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PORTLAND—The Greely girls’ basketball team was a runaway train Thursday afternoon at Cross Insurance Arena.
Or perhaps more accurately, a Moira Train.
And a whole lot more.
The third-ranked Rangers battled No. 2 Gray-New Gloucester in a Western Class B semifinal that everyone expected to be closely contested down to the wire.
Instead, it turned into one of the more amazing statements in recent memory.
Greely never trailed and behind a pair of first quarter 3-pointers from Train, a sophomore sharpshooter, and her classmate Isabel Porter, it scored 23 of the game’s first 28 points.
And the Rangers weren’t done.
By halftime, Greely had all but salted away the victory, leading, 34-10, and when Porter canned a 3 with 2:33 to go in the third period, the score was a mindboggling 47-12.
The Patriots finished strong, but the Rangers were never threatened and they went on to one of the most impressive playoff victories in program history, 57-34.
Train had a game-high 22 points, Porter added 16 and senior standout Ashley Storey finished with 12 as Greely improved to 18-2, ended Gray-New Gloucester’s season at 18-2 and advanced to meet Cinderella No. 9 seed Cape Elizabeth (12-9) in the Western Class B Final Saturday at 2 p.m., at CIA.
“This might be the most rewarding victory,” said Rangers coach Joel Rogers. “We finally physically stood up to them. They pushed us around the last three games, but they didn’t do that this afternoon.”
Way back on Opening Night, Dec. 5, Gray-New Gloucester made headlines with a surprisingly decisive 59-47 victory at Greely. The Patriots shot lights out from the free throw line and from behind the 3-point arc and the Rangers played most of the game without senior Haley Felkel, but still, Gray-New Gloucester made its point and went on to a phenomenal 17-1 campaign, which was marred only by a loss at Fryeburg Academy Jan. 13.
Greely, meanwhile, soon hit its stride and only fell once more, at York on Jan. 8.
As the No. 2 seed, the Patriots fended off the upset bid of No. 10 Poland Tuesday in the quarterfinals, 45-37.
Despite being ranked third, the Rangers had the daunting task of facing recent nemesis Lake Region, the defending champion and No. 6 seed, in their quarterfinal, but Greely went on to a 45-31 victory to get another shot at Gray-New Gloucester.
Entering the game, the teams had met just three previous times in the playoffs, all coming in a six year span (see sidebar).
Thursday, in the teams’ first postseason encounter since the 2006 quarterfinals, the Rangers continued to show why they have what it takes to go all the way.
Greely got off to a fast start as Felkel saved a ball that was going out of bounds right to Storey for a leaner and the first basket. After a Gray-New Gloucester turnover, Train set up Storey for a jumper a 4-0 lead.
After four possessions resulted in three turnovers and a blocked shot, Patriots coach Mike Andreasen called timeout and sophomore Grace Kariotis made a 3, but that was as good as it would get for Gray-New Gloucester.
In the final 3:03 of the first period, the Rangers went on a 19-2 run.
Train got it started with a 3 and then Porter took center stage in her first game on the Cross Insurance Arena floor.
First, Porter took a pass from Felkel and made a layup. Next she took a long pass from Storey and made a layup while being fouled, then added the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play. If that wasn’t enough, a long range 3 was even more demoralizing to the Patriots as it pushed Greely’s lead to 15-3.
Porter, who missed playing in the tournament as a freshman due to a concussion, looked like a seasoned pro Thursday, but she felt like anything but.
“I was so nervous coming out,” Porter said. “Maybe I didn’t show it, but I was coming out of my skin. Once I started making shots, I got confident and I shot more and more.”
You’d better believe Porter’s teammates and coaches appreciate her contributions.
“Her energy is great,” Storey said. “She’s ready to go every time she’s on the court. That helps us get in the groove.”
“Isabel was unbelievable,” Rogers said. “She’s been great for us.”
