Yarmouth girls battle, but fall short at Gray-NG

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Yarmouth senior Alison Clark goes up over Gray-New Gloucester senior Skye Conley during the teams’ battle Tuesday night. Clark had a game-high 12 points, but the Clippers fell just short, losing, 31-27, to the defending Class B South champion Patriots.

Adam Birt photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Gray-New Gloucester 31 Yarmouth 27

Y- 4 8 14 1- 27
GNG- 6 13 8 4- 31

Y- Clark 5-2-12, D’Appolonia 3-2-8, Blaschke 2-1-5, Hattan 1-0-2

GNG- Jordan 3-4-11, Dumont 2-2-7, Kariotis 2-0-5, Conley 1-2-4, Grant 1-2-4

3-pointers:
GNG (3) Dumont, Jordan, Kariotis 1

Turnovers:
Y- 11
GNG- 19

Free throws
Y: 5-9
GNG: 10-12

GRAY—Yarmouth’s girls’ basketball team is getting closer.

But the Clippers aren’t quite at the elite level yet.

Tuesday evening, Yarmouth gave the host, defending regional champion Gray-New Gloucester Patriots all they could handle over 32 minutes, but with the game on the line, the Clippers couldn’t hit a big shot which might have spelled victory.

After a slow first quarter which saw Gray-New Gloucester lead, 6-4, the hosts went on a 10-0 second period run to seemingly seize control.

Yarmouth crept back to 19-12 at halftime, then roared to life in the third quarter, as senior Alison Clark sparked a run which gave the visitors the lead.

On three different occasions in that frame, the Clippers took a one-point advantage, but the Patriots held a 27-26 edge going to the final stanza.

There, both defenses dominated, as only five total points were scored.

Down the stretch, Yarmouth had ample opportunity to tie or go ahead, but couldn’t make a field goal and after Patriots senior Skye Conley made successive game-changing plays, two late foul shots from senior Alicia Dumont allowed Gray-New Gloucester to hold on for a 31-27 win.

Clark led all scorers with 12 points, but the Patriots got 11 points from sophomore Brianna Jordan and improved to 14-1, beat the Clippers for the 17th straight time and dropped Yarmouth to 10-5 in the process.

“I’m proud of this team,” said Clippers coach Christina Strong. “Our effort tonight was great, but we had costly turnovers and we forced shots at the end. We didn’t execute great.”

Not so sweet 17

Both teams have lived up to billing this winter as top contenders in Class B South.

The Clippers lost at home to Gray-New Gloucester in their opener, 46-35, then won at Lake Region, 28-24 (their first win over the Lakers since 2005) and rolled at Waynflete, 55-23. After a 54-37 setback at Greely, Yarmouth closed 2016 with wins at Maranacook (51-15) and at home over Sacopee Valley (42-16), then opened the new year by rallying past visiting Poland (35-29) and Lincoln Academy (47-36). After a 65-41 home loss to Greely, the Clippers fell at home to Freeport, 43-30, in a game they were missing Clark and junior point guard Sara D’Appolonia, then returned to form by beating visiting Wells (42-30), host Poland (48-40), host Traip Academy (36-32) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (36-28). 

Gray-New Gloucester lost to Houlton in last year’s Class B state final, but have excelled this winter, falling just once.

The Patriots won their first dozen games: 45-35 at Yarmouth, 49-21 over visiting Kennebunk, 60-28 at Sacopee Valley, 51-35 over visiting Lincoln Academy, 67-28 over visiting St. Dom’s, 46-28 at Poland, 64-33 over visiting Freeport, 64-24 at Spruce Mountain, 53-25 at Fryeburg Academy, 39-29 at Wells, 41-23 over visiting Lake Region and 55-26 over visiting Traip Academy. Last Wednesday, Gray-New Gloucester lost at the top team in Class A South, Greely (68-55). Friday, the Patriots went to defending Class A champion York and got back in the win column, 48-38.

Tuesday, Yarmouth was seeking its first win over Gray-New Gloucester since Dec. 16, 2008 (37-35 in Gray), but the Patriots made it 17 straight in the series.

Barely.

The Clippers had a chance to get an early lead, as the hosts committed eight first quarter turnovers, but Yarmouth couldn’t take advantage, turning the ball over five times itself.

Gray-New Gloucester took the lead 19 seconds in when Dumont hit a long jumper. After a steal, Yarmouth senior Johanna Hattan set up D’Appolonia for a layup to tie it, 2-2.

Midway through the quarter, on the fastbreak, senior Izzy DeTroy fed Jordan for a layup to put the Patriots back on top, but a layup from Clark tied it again.

With 2:38 to go in the quarter, Conley hit two foul shots and the hosts held a 6-4 lead, which they took to the second period.

There, offense picked up a little and Gray-New Gloucester extended its lead.

After Clark tied the game with a leaner 45 seconds in, Dumont buried a 3 from the corner to put the Patriots on top.

D’Appolonia got two points back at the line, but the next 10 points went to Gray-New Gloucester.

The run started with two Jordan free throws. Jordan then sank a 3 and senior Grace Kariotis got in on the fun, draining a jumper, then hitting a 3-pointer for a 19-8 lead with 2:43 remaining in the half.

A layup by sophomore Clementine Blaschke 21 seconds later ended the run and with 47 seconds to go, D’Appolonia banked in a long shot to pull Yarmouth within seven, 19-12, at the break.

In the first half, Jordan led all scorers with seven points, while D’Appolonia paced the Clippers with six.

In the third quarter, Yarmouth continued to rally and even grabbed the lead momentarily.

A putback from Blaschke started the second half. Clark added a runner, then twice hit one of two foul shots to make it a one-point game.

