GRAY — St. Dominic Academy stormed out of the gates quickly in Friday night’s WMC girls basketball game at Gray-New Gloucester, but once the host Patriots got on the right side of their own personal snowball fight they took control and put an end to the Saints’ unbeaten start to the season. 

After hitting a big 3-pointer in the second, Eliza Hotham scored 12 of her game-high 15 points in a momentum-swinging third, and Jordan Grant became a force down low after halftime of the Patriots’ 48-37 victory. 

“I knew that we were slacking and I needed to pick it up,” Hotham said. “So as a team we just slowed it down, and I was ready for those shots, and I think that just flowed one into another.”

The Patriots (4-1) trailed 23-15 at halftime, but a 19-4 third quarter turned the game around. 

“We scored on our first possession of the second half to make it a six-point game, and then from there it kind of snowballed in the right direction,” said Patriots coach Mike Andreasen, who felt like a snowball effect put his team down early. 

St. Dom’s (4-1), meanwhile, got off to a fast start. Becca Zimmerman draining a 3-pointer from the corner on the Saints’ first possession, and the lead extended to 5-0 on Skye Rogers’ backdoor layup in transition. Their advantage grew to as high as 13-5 in the opening quarter after Hannah Kenney’s long 2-pointer just under six minutes in. 

“We had a good week of practice, girls listened really well and we felt like we had a decent game plan, and they executed it really well (in the first half),” Saints coach J.P. Yorkey said. 

The deficit was 17-9 for the Patriots after one quarter, but they maintained the eight-point difference heading into halftime. 

“That was big,” Andreasen said. “Eliza’s 3 before halftime. And then we got the ball back, and I thought, ‘Oh, if we could just knock another one. …’ We couldn’t, but at least they didn’t get any more.

“We knew that we had the ball coming out (of halftime), and it’s a big deal of just us coming out and saying, ‘You know, if we can get the first basket, the momentum kind of swings.'”

The Patriots missed a pair of short shots to start the third, but they got the ball back after a traveling violation by the Saints in the backcourt. Grant missed a putback of Sam Fortin’s layup attempt, but her second try at it went in. 

Hotham later made one of two free throws to cut it to 23-18, and then she answered a 3-pointer by St. Dom’s Mia-Angelina Leslie’s with a trey of her own. Gray-NG’s Abbey Michaud made a shot and Emma West made a pair of foul shots to cut the deficit to one, and after Leslie made a free throw, Hotham nailed a 3 to give the Patriots their first lead, 28-27.

They never gave up that lead, extending it to 34-27 after three quarters. 

“(Gray-New Gloucester) really kind of grinded defensively and made some shots, and I think we kind of wore down a little bit,” Yorkey said. 

The Patriots again missed a shot to start the fourth, but Hotham battled for the offensive rebound, won it, then dished the ball to Grant for a layup. Grant scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth. 

“It helped us put points on the board, and she helped out with rebounding, so I think it was good for the team,” Hotham said. “And we had a really good team effort second half.” 

Becca Zimmerman paced the Saints with 14 points, while Leslie added eight, Kenney seven and Rogers six. 

“They also cooled off somewhat,” Andreasen said. “I’m liking to think that maybe we had something to do with their cooling. But early on they just didn’t miss.” 

“We felt good coming in,” Yorkey said. “We knew they were good, but we thought we could win, and I think we just needed to put two of those halves together. So we’ll work on that going forward.” 

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