A Kariotis layup after a steal from senior Maria Valente snapped the 9-0 run, but in the final minute, the Rangers got a 3 from Train, a jumper from senior Kristina Smith and a deep 3 (which banked home) from Porter at the horn for a staggering 23-5 advantage.
“I guess we were confident in our shots today,” Train said. “We knew if Ashley kicked it out, we’d nail our shots. We kept shooting. (Isabel) always nails her shots.”
Gray-New Gloucester turned the ball over nine times in the period, but even if it took better care of the ball, it’s doubtful it would have survived Greely’s onslaught.
The Rangers didn’t let up in the second quarter, as Felkel set up Storey for a layup and Train buried a 3 to make it 28-5. After sophomore Skye Conley made a jump shot, sophomore Isabelle DeTroy did the same to pull the Patriots within 28-9, but Storey countered with a leaner. Conley made a free throw, but Felkel set up Storey for a layup and Porter finished a feed from junior Sarah Felkel with a layup and Greely was up by the stunning score of 34-10 at halftime.
The Rangers continued to add to their lead in the third quarter.
Haley Felkel set up Train to start the second half. Felkel then buried a 3. DeTroy countered with a layup, but Train made a free throw, sophomore Molly Chapin made a jumper, Felkel set up Storey for a layup and Porter made another 3 for a 47-12 lead.
DeTroy ended the 8-0 run with a leaner and Conley made a bank shot, but a Train floater made it 49-16 after three periods (Train blocked a shot at the horn for good measure).
“The first half was darn near perfect and I thought the third period was perfect considering the circumstances,” Rogers said. “It put the game away.”
To their credit, the Patriots played hard until the end.
With 7:24 to play, Valente scored her first point at the line. Sophomore Alicia Dumont then completed a three-point play, but a baseline jumper from Train ended a 3 minute, 37 second drought. Kariotis sank a 3, but Train countered with one of her own to make it 54-25. After a putback from junior Alanna Camerl, Train made her final 3 for a 57-27 lead.
Greely wouldn’t score again, but it didn’t matter.
Down the stretch, DeTroy made a jumper, hit a free throw and made another jumper and a jumper from senior Michaela MacDonald brought the curtain down on the Rangers’ 57-34 triumph.
“I think we knew we needed to win this game because it’s now or never for us,” Train said. “We had to get off to a good start. It felt really good.”
“The last time we shot like that was our last home game against York,” Storey said. “When we shoot like that, we’re ready to go. In practice, we take a lot of shots to get ready for big games like this. We knew we could beat them. They’re obviously a good team, but we needed to come out and play like we knew how to play.”
“Our defense really started it all,” Porter said. “That sparked us. We ran our plays and got our shots. We work a lot on shooting in practice. This whole season, we wanted to play Gray again and we knew we could beat them if we had Haley. With her, we can do anything.”
“The plan was to mix in some man to man with our zone, but it was working so well and I decided to stay with it,” Rogers added. “Valente couldn’t find a spot where she got comfortable. She tried to spin baseline a couple times, but Ashley was waiting for her. It enabled us to get out and run.”
Train made five 3s and had a game-high 22 points. She also had six rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist.
“I told Moira at the beginning of the year she’d be a special player,” Rogers said. “She’s the best man-to-man defender I have. I can’t put constraints on her. I just have to let her play. She rebounded really well. She was raining 3s.”
Porter finished with 16 points.
Storey had 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“Ashley had a terrific game as always, but she didn’t have to be the offensive punch,” said Rogers. “They said that someone other than Ashley had to beat them and I had other kids do it. We’ve developed enough other weapons.”
Haley Felkel chipped in three points (to go with seven assists and seven rebounds), but still made quite an impact.
“Haley couldn’t get a shot in the first half, but she got offensive rebounds and kept possession for us,” Rogers said.
Chapin and Smith finished with two points piece.
