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Greely’s girls’ basketball team celebrates at the end of its 54-33 victory over Brunswick in Saturday’s Class A South Final. The Rangers will go for a second consecutive state championship Friday against Hampden Academy.
Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
B- 1 11 8 13- 33
G- 15 15 14 10- 54
B- Guptil 3-5-11, MacMillan 3-0-8, White 4-0-8, Dorr 1-0-2, Foster 1-0-2, Sullivan 0-2-2
G- DeWolfe 12-6-32, Clement 3-0-8, Martel 2-0-4, Obar 2-0-4, Fitzpatrick 1-1-3, Storey 0-2-2, Scott 0-1-1
B (2) MacMillan 2
G (4) Clement, DeWolfe 2
PORTLAND—There appears to be no stopping the Greely Express.
Not with Anna DeWolfe at the helm.
One of the most transcendent players in Maine high school basketball history, playing in her penultimate game in a Rangers’ uniform, put on another sensational show in the Class A South Final Saturday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena, helping Greely take another step toward a repeat state title.
The top-ranked Rangers made quick work of No. 2 Brunswick, scoring the first 15 points of the game, as DeWolfe produced 11 of them, helping spell a 15-1 lead after one quarter.
The proud Dragons settled down in the second period and got as close as 10 points before Greely closed the first half on a 10-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from sophomore Camille Clement, to take a 30-12 lead to the break.
Any Brunswick comeback hopes were quickly dashed in the third quarter, as DeWolfe scored seven more points, including a driving layup which put the Rangers up, 44-20.
Greely was never threatened in the fourth period and went on to a 54-33 victory.
DeWolfe had another in a career’s worth of memorable performances, scoring 32 points, and the Rangers improved to 21-0, won their 37th consecutive game, ended the Dragons’ campaign at 19-2 and advanced to face Hampden Academy (17-4) in the Class A state final Friday at 6:05 p.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We were all pretty fired up to come out and start strong,” DeWolfe said. “I went out there and told myself it could be my last game and I told myself to have fun and enjoy who I’m playing with. Playing with my best friends, there’s nothing more I could ask for.”
Greely and Brunswick have seemingly been on a collision course all season, going a combined 35-1 in the regular season with the only loss coming when the Dragons fell, 67-46, to the Rangers Dec. 28 in a game played at the Portland Exposition Building (see sidebar, below, for links to previous stories).
As the top seed in the region, Greely rolled over No. 8 Fryeburg Academy, 66-28, in the quarterfinals and downed No. 4 Kennebunk, 67-52, Wednesday in the semifinals.
Brunswick ousted No. 7 Mt. Ararat, 56-30, in its quarterfinals, then outlasted No. 3 Marshwood, 51-46, in the semifinals.
The teams split two previous playoff meetings, as the Dragons upset the Rangers, 54-51, in the 2017 regional final and Greely prevailed, 66-49, in last year’s Class A South Final.
Saturday, the Rangers carried play most of the way.
Greely couldn’t have asked for a better start, scoring the game’s first 15 points.
It took DeWolfe just 12 seconds to put the Rangers ahead to stay, scoring on a leaner.
After a steal from senior Julia Martel, junior Katie Fitzpatrick hit a short jumper, then DeWolfe drained a 3-pointer for a 7-0 lead with 6:11 to go in the first quarter, forcing Brunswick coach Sam Farrell to call timeout.
It didn’t stem the tide, as DeWolfe made a leaner in the lane, DeWolfe stole the ball and set up junior Brooke Obar for a layup, DeWolfe hit a short pull-up jumper, then DeWolfe’s runner with 1:44 on the clock culminated the 15-0, game-opening onslaught.
“(Anna’s) the best player in the state,” Farrell said. “No question.”
The Dragons finally broke the ice with 38.4 seconds remaining, when junior Alexis Guptil made a free throw, but the Rangers still had a comfortable 14-point lead after eight minutes.
“I think we just came out fired up,” Obar said. “Brunswick’s a rival and we were excited to play against them. We knew we had to have a fast start, especially in a game like this where they could come back at any time.”
DeWolfe had 11 points in the frame, while Brunswick committed eight turnovers.
The Dragons refused to fold and battled back in the second period.
Guptil opened the frame by setting up senior Rosalie White for a layup.
After Clement hit a 3 for Greely, Guptil made a layup.
After DeWolfe drove for a layup, senior Charlotte MacMillan hit a 3 and White scored on a putback to cut the deficit to 20-10.
DeWolfe then turned the tide with a layup after a steal and senior Madison Scott added a free throw before White scored on a putback.
That’s as close as Brunswick would get, as DeWolfe drove for a layup, then drove for another.
With 1:03 left in the half, the Rangers committed their first turnover (the Dragons had 16 at that juncture).
“Being plus-15 at the half in turnover ratio is pretty good,” Greely coach Todd Flaherty said. “I’m very happy with that.”
Then, with time winding down, Clement buried a 3 from the corner to stretch the lead to 30-12 at the break.
DeWolfe had 19 first half points to lead the way.
The Dragons never could make a run in the third period.