With 4:15 left in the third, D’Appolonia pulled up on the fast break and hit a jumper to give the Clippers their first lead.

“We went back to our initial defensive strategy, which was more defensive pressure on the guards,” Strong said. “It worked.”

Freshman Jordan Grant put the Patriots back on top with two free throws, but with 3:10 left, a short jumper from Clark made it 22-21 Yarmouth.

Two Jordan free throws put the hosts back on top, but with 2:10 left, Hattan made her lone basket, a jumper, for a 24-23 lead.

Gray-New Gloucester then had a solid possession, which resulted in Conley scoring a putback, and with 28 seconds left, Jordan weaved through the defense and made a bank shot.

With just 4 seconds showing, Clark scored on a putback and that made it 27-26 Patriots heading for the final stanza.

There, offense was nearly non-existent, but Gray-New Gloucester managed to prevail.

The first hoop of the fourth was controversial, as Jordan drove into the lane and collided with Clark as she shot wildly. No call was made either way and the rebound came to Grant, who easily put it home to extend the lead to three.

After nearly three scoreless minutes, Blaschke was fouled on an offensive rebound and made one of two free throws to pull Yarmouth within 29-27.

That would be the visitors’ final point, however.

The Clippers then had several chances to tie or go ahead, but twice Jordan blocked Langenbach shots, DeTroy stole the ball, Hattan missed a 3-pointer and D’Appolonia missed a shot as well.

With 35 seconds to go, Kariotis went to the line, but missed the front end of a one-and-one and Yarmouth had another chance.

D’Applonia then fed Blaschke underneath for a sure game-tying layup, but in swooped Conley with the block.

“I knew she was going to go up with it and I was hoping to block it or at least foul,” Conley said. “I knew an easy two points wasn’t what we wanted. Defense is our strong suit. That’s where we win.”

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Conley tied up Clark and the arrow went to Gray-New Gloucester with 24 seconds showing.

“Bri came over and kind of grabbed it and I decided to grab it too,” Conley said. “Luckily, we got a tie-up and we got the arrow.”

After milking eight seconds, Dumont was fouled with 16 seconds to go, but she missed the front end of a one-and-one.

The Patriots then got a big break, as Yarmouth threw the ball away and with 11 seconds showing, Dumont was fouled again and this time, she sank both attempts to ice it.

A last-second Langenbach 3 was just off target and Gray-New Gloucester celebrated its 31-27 victory.

“Offensively, we were really struggling against the zone,” Conley said. “A lot of teams we’re seeing are small and that’s why they play zone on us. (Yarmouth) was good on defense and they had height. They made a run against us and we realized we had to collect ourselves. We did and that helped us in the end. We try to never be too comfortable.”

“(Yarmouth’s) athletic and their zone bothered us,” Patriots coach Mike Andreasen said. “It has for two games now. The difference over there (in the opener) was that Sara D’Appolonia got in foul trouble. For us, our defense, which never deserts us, saved us tonight.

“On offense, we threw the ball away. For us to have any thoughts to advance, we have to beat a zone. We’re pretty good against man-to-man. We have to knock down shots and not turn the ball over. Yarmouth took care of the ball better than us, but fortunately for us, they didn’t make shots. Give me a two-point lead and I’d rather have them have the ball than us have the ball. We’re solid on defense.”

The Patriots were led by Jordan’s 11 points (she also had four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots). Dumont added seven points, Kariotis five and Conley and Grant four apiece. Grant also had a game-high 14 rebounds and five blocks.

Gray-New Gloucester enjoyed a 30-23 rebounding advantage, overcame 19 turnovers and made 10 of 12 free throws.

Creeping closer

Yarmouth was led by Clark’s 12 points and seven rebounds. She also had two assists, two blocks and two steals.

D’Appolonia added eight points (and five steals), Blaschke five (to go with five rebounds) and Hattan two. Langenbach didn’t score, but had six boards. 

The Clippers only turned the ball over 10 times, but hurt themselves at the foul line, making just 5 of 9 attempts.

“Our defense was fantastic,” Strong said. “We shut down their shooters in the fourth quarter and our rebounding was solid. Alison and Clementine were great. We didn’t get transition offense, which I hoped we’d get. It came down to our shot selection and our halfcourt execution that shot us in the foot at the end. (Gray-New Gloucester’s) a great team. They’re smart. They get a body on you and they fight for the ball.”

The Patriots had high praise for the Clippers as well.

“They’ve matured as the season’s come along,” Andreasen said. “They’ve had to earn it and they’ve earned it. Look at their body of work. They’re a good team. We could see them again.”

Thinking tournament

Gray-New Gloucester will almost certainly be the top seed for the Class B South tournament. The Patriots close with games at home versus Waynflete Thursday, at Freeport Tuesday of next week and at home against Poland next Thursday.

The Patriots are ready for another run at an elusive Gold Ball.

“Teams will come at us with all they’ve got,” Conley said. “Having games like this, where we can practice these situations, is great for us.”

“We’ve had three competitive games in a row now,” Andreasen said. “Greely was close for awhile and York was a one-point game in the fourth quarter. We still have to do better.”

Yarmouth (third in Class B South) is back in action Friday at Falmouth. The Clippers host Lake Region Tuesday, then close at Wells next Thursday.

Yarmouth knows it can play with anyone and will look to build on Tuesday’s effort.

“We know we can compete against a team of (Gray-New Gloucester’s) caliber,” Strong said. “We’d love to see them again, but we have some big games to come first.”

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

Yarmouth senior Cory Langenbach handles the ball.

Gray-New Gloucester senior Skye Conley blocks the shot of Yarmouth junior Sara D’Appolonia.

Yarmouth sophomore Clementine Blaschke has the ball knocked away by Gray-New Gloucester senior Alicia Dumont.

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