PORTLAND— Six Patriots contributed points – Nick Pelletier led with 12 – in the team’s B South semifinal vs. Wells at Cross Insurance Arena on Thursday night, Feb. 21. But once G-NG fell behind the Warriors midway through the first, they never recovered, and ultimately succumbed 49-32.
“We made some nice runs,” G-NG head coach Ryan Deschenes said. “To end the half; we made that run to cut it to three with three or four minutes left in the fourth. We just couldn’t put it together consistently.”
Beyond Pelletier’s 12, Hunter Colby added eight, Zack Pomerleau seven, John Martin five, Wyatt Edwards three and Matt Johnson two.
G-NG jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead on Colby and Pomerleau buckets, but Wells shortly took over, Tyler Bridge, Payton Mckay and Matt Sherburne doing the honors.
The Patriots would play catch-up – and never quite succeed – for the rest of the game. Their next basket – an Edwards three-pointer – came after the Warriors has already passed the double-digits mark.
Martin, the Patriots’ leading scorer in recent years, closed the first with a pair of free-throws – the buckets brought his boys within four at 13-9 – and began the second with a two for 13-11, but the Warriors zoomed ahead again as the minutes elapsed, reaching 22-13 before Colby hit a free and snapped the run.
“I felt John got some good looks early that didn’t go in,” Deschenes said. “I don’t know if the injury played a part tonight; he didn’t look the same defensively. Game one, he really defended Sherburne well, so we had to make a switch on that.”
Martin suffered a bad fall in G-NG’s quarterfinals bout vs. Spruce Mountain.
“You don’t want to blame an injury,” Deschenes said. “But it’s tough timing for a great young man and player that gave so much for this program. Such is life.”
The remainder of the second belonged to the Patriots: Johnson hit a two and Pomerleau fought up the lane for a skillful, if ugly, drop-in. Pomerleau capped the half with a three, and at the buzzer, it still looked like anybody’s W: 24-21, Wells.
The third cost the Patriots perhaps more than any other stretch, as the Warriors outstripped them 12-5: Pelletier put up all of G-NG’s meager take (on a two and a three), and the Warriors ended the quarter with a pair of Bridge frees following a Martin foul.
“My concern was, Wells, they were going to show their toughness and Championship experience,” Deschenes said. “And they did. And that was the difference. My guys had great toughness tonight; we didn’t quit. [Wells] could’ve pulled away.
G-NG kept their focus, and clawed back within four at the start of the fourth on a Colby offensive rebound for two, a Pelletier two and a Pelletier three; 37-33. The Warriors, though, had 12 points – all but two of which came on foul shots – left in them after that, while the Patriots had just four, two frees by Pelletier and one each by Martin and Colby.
G-NG’s season came to a screening halt.
“They obviously tried to take John out,” Deschenes said. “Then Pomerleau got going for a stretch, and then Hunter had a little stretch and then Pelletier had a little stretch; we just couldn’t put it together.”
G-NG returns to the sidelines until 2019-2020 at 13-7. The No. 4 Patriots earned a bye through the postseason prelims, then cut down five-seed Spruce Mountain 45-34 in the quarters, thereby reaching Wells.
The Patriots topped the Warriors 60-56 in overtime back on Jan. 18.
“I’m really proud of these guys,” Deschenes said. “I’m really hurt for them that we can’t play in a Regional Final, but you tip your hat to Wells.”
“Every year is tough when you end,” Deschenes said. “And this is as tough as it’s ever been in my 13 years. I feel so bad…I really wanted to take this team to a Regional Final. These seniors deserved it.”
Six talented seniors dotted the Patriots roster this year: Pomerleau, Edwards, Martin, Colby, Ryan Lachance and Connor Myatt.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Zack Pomerleau battles up the lane.
Wyatt Edwards surveys his pass options.
Hunter Colby lofts up a two attempt.
John Martin drives inward for G-NG.
Nick Pelletier takes to the air for the Patriots.
Hunter Colby takes to the court.
Ryan Lachance takes to the court as the starting lineups are announced.
John Martin takes to the court as the starters are announced.
Nick Pelletier is announced as a starter.
Zack Pomerleau charges onto the court just prior to tipoff.
Nick Pelletier posted the Patriots’ high score.