GRAY — It wasn’t a Hail Mary but a simple touch of Grace.

With Monday’s girls’ basketball game in overtime, Gray-New Gloucester’s Grace Kariotis drilled a 3 to break the tie. She later hit two clutch free throws as the Patriots fended off their rivals from Poland in a 51-44 overtime win.

“I found myself open,” Kariotis said. “They had backed off and they left me open. I had the confidence to make it because I had made some previous 3-pointers. So I shot that one. That just brought up the team. We had a lot more confidence and we just played our game.

“The freshman guard led Gray-NG with 15 points and provided the Patriots a significant spark off the bench. She finished with four 3’s and had five points in overtime.

“She’s really my ninth player,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said. “She had to step up because we needed a shooter out there. Alicia (Dumont) got in foul trouble early. We had to go to her earlier than we normally do, and she hit some big shots for us.”

Players off the bench were crucial in a foul fest that had over 50 fouls called, including three technicals. The Patriots had two post players foul out while Poland lost two guards to fouls. Both teams had to juggle lineups with early foul trouble.

“It’s a very physical game every time we come in here,” Poland coach Darren Littlefield said. “You have to make your free throws.”

The Knights were plagued by misses at the line. Poland hit just one free throw in 10 tries in the fourth quarter and overtime. Those misses included free throws that could have tied the game in regulation or put Poland ahead in the final seconds.

“I told the girls this was our game to win,” said Littlefield, whose team is ranked eighth in Western B. “We had control of things with the technical foul. With us shooting two shots, and we had the ball with a tie game. We didn’t take care of business. There were all kinds of issues before and after that. We gave the game away.”

The Patriots (8-5) also got 10 from Maria Valente and scoring from all 10 girls that played. Poland (8-5) was led by Michaella Arsenault with 22 points, including 11 in the fourth that helped the Knights erase a deficit. Emily Bolduc added 12.

It was an Arsenault drive with 2:58 left that put Poland ahead 36-35. Valente answered that with a nice feed to Zoe Adams in the post with 1:21 left.

“Zoe had a nice bounce pass from Maria,” said Andreasen, whose team is ranked fourth in Western B. “That put us ahead after they had gone ahead for the first time. That was really good. It was back and forth. We had to have some big plays.”

When Steph Greaton grabbed a rebound of a missed Poland free throw, she was fouled. She was then called for a technical, her second of the game, for knocking over Poland’s Lindsay Theriault. Gray-NG’s Sara Carder hit a free throw in Greaton’s stead to make it 38-36 with 1:00 left.

Poland sent Arsenault to the line for the technical but missed both free throws. The Knights still had possession and got a drive from Bolduc to tie the game with 35 seconds left.

Poland got a steal by Arsenault to get the ball back. Bolduc was fouled and sent to the line with 14 seconds left, but she missed. The Patriots turned the ball over again with two seconds remaining. Bolduc fed Arsenault for a heave that just missed to end regulation.

In overtime, Kariotis was left open and hit the first basket with 3:22 left. The Patriots padded the lead with free throws from Dumont, Valente and Grace Ferguson to maintain the lead.

“After we got the lead, I feel like we had more confidence and we just slowed down and played our game,” Kariotis said. “I think through the overtime, we had a lot of confidence in each other and that helped a lot.”

Poland got a 3 from Caroline Littlefield with 1:07 left to cut it to 45-44. Kariotis was sent to the line where she drained them both with 51 seconds left.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Kariotis said. “I knew I had to put those in. When I was standing there, I grew confidence from within myself because I had made a lot of previous foul shots. I just calmed down and took them.”

With Bolduc, Poland’s primary ballhandler,  fouled out, Valente stole the ball and converted it with 32 seconds left. Then Ferguson added two more free throws to seal it.

The Patriots had a 22-20 lead at the half. Kariotis hit a pair of 3’s in the third to spark Gray-NG and open a 30-25 lead after three.

“Those two 3’s, I felt like they brought  our team up a lot,” Kariotis said. “We knew we could do this and were capable of it. “

The lead was up to 32-25 on two Dumont free throws early in the fourth. Arsenault led Poland’s charge the rest of the quarter scoring all 11 points for the Knights during an 11-5 run that produced the late lead.

“We play them at our place the last game of the year,” Littlefield said. “We have a tough schedule the rest of the year, but I think we’re good enough to win every game. We just have to play focused all 32 minutes.”

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