York ends Greely’s reign

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Greely freshman standout Anna DeWolfe leans in for a shot and two of her game-high 30 points in Saturday’s Class A South Final. DeWolfe’s heroics weren’t enough, however, and the Rangers were ousted by undefeated York, 66-56.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

York 66 Greely 56

G- 10 15 12 19- 56
Y- 18 17 15 16- 66

G- DeWolfe 13-4-30, Chapin 3-0-9, Train 2-1-7, Porter 2-1-6, Felkel 1-2-4

Y- Briggs 9-3-21, Cogger 6-0-13, Todd 4-2-12, Smedley 5-1-11, McCafferty 1-0-3, Posternak 1-0-3, Thomson 1-0-3

3-pointers:
G (6) Chapin 3, Train 2, Porter 1
Y (6) Todd 2, Cogger, McCafferty, Posternak, Thomson 1

Turnovers:
G- 18
Y- 13

Free throws
G: 8-13
Y: 6-8

PORTLAND—The Rangers just couldn’t catch up.

Greely’s girls’ basketball team dug an early hole against undefeated York in Saturday’s Class A South Final at the Cross Insurance Arena and as hard as it tried, it was always a step behind the Wildcats.

Top-ranked York shot to an 11-2 lead in the first quarter and while Rangers freshman phenom Anna DeWolfe had 10 points in the frame, Greely couldn’t slow the Wildcats’ balanced, talented cast and found itself down eight points, 18-10, eight minutes in.

The Rangers made runs in the second period, but York answered the threat each time and took a 35-28 advantage to the break.

Greely fought hard in the third quarter, but had nothing to show for it, coming no closer than eight points.

In the fourth, York was on the brink of putting it away, but the Rangers crept as close as four points, 58-54, when junior Molly Chapin made a 3 with 2:45 still to go.

Greely couldn’t draw any closer, however, and the seasoned Wildcats made the necessary plays down the stretch and went on to a 66-56 triumph.

York swept the three-game season series, improved to 21-0, ended the Rangers season at 17-4 and advanced to meet Lawrence (21-0) in a compelling Class A state final Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“The best team won,” said Greely coach Joel Rogers. “They were the best team in the regular season. They move really well without the ball. Our game plan going in was using five to cover three and they moved well and shot well.”

As expected

With Greely returning several key members from its championship team and York being the clear-cut favorite entering the season, the fact that the Rangers and Wildcats were the last two teams in Class A South was far from surprising.

York was rarely tested this year, winning all 18 regular season games, only being pushed to the wire once. The Wildcats, advanced in the tournament by ousting No. 8 Westbrook (56-35) in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Morse (52-33) in the semifinals.

Greely dropped early season home games to York and Gorham, then fell later at York, but won 15 times overall and as the No. 2 seed, overcame sluggish starts to eliminate No. 7 Marshwood (57-32) in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Leavitt (58-36) in the semifinals.

The teams split eight previous playoff meetings. The most recent came in the 2012 semifinals, when the Rangers prevailed, 44-28.

This winter, York won at Cumberland, 78-64, Dec. 9, then eked out a 69-66 home victory Jan. 15 in its lone serious test, when senior Shannon Todd hit a 3-pointer at the horn.

Saturday, the Wildcats were the favorites, but Greely believed it had what it took to send York’s longtime coach Rick Clark off into the sunset and advance to the state game.

It didn’t quite happen.

The game started quickly, as York junior Madigan Cogger hit a jumper just inside the 3-point stripe and DeWolfe countered with a leaner after a crossover dribble.

The Wildcats went back on top on a putback from senior Chloe Smedley. Junior Lily Posternak got a 3 to rattle home and with 3:57 to go in the first, Cogger finished a feed from senior Mia Briggs and made a layup. A little over a minute later, Cogger set up Briggs for a layup and an 11-2 lead.

With 1:48 remaining, after a steal from junior Moira Train, DeWolfe made a layup to end the 9-0 run and a 5 minute, 3 second drought, but Todd made two free throws.

