The No. 3 Freeport High School girls’ basketball team survived big shot after big shot by Cape Elizabeth High School’s Brooke Harvey for a 49-42 nailbiter in overtime in Thursday’s Class B South semifinal in Portland.
The win puts the Falcons back in the regional final for the second straight year, but it wasn’t easy.
Harvey buried two huge three-pointers, a breakaway layup and final-minute basket as the Capers stayed a step ahead of the Falcons most of the game and seemed primed for the win, clinging to a slim lead with the clock ticking away.
But Freeport’s Caroline Smith hit two free throws with 49 seconds left to tie it back up again, 40-40, and after another three-point try by Harvey at the buzzer didn’t fall, the game went into overtime.
Once into the extra frame, the Falcons did what they couldn’t through four quarters of regulation ball, and took control. Smith dominated in the paint in overtime, drawing three fouls and hitting five out of six free throws in the extra period to lead Freeport to the seven-point win.
Smith finished with 22 points in a game in which Cape Elizabeth held an advantage for most of the contest.
About a minute into the fourth quarter, Freeport’s Rachel Wall hit one of two free throws to give the Falcons their first lead since early in the first quarter, 27-26. It was the culmination of a slow climb back, as Freeport was down by seven late in the second quarter and inched back to within two points during a back-and-forth third.
But after Caper Isabel Berman responded with a basket to take the lead back, Harvey sank the first of her four late-game daggers, a three-pointer to put the lead back up to four, 31-27.
Again nursing a one-point lead with about five minutes left, Harvey hit another three, this time giving the Capers a 36-32 lead.
Freeport fought back, but Harvey’s steal and breakaway layup with 3:17 left broke another tie, 38-36. She did it again with a minute to go, fighting through traffic underneath for layup to break another 38-point tie.
That may have been enough to deliver the Capers a hard-fought victory, but two free throws by Smith tied it back up.
In addition to Smith’s five points, Mason Baker-Schlendering and Rachel Wall each scored an overtime basket to help the Falcons pull away.
Things could have gone very differently. Cape Elizabeth was up by seven points, 22-15, and was threatening to add on before halftime.
With the seconds ticking off the clock in the first half, Cape Elizabeth’s Alison Ingalls was looking for window through a pair of Freeport defenders on the top left corner. She tried to find a teammate at the top of the key, but it didn’t work — Falcon Catriona Gould swatted the pass down court to a sprinting Caroline Smith, who gathered the ball in stride and let go a soft buzzer-beating layup.
That cut the Caper lead to five, 22-17, just before halftime.
After the teams traded free throws, another breakaway lay-in about two minutes into the third period, this time by Freeport’s Rachel Wall, cut the gap down to three, 24-21. Then a Gould free throw about 90 seconds later made it 24-22,
A Smith runner in the lane tied things up at 24 with 3:12 left in the third, and after an Alison Gerety finger roll put Cape back up, Gould put one in from the right block to tie it up again, 26-26.
That’s when Harvey turned it on for Cape Elizabeth, but Freeport weathered the fourth quarter storm. Harvey finished with 15 points, while Caper teammate Isabel Berman was a threat throughout as well, scoring seven in the first half on the way to a nine-point game.
Rachel Wall added 13 points for Freeport.
The Falcons improve to 16-4 on the season, while Cape Elizabeth ends its season with a 9-11 record.
Freeport reached the semifinals with a quarterfinal round win over No. 6 Mountain Valley High School, 49-37. Cape Elizabeth topped No. 2 Oak High School in the quarterfinals, 34-26.