Greely enjoyed a 26-23 rebounding edge, only committed 12 turnovers and made 2 of 5 free throws.
For Gray-New Gloucester, DeTroy had 11 points (six rebounds and a steal), Kariotis eight, Conley five, Dumont three, Valente three (to go with five rebounds and three assists) and Camerl and MacDonald two apiece.
The Patriots turned the ball over 14 times and hist just 4 of 10 free throws as their season ended in nightmare fashion.
Despite its sparkling record, Greely had to come a long way this winter and there were a couple of turning points, according to Rogers.
“I was mad at them before the first Falmouth game,” Rogers said. “I didn’t think they were practicing hard, so I wore my Falmouth Youth Basketball sweatshirt to practice and they were appalled. It lit a fire under them. We blew Falmouth out in our gym (54-28). That’s the first time we got into the 50s. They lacked confidence and that had to keep coming.
“After we lost to York (48-43, Jan. 8), we didn’t play music in practice until we won our next game. They were really upset about that game because we had it and we gave it away. Then we went on a roll. We just got better defensively and we developed our bench.”
The Rangers will be a decided favorite when they take on Cape Elizabeth Saturday. The Capers will be playing in their first regional final since 1996 and had to overcome being ranked ninth and having to play a preliminary round game at Fryeburg Academy. The Capers won that one, then upset top-ranked Spruce Mountain and No. 5 Lincoln Academy to advance.
Greely won both regular season meetings: 63-30 on the road Jan. 31 and 35-25 at home Feb. 5.
The Capers have won two of three previous playoffs meetings, taking a 1982 Western B prelim and the 1996 Western B semifinal, while the Rangers won the 1983 semifinals.
Greely is so close to playing in the biggest game of all, but has to take care of business against one final conference foe first.
“I think we’re pretty good,” Porter said. “We’re still going to have to work hard. We can’t underestimate anyone or we could lose. We have to keep doing what we do best.”
“We just need to come out and be ready to play,” Storey said. “We’ll get a fight.”
“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” Train said. “We’re confident.”
“(The girls) want to win a state title,” Rogers added. “It’s about senior leadership and they want to win. If we don’t show up to play, we’ll lose.”
Greely senior Ashley Storey gets her hand on the opening tip and it wasn’t long before the Rangers were on their way to victory.
Greely sophomore Molly Chapin drives on Gray-New Gloucester sophomore Grace Kariotis.
Greely junior Maddie Cyr gets a step on a defender.
Greely senior Haley Felkel races in for a shot.
It didn’t matter how many defenders Gray-New Gloucester tried on Greely senior Ashley Storey, she got the job done like usual Thursday, scoring 12 points.
Greely’s girls’ basketball team celebrates at the horn of Thursday’s 57-34 semifinal round win over Gray-New Gloucester.
More photos below.
Greely sophomore Moira Train launches a 3 during the Rangers’ surprisingly one-sided 57-34 victory over Gray-New Gloucester in Thursday’s Western Class B semifinal. Train made five 3s and had a game-high 22 points to help Greely advance to meet Cape Elizabeth in Saturday’s regional final.
Joe Carpine/365digitalphotography.com photos
G- 23 11 15 8- 57
GNG- 5 5 6 18- 34
G- Train 8-1-22, Porter 6-1-16, Storey 6-0-12, H. Felkel 1-0-3, Chapin 1-0-2, Smith 1-0-2
GNG- DeTroy 5-1-11, Kariotis 3-0-8, Conley 2-1-5, Dumont 1-1-3, Valente 1-1-3, Carmerl 1-0-2, MacDonald 1-0-2
G (9) Train 5, Porter 3, H. Felkel 1
GNG (2) Kariotis 2
2006 Western B quarterfinals
Gray-New Gloucester 39 Greely 33
2003 Western B Final
Greely 34 Gray-New Gloucester 30
2001 Western B Final
Gray-New Gloucester 50 Greely 37