After DeWolfe made an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul, free throw), Todd drove for a layup, but Chapin fired a gorgeous lead pass to DeWolfe for another three-point play, cutting the deficit to five.

With time winding down in the first, Todd buried a corner 3 and the Wildcats were up, 18-10, after eight minutes.

DeWolfe had all 10 Greely points in the frame. The Rangers were hindered by six turnovers.

Greely tried to make a run in the second quarter, but York kept answering.

The Wildcats got a steal and layup from Todd to start the frame. Junior reserve extraordinaire Isabel Porter scored on a putback for the Rangers (their first non-DeWolfe points), but Cogger countered with a floater to make it 22-12.

DeWolfe drove for a layup, but Briggs made a free throw, then took a pass from senior Emma Thomson and made it a layup to push the lead to 11.

The Rangers then got a 3 from Porter and a layup from DeWolfe after a highlight reel stop-and-go move, but Briggs scored on a putback, then hit a bank shot to make it 29-19,

After Porter made just one free throw after being fouled while shooting a 3, Thomson sank a 3 for the Wildcats’ biggest lead of the half, 32-20.

Chapin answered with a 3, Train sank a free throw and after Todd got her third foul, DeWolfe fed senior Sarah Felkel for a reverse layup to cut the deficit to six, but York senior Erin McCafferty buried a clutch 3 from the corner and even though Felkel made two late free throws, the Wildcats were up, 35-28, at halftime.

“I thought we might get closer when Todd got her third foul,” Rogers said. “We tried to create a fourth foul, but she’s really smart. I’ve been able to coach against (former Lake Region standout) Tiana-Jo Carter and now I’ve coached against Todd. These great players are wonderful ambassadors.”

In the first half, DeWolfe led all scorers with 14 points and Porter had six off the bench, but the Rangers made just 2 of 8 shots from behind the 3-point stripe and committed 10 turnovers.

York was paced by nine points apiece from Briggs and Todd and overcame 14 of 37 shooting from the floor, by making four 3s, holding a 17-13 rebounding advantage (eight came on the offensive glass) and only committing four turnovers.

The Wildcats added to their lead in the third quarter.

After an offensive rebound, Posternak fed Briggs for a layup to get things started and Todd followed with a 3 from up top.

After DeWolfe scored consecutive baskets, the first on a leaner and the second a layup after a sensational spin move following a steal to cut the deficit to eight, Smedley scored on a putback, then finished a scoop shot to make it 44-32.

After DeWolfe made a free throw, Smedley set up Briggs for a layup and Smedley finished a driving layup with the left hand for a 48-33 advantage.

DeWolfe drove for a layup and after a short jumper from Cogger, as time expired in the frame, DeWolfe went coast to coast for a layup, but that only pulled the Rangers within 13, 50-37, heading for the fourth quarter.

There, York finished it off, but not without a few anxious moments.

Cogger started the frame with a 3 for a 16-point bulge, then Greely made things interesting.

Train got it started with a 3. After DeWolfe made a free throw, Train sank another 3, cutting the deficit to 53-44 with 6:38 to go, forcing Clark to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as Chapin set up DeWolfe for a layup to make it 53-46 with 5:36 remaining.

The Wildcats then turned the ball over three straight times, but the Rangers couldn’t capitalize and with 3:50 left, Briggs set up Cogger for a layup, snapping a 3:48 drought and pushing the lead back to nine.

“We created turnovers in the fourth quarter and had possessions to make it a one-possession game, but we couldn’t and that hurt,” Rogers said.

DeWolfe drove for a layup, but Briggs countered with two free throws.

With 3:18 to play, Chapin made a 3 from the corner and after Smedley made one of two free throws, with 2:45 to go, Chapin sank another 3 and just like that, Greely was only down four, 58-54.

The Rangers would get no closer.

At the other end, Smedley fed Briggs for a layup and the next time down, Cogger set up Smedley for a bank shot and the lead was 62-54 with 1:49 to play.

DeWolfe kept faint hope alive with a leaner with 1:21 to go, but that would be Greely’s final basket of the season.

