RUMFORD – Gray-New Gloucester took full advantage of its height in the low post as senior Olivia Ryan scored a game-high 15 points, allowing the No. 9 Patriots to record a 35-20 victory over No. 8 Mountain Valley in a Class B preliminary girls’ basketball game at Puiia Gymnasium on Tuesday.

Patriot guard Jen Farynaz helped spark a run that put the Patriots in control, and Mountain Valley was unable to mount any offensive attack. G-NG extended its 2-3 zone, and the Falcons lack of shooting proved to be their down fall.

“Our defense did a good job against them,” G-NG coach Harvey Moynihan said. “Mountain Valley runs a flex offense, and we were able to switch (defensive) players. Offensively, our plan was to get the ball inside to our two six-footers.”

No. 9 Gray-New Gloucester, who plays in the Western Maine Conference (10-9), advances to take on top-ranked Lake Region next Monday 7 p.m. at the Portland Expo. The Patriots reached the semifinals last year.

Mountain Valley, which concluded its season at 6-12, was simply unable to shut off the Patriots’ inside game. A Falcon defender fronted Ryan, and there was no help from the backside.

The Falcons’ Tanya Martin scored to cut the deficit to 24-15, but the Patriots reeled off seven unanswered points. Ryan scored two baskets in the paint, and following a Falcon turnover, Terri-Lynn Sanborn stepped out and buried a trey.

“We played well defensively,” said Falcon coach Rich Allen, who alluded to the 35 points. “But on offense, we had some good looks at the basket. The trouble is they tried passing the ball around and end up giving G-NG more chances to get the ball or we’d end up having a poor shot.”

The Falcons ended the Mountain Valley Conference regular season on a sour note in a loss at Mt. Abram, and it appeared the poor shooting carried over. Sophomore Vanessa Cayer led the Falcons with seven points

Allen had an opportunity to scout the Patriots and was concerned about their inside game.

“We knew this could be our last high school game this season, and we didn’t want that,” said G-NG forward Chelsey Durgin, who had eight rebounds and two blocks. “We were able to break through the Mountain Valley screens.”

The Falcons trailed 29-17 at the third-quarter break, but didn’t score again until Martin hit a jumper with 2:05 left in the game. Mountain Valley shot 20 percent and had 12 turnovers.

“We had a balanced attack,” Moynihan said. “Mountain Valley played well against us and forced us to make mistakes, and we can’t afford to make them against Lake Region.”

Mountain Valley lacked support as its three guards, Lauren LePage, Drury and Martin, were ineffective against the Patriots’ defense. Kim Clark, Christine Volkernick, Taylor Smith and Meagan Mansfield rotated in constantly, but no combination worked.

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