Greely overcomes adversity, beats Freeport in OT

Sport: Basketball (boys)

Posted: January 27th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Greely overcomes adversity, beats Freeport in OT
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR
01/27/08

FREEPORT- On the heels of their worst loss of the season, the Greely Rangers needed a win Saturday night against the host Freeport Falcons, one of the hottest teams in the league.

Greely would get back on the winning track, but it certainly wasn't easy. The Rangers built a 15-point third quarter lead, but watched it all slip away as the Falcons tied the game in the waning seconds. Overtime was all Greely, however, as the Rangers outscored the hosts 15-0 en route to a much-needed 76-61 victory.

"It was tough," said Greely sophomore Trevor Tierney, who led all scorers with 24 points. "I don't think I've played in an atmosphere like this. The crowd was crazy. We came in and played our game. It was fun. We're getting it together at the end of the season. We were coming off a tough loss. We knew we had to get it together or our season wouldn't go the way we wanted it to."

Two weeks ago, in Cumberland, Freeport beat the Rangers 58-51, sending Greely into a slump. The Rangers followed with a loss at Western C contender Traip Academy, then, after a home win over Waynflete, they were shocked at home by a Lake Region squad which has been middle of the pack this winter.

Conversely, Freeport's confidence has grown by the day and the Falcons took an 11-2 mark into Saturday's showdown, with their lone losses being a double-overtime setback at Falmouth and a two-point loss at Yarmouth on a buzzer-beater.

The Rangers would control play for most of the night, but needed to go four extra minutes to leave town with the win.

Just 13 seconds into the game, Tierney made a short jumper to set the tone. Twenty-three seconds later, the hosts answered and tied the score on a floater from senior Reid Christian. After Greely junior Chris Young made one of two free throws, Freeport took its only lead of the night, 4-3, on a layup by senior Kyle Flash. The Rangers would convert six layups in the opening quarter and led 15-10 after one, thanks in large part to seven points from Young.

The Falcons got three free throws from junior standout Jon Klages 40 seconds into the second period (after Klages was fouled attempting a 3-pointer). Thirty seconds later, Klages made a jumper and Freeport was even at 15-15, but the visitors would get the next nine points.

Young put Greely on top with an old-fashioned three-point play. Young then made a layup and senior standout Spenser Adams made back-to-back layups for a 24-15 lead. Flash ended the run and a 4 minute, 3 second drought with a free throw and senior Bejay Perkins added a jumper, but Adams responded with a 3-ball and it was 27-18 Rangers. After Klages made a jumper, Greely junior Ben Andreasen scored on a layup and Tierney hit a jumper for a 31-20 advantage. Klages answered with a foul shot, but sophomore Sam Thompson gave the Rangers a 33-21 halftime lead with a late layup.

"We try to get the ball up and down the floor," Greely coach Ken Marks said. "We were looking more inside than we have. That's where the baskets came in the first half."

"In the first half, our interior defense was the poorest performance rotation-wise we've had all year long," Falcons' coach Craig Sickels said. "We left guys open. We played the ball, but we didn't play the guys without the ball."

Freeport hoped to make a run in the second half and got off to a good start.

After Klages made a foul shot and Tierney answered with a layup, Perkins hit a jumper and a bank shot and Christian buried a jump shot to make it 35-28.

Greely then extended its lead.

First, Adams made a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. Tierney then sent a gorgeous pass to Thompson for a layup. Tierney added a layup of his own and junior Erik Thayer made a free throw to give the Rangers a seemingly commanding 43-28 bulge with 3 minutes to go in the period.

The Falcons would draw closer by quarter's end.

A rebound layup by Flash ended the 8-0 run. After Tierney made a free throw, Perkins nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and junior Cody Bartlett made a jumper in the lane to make it a 44-38 game. With 31 seconds left in the third, Tierney made two free throws, but Bartlett answered with a 3. Adams then gave his team some momentum heading for the fourth when he made a left-handed floater with just two seconds left to make it 48-41 Greely.

