Greely rides quick start, strong finish past Marshwood in semifinals

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Greely’s girls’ basketball team celebrates at the end of Wednesday morning’s 66-50 win over Marshwood in a Class A South semifinal. The Rangers advanced to meet defending regional champion Brunswick in the regional final Saturday.

Jason Gendron photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 66 Marshwood 50

M- 8 17 17 8- 50
G- 19 16 13 18- 66

M- M. Montgomery 6-3-15, Herbold 4-0-8, Perry 2-4-8, Bisson 2-0-5, E. Montgomery 2-0-4, Clavette 1-0-3, Goodwin 1-0-2, Lawrence 1-0-2, Thim 1-0-2, Beers 0-1-1

G- DeWolfe 11-5-29, Obar 3-4-11, Scott 4-1-11, Clement 2-3-8, Martel 3-0-7

3-pointers:
M (2) Bisson, Clavette 1
G (7) DeWolfe, Scott 2, Clement, Martel, Obar 1

Turnovers:
M- 21
G- 19

Free throws
M: 8-14
G: 13-14

PORTLAND—A fast start at the Cross Insurance Arena almost always equals a happy ending.

Greely’s second-ranked girls’ basketball team shook off the 10 a.m. start time Wednesday and in a highly anticipated Class A South semifinal round showdown against No. 3 Marshwood, produced an early cushion and reached the regional final for the fourth year in a row.

Junior Anna DeWolfe hit a 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 game-opening run, the Rangers went up by as many as 13 points, 17-4, and took a 19-8 lead after one quarter.

A DeWolfe layup made it 24-10 Greely two minutes into the second period, but the Hawks settled down and got as close as seven, 27-20, on two free throws from sophomore Casey Perry before the Rangers took a 35-25 advantage to the half.

The back-and-forth continued in the third quarter, before Marshwood finally made a run, pulling within four, 46-42, on a layup from junior Natalie Herbold.

DeWolfe then put it on her shoulders and helped Greely put it away. 

The standout started the final stanza with six quick points to open up a 12-point lead and the Rangers gradually pulled away from there to prevail, 66-50.

DeWolfe led all scorers with 29 points, junior reserve Madison Scott and sophomore Brooke Obar added 11 apiece and Greely won its 14th game in a row, improved to 18-2 on the season, ended Marshwood’s year at 18-2 and in the process, advanced to the Class A South Final, where it will get another shot at reigning regional champion Brunswick (20-0) Saturday at 6 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“We were pretty evenly matched teams, so that early lead definitely helped us,” said Rangers coach Todd Flaherty. “They made a run and we expected that and we withstood it. The girls played pretty well.”

Formidable foe

Greely has lost in the regional final the past two years and even with a young roster, is a powerhouse again.

The Rangers stumbled twice early, losing at eventual Class AA South top seed South Portland and on a buzzer-beater at Brunswick in a regional final rematch, but they won their other 16 games to earn the No. 2 seed in Class A South and had no trouble with No. 7 Leavitt, 83-40, in Monday’s quarterfinal round.

Marshwood won its first 11 games, lost at Bonny Eagle, then won its final six to finish third in the region. 

The teams didn’t play this year.

“We had an eye on (Marshwood) pretty much from week one,” said Flaherty. “We saw them four times. We were anticipating a meeting.” 

The Rangers were 3-0 all-time against the Hawks in the playoffs, with a 46-35 decision in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

Wednesday, Greely roared out of the gate and went on to a surprisingly decisive win.

Just 19 seconds in, DeWolfe stepped back and drained a 3-pointer to set the tone.

“That first shot opened up everything,” DeWolfe said. 

“In our quarterfinal game, (Anna) didn’t shoot well in warmups, then she lit it up, so when she hit that first one (today), I felt pretty good,” Flaherty said.

Junior Julia Martel added a 3 and freshman Camille Clement stole the ball, made a layup while being fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play and a 9-0 lead with the game just 77 seconds old.

Out of a timeout, Marshwood got on the board on a short jumper from senior Miranda Montgomery, but Clement hit two free throws and DeWolfe hit a pull-up jumper to make it 13-2.

Junior Courtney Thim scored with her left hand for the Hawks, but DeWolfe made a layup after a steal, then DeWolfe drove and finished with her left hand for a 13-point lead.

Junior Nathalie Clavette hit a 3 for Marshwood, but Scott drained a jumper for Greely and after junior Jordyn Beers hit a free throw for the Hawks, the Rangers held a 19-8 lead after one quarter.

In the first eight minutes, Greely forced eight turnovers and got nine points from DeWolfe.

In the second period, Marshwood tried to make a run, but the Rangers held strong.

After Hawks sophomore Kayla Goodwin started the frame with a leaner, Clement answered with a 3 in transition and Obar set up DeWolfe for a layup and a 24-10 lead.

Marshwood then went on a 10-3 run to get back in it.

It started with a 3 from sophomore Angelina Bisson and a three-point play from Montgomery.

After Scott countered with a 3-ball, Montgomery made a layup and Perry hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 27-20.

Obar restored order with a 3-pointer from the corner, but Bisson drove for a layup to make it an eight-point game. 

Again, Greely answered, starting with Scott hitting a long 3.

“When I come in, I just need to keep the intensity up and help us play together,” said Scott. “We all just try to come out and play at a higher level.” 

