Greely freshman sensation Anna DeWolfe goes up for two of her game-high 25 points during Wednesday’s 78-64 loss to York. The defending Class B champion Rangers suffered their first loss in almost a year.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Y- 17 18 27 16- 78
G- 18 19 14 13- 64
Y- C. Smedley 11-0-23, Todd 7-5-20, Briggs 5-1-12, Posternak 5-2-12, Chapman 0-4-4, Cogger 1-0-3, R. Smedley 1-0-2, Thomson 1-0-2
G- DeWolfe 9-4-25, Chapin 4-0-10, Cyr 3-2-10, Porter 3-0-9, Faietta 3-0-7, Felkel 1-0-3
Y (4) Briggs, Cogger, C. Smedley, Todd 1
G (12) DeWolfe, Porter 3, Chapin, Cyr 2, Faietta, Felkel 1
CUMBERLAND—Nobody rains down 3-point shots like the defending Class B state champion Greely girls’ basketball team, but Wednesday evening, for the first time in nearly a year, the Rangers ran into a team that found a way to overcome their long-range brilliance and hand them a rare loss.
Hosting perennial power York in an early season showdown in the newly formed Class A South, Greely raced to a quick 8-0 lead behind five points from freshman sensation Anna DeWolfe, but unlike last February, when the Wildcats were humbled on the same floor, they battled back to tie the score before the end of the first period and trailed by only one point, 18-17, after eight minutes.
The up-tempo fun continued in the second quarter and the Rangers hit seven 3s total in the first half, but only managed to take a 37-35 lead to the break, as York got 14 points from senior Chloe Smedley and a critical last-second hoop from senior Emma Thomson.
Wildcats senior standout Shannon Todd then took over in the second half. After York went ahead to stay early in the third quarter, Todd converted a three-point play as part of a 13-2 run and the visitors were in command, up, 62-51, heading for the fourth period.
There, Greely tried to rally, but they never got closer than eight points and easy baskets from Todd, Smedley and senior Mia Briggs helped the Wildcats pull away to prevail, 78-64.
Smedley finished with 23 points and Todd had 20, which was more than enough to negate DeWolfe’s 25 as York improved to 2-0, dropping the Rangers to 1-1 in the process.
“Last year, we got down quick and got blown out here,” said Wildcats coach Rick Clark. “The girls didn’t even think about that when we went down (tonight). They knew if they did their thing, they had a decent chance to get back in it and they did.”
“We lost this game two weeks ago because our practices haven’t been crisp,” said Greely coach Joel Rogers. “I still believe that athletically and basketball talent-wise, this could be a special team. We have to figure it out.”
Greely graduated Miss Maine Basketball Ashley Storey and sparkplug Haley Felkel, but the 2015-16 Rangers appear capable of going all the way again and they opened with an impressive 45-24 victory at Cape Elizabeth Friday in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
York, which was ousted in the quarterfinals a year ago, began Clark’s final season with a 48-29 win at Traip Academy.
Last year, the teams split, as the Wildcats handed the Rangers their final loss, 48-43, in York and Greely roared back and crushed the Wildcats at home in the regular season finale, 65-30.
Wednesday, the Rangers appeared primed to do it again, but York overcame a sluggish start and made a powerful early-season statement.
Just 23 seconds in, Greely junior Molly Chapin set the tone with a 3-pointer. After a Chapin steal, DeWolfe got on the board with a layup and while the game was only 45 seconds old, Clark called timeout.
It didn’t help initially, as DeWolfe buried a long 3 for an 8-0 lead, but with 5:36 to go in the first quarter, Todd got the Wildcats on the board with a 3-pointer.
The Rangers then took their biggest lead, 12-3, as DeWolfe hit a leaner and Chapin finished a pretty sequence which saw junior Moira Train throw a long pass to DeWolfe, who passed to Chapin for a short jumper.
York junior Madigan Cogger got the rally started with a 3 and after Briggs made a foul shot, junior Lily Posternak pulled up and made a jumper to cut the deficit to 12-9.
After DeWolfe banked home a 3-pointer, Smedley scored her first points, making an up-and-under layup, Smedley fed Briggs for a layup and with 1:10 to go in the opening stanza, Smedley banked home a shot to tie the game, 15-15.
“We weren’t ready mentally to start the game,” Clark said. “The quick timeout helped, then we got into it.”
The hosts retook the lead on a 3 from senior reserve Lexi Faietta, but Smedley hit a jumper in the lane to pull the Wildcats back within one, 18-17, after one period.
DeWolfe scored 10 points in the first quarter, but Greely wasn’t able to put York away.
The second period featured four lead changes and very little separation.
Rangers junior Isabel Porter, who hit so many big shots last February, started the new quarter with a 3. After Wildcats junior Reilly Smedley answered with a long jumper, Porter hit another 3-pointer to make it 24-19.
The visitors then scored six straight to take their first lead, as Chloe Smedley made a layup, Smedley scored on a putback and with 5 minutes to play in the half, Todd knocked down a jumper for a 25-24 advantage.
A runner from Chapin put Greely back on top, but Smedley answered with a layup after a steal.
The Rangers went back ahead again as DeWolfe made two free throws, then hit a corner 3. York got a jumper from Posternak, but Greely opened up the lead again.
With 1:51 remaining in the half, senior Maddie Cyr was fouled and made the front end of a one-and-one. On the shot, Reilly Smedley was called for a foul on DeWolfe, so after Cyr sank her second free throw, DeWolfe got to shoot a one-and-one and she too hit both ends for a 35-29 lead.