After breaking the press, Smedley fed Briggs for a layup and in the final minute, after a Cogger steal, Briggs scored one more layup and York went on to run out on the clock on a 66-56 triumph.

“It’s awesome,” said Clark, who won his 500th game earlier this winter and is retiring after the season. “I’ve been around long enough to know that this doesn’t just happen. You have to have some breaks and good luck and kids who are willing to listen. This is as coachable a group as I’ve ever had. We had a plan to shut down their 3s and we did. We thought we could hold DeWolfe to 20. She got 30, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t think they had one person who could beat us. We had good balance. We got good breaks. We had the ball ricochet for us. They had the ball go out off their knees. The best team doesn’t always win, but the team that plays best does. Give Greely credit, they didn’t give up, but we weren’t fazed. Every time they came close, we got a key basket.”

“I told Rick, there’s nobody better to represent the Western Maine Conference in the state championship game,” Rogers said. “I may be sitting in my rocking chair watching it.”

The Wildcats showed incredible, poise, skill and balance to extend their season to the limit.

Briggs led York with 21 points. She also had eight rebounds. Cogger finished with 13 points and six assists. Todd had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds and also blocked two shots. Smedley finished in double figures with 11 points and also had eight boards. McCafferty and Thomson had three points apiece and Posternak finished with three points, three assists and two steals.

The Wildcats shot 27 of 59 from the floor, hit 6 of 17 3-pointers, made 6 of 8 foul shots and had a 29-19 rebounding advantage (11 of which came on the offensive glass).

“Briggs slipped in behind us, so I tried man-to-man, the 1-2-2 (zone), but after awhile, they’re a good team and they figured things out,” Rogers said. “It’s the first time in a long time we got outrebounded.”

York and Lawrence didn’t play this year, but figure to produce an instant classic.

“We’ve seen them multiple times,” Clark said. “They’re a really good team. I like the matchup. If we can use the concept of teamwork, we’ll slow them down. It’ll be a great game. Playing here helps.”

Not this time

Greely didn’t go quietly, but ultimately has to settle for being the region’s second-best team.

DeWolfe capped a transcendent freshman season and made fans wish the 2016-17 season started tomorrow by going off for 30 points on the big stage. She also had five assists and a steal.

“Anna didn’t hurry a shot all night,” Rogers said. “That was just the flow of the offense.”

“If she was a junior or senior, she would have been on the losing team getting the MVP,” Clark said. “She’s unbelievable and she’ll only get better. We couldn’t take away her quick first step.”

Chapin had nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Train finished with seven points, five boards, three blocks and three steals.

Porter had six points and Felkel added four.

The Rangers shot 21 of 44 from the floor, made 6 of 16 3s and hit 8 of 13 free throws. They turned the ball over a costly 18 times.

Greely wound up disappointed, but don’t be surprised if the Rangers go all the way in 2016-17.

“This is like a crossover season,” Rogers said. “We went from a low post with (reigning Miss Maine Basketball) Ashley Storey, to a high octane offense. I have talented kids coming into the program. Next year, we’ll be a veteran team. I’d like to see anyone play with us next year. I don’t think anyone will stand in our way. People got a taste tonight of what it will be like to come with Anna. Put her together with Molly, Moira and Isabel and I like my chances next year.”

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

Greely senior Lexi Faietta and York senior Chloe Smedley battle for the ball.

Greely junior Moira Train’s shot is blocked by York senior Shannon Todd.

Greely junior Molly Chapin fights York senior Chloe Smedley for a rebound.

Greely senior Sarah Felkel defends York junior Madigan Cogger.

Greely junior Isabel Porter shoots over York senior Chloe Smedley.

Previous Greely-York playoff results

2012 Western B semifinal
Greely 44 York 28 

2011 Western B semifinal
York 46 Greely 15 

2010 Western B Final
York 50 Greely 38

2009 Western B Final
York 49 Greely 30

2007 Western B quarterfinal 
Greely 54 York 40

2004 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 48 York 38

2000 Western B semifinal
York 57 Greely 41

1983 Western B Final 
Greely 59 York 43

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