After Montgomery made a free throw and Herbold drove for a layup, DeWolfe was fouled with just 2.4 seconds on the clock and she hit both ends of a one-and-one for a 35-25 halftime advantage. 

DeWolfe led all first half scorers with 13 points, while Clement and Scott each added eight. Montgomery’s eight points paced the Hawks, who committed 12 turnovers in the first 16 minutes.

In the third quarter, the Rangers continued to stymie the Hawks’ comeback effort.

After a slow start from both teams, Obar set up Martel for a transition layup. Montgomery answered with a free throw and Perry knocked down a jumper, but DeWolfe made a baseline jumper.

Herbold fed junior Celine Lawrence for a layup, but with 4:47 to go, a 3 from DeWolfe put Greely back up by a dozen, 42-30.

After Montgomery made a layup and Obar countered with a leaner that bounced off every inch of the rim before falling, the Hawks got the next six points, as Montgomery made a layup, Perry hit two free throws and Bisson set up Montgomery for a layup to make it 44-38 with 3:46 to go in the third.

Obar answered with a jumper, but senior Elora Montgomery made a bank shot in traffic and with 1:29 on the clock, Herbold went coast to coast for a layup to make it a four-point game.

That’s as close as it would get.

With 4.4 seconds seconds remaining, DeWolfe was fouled and sank both free throws and after a desperation 3 from Bisson just missed at the horn, Greely took a 48-42 lead to the fourth quarter.

Where it finally locked up the victory.

DeWolfe started the final stanza by making a layup after a steal, taking a great feed from Obar to make a layup, then, after an Obar steal, taking another pass for another layup and a 54-42 lead with 5:38 to go.

“I told the team we only had eight more minutes and to leave it out there and have no regrets,” DeWolfe said. “Brooke sees the court well. We make eye contact and know exactly what we want to do.”

A Perry jumper ended the 8-0 run, but Obar sank two free throws for a 56-44 advantage with 4:16 on the clock. 

Herbold answered with a layup, but DeWolfe blew through the defense for a layup with 3:16 remaining to restore the 12-point edge.

After a Miranda Montgomery layup, Scott scored her final points on a three-point play.

Marshwood’s final basket came on an Elora Montgomery layup with 1:31 to go.

Down the stretch, Greely got a layup from Martel (set up by DeWolfe), two Obar free throws and one more foul shot from DeWolfe to account for the 66-50 final score.

“We really stepped up our intensity,” said Scott.

“A fast start was very important to us,” DeWolfe said. “We have confidence anyway, but starting out with a lead was great. Our intensity starts on defense. Good defense leads to offense.” 

DeWolfe had a game-high 29 points and added seven steals and four assists.

“We try to run motion and give (Anna) space,” Flaherty said. “She also does so much on her own.”

Obar stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals.

“Brooke’s a tremendous offensive player herself,” said Flaherty. “She does a nice job of sharing. Brooke, Camille and Anna are tough to guard.”

Scott added 11 points off the bench.

“Madison was awesome,” DeWolfe said. “She came in and knocked down shots.”

“Madison made us small and with this matchup, getting her perimeter looks was good for us, but she had to make the shots for that to happen,” Flaherty said.

Clement finished with eight points and seven rebounds, Martel had seven points despite being in foul trouble and junior Emma Spoerri added four rebounds and two assists.

Greely overcame 19 turnovers and made 13 of 14 free throws.

Marshwood had 10 different scorers. Miranda Montgomery led the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Herbold and Perry (10 rebounds, six assists and four steals) had eight points apiece, Bisson added five, Elona Montgomery had four, Clavette three, Goodwin, Lawrence and Thim two apiece and Beers one.

The Hawks enjoyed a 31-26 advantage on the glass, but were hindered by 21 turnovers and 8 of 14 foul shooting.

Here we go again

Last February, in the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting, Greely appeared destined to win the Class A South title when it enjoyed a double-digit second half lead against Brunswick in the regional final, but the Dragons roared back to stun the Rangers, 54-51.

On Dec. 29, an improbable 3-pointer at the horn from junior Marley Groat gave host Brunswick a 65-63 victory over Greely in a wild game which was notable for DeWolfe’s absence with an ankle injury.

Saturday’s rematch promises to be another thriller. 

“We just have to play as a team and keep the intensity up,” DeWolfe said. “We’ll play our game and focus on us.”

“It’s funny the way it lines up,” Flaherty said. “We’re playing the same three teams (Leavitt, Marshwood and Brunswick) as last year. It’ll be a good matchup. We just want to advance. Motivation won’t be a problem. We just have to take care of the ball.”

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

Greely junior Anna DeWolfe scores two of her game-high 29 points.

Greely junior Madison Scott goes up for a layup. Scott scored 11 points off the bench.

Greely freshman Camille Clement soars to the hoop.

Greely sophomore Brooke Obar races up the floor.

Greely junior Anna DeWolfe knocks down a jump shot.

Greely senior Brooke Bickford plays defense in the waning moments.

Previous Greely stories

Season Preview

South Portland 63 Greely 53

Brunswick 65 Greely 63

Greely 51 Yarmouth 38

Previous Greely-Marshwood playoff results

2017 Class A South semifinal
Greely 46 Marshwood 35

2016 Class A South quarterfinal
Greely 57 Marshwood 32

1997 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 57 Marshwood 32 

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