PORTLAND — When you mix in some better execution and a pretty intimidating reputation, it can go a long way in a basketball tournament game.
Though the Gray-New Gloucester girls held a narrow halftime lead Tuesday afternoon, it was a different York team that came roaring back into the lead in the third. The Wildcats quickly turned the tide and seized control of their Western B quarterfinal and left the Patriots in their wake in a 51-42 win.
“I think we just thought we had it and we didn’t,” said Haylee Cote, a junior guard. “We lost our confidence and got scared.”
York opened the second half with nine straight points and outscored the Patriots 20-8 in the third. Gray-NG stayed within reach in the fourth but could never get the momentum back.
“It came down to experience,” said Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen. “York’s been there. If there’s a team the last five years that has had the most success, it’s them. Down the stretch, they seemed a little more poised and seasoned.”
York has lost just two games in the previous three seasons and 14 straight playoff berths. York beat Gray-NG 40-33 earlier this season. After trailing 23-18, the Wildcats played much better in the second half.
“The second half we talked about penetrating and getting inside and dishing it off and getting the offense running by going up further,” said York coach Rick Clark, whose club was forced more to the outside in the opening half. “In the second half, we started to get in further and move it better and the defense picked it up a notch.”
Cote led the Patriots with 20 points including six 3’s that set a new Western B record. Maria Valente added eight for Gray-NG (10-10).
York (15-4) got 12 each from Emily Campbell, Andrea Mountford and Marquis MacGlashing and 10 from Ruby Cribby.
Mountford and MacGlashing combined for 14 points in the third quarter.
“MacGlashing was huge,” said Andreasen. “She was the X-factor in their game. She’s the one we really didn’t count on.”
The teams traded the lead for much of the first half. It was a 3 from Cote and two free throws from Sammie Wilkins that built a 23-18 lead at the half.
“They did a great job of causing us to pull up and start our offense very early,” said Clark. “We were too far away. We couldn’t make anything function.”
The standing around for the Wildcats ceased in the second half. York picked up the intensity and started playing with some aggressiveness. Gray-NG couldn’t respond.
“Everything we said not to do in the third quarter, kind of happened,” said Andreasen. “We stopped playing aggressive and stopped attacking the basket. We just kind of played to hold the lead.”
Addison LaBonte’s jumper started the 9-0 run. After a MacGlashing drive inside, Mountford hit a jumper and LaBonte sank a 3 for a 26-23 lead. Gray-NG tied the game with a Cote 3, but a three-point play by MacGlashing and six points from Mountford late in the third made it 38-31 after three quarters.
York slowed it down a bit in the fourth and the Patriots stayed close. Gray-NG got within four twice. The Patriots tried to foul and York’s struggles at the line kept Gray-NG within reach. Then Cribby sank five and Mountford four in the final two minutes to build the lead.
“It was fun,” said Cote. “We had fun with it. I wish we would have won, but it was good for us to get experience for next year.”