POLAND – The Fryeburg Academy girls’ basketball team won’t play a true home game for the foreseeable future.

That’s OK with the Raiders, though. Given the way they finished Saturday afternoon’s game at Poland Regional High School, the Raiders have a right to begin daydreaming about a game or two next month at the ultimate neutral site. As in the Cumberland County Civic Center, site of this year’s Western Class B tournament.

True, there’s a half-season to be played, but in putting away Poland, 64-43, Fryeburg looked like a team that has the goods to be playing deep into February.

“If we can put together four quarters like that last one, we’re going to be tough,” said Fryeburg coach Mike Hart. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. For what they’ve been through losing their gym, being bitten by the injury bug, they just keep playing.”

Fryeburg’s on-campus home court since the early 1950s, Gibson Gymnasium, was gutted by fire in October, a suspected case of arson. The Raiders (6-3) practice on borrowed hardwood in a converted livestock barn at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds and play most of their home games at Sacopee Valley High School in South Hiram.

They made themselves right at home during the fourth quarter Saturday, hitting seven straight shots, mostly in transition, to take command of a Western Maine Conference tussle that was too close for comfort.

Coreen Hennessy and Brie McInnic combined for 18 points in the fourth quarter for Fryeburg, which finished the game with a 20-4 surge.

Hennessy led all scorers with 23 points and made four steals. McInnis and Gwen Wheeler added 11 points apiece. Hannah Sawyer chalked up 10 points, while Kristen Hurd held court at both ends at the floor with five points, nine rebounds, seven assists and seven steals.

Their finishing kick punctuated a game that seemed to head in Poland’s direction from the middle of the second quarter until early in the fourth. The Knights (3-8) never led but pulled within four, 39-35, at the end of the third quarter and played the entire final period as the beneficiary of the double bonus.

But Poland only attempted four free throws in the fateful quarter, rarely venturing close enough to the basket to get hacked. Hennessy, Hurd and McInnis clogged the passing lanes on almost every possession, forcing 11 of the Knights’ 30 turnovers in the final eight minutes.

“We just made too many mistakes,” said Poland coach Barry Hackett. “We’ve been in a lot of close games. We’ve played better than this at the end of those games. You have to credit Fryeburg. Their energy was higher than ours. They were a lot more aggressive.”

Poland trailed by 10 in both the second and third quarters and made multiple runs behind balanced scoring. Sophomore Jen Dionne led the Knights with 11 points. Paige Piper added nine, Kelly Morse contributed eight and Mallory Huskins chipped in seven.


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