Bartlett got the final stanza off to a promising start for the hosts with a bank shot, but Tierney answered with a layup. Bartlett then beat a defender for a layup and Klages made two free throws to make it a 50-47 game with 7:03 to go. After Andreasen made a free throw, Bartlett did the same for Freeport and it was 52-48. With 6 minutes to go, Adams put home a rebound layup, but Klages made a leaner, then hit one of two foul shots to cut the deficit to three, 54-51. With 4:27 left, Flash made a short jumper and suddenly it was a one-point game, 54-53.

With 3:48 to go, Adams capped a perfectly orchestrated play by burying a 3-pointer and the lead was back to four, 57-53. Bartlett made a free throw for Freeport, but Tierney made one for Greely, Adams hit one as well, then Tierney made one more for a 60-54 advantage with 1:15 remaining.

The Falcons weren't done yet.

With 1:03 left, Christian hit a clutch 3. Eighteen seconds later, Klages calmly drained two foul shots to make it 60-59. Perkins then stole the ball for Freeport and called a timeout, but the Falcons immediately gave it right back to the Rangers.

With 33 seconds left, Adams made one of two free throws, but Klages came right back down and made a pretty running bank shot to tie the score at 61-61 with 19 seconds to go.

It was the first tie since 15-15.

It would also be the final point Freeport would score.

Adams had a great look to win the game in regulation, but his shot was off the mark and it was on to overtime, where Greely would simply dominate.

After both teams had opportunities to take the lead, the Rangers retook control when Tierney scored on a leaner, was fouled and made the free throw.

"Coach yelled at us a little bit, but we knew what we needed to do," Tierney said. "We let up, but we needed to come back strong. I was pretty pumped. It worked out well. It got the rest of the team pumped. We were just patient. In the first game, we forced shots. In this game, we hit cutters and it worked out well."

Nineteen seconds later, Tierney made yet another layup to make it 66-61. Adams then made two foul shots as the game slowly got out of the Falcons' reach. Young made back-to-back layups and suddenly it was 72-61. Andreasen and Tierney then both made a pair of foul shots to account for the final score as Greely survived with the 76-61 decision.

"We talked about the fact that people are getting geared up to play us and we weren't matching their intensity," Marks said. "I thought tonight, we matched their intensity. We had the game pretty much put away in regulation, but we made some mistakes. To come back and shut them out in overtime is pretty impressive after playing last night.

"Our whole philosophy tonight was just to play it and I thought they did. Especially in overtime."

"We played so well in the second half to get back in, but we didn't get many bounces," Sickels said. "To score 40 points in the second half, I thought that helped. I thought our defensive energy was better in the second half. It's unfortunate we couldn't carry it into overtime.

"I told the kids it's one game and one loss. Everyone's got two or three losses. Our losses have been in double overtime, in overtime and at the buzzer. We haven't gotten beat by someone we shouldn't get beaten by and we haven't got beat by a lot of points.

While Tierney led the way with his 24 points, he had plenty of company. Adams finished with 21, Young had 16, Andreasen finished with eight, Thompson had four and Thayer three.

"Trevor's playing very well right now," Marks said. "He's got a tremendous upside. Spenser hit some huge shots. He's tough off the dribble."

Freeport was paced by 18 from Klages. Perkins finished with 14.

"Bejay had a great game offensively and defensively," Sickels said. "He was a spark. That's what he's capable of doing. I hope this lights a fire under him. He sees the floor, he's a good shooter, he's quick on defense. I thought Cody was big. He had some big plays, but I think we went to him too much at the end. We didn't rebound well. We could have rebounded better."

Bartlett had 11 points, Christian nine, Flash seven and senior Tom Markelon two.

The Falcons (11-3 and third in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) step right back into the lion's den Tuesday when they go to red-hot Cape Elizabeth.

"It's going to be huge,"Sickels said. "We got them here once. It's going to be like this all over again. That will help us come tournament time. It would have been nice to get this one."

Greely (now 10-4 and fifth in Western B) visits Falmouth Tuesday.

"It's wide open," Marks said. "If Lake Region plays like they did last night, they could win too. There's a bunch of teams that are tough. We have some huge games to go."

"If we keep playing like this, I don't think anybody can beat us," Tierney added.