Defending champs take down Yarmouth on the road

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Yarmouth junior Clementine Blaschke defends Gray-New Gloucester sophomore Jordan Grant.

BOX SCORE

Gray-New Gloucester 33 Yarmouth 22

GNG- 8 5 10 10- 33
Y- 10 4 0 8- 22

GNG- Grant 2-4-8, Ryan 3-0-6, Hotham 2-0-5, Michaud 2-0-4, Thayer 1-1-3, Fortin 1-0-2, Jordan 1-0-2, West 0-2-2, Davis 0-1-1

Y- D’Appolonia 5-0-10, Blaschke 3-2-8, Caruso 1-0-2, McNeil 1-0-2

3-pointers:
GNG (1) Hotham 1

Turnovers:
GNG- 12
Y- 21

Free throws
GNG: 8-16
Y: 2-4

YARMOUTH—For one half of Friday evening’s girls’ basketball game, the host Yarmouth Clippers more than held their own against defending Class B state champion Gray-New Gloucester, leading, 14-13.

Everything then changed in a frustrating third period for the Clippers, who didn’t score a single point. The new-look Patriots made them pay, opening up a lead and never looking back en route to a 33-22 victory.

Gray-New Gloucester put nine girls in the scoring column and forced 21 turnovers as it improved to 4-1 and dropped Yarmouth to 2-3 in the process.

“This year, we’ve shown we can beat anybody and we could lose to anybody,” said Patriots coach Mike Andreasen. “It’s an even league and there are no teams on our schedule where we know we’ll win. Yarmouth’s scrappy and they hang around. They have kids who know how to win. We were fortunate to win tonight.”

Not enough offense

After losing several key contributors from its championship team, Gray-New Gloucester was expected to come back to the pack this winter, but after opening with a 38-34 loss at Lake Region, the Patriots beat host York (40-38) and Freeport (57-45), then downed visiting Poland (47-37). 

Yarmouth is coming off its best season in over a decade, but is also having to deal with replacing key players. The Clippers started with a 34-30 home loss to York, the won at Sacopee Valley (47-28). After a 44-35 home loss to Freeport, Yarmouth downed host Fryeburg Academy (38-18).

A year ago, the Patriots won both meetings, 46-35 in Yarmouth and 31-27 at home.

Friday, Yarmouth was seeking its first win over Gray-New Gloucester since Dec. 16, 2008 (37-35 in Gray), but the Patriots did enough to make it 18 straight in the series.

Gray-New Gloucester scored first on a jumper from junior Mikaela Ryan and the Clippers answered as senior Sara D’Appolonia set up junior Clementine Blaschke for a layup.

A Ryan putback put the Patriots back on top and Ryan added a baseline jumper for a 6-2 lead, but the next eight points went to the hosts.

Blaschke, after taking a pass from sophomore Ella Caruso, made a layup and D’Appolonia set up freshman Margaret McNeil for a layup on the fastbreak to tie the score. A D’Appolonia leaner gave Yarmouth its first lead and Blaschke added two foul shots for a 10-6 advantage.

With 21.1 seconds to go in the frame, sophomore Abigail Michaud drained a jumper to pull Gray-New Gloucester within two after eight minutes.

The Patriots then got the first five points of the second quarter, as two free throws from sophomore Jordan Grant tied the score, Grant took an inbounds pass from sophomore Eliza Hotham and made a layup, then Grant sank a free throw for a 13-10 lead.

With 4:07 remaining in the first half, D’Appolonia cut backdoor and took a pass from sophomore Adriana Whitlock and made a layup to snap a 4-minute, 37-second drought. A driving layup from D’Appolonia with 20.6 seconds on the clock gave Yarmouth a 14-13 halftime lead.

That would prove to be the Clippers’ highwater mark, however.

In the first 16 minutes, Blaschke and D’Appolonia both had six points and Yarmouth could have led by even more, but it turned the ball over 12 times.

Not surprisingly, Gray-New Gloucester responded like champions after intermission and the Clippers, despite some good looks, simply couldn’t counter.

