Meredith Bogue of Wells passes the ball as Alexa Thayer of Gray-New Gloucester defends during the B South semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette)

PORTLAND — Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant ran roughshod over Wells earlier in the season at Wells.

The junior forward created a lot of problems for Wells in the paint, so coach Don Abbott and the Warriors focused on slowing her down Thursday afternoon in the Class B girls basketball semifinal at Cross Insurance Arena.

Grant was effectively neutralized, but unfortunately for Wells, Gray-New Gloucester’s Miss Basketball semifinalist Bri Jordan and junior forward Eliza Hotham were on fire from deep and the top-seeded Patriots took down the No. 5 Warriors 48-34 to advance to the Class B South final Saturday against No. 3 Freeport.

Hotham, especially, shot the lights out in the first three quarters. She hit three 3-pointers in the first half and opened the third quarter with her fourth trey on her way to a game-high 19 points.

“She’s very confident,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said. “I thought she was the difference because the game was nip-and-tuck the whole way. Her 3s opened it up because they took Jordan Grant right out of the game. They zoned us so she wasn’t able to get her game off, so Eliza was the one who gave us a little bit of an edge.”

Bri Jordan hit the first 3-pointer of the game and she and Hotham finished the first half with nine points each. Grant didn’t score in the first half but recorded a block and grabbed some rebounds.

Freshman Grace Ramsdell carried Wells in the first half with seven points and a couple offensive rebounds. Ramsdell finished with 10 points.

Wells only mustered five points in the second quarter, after which Gray-NG led 24-14.

Hotham scored seven more points in the third to makeup for the fact that Jordan and Grant were being double-, and sometimes triple-teamed.

“We all really wanted this game really badly,” Hotham said. “When I was open I just took the shot, even though I didn’t make all of them. We had to score because Jordan’s game was being taken away. I think as a team we shot really well.”

The Wells zone proved to be challenging, but Gray-NG worked on counter-acting it in practice leading up to the game, and it paid off.

“We had an idea that they might throw zone at us so we worked on shots at practice,” Hotham said. “Defensively we tried to defend their inbounds plays a little bit, but we knew at the end of the day we had to work hard, as always.”

Wells starter Mallory Aromando was injured in the Warriors’ first playoff game against Yarmouth. She and the coaching staff had no idea if she would play until a few minutes before Thursday’s tipoff.

Aromando didn’t start the game but played considerable minutes, especially in the second half. In the fourth quarter, after Wells again scored only five points in the third and now faced a 14-point deficit, Aromando turned it on.

“She felt good warming up and she played a lot for us,” Abbott said. “She’s a big key to our success and I’m just proud of her for powering through it.”

Aromando scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth as the Warrior tried to get back into the game and keep their season going.

With 4:50 left in the game, Wells blocked Jordan down low twice on the same possession and then turned solid defense into efficient offense as Aromando scored a layup to make it 37-30.

From that point, however, Gray-NG hit nine of its 11 fourth-quarter free throws to close out the win.

“We were 14-for-17 from the foul line, which at this place was tough,” Andreasen said. “Last night some of the kids were watching our eastern counterparts and Winslow went 1-for-8 from the foul line and they unfortunately lost in overtime. We said we don’t want to lose on a buzzer-beater.”

Grant hit four free throws and two layups in the fourth. On defense she blocked a shot and stole the ball twice, one in which she turned into a solo fast-break score.

Hotham hit three free throws for Gray-NG in the fourth frame and was the difference-maker for the Patriots.

“As a whole, kids need to step up,” Andreasen said.

 

Gray-New Gloucester’s Eliza Hotham takes a shot as Grace Ramsdell, left, and Franny Ramsdell move in on defense for Wells during the B South semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette)

Gray-New Gloucester’s Mikaela Ryan drives with the ball as Delaney O’Brien of Wells moves in on defense during the B South semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette)

Franny Ramsdell of Wells looks to pass as Brianna Jordan of Gray- New Gloucester moves in on defense during the B South semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena. (Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette)