CUMBERLAND—Greely’s girls’ basketball season didn’t start very well, but are the Rangers ever looking good at the end.
Friday evening, in the regular season finale, a contest with key postseason implications, Greely hosted York, one of two squads to hand it a loss this winter, and made a powerful statement.
That the Rangers have all the makings of a championship team.
It took just 33 seconds for Greely to race to a 5-0 lead, as senior standout Ashley Storey set up sophomore Moira Train for a 3-pointer and sophomore Molly Chapin for a jumper. While the Wildcats got as close as 7-6, Greely closed the first quarter on a 14-2 run, sparked by the shooting of senior Haley Felkel, to go on top, 21-8.
The Rangers’ continued to excel on both ends in the second period, as sophomore Isabel Porter made an impact off the bench and Storey did a little of everything to help Greely open up a 34-11 advantage.
Storey was the story in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the frame (Felkel made three key 3s as well), as the Rangers ended all doubt, extending their lead to 57-18, and they would roll to a surprisingly easy 65-30 triumph.
Storey wound up with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, Felkel added 17 points and Porter finished with a dozen as Greely ended the regular season 16-2, locked up the No. 3 seed for the tournament and a quarterfinal round date with defending state champion Lake Region and dropped York to 15-3 and fourth in Western B in the process.
“That defensive effort tonight was just unbelievable, to hold them to 11 points in the first half,” said Rangers coach Joel Rogers. “Even if our offense isn’t there, I think defensively, we’ve had a truly outstanding season. It’s a tribute to the kids.”
Greely came into the 2014-15 season highly touted and with the exception of a couple hiccups, hasn’t disappointed.
The Rangers fell on Opening Night to visiting Gray-New Gloucester (59-47), then righted their ship with victories over host Freeport (62-26), visiting Kennebunk (64-33), host Yarmouth (50-29),visiting Falmouth (54-28), host Poland (47-30), visiting Fryeburg Academy (39-31) and host Kennebunk (59-28). After its eight-game win streak ended with a 48-43 loss at York, Greely handled host Falmouth (37-13), visiting Freeport (66-33), visiting Yarmouth (54-22), visiting Lake Region (52-30), host Fryeburg Academy (53-37), host Cape Elizabeth (63-30), host Wells (51-19) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (35-25).
York, a perennial contender under coach Rick Clark, won its first three games, lost at Gray-New Gloucester (52-35), then won three more before falling at Falmouth (65-55). The Wildcats then bounced back to beat Greely en route to nine straight victories, capped by a 50-42 home victory over Lake Region Wednesday.
Friday’s game was played a week later than originally scheduled, due to one of the many recent snowstorms, but it proved to be worth the wait for the Rangers, who beat the Wildcats at home for the second year in a row.
By a far larger margin than anyone expected.
Storey’s greatness manifests itself in many ways and the most underrated aspect of her game is her unselfishness and passing ability, which was on display right after the opening tip.
On Greely’s first possession, Storey got the ball down low, was double teamed and kicked it out to Train, who drained a 3 to put the hosts ahead to stay.
The next time down the floor, on the fastbreak, Storey opted not to drive to the basket and risk a charge and instead fed Chapin for a jumper and a quick 5-0 lead.
“If I don’t have my shot, I won’t force anything,” Storey said. “I’m confident in my teammates. They step up and knock shots down.”
“The biggest thing we’ve changed in the second half of the season is transition, running the floor,” Rogers said.
The Rangers’ fast start forced York coach Rick Clark to call timeout.
It paid dividends when junior standout Shannon Todd knocked down a 3. After a steal, the Felkel sisters put on a show, as junior Sarah Felkel fed Haley Felkel for a layup, but Todd answered with another 3 to cut the Wildcats’ deficit to 7-6.
They would draw no closer.
The 3-point parade continued as Train hit a shot from behind the arc and Haley Felkel, after taking a pass from Sarah Felkel, made a layup, was fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to convert the old-fashioned three-point play, pushing the Rangers’ advantage to 13-6.
“It’s an unspoken thing,” Haley Felkel said, of her connection with her sister. “(Sarah’s) willing to share the ball with anyone who has a pulse. I love playing with her.””
Greely was only getting warmed up.
After Storey scored her first point at the free throw line, she made a jump shot. Junior Mia Briggs countered with a baseline jumper, ending a 9-0 Greely run and a 4 minute, 8 second Wildcats’ drought, but sophomore Maddie Cyr banked home a shot and Cyr set up Haley Felkel for her first 3, giving the Rangers a 21-8 lead after one impressive period.
Greely’s defense continued to stymie York in the second quarter.
Porter first made her presence felt 28 seconds in, scoring on a runner. After Briggs made a free throw for the Wildcats, Porter drove for a layup, Porter set up Storey for a layup, Storey hit a leaner and with 4:55 to go in the half, a Porter 3 tickled the twine and made it 32-9, forcing Clark to call timeout again.
A Todd baseline jumper ended the Rangers’ 9-0 surge, but Storey scored on a putback and Greely had a commanding 34-11 advantage at the break.
In the first half alone, Storey had nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Haley Felkel added eight points and Porter had seven.
“Ashley can make any shot and Haley’s a great passer and can drive to the hoop,” Porter said.
The Rangers didn’t take their foot off the gas in the third period either.
Just 48 seconds in, Storey set up Haley Felkel for a 3.
“I got a lot of support from my teammates and I tried to be as confident as I could,” Felkel said.
After a Briggs baseline jumper, Storey hit two foul shots. Briggs answered with a baseline jumper, but Storey made two more free throws. After a 3 from Wildcats sophomore Reilly Smedley, Felkel made a 3-pointer, Storey finished a feed from Train and made a layup, Storey drove the baseline for a layup and Storey, off another pass from Train, hit a leaner. Felkel then made her third 3 of the quarter, senior Kristina Smith made two foul shots and Porter sank a pair for a 57-18 advantage heading to the final stanza.
“Usually in the third quarter, you can have a let-up, but we came out and extended the lead,” Rogers said.
In the fourth quarter, Porter got things started with a 3 (assisted by Storey).
“I felt good, so when Ashley passed me the ball, I just shot it,” Porter said.
Cyr added a free throw for Greely’s biggest lead, 61-18.
After York got two free throws from sophomore Lily Posternak and a layup after a steal from sophomore Morgan Chapman, Cyr countered with two foul shots. Posternak scored on a putback, but Smith scored on a bank shot for the Rangers’ final points. A jumper from sophomore Madigan Cogger, a layup from Chapman and a jumper from Sophie Remick as time wound down brought the curtain down on Greely’s 65-30 triumph.
“We wanted to come out here and play well and I think we did that,” Storey said. “We made our shots and played well on defense. I’m happy with how we played and I’m going to miss this court.”
“It’s bittersweet because I love playing here,” Felkel said. “I’m just excited for tournament time. I think this was a good step toward making a good impression. Everyone shot well tonight. I’m very proud of everyone.”
“We really wanted revenge,” Porter said. “We wanted to go in ranked third in the tournament.”
Storey did a little of everything, scoring (19 points), rebounding (a game-high 13 boards), passing (five assists) and also had two blocked shots and a steal.
“I’ve heard a lot of chatter that some people don’t understand Ashley’s the best player in the state of Maine,” Rogers said. “They ought to run a combine like they do in the NFL. I’d like to see them find a kid who can shoot inside, shoot outside, rebound, play help defense, block shots, handle the ball and lead the team in assists three years in a row. She can do it all. There are other wonderful players I have enormous respect for who can do or two or three of those things really well, but I could put her on the point and she’d get the job done for us. I just can’t say enough about her. It’s not about my coaching. I just have a player who’s that talented.”
Felkel had a terrific performance as well, posting 17 points and grabbing four rebounds.
Porter finished with 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist.
“I thought Isabel Porter was outstanding,” Rogers said. “It was the best game she’s played. She got it done on both ends. Her defensive effort on Todd was terrific. Todd is one of the best players around.”
