Gray-New Gloucester’s John Martin drives while Wells’ Dylan Whitney defends during a B South semifinal game Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Ben McCanna)


PORTLAND — For the second year in a row, Wells denied Gray-New Gloucester its dream of ending a long regional final drought.

Matt Sherburne scored a game-high 23 points to go with six rebounds and four steals to lead the eighth-seeded Warriors to a 49-37 win over No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester on Thursday night at Cross  Insurance Arena.

Wells (11-10), the two-time defending regional champion, will face No. 3 Cape Elizabeth in the regional final for the second year in a row at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena. Gray-New Gloucester, which was seeking its first regional final berth since 1975, ends its season at 13-7.

Nick Pelletier led the Patriots with 12 points, all in the second half, while Hunter Colby added eight points and seven rebounds.

Tyler Bridge added 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Wells, which entered the tournament with an 8-10 record despite having three starters back from last year’s team.


“We know we play a tough schedule,” Sherburne said.  “We played them in the regular season. We were up by 18 and lost the lead. We knew we could beat them. We know we’re good at defense. It’s whether or not shots are falling.”

Wells limited Gray-New Gloucester 28 percent shooting from the floor (13-for-46) and held senior guard John Martin, a Mr. Basketball semifinalist, to five points.

“I would say that the last two games our best asset has been our defense,” Wells coach Troy Brown said. “We held a very good team tonight to (37) points and a very good player to five points. I can’t say enough about Dylan (Whitney) and the job he did tonight.”

Whitney played nearly the entire game and never left Martin’s side, making it difficult for the Patriots’ leading scorer, who was still feeling the effects of a hard fall suffered in Saturday’s quarterfinal win over Spruce Mountain.

“John got some good looks early that didn’t go in, and that’s unfortunate,” said Gray-New Gloucester coach Ryan Deschenes, who noted Martin missed practice Monday and Tuesday due to a sore tailbone suffered in the fall. “I don’t know if the injury played a part tonight. He didn’t look the same defensively, because in game one (a 60-56 Patriots overtime victory on Jan. 18), he really defended Sherburne really well, so we had to make a switch on that.”

Gray-New Gloucester looked out of sorts offensively in the first quarter, making just 3-of-12 shot attempts, while Wells was nearly perfect inside the 3-point arc (5-for-6) and opened a 14-9 lead.


“I would say our biggest assets tonight were Dylan’s defense and getting off to a good start offensively,” Brown said. “If we can score points, we can ‘D’ it up. It’s just whether we can score or not.”

The Warriors, who won last year’s semifinal with the Patriots, 54-33, led by as much as nine in the second quarter as Sherburne took over at both ends of the floor, scoring six points in a row, the last two on a steal and layup. Another turnover caused by Sherburne led to a Payton MacKay layup that made it 22-13 Wells with 5:07 left in the half.

The Patriots regrouped and put together a 7-0 run to end the half, led by Pomerleau, who converted an off-balance drive for a hoop and drilled a 3-pointer to close to within 24-21 heading into halftime.

Pelletier scored all five Patriots points in the third quarter. His 3-pointer to make it 29-26 Wells with 4:37 to go would be their last field goal (2-for-12) of the period. Meanwhile, Bridge and Sherburne evenly split an 8-0 Warrior run to end the quarter with a 37-26 lead.

“They obviously tried to take John out,” Deschenes said, “and (Zack) Pomerleau got going for a stretch and then Hunter had a little stretch and Pelletier had a little stretch. We just couldn’t put it together.”

Gray-New Gloucester nearly matched that run to start the fourth, getting a Colby putback, drive by Pelletier and trey by Pelletier to pull back within 37-33 before Bridge finally ended the run with a pair of free throws with 3:38 to go.

Pelletier’s 3-pointer ended up being the Patriots’ final field goal. Wells, meanwhile, lived well at the free throw line in the quarter, making 10 of 15 attempts.

“My concern was (Wells) would show their toughness and championship experience, and they did,” Deschenes said. “That was the difference, really. My guys had great toughness tonight. We didn’t quit. (Wells) could have pulled away, but we certainly fought.”


Wells’ Payton MacKay takes a shot while Gray-New Gloucester’s Nicklaus Pelletier covers during a B South semifinal game Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Ben McCanna)

Wells’ Matt Ouellette takes a shot from under the basket during a B South semifinal game Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Ben McCanna)

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