Martel opened the second half with a jumper and after Guptil scored on a putback, Fitzpatrick made a free throw and DeWolfe buried a 3 with 4:52 to go for a 36-14 lead.
MacMillan countered with a 3 and a jump shot, but Obar scored on a putback to make it 38-19.
After a Guptil free throw, DeWolfe threaded a pass to Clement for a layup, DeWolfe sank two foul shots and as time wound down, DeWolfe weaved through the defense for a layup and a 44-20 advantage heading for the fourth period.
DeWolfe started the final stanza with a steal and layup and after Guptil scored on another putback, DeWolfe set up Martel for a layup.
After Guptil got two points back at the line for Brunswick, she set up White for a layup, but DeWolfe was fouled and scored her 29th and 30th points to make it 50-26.
After a Guptil foul shot, DeWolfe made two free throws for her final points and sophomore Madison Storey sank a pair for the Rangers’ final points as a team.
In the final minute, Dragons freshman Kelsey Sullivan made two free throws, sophomore Morgan Foster scored on a runner and junior MacKenzie Dorr’s layup brought the curtain down on Greely’s 54-33 win.
“It started with our defense,” DeWolfe said. “We definitely had some nerves, but controlling them is what we focused on. They got their little run. We had to settle down, not panic and take good shots and focus on defense.”
“We had a little lull there and then the girls just took off again,” Flaherty said. “We’re a spurty team. We run off points, then we don’t, then we run them off again. Offensively, it was one of our weaker performances to be honest, but Anna did what she needed to do and our defense was pretty good.”
DeWolfe hit 10 field goals, sank a pair of 3-pointers and made six free throws to tally 32 points, nearly outscoring Brunswick in the process. DeWolfe also had five steals, three assists and three rebounds as she was again named the Brud Stover Award winner as the top player in the regional tournament.
“(The award is) pretty special, but that’s not what I play for,” DeWolfe said. “I played for my teammates and community and having fun.”
“After Anna hit her first shot, I knew it would be a good game for her,” Obar said. “I tried to feed her best I can and she does a great job setting up her teammates.”
“Anna carried us tonight,” Flaherty added. “She was hard to stop and she was fun to watch. All the girls try to play like Anna DeWolfe. They’re not as good obviously, but they try to keep up with that pace. She’s set the tone at Greely and maybe across the state with how we want to play basketball. It’s a great legacy she’s leaving us with.”
Clement added eight points, Martel (six steals) and Obar (three rebounds, three steals) each finished with four, Fitzpatrick had three, Storey two and Scott one.
The Rangers made 10 of 12 free throws and only turned the ball over eight times.
Brunswick was paced by Guptil, who had 11 points and eight rebounds.
MacMillan scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds before fouling out.
White also scored eight points and had five boards.
Dorr, Foster and Sullivan all added two points.
The Dragons had a 35-25 rebounding advantage, but only made 7 of 14 free throws and turned the ball over 23 times.
“The first thing I told the girls is that we don’t measure a season by one game,” Farrell said. “Greely was just better tonight. There was nothing I could draw up. The things we didn’t want to do we did and the things we didn’t what them to do happened because we didn’t do what we had to do.
“The seniors had four special years. I told the five seniors that they did things no other Brunswick teams had ever done, making it to a state final, going undefeated in the regular season and making three straight trips to the regional final. That’s magical.”
Last winter, Greely handled Hampden Academy, 53-38, in the state game behind 17 points from Obar and 16 from DeWolfe.
Unlike the Rangers, the Broncos weren’t expected to return to the big stage, but they upset previously unbeaten Skowhegan in the Class A North Final.
Greely will be the prohibitive favorite Friday, but the Rangers know nothing will come easily.
“We’ve got to be prepared, focused and go out and have fun,” DeWolfe said. “I’m just going to out there and play like it is my last one. Hopefully, we’ll come out with a win.”
“It’s great to go back, especially with all my best friends,” Obar said. “We couldn’t do it without hard work in practice and the sacrifices the coaching staff makes. We have to focus on playing our game and having a good week of practice. If we work together, I think it will be a good game.”
“We saw (Hampden Academy) play last night and were impressed by their effort,” Flaherty added. “It’ll be a heck of a game. Augusta is just a great place to play.”
Greely senior Anna DeWolfe seemingly has the stage to herself as she shows off her ball-handling wizardry.
Brunswick senior Emily Larochelle goes up for a shot over Greely sophomore Camille Clement.
Greely junior Brooke Obar leans in for a shot as Brunswick junior Alexis Guptil defends.
Greely senior Anna DeWolfe scores two of her game-high 32 points.
Greely sophomore Camille Clement looks for a shot as Brunswick senior Rosalie White defends.
Greely sophomore Camille Clement, left, and senior Anna DeWolfe are all smiles following the victory.
Greely junior Brooke Obar, left, senior Anna DeWolfe and senior Julia Martel show off the championship plaque.
Greely senior Rachel Smith cuts down the net following the victory.
Class A South quarterfinals
Greely 66 Fryeburg Academy 28
Class A South semifinals
Greely 67 Kennebunk 52
2018 Class A South Final
Greely 66 Brunswick 49
2017 Class A South Final
Brunswick 54 Greely 51