Greely girls take first step toward another title

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Greely freshman phenom Anna DeWolfe skies for two of her game-high 22 points during the Rangers’ 57-32 victory over Marshwood in Monday’s Class A South quarterfinal. Greely advanced to meet No. 6 Leavitt in the semifinals Wednesday.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 57 Marshwood 32

M- 4 8 12 8- 32
G- 6 8 32 11- 57

M- Robida 5-0-10, Locke 2-2-6, Abdul 2-0-4, Bazemore 1-2-4, Beers 1-0-2, Goodwin 1-0-2, Herbold 1-0-2, Tarr 1-0-2

G- DeWolfe 6-8-22, Felkel 3-0-9, Cyr 3-2-8, Train 3-0-7, Chapin 2-1-6, Faietta 1-0-2, Porter 0-2-2, Spoerri 0-1-1

3-pointers:
G (7) Felkel 3, DeWolfe 2, Chapin, Train 1

Turnovers:
M- 17
G- 12

Free throws
M: 4-7
G: 14-16

PORTLAND—You can only hold a juggernaut in check for so long.

Monday afternoon at the Portland Exposition Building, Greely’s defending Class B state champion girls’ basketball team was stymied for a half in its Class A South quarterfinal by No. 7 Marshwood, which took the air out of the ball and that, combined with some Rangers’ nerves, kept the score close for a half.

Second-ranked Greely only managed a 6-4 lead after one quarter and a 14-12 advantage at halftime, but as they do better than anyone, the Rangers erupted in the third period to seize control for good.

Greely scored 32 points in that frame, went on a 25-6 run to close and effectively ended the competitive phase of the contest before the fourth quarter even started.

With the game still close, 24-20, Rangers senior Sarah Felkel sparked the uprising, draining consecutive 3-pointers. Freshman phenom Anna DeWolfe took it from there, scoring as the result of pretty moves and solid foul shooting, to help build the lead.

The Hawks never made a serious run down the stretch and the Rangers went on to a decisive 57-32 victory.

DeWolfe led all scorers with 22 points, Felkel added nine and three other veterans from last year’s title team, senior Maddie Cyr and juniors Molly Chapin and Moira Train combined for 21 more as Greely improved to 16-3, ended Marshwood’s season at 10-9 and advanced to take on the sixth-ranked Cinderella Hornets of Leavitt (10-9) in the Class A South semifinals Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena across town.

“It’s probably the most vocal I’ve been at halftime,” said Greely coach Joel Rogers. “We were focused on Marshwood and not what we do well, but holy cow, that third quarter, we played like we should. The third quarter was lights out. We shot well.”

That championship look

Greely peaked at the right time a year ago and was absolutely unstoppable in the tournament as it rolled to its first championship in 11 seasons.

Things haven’t come as easily this winter, which isn’t surprising considering the program graduated reigning Miss Maine Basketball Ashley Storey, but the return of several key contributors from a year ago, combined with DeWolfe, has turned the Rangers into a potential champion again.

Greely started the season 3-2, but closed on a 12-1 surge to earn the No. 2 seed in Class A South (the Rangers moved up in class due to the state-wide reclassification).

Marshwood lost four its first six, but steadily improved and wound up with a winning record and the No. 7 seed in the region.

On Jan. 22, the Rangers dominated the visiting Hawks, 83-42, behind 34 points from DeWolfe and 22 from junior Isabel Porter. Greely won the lone prior playoff meeting, 57-32, in the 1997 Western B quarterfinals. 

This time around, the Rangers won by the same score, but it took awhile to break it open.

Greely was sluggish to start and Marshwood went on top early, as freshman Natalie Herbold fed senior Emily Robida for a layup and senior Kathleen Locke added a free throw (the foul shots were preceded by a comical interlude when the ball got stuck between the backboard and rim and it took several girls several tries to dislodge it).

Locke added another free throw before the Rangers finally got on the board with 4:23 to go in the first period as Chapin buried a 3.

Greely then went on top with 2:48 remaining when Train fed DeWolfe for a 3 in the corner.

The Hawks then milked the clock (much to the chagrin of the Rangers’ cheering section) down to take the final shot of the quarter, but turned the ball over and Greely took a 6-4 advantage to the second period.

“It’s just frustrating,” Rogers said. “I understand. I respect coaches who do that, but I’d never coach that way. I’d rather lose by 40 and put 40 or 50 on the board and have an up-and-down game. 

In the second quarter, the Rangers continued to be frustrated. 

Greely continued its long range bombing, as Felkel opened the new frame with a 3 and DeWolfe added another.

With 5:07 left before halftime, Robida set up senior Kaylah Abdul for a layup which ended the Rangers’ 12-0 run and a 7 minute, 24 second drought.

Train answered with a pullup runner in the lane (Greely’s first two-point field goal) with 4:24 to go in the half, but the Rangers wouldn’t score again and they only held a two-point lead at halftime, as Robida hit a short jumper, freshman Jordyn Beers made a bank shot and senior Hailey Tarr hit a leaner to cut the deficit to 14-12 .

Neither team attempted a free throw in the first half. the Rangers forced 10 turnovers and got six points from DeWolfe.

Greely ended the competitive phase of the contest in the third quarter.

Marshwood did forge a tie at 14-14 on a jumper from Herbold and after Cyr drained a jumper, the Hawks tied it again on a layup from Robida (set up by Locke).

With 6:16 left in the third period, Greely went on top to stay when Chapin made a layup while being fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.

After DeWolfe hit two free throws, Locke hit a leaner, but Train buried a long 3. Locke set up Robida for a layup on the fastbreak to cut the deficit to 24-20, but Greely then exploded on a run to end all doubt.

