Gray-New Gloucester’s John Martin passes the ball to a teammate during Tuesday night’s basketball game at Gray-New Gloucester High School. Cape Elizabeth’s Nathan Mullen attempts to join the play from the left. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

GRAY — Gray-New Gloucester finally earned its first lead of the game over Cape Elizabeth two minutes into the fourth quarter after climbing back from a 10-point halftime deficit.

As they did the entire game, however, the Capers responded and left Gray-New Gloucester High School with a 62-55 win over the Patriots in boys’ basketball  Tuesday.

Through a flurry of 3-pointers (seven for Cape, nine for Gray-NG), center Andrew Hartel that was the steadying force for Cape Elizabeth. The 6-foot-9 Hartel finished with a team-high 15 points but, with just over three minutes remaining and a one-point lead, he tried to draw an offensive foul with an exaggerated fall to the ground.

Hartel was immediately benched by coach Jim Ray for about one minute of game time. In that stretch, Gray-NG’s John Martin scored two of his 15 points to give the Patriots their second lead of the game.

“I wasn’t happy with the way he was acting,” Ray said. “He got a little bit drawn into whatever happened that led to him doing what he did. We can’t have that, we need to play through that and be mentally tough. I didn’t keep him out for long, but I’m not going to screw around.”

The Capers’ next offensive possession ended with Nathan Mullen drilling a 3-pointer to snatch back the lead for Cape Elizabeth, 52-50.

Mullen finished with 14 points. As the game wound down and Cape made stop after stop on defense using a three-two zone, the Patriots started to foul in an attempt to stay in the game. Mullen made 3 of 4 free throws at the end to help seal the win.

“We do a little game at practice everyday called ‘free throw golf’ for five or 10 minutes,” Mullen said. “We usually make sure that the free throws are an important part of the game and we knew today we had to close the game out by making free throws.”

Hartel came back into the game for the final two minutes and scored a layup and made both of his free throws to help finish off the Patriots.

On defense, Ray said Cape tried to “weather the storm” when it came to Gray-NG’s shooting.

Zackary Pomerleau scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the third for the Patriots, including a 3 and a layup with a foul. Pomerleau also grabbed four rebounds, one offensive, to help spur the Patriots’ high-powered offense that includes Martin, Cape’s main focus.

“We went zone, and Martin drives the bus for them, obviously,” Ray said. “The zone we wanted to extend and try to stay close to him as much as we can. They have some other guys that can score, too, like Pomerleau. He was shooting the ball well.”

Cape went from switching on every pass to a zone to try to limit Gray-NG’s 3s. Mullen, a sophomore, was tasked with guarding Martin for most of the game while also being efficient on offense. He did both well, and it turned out to be the difference for the Capers.

“Mullen did a great job for us, handling the point and covering Martin all game,” Ray said. “We have a lot of growing up to do and I had a lengthy talk with them about that. We are pretty inexperienced, but we got a lot of quality experience in tonight’s game.”

Martin scored 10 in the second half in thanks to the Patriots turning on the pressure and forcing turnovers.

“We needed to apply a little bit more pressure on their guards,” Deschenes said. “They were able to get in a good flow and find Hartel underneath. After we started off in the two-three (zone) and they started to make more shots then we applied a bit more pressure that gave us more energy and then consistent stops. Then we exploited some things on the other end and we were able to come all the way back and get a one-point lead, eventually.”

The Capers made their free throws at the end and escaped with the win. With both teams moving to 2-2 on the young season, there is a lot to be gained from Tuesday’s contest.

“I feel if we come to play for 32 minutes and execute we can do some really good things, but we lost to a really good team tonight and we will learn from it,” Deschenes said.

Gray-New Gloucester’s Hunter Colby hunts for a teammate during Tuesday night’s basketball game at Gray-New Gloucester High School. Cape Elizabeth’s Nathan Mullen attempts to join the play from the left, while teammate Matt Conley guards Colby from the front. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Gray-New Gloucester’s Zack Pomerleau looks past Cape Elizabeth’s Tanner Carpenter to the basket during Tuesday night’s basketball game at Gray-New Gloucester High School. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Hunter Colby looks up to the basket past Cape Elizabeth’s during Tuesday night’s basketball game at Gray-New Gloucester High School. Cape Elizabeth’s Nathan Mullen attempts to join the play from the left. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)