GRAY — If Poland’s offense arrived an hour earlier Tuesday night, there’s no telling what drama the final minute of its WMC girls’ basketball battle at Gray-New Gloucester might have harbored.
As it was, the Knights turned a 20-point third-quarter deficit into a three-possession game at the finish before falling 57-49 to the Patriots.
Gray-NG (11-4) snapped a two-game losing skid at the expense of Poland (5-10), which played without leading scorer Michaella Arsenault due to a sprained ankle.
“We’ve been losing third quarters, and I thought we did a good job to get it up to 18 or 20 points,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen. “Poland played hard. I talked to Coach (Darren) Littlefield before the game saying that I hoped Michaella could come back, just not tonight, and he didn’t make any excuses at all.”
Whether it was the absence of an offensive sparkplug or not, Poland sputtered from the field, shooting 4-for-22 in the first half and missing its first eight shots of the third quarter before roaring to life.
Emily Bolduc scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 1:27 left. Bolduc also ripped down 16 rebounds and made five steals.
Hope Kohtala brought 12 of her 14 points off the bench in the fourth, including three landings from beyond the 3-point arc.
“Without (Arsenault) it puts a little bit more pressure on everyone else,” Littlefield said. “Everybody has to do what they do a little bit better.”
G-NG also received major contributions from surprising sources.
Grace Ferguson supplied 16 points off the bench to pace the Patriots. Senior Michele Dehetre rained down four 3-pointers for 12 in her final regular-season home game.
Stephanie Greaton added seven points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Sammie Wilkins dished out seven assists.
Much of Poland’s defensive game plan revolved around slowing down Maria Valente (eight points, seven rebounds) and Haylee Cote (three points).
“If you had told me before the game that those two would score what they did and we didn’t win, I would have thought something was off,” Littlefield said.
Ferguson scored 10 in the first half, staking the Patriots to a 25-14 lead.
G-NG added the first nine points of the third on baskets by Greaton, Ferguson and Valente and a Dehetre trey.
“I think we said, ‘OK, this one’s done,’ but a team with Poland’s grit, their toughness, their determination, they’re going to come at you,” Andreasen said.