Two minutes into the second half, the Patriots went on top to stay when Hotham hit a 3. Junior Brianna Jordan added a leaner, after being fouled on a 3-pointer, sophomore Madysen West made two of the free throws, and with 1:08 remaining, junior Alexa Thayer hit a bank shot while being fouled and added the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play for a 23-14 advantage after three quarters.

In the that period, Yarmouth missed two layups and had a 3-point shot go in-and-out.

The Clippers hoped to come back in the fourth quarter and got a putback from Caruso 11 seconds in to snap Gray-New Gloucester’s 10-0 run and an 8-minute, 31-second drought, but the Patriots extended their lead to double digits as Hotham made a jumper and sophomore Samantha Fortin hit a baseline jumper.

After D’Appolonia fed Blaschke for a layup, Michaud countered with a jumper.

With 4 minutes to go, D’Appolonia sank a long jumper that was originally counted as a 3-pointer, but changed to a two-point shot, which cut the deficit to 29-20.

Gray-New Gloucester wasn’t fazed, however, as Hotham set up Grant for a layup, Grant added a free throw and junior Chelsea Davis did the same. 

With 15.4 seconds remaining, D’Appolonia made one final jumper which accounted for the 33-22 final score.

“We had better communication in the second half,” Grant said. “We knew we had to step up. I looked more to pop it out tonight because I was getting double- or triple-teamed. We’re young, but we’re quick. We got looks in transition. We just had to look for a good shot.”

“Our defense was good, but our offense wasn’t clicking,” Andreasen said. “They played a junk defense on us. They had Sara mark up Bri and played basically a box-and-one. We didn’t shoot well.”

The Patriots were led by Grant, who had eight points and five steals.

Ryan added six points, Hotham five (to go with six rebounds), Michaud four, Thayer three, Fortin, Jordan and West two apiece and Davis one.

“Other people stepped up for them,” said Yarmouth coach Chris Strong. “We held Bri and Jordan well below their average, but Mike’s a great coach. He gets the most out of every girl who plays for him.”

Gray-New Gloucester made just 8 of 16 free throws and turned the ball over a dozen times.

Yarmouth’s offense was paced by D’Appolonia, who had a game-high 10 points. She also had nine rebounds, five steals and three assists. Blaschke added eight points and Caruso and McNeil each had two. 

The Clippers had a 27-19 rebounding advantage, got to the line for just four attempts (making two) and turned the ball over 21 times.

“Our Achilles’ heel right now is finishing around the rim,” Strong said. “We just don’t get the offense we need. I feel like we’re executing well and finding our cutters, but we miss our shots. That’s telltale of a young team. We play good, fast, tall teams and we get bumped and wen’re not used to it.”

A new start

Gray-New Gloucester’s schedule gets even tougher when the new year begins, as it goes to talented Greely Thursday.

“We’re athletic and we have to keep working hard,” Grant said.

“Everyone’s going to give us their best,” Andreasen said. 

Yarmouth hopes to bounce back when it opens the 2018 portion of its schedule at Wells Thursday, then plays at Traip Academy two days later.

“We are smart and we’re executing well and once we finish, we’ll be in games,” Strong said. “We have a lot of potential, despite being young. I’m not surprised we are where we are and I’m optimistic about where we can be. Our post players have so much potential. Our shooting is going to come. It’s a process and we have to be patient. I try to fire them up every game and keep their confidence high.”

Yarmouth junior Clementine Blaschke defends Gray-New Gloucester sophomore Jordan Grant.

Gray-New Gloucester junior Mikaela Ryan threads a pass around Yarmouth freshman Margaret McNeil. 

Gray-New Gloucester sophomore Abigail Michaud lines up a 3-point shot.

Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia tries to knock the ball away from Gray-New Gloucester junior Brianna Jordan during the teams’ contest Friday night. The defending Class B state champion Patriots rallied from a halftime deficit to win, 33-22.

Gray-New Gloucester sophomore Samantha Fortin is sandwiched by Yarmouth junior Ceanne Lyon, left, and sophomore Avery May.