A 3 from Felkel up top got it started. The next time down, Felkel got the ball in the corner and made another 3 for a double digit lead.

“Sarah had an amazing game,” Chapin said. “We always tell her to shoot and she did. That was definitely a turning point.”

“When Sarah decides to shoot, she’s very good,” Rogers said. “(Assistant) Coach (Chris) Fitzpatrick said at practice Saturday, ‘Sarah’s a very good shooter. I said, yes, she is.’ She has to have the mindset to do it. She came out and did it.”

The next time down, Felkel fed Cyr for a layup, forcing Marshwood coach Steve Freeman to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as DeWolfe went behind the back with the dribble before making a layup and the next time down, DeWolfe hit two free throws to cap the 12-0 surge.

“We stepped up on offense and defense,” DeWolfe said. “It started on defense, then we knocked down shots. (Sarah’s) 3s made us have more confidence when we were shooting.”

“I couldn’t do anything until I got a lead, then, we expanded the trap on defense,” Rogers said. “Molly, Moira and Maddie controlled the baseline and that got Anna in the open floor and it was lights out.”

With 2:04 to go in the third, Abdul made a short jumper after a spin move, but DeWolfe added two free throws. After a Robida layup, Chapin fed senior Lexi Faietta with a gorgeous pass for a layup, DeWolfe made two foul shots, Cyr hit two free throws and Porter added two more for a commanding 46-24 lead heading the final stanza.

In the third period, Greely outscored Marshwood, 32-12, to blow it open.

The Rangers didn’t relent to start the fourth quarter either, as Train got a rebound and threw a long pass to DeWolfe for a layup, Porter set up Cyr for a layup and after a DeWolfe steal, Porter fed DeWolfe for another layup, precipitating another timeout.

DeWolfe kept the good times rolling with a leaner after a spin move and the lead was 30, 54-24.

A pair of free throws from Hawks senior Gabrielle Bazemore ended Greely’s 16-0 run, but Train scored on a leaner.

Marshwood got putbacks from Locke, Bazemore and Lyndsay Goodwin for its final points and a free throw from freshman Emma Spoerri allowed the Rangers to punctuate their impressive 57-32 win.

“Once we started to get in our game and started playing and knocked down shots, we got up and we were fine,” DeWolfe said. “It was a little frustrating, but we were up when they slowed it down, so it was in our favor.”

“We were feeling frustrated with the pace of the game,” Chapin said. “We’re a fast-paced team that likes to push the ball and get out and run. It was hard to handle at first, but we tried to keep our cool and stick with it. We got our nerves out in the first half.”

“Last year’s experience helps a lot,” Rogers added. “The girls don’t get rattled when they don’t play well. They’re used to the bigger floor.” 

DeWolfe overcame her early jitters to lead all scorers with 22 points. She also had three assists. 

“I was a little nervous at first, but (the veterans) gave me a lot of confidence,” DeWolfe said. 

“It’s tough coming in as a freshman on a new court in a new environment,” Chapin said. “We tried to help get settled. She played a great game, as usual.”

“Anna just wants to play and be on the floor with her teammates,” Rogers added. “She’s come such a long way. She wasn’t frustrated at all and set up her teammates. I thought it was one of her best defensive efforts. She came up big on defense. She likes to play and I like to watch her play.”

Felkel made three 3-pointers for nine points (she also had four assists). Cyr had eight points, Train seven (to go with three assists and two steals) and Chapin six (along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals).

“Molly and Moira have been so steady all year,” Rogers said. “Between them, I get around 22 points, 12 rebounds, a dozen assists.”

Faietta and Porter added two points apiece and Spoerri finished with one.

Greely made half of its two-point field goal attempts, hit a solid 7 of 16 from 3-point land and drained 14 of 16 free throws. The Rangers won the rebounding battle, 22-16, and only turned the ball over 12 times.

For Marshwood, Robida had 10 points, Locke six, Abdul and Bazemore four apiece and Beers, Goodwin, Herbold and Tarr two points each.

The Hawks turned the ball over 17 times and made 4 of 7 free throws.

Cinderella awaits

Greely will do battle with surprising Leavitt Wednesday in the semifinals. The Hornets earned the No. 6 seed in Class A South and upset No. 3 Fryeburg Academy, 46-40, Monday in the quarterfinals. 

The Rangers and Hornets don’t play in the regular season.

Greely won both prior playoff meetings, 59-38 in the 2010 Western B semifinals and 42-27 in the 2013 quarterfinals.

“(Leavitt) played awesome and they deserved to win, but we’ll come in confident,” DeWolfe said. “It should be fun.”

“It’s great having experience at the Civic Center and playing on the big floor,” Chapin said. “Each game is different. You can’t take anything for granted. I want to win it more this year than last year. We’re working hard to get to our goal. We have to stay positive during practice and keep our energy level up. (Leavitt’s) tough to play. They have height. We’re a very different team this year. We’re quicker and taller. We can’t rely on Ashley. Some other girls have to step up and create opportunities.”

“We have to control the baseline against Leavitt,” Rogers added. “They’re very physical on the baseline and hurt Fryeburg. We’ll mix up our defenses. I have to keep them off the foul line. They were outstanding today in the fourth quarter. If we rebound, I think our transition game will carry us.” 

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Previous Greely-Marshwood playoff result

1997 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 57 Marshwood 32 

Greely senior Sarah Felkel plays her usual brand of strong defense. Felkel made three clutch 3-pointers in the win.

Greely junior Molly Chapin floats a shot over a Marshwood defender.

Greely junior Isabel Porter defends Marshwood senior Hailey Tarr.

Greely junior Moira Train pulls up for a jumper.

Greely freshman Emma Spoerri protects the ball from a Marshwood defender late in the game.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.