GRAY – The season hasn’t gone exactly according to plan.

After reaching the Western B semifinals last year with a late-season run, the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team returned much of that squad and had high hopes.

An injury to guard Jen Farynaz and a six-game losing streak didn’t help the Patriots cause, but G-NG hopes it is back on track.

“It was a struggle,” said senior center Olivia Ryan. “It was really disappointing. I don’t think anyone saw it coming. One day her foot started hurting, and we were like it was no big deal. Then it bruised, and we lost her. The ‘Oh no, we don’t have Jen’ didn’t sink in until we started losing games. Definitely having her back is pulling us out of it.”

Farynaz played her third game since missing time with a stress fracture, and the Patriots won their third straight with a 51-36 victory over Yarmouth. G-NG (8-6) is ranked eighth in the Western B standings and finish with St. Dom’s, Fryeburg, Greely and Lake Region.

“We could get up without playing a preliminary, which is what I’d like to do,” said G-NG coach Harvey Moynihan. “What I really want to do is play well at the end of the season.”

Though the Patriots had a second quarter where complacency and mistakes caught up with them, G-NG put together strong first and third quarters that opened up significant leads.

With Farynaz on the bench, the Patriots still managed to utilize their post game and took early command, building a 13-1 lead. Ryan had eight of her game-high 17 in the opening quarter.

It might have been a little too easy for the Patriots, though. Yarmouth toughened up its defense and plucked away at the deficit. The Clippers cut the lead to nine in the second quarter and were within six in the third.

“We kind of lost our rhythm a little bit,” said Moynihan. “Maybe we thought it was going to be easy. They hung with it.”

The Patriots righted the ship in the third. Showing some patience and working the ball more effectively on offense, the Patriots managed to feed the post again and chip in occasionally from the outside.

“I think we lost our flow a little bit,” said Ryan. “We definitely slowed down, and after halftime, we picked it back up again.”

Farynaz helped fuel the offense in the third, setting up Ryan for a three-point play that made it 34-24. After free throws by Ryan and a short jumper by Ana Danieli, Farynaz hit a 3-pointer from the corner. She added a fast break basket in the final moments of the quarter as the Patriots had the lead back up to 17.

“It’s really nice to have her back,” said Ryan. “She’s one of our best ball-handlers, and she also feeds the post really well. We’re not complete without her.”

Farynaz finished with 11 points while Chelsey Durgin and Danieli added eight and seven points respectively. Yarmouth got 13 from Abby Saucier.

In Farynaz’ absence, the backcourt has grown as veterans Brittany Humphrey and Danielle Humphrey have helped bring along sophomores Terri-Lynn Sanborn and Rachel Clement. Now with the team whole again, the Patriots hope the best is still to come.

“It’s just a matter of putting it together, putting together all the parts,” said Moynihan. “Who knows. The skies the limit, I think, with Farynaz back.”

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