Train added six points (to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals), Cyr had five, Smith four and Chapin two (to go with five boards, two assists and a steal). Sarah Felkel didn’t score, but had four assists, three steals and a rebound.
“Moira came out and got us rolling,” Rogers said. “Moira has been firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor. Kristina is coming in as my eighth player. She has size and runs the floor. Maddie Cyr has played brilliant basketball for me.”
The Rangers turned the ball over 17 times, but made eight 3-pointers, enjoyed a 38-22 rebounding advantage and sank 13 of 15 free throw attempts.
Greely has clearly lived up to billing this winter and enters the tournament as one of the favorites, along with Gray-New Gloucester (17-1) and top-ranked, 18-0 Spruce Mountain.
“I think Mike (Andreasen) did the best job in our conference and (Gray-New Gloucester) deserves (their number two seed),” Rogers said. “I don’t know anything about Spruce Mountain, but I have a lot of respect for them. I’m really happy Poland, Cape and Fryeburg made the tournament. That says a lot about our conference.”
For York, Todd had eight points, Briggs seven, Chapman and Posternak four apiece, Smedley three and Cogger and Remick two each.
The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers and made just 3 of 9 free throws.
Both teams believe they have a legitimate shot at making it to the Class B pinnacle this season.
York will be the No. 4 seed and will face fifth-ranked Lincoln Academy (13-5) in the Western B quarterfinals Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., at the Portland Exposition Building. The Wildcats didn’t play the Eagles this season.
Greely will be ranked third and will battle No. 6 Lake Region (11-7) Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Expo. The Rangers won the regular season meeting at home, 52-30, Jan. 23, but lost the most recent playoff encounter, a 43-32 Lakers’ victory in last year’s semifinals. Greely has lost each of the last three seasons to Lake Region in the playoffs. This time, the Rangers feel it will be different.
“I’m excited,” Porter said. “Last year, I was out (of the tournament) with a concussion. This year, I’m ready to play. I think we have what it takes to go all the way.”
“It’s a good time for us to peak,” said Haley Felkel. “We’re motivated and excited. We’re ready.”
“I’m really happy with our season so far,” Storey said. “We can make a run, I think. I’m very excited. It’s always going to be tough. (Lake Region’s) a great team, well coached. We just have go out and do what we know how to do.”
“I know I have the best player in the state, but I have three sophomores who have played a lot of minutes for me,” Rogers added. “I knew if I could get them firing all together, we’d be tough. On offense, it’s about effort, focus and execution. On defense, we have to challenge shots, box out and contain. We’re not a really physical team, but we’re long. I think if we continue to hold teams under 35 (points), I think we have enough offense to carry us through. If a team’s not ready in the quarterfinals, they won’t win, but I think we’ve built enough depth to win. I’m so proud of these kids, they’re so easy to coach. They work so hard. We’re excited.”
Greely senior Haley Felkel was a long range bomber Friday, draining four 3-pointers en route to 17 points.
Greely junior Sarah Felkel fights to keep possession while being hounded by two York defenders.
Greely senior Ashley Storey is fouled on a shot.
Greely sophomore Maddie Cyr goes up for a shot.
Greely sophomore Molly Chapin eyes the basket.
Greely senior Ashley Storey goes up for two of her 19 points during the Rangers’ surprisingly lopsided 65-30 home win over York Friday. Storey also had 13 rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
Ben McCanna photos.
More photos below.
Y- 8 3 7 12- 30
G- 21 13 23 8- 65
Y- Todd 3-0-8, Briggs 3-1-7, Chapman 2-0-4, Posternak 1-2-4, Smedley 1-0-3, Cogger 1-0-2, Remick 1-0-2
G- Storey 7-5-19, H. Felkel 6-1-17, Porter 4-2-12, Train 2-0-6, Cyr 1-3-5, Smith 1-2-4, Chapin 1-0-2
Y (3) Todd 2, Smedley 1
G (8) H. Felkel 4, Porter, Train 2