PORTLAND – During the regular season, the York Wildcats beat Gray-New Gloucester by double digits, thanks to a combination of fullcourt pressure and good outside shooting.

The feeling going into Thursday’s Western Class B semifinal rematch with the Patriots was, why change now?

The second-seeded Wildcats used their pressure and good aim to jump out to an early lead and then foiled a second-half comeback attempt for a 37-26 victory over the sixth-seeded Patriots at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Maura Roche led the Wildcats with 13 points, while Haley Woods added nine points and nine rebounds. Olivia Ryan poured in a game-high 14 points for the Patriots before fouling out with 4:55 left in the game. Jen Farynaz added seven points for Gray-New Gloucester.

York (17-3) pressed full court from the opening tap and forced seven GNG turnovers before the Patriots scored their first point nearly five minutes into the game. Gray-New Gloucester ended up turning it over 24 times.

“What they did at the start (against the press) was exactly what we expected. It was what they did last time, so we were ready for it, and I think it gave them a lot of trouble,” said York coach Rick Clark. “They made a couple of good adjustments so they got through it, but they had to work for it.”

“That’s been kind of our Achilles heel, handling pressure,” said Gray-New Gloucester coach Harvey Moynihan. “We got off to a bad start and we didn’t handle the pressure.”

Nine first-quarter turnovers and hot perimeter shooting by York’s Abbi Boone and Morgan Taylor put Gray-New Gloucester (11-9) into a 14-3 hole early in the second quarter. The Patriots missed their first nine shots, but good free throw shooting (8-for-9 to start) kept York from running away. The Pats didn’t score a field goal until Ryan’s short jumper made it 14-6 with 5:40 to go in the first half.

That bucket sparked a 10-2 run, and GNG quickly found itself right back in the game when Farynaz drilled a 3-pointer that made it 16-13. But Gray-New Gloucester suddenly went cold from the line, missing its last five attempts in the half, and the deficit grew back to double digits just as quickly, as York scored the last seven points of the quarter on a Woods bucket, two free throws and a trey by Roche.

“When it was 16-13, we missed, what, three foul shots in a row, and one of them was the front end of a one-and-one,” Moynihan said. “We had a chance to take the lead right there and we didn’t even cut into the lead. I thought there were any number of times where, if we could have gotten a stop, we would have been in good shape.”

Ryan set up one of those opportunities with a three-point play early in the fourth that pulled the Patriots within 26-24.

She picked up her fourth foul moments later, however, and the Wildcats went right at her by going inside to Woods. After Woods scored on a putback, the Patriots switched Ana Danieli on her to protect Ryan, but Woods scored again and Ryan ended up drawing her fifth foul anyway by reaching in on Woods on a rebound at the Patriots’ end.

Without Ryan in the game, the Patriots went nearly six minutes without a point and had no answer for Woods and Roche, who scored all 11 of York’s points in the quarter.

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