24.
Baskets on Freeport’s next three possessions by Isaac Porter, Anthony Bookataub and Katelyn Rioux, though, found the Falcons suddenly only trailing by one, 31-30, with three-and-a-half minutes remaining.
A layup by Gray-NG’s Mark Buzzell and a steal by teammate Roland Buzzell quickly put the visitors back up by five, 35-30.
Brewer-Frazee brought cheers from the crowd when he sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the lead to two. The senior tied the score after a Patriots miss, prompting a Gray-NG timeout with 57 seconds left.
Brewer-Frazee’s play brought compliments from his teammate.
“Kenny’s a good player,” said Porter. “He plays well for us and helped us at the end.”
Out of the timeout, Roland Buzzell once again tickled the twine as the Patriots retook the lead. But Brewer-Frazee answered by driving the lane on the other end, hitting a layup while getting fouled. The guard sank the free throw to break the tie and give the Falcons a one-point advantage, 38-37.
As the Patriots (4-2) brought the ball over half court, Brewer-Frazee stole the ball and registered an uncontested layup, prompting a timeout by GNG co-coach Jeff Duquette with 15 seconds remaining.
“I told the kids during the timeout, we don’t need a 3-pointer yet and to keep their heads in the game,” said Duquette. “Go for a quick two and get a timeout.”
Like the coach drew it up, Roland Buzzell took the inbounds pass and immediately dribbled to the hoop for a quick basket. Unfortunately the Patriots were unable to get the timeout and time expired.
“That was a lot of fun, it was exciting,” Roland Buzzell said. “This is my second year and I’m having fun.”
Leading up to the exciting finish, both teams fought back and forth throughout the first half and into the second.
It was a low scoring first half, but not short on action.
Porter became a big presence underneath almost immediately for Freeport. Using his height advantage, the junior grabbed his own misses off the rim, putting them back for points.
The post player tallied all six of his first-half points in the opening minutes as the Falcons raced out to a 6-3 lead. The Patriots’ first points came on a basket from behind the arc by Ryan Verrill.
Verrill finished with five first-half points, followed by Mark Buzzell’s four and Andrew Parker’s two as the Patriots trailed Freeport 12-11 at the break.
Along with Porter’s six, Bookataub netted four and TJ Farrington had a basket for the Falcons (4-1) after 20 minutes of play.
The Falcons and Patriots became much more acclimated with basket to open the second half. Each team was successful on its first few possessions of the half, distributing the points amongst themselves.
Gray-NG got a pair of baskets from Parker to start the half, followed by Nicholas Villanueva netting four points and Austin Andrews chipping in with a basket.
Porter led Freeport in the second half with eight points, finishing with a game-high 14 points.
“It was really, really fun. It got a little rough at the end, but we were OK,” Porter said. “We’re hoping to win the rest of our games.”
Rioux, Bookataub and Jared Ladd also got baskets for the Falcons in the final half. Rioux and Bookataub each finished with six points in the win.
Verrill paced the Patriots with nine points, followed by Parker and Mark Buzzell’s eight. Roland Buzzell chipped in with six.
After the final buzzer, each team congratulated one another on the game, as players, partners and coaches shook hands.
“It’s great to come out here and work with these students,” Freeport partner Liam Holt, a sophomore, said. “To build these friendships here on the court and see it carry into the hallways in school is something special.”
Gray-New Gloucester’s Ryan Verrill dribbles against the defense of Freeport’s Wei Zang during Tuesday’s game.
Gray-New Gloucester’s David Ayer shoots against Freeport’s Isaac Porter during Tuesday’s game.