Anna DeWolfe of Greely maneuvers around Alexis Guptil of Brunswick during the Class A South regional final at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday. (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — After two years of disappointing losses in regional finals, the Greely girls’ basketball team wasn’t going to falter again.
The second-ranked Rangers combined their usual fast-paced offense with a tenacious defense to end Brunswick’s Class A South reign Saturday night, beating the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Dragons 66-49 in the regional championship game at Cross Insurance Arena.
Greely led by only three at the half — and only because of a blink-and-you-missed-it pair of baskets by Anna DeWolfe in the final six seconds of the second quarter — and then got 18 points from Brooke Obar in the final two quarters to avenge last year’s regional final loss to Brunswick.
“It feels a lot better,” said Obar, a sophomore guard. “We learned a lot from last year and all our mistakes. We picked up our intensity the whole game. We were hoping for this moment again.”
Greely (19-2) will play Hampden Academy (19-2) in the Class A state championship game at 6 p.m. Thursday at CIA. Brunswick, which defeated Greely 65-63 on Dec. 29, finished 20-1.
Freshman Camille Clement led the Rangers with 25 points. DeWolfe, the junior guard who received the Brud Stover award as the tournament’s outstanding player, added 19 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds. Obar finished with the 18 points and led the Rangers with seven rebounds.
“They just keep sending weapons at you,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said. “They have a three-headed monster, we have a three-headed monster. Theirs outscored ours. … We needed to score with them. We weren’t going to stop them.”
And for a while the Dragons did. They led 15-10 after one quarter and held a 27-24 lead late in the second quarter.
But DeWolfe hit a jumper to pull the Rangers within one. After a Brunswick miss, she scored on a drive with 5.8 seconds left in the second quarter, stole the inbounds pass and hit a short jumper to make it 30-27 Greely. From there the Rangers took off.
“I think our momentum from the second to the third quarter was important for us,” DeWolfe said. “We always talk about coming out strong in the third quarter and that’s what we did.”
Obar scored the Rangers’ first 10 points of the third, helping them to a 30-24 lead.
“I just hit that first shot and felt it,” Obar said. “And my teammates found me. They had trust in me.”
Greely Coach Todd Flaherty said that’s what Obar does.
“She picks up the slack when we need it,” he said. “That’s what she did tonight. She played great.”
Then Greely’s defense began to wear the Dragons down. Brunswick committed 25 turnovers — 14 in the second half. The Dragons could never get any momentum.
“I think we sustained our defensive intensity,” said Flaherty, singling out junior guard Julia Martel. “I think they had a hard time getting into their offense and that was the difference.”
Greely led 43-36 entering the fourth and kept up the intensity. The lead peaked at 18. Greely secured the win by hitting 9 of 9 foul shots in the fourth.
“It’s been hard the last two years,” DeWolfe said. “This feels good.”
Brooke Obar of Greely pulls in a rebound while being pressured by Alexis Guptil of Brunswick during the Class A South regional final at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on on Saturday. (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald)