It’s not that the Patriots weren’t good at it. They were. They just did it too much.

“We pass too much sometimes, and we know that,” senior Izzy DeTroy said. “We trust each other a lot, and we’re kind of selfless in that way. Like, if we think someone has a chance of having a slightly better shot, we always pass it up.”

That’s fine, but it can also lead to stagnation and turnovers.

“Last year, at times, our offense kind of got bogged down,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said. “We were too deliberate. We were forcing the action. We tended to overpass and not shoot enough.”

So this season, the Patriots’ aim is to be more aggressive, and not pass up so many good shots for someone else’s potentially better shot. Andreasen realizes the new strategy will likely lead to more missed shots, but misses beat turnovers.

“Maybe our shot percentage will go down,” Andreasen said. “Maybe the shots won’t be the best shots, but at least they are shots.”


“The more we pass, the more likely we’re going to turn the ball over,” senior Skye Conley said. “So I think he wants us to focus more on finding the open shot, and once we get that open shot, making sure we take advantage of it.”

Of course, this overpassing wasn’t a huge defect last season. Gray-NG finished 17-5 and won the Class B South championship before falling to Houlton in the state title game.

For the most part, last year’s offense was a good fit for Gray-NG because it had 6-footer Alanna Camerl and 5-10 Ashley Jordan to feed the ball to in the post.

And the new shoot-quicker philosophy should better fit for the 2016-17 Patriots. Without Camerl and Jordan, they won’t have nearly the same amount of height. But they are a little more athletic.

“The athleticism, I think we have that a little bit more,” DeTroy said, “so we have the ability to run the floor more effectively than we have in years past.”

Conley (5-10), an all-conference first-teamer last season, will take over the post. Other than her, there isn’t a lot of experienced height (although she and Andreasen both point out the potential freshman Jordan Grant has shown). So the Patriots will be smaller.


“We’re a very athletic team, so instead of working on strength and size, we’re working on running the floor and stuff like that,” Conley said.

According to sophomore guard Bri Jordan, smaller shouldn’t be detrimental to the experienced Patriots.

“I think it’s more of a mental thing,” Jordan said. “You just have to see your opponent and you just have to be stronger than them, which I think we adapt to well; like our seniors, since they’ve been her for four years now, they see the court and they know how to play the game.”

Quick, pressing defense

Andreasen said the Patriots should be a better shooting team than last year, and their athleticism should make them a better defensive team as well. Jordan agrees.

“Since we’re so quick, I think our pressing will be better than it was in previous years, because we’re really athletic — more than we have been the past few years, or since last year,” Jordan said.


“Our defense has really come along since last year. I think we’ve gotten a lot better at it.”

Camerl and Ashley Jordan are significant losses, for sure, but the Patriots still have a lot of key players returning. Along with Conley, DeTroy and Bri Jordan, there are also seniors Alicia Dumont and Grace Kariotis. Andreasen points out that they have each had games in which they were Gray-NG’s high scorer.

“I’m confident we have five kids on the court who can score, and hopefully five who can defend,” Andreasen said.

“We’ll lose games; we’re not unbeatable. But I do think that for a team to beat us, they’ll have to play pretty well.”

Gray-NG will have to play pretty well itself. Most of the B South teams, in Andreasen’s estimation, have improved, and they’ll be gunning for the reigning region champion.

The Patriots aren’t looking at the bullseye on their backs, though. Instead, their sights are homed in on the Yarmouth Clippers, against whom they open the season Friday.

“We really try to think about each game as it comes. Like, we don’t focus on the future in any way; it’s kind of, ‘What’s coming at us the next game?’” DeTroy said. “We have a lot of tough competition we’re going to face, so there’s no way we can try and look ahead, we just have to keep focused and keep our mind on every game.”

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