Gray New Gloucester’s Alexa Thayer, left, and Haley Kirby, right, celebrate after their team won the Class B Regional Championship with a victory over Lincoln Academy at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday afternoon.
PORTLAND — This postseason has looked a lot like the last one for Gray-New Gloucester Patriots.
One thing is different, though: Bri Jordan.
The sophomore point guard led Gray-NG to a 46-32 victory over Lincoln Academy in the Class B South girls’ basketball regional final Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena.
“It was really awesome. I probably told her a few times after the game, ‘So much of of this is a result of you pushing through, when a lot of us, I don’t know if it was nerves or something just overcame us, but she was that force that got us through the first half and at least the third quarter,” Patriots senior Izzy DeTroy said.
“So I thanked her like three times. I mean, it’s a team, so that’s what we do, but she had a really amazing game.”
Jordan was named the tournament’s most outstanding players after scoring a game-high 16 points, including 10 in the second half during a stretch when the Patriots pulled away.
“I did expect that one kid, at least one kid on that team was going to pound down 15,16 points,” Lincoln coach Kevin Feltis said. “They’re just that good.”
After Lincoln opened the third quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 17-15 lead, Gray-NG swung momentum back its way with a 7-0 run. Skye Conley made two free throws, Jordan hit a 3 to give the Patriots the lead for good at 20-17, and then DeTroy hit a baseline jumper.
Gray-NG’s lead was 24-21 with three minutes left in the period.
Grace Kariotis hit a jumper to make it 26-21, and then Jordan took over. She took a pass after a rebound and went the length of the court, crossed over Lincoln star Bri Wajer near the free-throw line, and scored a layup.
Moments later, Jordan stole the ball and dashed down the court for another layup. Jordan Grant hit two free throws to give the Patriots an 8-0 run to close out the third, and a 32-21 lead.
Jordan opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, her third of the game, to make the run 11-0 and the lead 35-21.
“She ran (the offense) better than I’ve seen her run it all year, to be honest,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said. “She was out there controlling, getting the ball back, saying, ‘Let’s set something up,’ making sure people were there in their positions.
“I think what the best was, she wasn’t afraid to shoot the basketball.”
“I didn’t really think about (taking shots), I just took (them),” Jordan said. “I had confidence. It was good.
“I felt better than I have all year. I think sometimes when we got down, for instance, in the Greely game (Gray-NG’s only loss of the season), we kind of struggled coming back. And I think in this game, we just opened up together as a team and it was a really good team effort.”
The Patriots earned their second straight regional crown and will face Houlton for the second straight season in the Class B title game. This is the second year in a row Gray-NG beat Lincoln by double-digits in the regional final (45-30 last year), and, like last year, Saturday’s win was preceded by a blowout win over Freeport in the quarterfinals and a close win over Lake Region in the semis.
Jordan started for Gray-NG in its postseason run in 2016, but she was a freshman.
“To have a sophomore step in and say, ‘You know what, I want to be a difference maker,’ was a lot to her,” Andreasen said. “Because last year, as a freshman, she started for us, but I think she was almost like, ‘Excuse me, I’m a freshman, it’s not my place at the table.’ This year, she kind of forced her way to the table.”
Jordan also was primarily in charge of defending Wajer, a 1,000-point career scorer who had big games in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Wajer finished with 11 points, but was limited three field goals.
“Bri (Jordan) did an amazing job on her basically the whole game. She’s really long, so that helps us, and she’s so fast.”
Both offenses started sluggishly Saturday. Alicia Dumont’s bucket that gave Gray-NG a 5-0 lead more than four minutes into the opening quarter was the first field goal of the game.
The Eagles scored the final eight points of the period to lead 8-5 after one quarter. Jordan ended the Patriots’ drought with a 3-pointer that tied the game at 8-8 less than a minute into the quarter.
The teams remained within two points of each other until Grant hit a free throw with 1:59 remaining to make it 15-12 for Gray-NG.
That score held through halftime.
Wajer got the Eagles fired up when she made a free throw to open the third quarter and then rebounded her own miss, was fouled and made two more free throws to tie the game at 15-15. Kortney McKenna’s putback gave Lincoln a 17-15 lead.
Momentum seemed to be on the Eagles’ side, but the Patriots took it back and never relinquished it, scoring 31 of the next 45 points.
“They put the clamps on us defensively. A great defensive effort by them,” Feltis said.
“We never could really get it going offensively, and that goes back to them and their defense.
“They’re going to give whoever from the North all they want. I wish them well.”
Gray-New Gloucester’s Isabelle DeTroy wrestles the ball away from Lincoln Academy’s Chelsea Williams during the second half of the Patriots Class B Regional Championship victory at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday afternoon.The Gray-New Gloucester team celebrates after winning the regional championship
Gray-New Gloucester’s Grace Kariotis swings the net around after her team won the Class B Regional Championship with a victory over Lincoln Academy at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday afternoon.Gray-New Gloucester’s Skye Conley swings the net around after her team won the Class B Regional Championship with a victory over Lincoln Academy at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday afternoon.Gray-New Gloucester’s Brianna Jordan blocks a shot by Lincoln Academy’s Chelsea Williams during the second half of the Patriots Class B Regional Championship victory at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday afternoon.