POLAND — Chris Aube and his Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team walked off the court Friday night looking weary, beleaguered and glad it was over.

The Patriots also looked victorious. It didn’t come easy, but G-NG outlasted a spunky Poland team for a 30-28 win.

The already banged-up Patriots had to overcome the loss of starter Haylee Cote to an apparent neck injury. GNG also had to survive foul trouble, a drought of over 10 minutes without a field goal and a pesky Knight defense that kept Poland within a few points the entire game.

“It was a hard-fought win,” said Aube. “I don’t think we were as crisp as we have been, but Poland had quite a bit to do with that.”

Sitting in eighth in Western B, the Patriots can use every Heal Point toward its playoff standing. G-NG had to work extra hard for the points it gained with the win Friday.

“I don’t think we can go below eighth, unless something unexpected happens,” said Aube. “I think we still have a chance for seventh and maybe even sixth if we can beat Greely.”

Poland (2-14) pushed the Patriots to the limit and even had a chance at tying or winning on the final possession of the game. Emily Bolduc’s try at a game-winning 3 was tipped in the final seconds.

“I just looked at the girls and told them that, ‘We’re not going for the tie, we’re going for the win,'” said Poland coach Andrew Morong. “We put the ball in our best shooters hands, and she got the ball tipped.”

Maggie Chaplin and Alicia Valente led the Patriots (10-6) with seven points each while Stepanie Greaton added six. Poland got 10 from Morgan Copp and nine from Bolduc.

The Patriots lost Cote, a sophomore guard, when she landed awkwardly on her head with 1:49 left in the first half. The game was delayed while Cote was stabilized and taken to the hospital by ambulance.

G-NG was down for much of the first half, by as many as six points. The Patriots were able to stay composed and get the game within two by halftime.

“You’re dealing with kids and their emotions,” said Aube. “I just tried to assure them that Haylee would be alright, and that we still had a whole second half of basketball to play.”

The Patriots didn’t hit a field goal the entire second quarter and went 10:50 between baskets. G-NG still ran off eight straight in the third to take the lead.

“Once we got the lead, we never surrendered it,” said Aube. “We scored when we needed to score.”

Both teams had to juggle lineups because of foul trouble. Poland had three starters with three fouls early in the third, and the Patriots had Alicia Valente playing with four in the fourth. GNG also lost Rachel Edson to fouls.

The Patriots moved the ball around effectively and set up quality shots while playing with the lead. Valente scored twice on backdoor plays to make it 28-23 with 1:52 left, but the Knights kept battling back. Poland just couldn’t produce the offense it needed down the stretch.

“Often times we have two freshmen and a sophomore out there,” said Morong. “So it’s a learning experience for us. We’re definitely going to be a stronger team and a stronger program because of this.”

Copp scored on a steal and Bolduc scored on a drive to trim the deficit. Bolduc even had a 3 go into the hoop and bounce out that would have put the Knights ahead.

G-NG got free throws down the stretch by Sammie Wilkins and Maggie Chaplin but couldn’t put the game away from the line. After Amanda Gibson hit a free throw with 16 seconds left, G-NG missed a pair, and the Knights had one last try when Bolduc’s shot came up short.

“We just said, ‘No, not tonight,'” said Morong, whose team has often gotten down by half a dozen and watched the game slip away. “They fought tooth and nail. I’m just so proud of these girls.”

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