Tyler Bridge of Wells grabs a rebound in traffic in the first half Thursday in the team’s Class B South quarterfinal against Gray-New Gloucester at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. (Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — As impressive as the Wells High offense was, the Warriors sure were persistent on defense.
Call it a complete effort as Wells romped past Gray-New Gloucester 54-33 Thursday night in a Class B South boys’ basketball semifinal at Cross Insurance Arena.
The Warriors scored the first 14 points and led 18-5 after one quarter, then 34-8 at halftime.
Forward Cam Cousins paced Wells (14-6) with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Tyler Bridge added 12 points and Matt Sherburne scored 10.
Guards Sherburne and Dylan Whitney were pesky defenders all night.
John Martin led the Patriots with 13 points.
Top-seeded Wells, the defending South champion, advances to the regional final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday against No. 2 Cape Elizabeth (13-7).
No. 5 Gray-New Gloucester is done at 12-8.
Last month, the Patriots topped Wells 55-53 in their only regular-season meeting, in Wells.
“We came in confident tonight,” Gray-New Gloucester Coach Ryan Deschenes said. “Two good, equal teams. Let the chips fall where they fall.
“We didn’t defend the way we wanted to early. And they took away what we wanted to do. Their experience showed. Their toughness showed. Their skills showed.”
The Warriors popped in their first three shots and kept going. They hit mid-range jumpers, layups and an occasional 3-pointer.
“They got some jump shots and some looks inside. Now, they’re super confident,” Deschenes said.
Wells shot 55 percent to the Patriots’ 28 percent.
Gray-New Gloucester could not find its groove, with Wells’ smothering man-to-man defense playing its part.
“We contested a lot of shots tonight,” Wells Coach Troy Brown said. “(Martin) makes them go and Dylan did a good job on him. It makes it easier guarding the other kids who hit 3s.
“We played well defensively. When you hold a team to eight points (in the first half) …”
After Zack Pomerleau’s 3-pointer closed Gray-New Gloucester to within 20-8 early in the second quarter, the Patriots did not score again in the half.
At one point in the quarter, Gray-New Gloucester had trouble inbounding the ball, as Wells twice slapped the ball away. When the Patriots got the ball in, Sherburne blocked a shot, and the Warriors rushed down for a fast break.
The Warriors finished the first half on a 14-0 run.
Wells also outrebounded Gray-New-Gloucester 26-14. Cousins, a 6-foot-4 senior and one of the standouts of last year’s playoffs, was a force. He moved well, boxed out and finished his shots.
“We were just feeding the big man,” said Sherburne, who had three assists. “He’s really reliable anytime we need a bucket. And he gets us open shots because they have to double-team him.”
Wells extended the lead to 40-13 before Martin got hot, scoring 10 points in the third quarter as the Patriots cut the deficit to 42-25.
The next obstacle for the Warriors is Cape Elizabeth, which lost 52-47 at Wells on Feb. 2 in their only regular-season meeting.
Cameren Cousins of Wells drives to the basket as Hunter Colby, left, and Ryan Lachance of Gray-New Gloucester defend Thursday in the teams’ Class B South quarterfinalat the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. (Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald)