GRAY–The Rangers dropped in on the Patriots for a battle of the undefeateds on Thursday night, January 3: The scoreboard see-sawed from one team’s favor to the next for three quarters, but Greely pulled ahead for the last time at the start of the fourth. Double-digit performances by G-NG’s Eliza Hotham and Jordan Grant weren’t enough to overmatch the Rangers’ own standouts, including Anna DeWolfe, who led all scorers with 23.
53-45 the final as G-NG slides to 6-1 and Greely advances to 7-0.
“One big thing we’ve been preaching to our kids for two years now has been the confidence,” Patriots head coach Mike Andreasen said. “Just being able to close out a game, being able to play with somebody till the end.”
“They’re one of the best teams in the State,” Andreasen said of the Rangers. “A, B, C, AA – whatever. They beat South Portland by double digits. They’d beaten everybody. So to play with them means we’re a pretty good team.”
“Fortunately, we won’t see Greely in the Class B tournament,” Andreasen added, chuckling.
G-NG kicked off the action when Grant grabbed an offensive rebound and dished to Hotham, who converted. Greely responded for 2-2; Grant made it 4-2; Ranger Madison Scott made it 5-4; Grant made it 5-5. The teams met again at 7-7, but then Greely started to inch out front, reaching 14-9 on a DeWolfe three. Hotham fed Sam Fortin for an inside basket to close the first at 14-11.
The Patriots began the second with a 6-2 run to retake the advantage: Mikaela Ryan, Hotham, and Bri Jordan all knocked down twos for 17-16. Greely pulled even again at 17-17 on a DeWolfe free, before Hotham and Mollie Obar traded twos for 19-19. Hotham hit a three, though, and Ryan recovered from a Greely steal attempt then fired forward to Grant for a layup to secure a 24-19 Patriots upper-hand at the break.
“We said we had to keep this game in the 40s in order to have a chance,” Andreasen said. “We kept them to 53. That’s probably their lowest-scoring game of the year.”
Greely averages roughly 67 points per contest.
Greely outpaced G-NG through the third, but not by much – by just enough to balance the scoreboard. An early Jordan three kept the Patriots out front 27-21, but a couple Katie Fitzpatrick baskets and a Julia Martel steal-basket combo helped push the Rangers close again, 29-27.
Late in the quarter, Hotham hit another three to for 34-32, but DeWolfe responded with a two; Grant followed with an underneath two, but once more DeWolfe answered, and the third ended at 36-all.
“We were ahead by five at the half,” Andreasen said, “and if we get a basket, we’re up four at the end of the third – so as bad as the third quarter was, we still were only at a negative one. What’d we do? We threw the ball away. DeWolfe comes down, does a little step back at the buzzer. Now, that two-point lead, instead of being four, it’s now tied going into the fourth quarter.”
“Our body language – our kids have just not be in those situations,” Andreasen said. “And Anna DeWolfe just looks so comfortable making those plays.”
The first few minutes of the fourth – that’s when the Patriots stumbled and the Rangers made their move: Greely surged on eight straight points, thanks to DeWolfe, grabbing the lead for the last time.
G-NG tried to claw back, but they never drew closer than six: Hotham fed Ryan for a two and 46-40, Grant bucketed for 48-42, and Jordan tallied the team’s last points – a three for 51-45. Greely emerged victorious.
“Really poor decision-making for us,” Andreasen said of his girls’ late-game play. “There were cross-court passes, there were lateral passes. They were like the football out pattern where the guy does the pick six.”
Hotham finished with 14 for the Patriots, and Grant 13. Jordan had eight, Ryan six and Fortin four.
Beyond DeWolfe’s 23 for Greely, Clement finished with 13. Fitzpatrick, Martel and Obar each had four. Scott had three and Madison Storey two.
“We did try to say that this game wasn’t going to make us if we won, no was it going to break us if we lost,” Andreasen said. “We wanted a good basketball game against a quality opponent; we got that. We weren’t able to do some things down the stretch that we wanted to, like make shots or stop Anna, but I think it’s going to better ready us, because they stretched us the way nobody has yet.”
G-NG travels to Fryeburg on Tuesday the 8th, then Yarmouth two days later. They visit Waynflete next Saturday. Greely, meanwhile, ventured to Gorham on Saturday the 5th. They host York on the 8th, travel to Freeport on the 10th and host Oxford Hills on the 12th.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Alexa Thayer drives inside for the Patriots.
Eliza Hotham led the Patriots’ attack on Thursday night.
Sam Fortin lofts a ball toward the backboard.
Mikaela Ryan unwinds into a volley.
Bri Jordan loses control as she takes to the air, swarmed by Greely defenders.
Madysen West surveys her options, on the attack beyond the arc.
Jordan Grant collides with a Greely opponent, en route to the net.