After Chloe Smedley made a jumper, DeWolfe hit a leaner, but Posternak made two free throws and as time expired, Thomson made a layup to pull the Wildcats back within two, 37-35, and gave them a jolt of momentum heading into the locker room.
“The girls listened well,” Clark said. “It was a total team effort, which we’re stressing this year. For instance, Emma’s basket just before halftime was a critical piece mentally.”
DeWolfe had 19 points and the Rangers made 7 of 10 3-point shots in the first half, but York was only down by a single basket, thanks in large part to 14 points from Chloe Smedley.
The Wildcats then went ahead to stay in the third quarter.
Cyr started the second half with a 3, but Briggs countered with a leaner and Posternak made a layup after a steal. DeWolfe made a leaner after a steal to make it 42-39, but York got the next six points to go ahead for good.
First, Todd scored on a putback. Smedley then hit a long jumper for the lead and Posternak drove for a layup to make it 45-42.
DeWolfe momentarily stemmed the tide with a layup, but Todd hit two free throws and Posternak made a jump shot in transition for a 49-44 advantage.
With 2 minutes to go in the quarter, senior Sarah Felkel pulled Greely within two with a 3-point shot, but Briggs answered with a 3, Todd made a layup after a steal, was fouled and hit the free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play, Smedley buried a 3-pointer and Todd, after being fouled on an offensive rebound, knocked down a pair of free throws to cap a 13-2 run, extending the lead to 62-49.
DeWolfe got two points back with a layup after a steal in the waning seconds, but the Rangers, who turned the ball over nine times during the third period, trailed by 11 heading for the final stanza.
There, Greely tried hard to rally, but never seriously made things tight.
Starting the fourth, York picked up where it left off when Todd made a layup after a steal. Faietta countered with a driving layup, but Wildcats junior Morgan Chapman hit a pair of free throws to make it 66-53 with 6:38 remaining.
After Porter made a 3, Briggs and Todd both scored on putbacks for a 70-56 lead with 4:41 to play.
Chapin made a 3 and Felkel set up Faietta for a layup to make it 70-61 with 3:44 left, but Briggs set up Todd for a layup to push the lead back to double digits.
With 1:55 remaining, Cyr hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 72-64, but that proved to be the Rangers’ final points and the Wildcats put it away behind layups from Briggs, Smedley and Smedley again, as they prevailed, 78-64.
“The girls listened and they did it,” Clark said. “Lily’s increased pressure on DeWolfe helped. We switched up to double team her on inbounds. Chloe was hot in the first half. Shannon was hot in the second half. Mia was steady the whole game. Everyone who played did something. I’m very pleased with the effort because we don’t always play that way in this gym.”
Chloe Smedley led York with 23 points. She also had seven rebounds and a blocked shot.
“Smedley was terrific tonight,” Rogers said. “She shot really well.”
Todd excelled with 20 points, nine rebounds, four steals, three assists and a pair of blocks.
“Northeastern doesn’t offer scholarships because kids don’t play and she exploited everything,” Rogers said.
Briggs (six rebounds, three assists) and Posternak (four assists, three steals, two blocks, two rebounds) both added 12 points.
Chapman finished with four points, Cogger had three and Reilly Smedley and Thomson both added two.
York only turned the ball over 13 times, made 12 of 14 foul shots and had a 29-22 advantage on the glass.
Greely made a dozen 3s and hit all six of its free throw attempts, but turned the ball over 23 times.
The Rangers were led by DeWolfe, who had 25 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Chapin (four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal) and Cyr both had 10 points, Porter (three assists, three rebounds) ended up with nine points, Faietta had seven and Felkel (three assists, three rebounds and a steal) added three.
“The girls have to decide what they want and we’ll go from there,” Rogers said. “What we did tonight is because we have talented kids. It’s nothing we’ve built on in practice. We’re just not in a good place. We’re not crisp in our zone. I thought we’d wear (York) down. In the second half, I went to a man-to-man drop. I thought we’d be athletic enough, but that wasn’t the case. We didn’t keep an eye on Todd at all.
“Across the board, (York) played wonderful defense, they covered well out front. We had a lot of problems handling the ball. Going into the year, I knew sooner or later teams would figure out we shoot 3s better than anybody. We’ve had zero success running our offense. We need motion on the baseline. The kids just aren’t there yet.”
Both teams have a lot of work to do and face some stern tests in the days to come.
York reignites an old rivalry when it visits Marshwood Friday. The Wildcats then host Falmouth Tuesday.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve played (Marshwood),” said Clark. “We played some great games back in the day. We’ll learn from our mistakes.”
Greely meets Brunswick for the first time Friday (in Brunswick) and comes home to battle Yarmouth Tuesday before hosting Class AA South favorite Gorham in a compelling showdown Wednesday of next week.
“This is the team I really wanted to coach and it’s probably the team that right now, I haven’t gotten much connection with,” Rogers said. “They’re great kids, but we’re not on the same page. All the games are tough. They’re all well-coached teams.”
Greely junior Moira Train tries to drive on York senior Shannon Todd.
Greely junior Molly Chapin races up the floor.
Greely junior Isabel Porter fights past York senior Shannon Todd.
Greely senior Lexi Faietta shoots as York senior Mia Briggs defends.
Greely senior Maddie Cyr is closely guarded by York junior Lily Posternak.
Greely senior Sarah Felkel takes the ball away from York junior Lily Posternak.