GRAY — It was only the first game, but the Gray-New Gloucester defense looked like it was in midseason form in Friday’s girls’ basketball season opener.

The Patriots shut out defending Class B South champ Lake Region in the first quarter, allowed just one point in the first half, and rolled to a 44-15 victory in the Western Maine Conference contest.

“Our defense was good. Our offense was good enough,” Patriots coach Mike Andreasen said. “It’s nice, because that’s really what we stress. We talked about it last night at our practice, and we said, ‘The one thing we can control is how hard we play and how we play defense.’ We said, ‘Our shots may not fall’ — and for the most part they didn’t — ‘but we can at least play good defense and make it hard on them.’”

The Patriots’ (1-0) lead was 6-0 when Lakers (0-1) coach Paul True called a timeout less than three minutes into the game. His young, rebuilding team had already missed three 3-point attempts, committed an offensive foul and had the ball stolen away by the Patriots. The breather didn’t stop the Patriots, however. Mikaela Ryan stole the ensuing inbounds pass and dished to Jordan Grant for a floater, giving Grant a quick six points.

The Lakers only took one more shot the rest of the period, and trailed 12-0 after the first eight minutes.

“We kind of just wanted to come out strong and show that we’re here to play, and I think that we showed that pretty well,” Grant said. “We just came out strong, confident.”

Lake Region didn’t get on the scoreboard until freshman Liz Smith made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:21 to go before halftime. The teams went into the intermission with Gray-New Gloucester up 24-1, with Grant scoring half of her team’s points.

“It was nice to see us get out and play, and not play scared,” Andreasen said. “We didn’t shoot particularly well, but at least we shot confidently.”

True said his message to his team at halftime was “all about character.”

“It would have been easy for our kids to lay down and quit, and I learned a lot about our kids,” True said. “They played hard right until the end. People on the bench stayed engaged. And I’m just really proud of how our kids reacted to that game.”

It took the Lakers less than a minute into the second half to make their first basket, a 3 by veteran senior Brooke Harriman, which accounted for her only points of the game. Freshman Elle Hall made a layup the next time down to give the Lakers a mini-scoring run, but the Patriots kept their foot on the gas and led 34-10 after three quarters.

Hall was a bright spot for the Lakers in the period, scoring six points on three layups to give her the team-high total for the game.

“She comes out, she’s fighting for every rebound, fighting for position. You know, a freshman kid who’s playing against arguably the best player in the entire league (in Grant), and I thought she got better tonight,” True said.

Grant added to her total in the fourth quarter by finishing on an outlet pass from Bri Jordan, who had a few of them in the second half to go along with her 10 points. Grant finished with a game-high 14.

“We just had great teamwork tonight, and passing was awesome,” Grant said. “Everybody contributed.”

The Patriots had seven different scorers, including multiple baskets from all five starters.

“I thought we saw different people tonight doing different things, and that was good for us,” Andreasen said.

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