GRAY — A huge offensive run that spanned the second and third quarters boosted the Gray-New Gloucester boys basketball team to a 58-50 win over Freeport on Thursday evening. 

From when  there was 1:50 left in the second quarter to 4:50 remaining in the third, Gray-NG outscored Freeport 21-4, capped by a layup from Wyatt Kenney off his own missed free throw.

Prior to the scoring streak, the Falcons (3-3) had battled punch-for-punch with the Patriots (3-3).

Five Freeport players scored in the first quarter, including a Elias Thomas layup before the buzzer that put the Falcons on top 10-9.

In the second, Gray-NG’s Nicklaus Pelletier got hot as the Patriots started to get out in transition more. 

“I was pretty excited,” Pelletier said. “Once we start hitting our shots and start getting numbers up and try to kick ahead and get more shots, we all get excited because we love to run. When we run we get a lot better shots. We don’t think about it, don’t wait, just get numbers up and get the shots that we want.”

Pelletier hit back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the quarter to give the Patriots a 26-21 halftime advantage. 

“First quarter, we were stagnant,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Ryan Deschenes said. “I think I was more concerned with keeping them out of the paint. In the second quarter we pressured the ball a little bit more, and that’s when we got the ball down hill and found shooters. We felt good about ourselves at halftime.”

Freeport rebounded well in the first half. In the third, the tides turned and Gray-NG began to dominate the offensive boards. 

Joshua Michaud, who scored all six of his points in the third quarter, and Nicholas Kariotis each grabbed three boards for second-chance opportunities.

“(Thomas) got a lot of rebounds when Nick K (Kariotis) had to help off penetration,” Deschenes said. “We limited that when we stopped their penetration so Nick could stay on him and help him out. We were scrambling on those rotations, but we figured it out.”

Pelletier scored four of his 20 points in the third before erupting for seven in the fourth quarter.

“He’s as good a shooter as there is in the conference,” Deschenes said. “When he’s got space, he’s going to shoot a high percentage. As a team, we didn’t shoot well tonight. We have guys that usually make shots, but sometimes that happens, so we had to find other ways to win, but ‘Big P’ definitely shot well and hit a big one at the end that kind of sealed it.”

With 2:56 remaining in the game, Freeport’s Alex Helie hit a layup to bring the Falcons within six, 49-43. On the Patriots’ next possession, Pelletier caught a pass and drilled a 3-pointer to keep the Falcons out of reach and give his team a 52-43 lead with 2:30 to play.

Freeport didn’t go down without a fight. In the fourth quarter, the Falcons rode Blaine Cockburn, who scored seven of his 10 in the final frame. Heath Cockburn also scored six of his team-high 11 points in the fourth.

After trailing 43-28 heading into the fourth quarter, Freeport brought it all the way back within four points late, trailing 54-50 with 1:12 left thanks to a layup from Blaine Cockburn. 

A double-dribble call with 50 seconds left gave the Patriots the ball back and they were able to fight off the Falcons for the eventual win. 

Pelletier said Gray-NG’s homecourt atmosphere was a factor. 

“We are pretty excited right now,” Pelletier said. “We are going to go into our next game ready to take care of business. It’s definitely one of the best crowds. We get really pumped out going into games and seeing everyone out.”


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