GRAY — Greely’s big win earlier this week over Oxford Hills was on its players’ minds as they took on Gray-New Gloucester on Thursday, but the Rangers quickly gathered themselves and found a rhythm in the second quarter. 

After weathering a offensive outburst by Gray-NG’s Jordan Grant in the first quarter, Greely found its stride and took home a 54-40 girls basketball win over the Patriots. 

The win is Greely’s 47th in a row. 

Greely coach Todd Flaherty knew that the victory over the Vikings two days earlier would be on the minds of his players heading into the Class A South clash with the Patriots. 

“I woke up this morning and I was still thinking about the end of the Oxford Hills game, and I thought to myself, if I am still thinking about it, the girls probably are, too,” Flaherty said. “We did discuss it, but they’ve been really good about not looking past people since I have been here. It’s not about me, that’s how they are built.”

The Patriots took advantage of Greely’s distracted minds and tired legs and ran their best offense: Find Jordan Grant in the post. 

Grant scored seemingly every time down the court during a stretch of the first quarter, which she compiled 15 points and five rebounds. 

Grant finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Greely began the game with a 9-4 lead but let the Patriots go on a 12-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Eliza Hotham and then a Grant layup. 

After a couple close misses down low for Grant, Greely switched defenses and put its post player, Katie Fitzpatrick mostly, in the back of Gray-NG’s star senior instead of in front. 

“We came in with, obviously, a lot of respect for Jordan,” Fitzpatrick said. “We wanted to come in with me fronting her and having our help-side drop. We haven’t been working on that a lot, so coach had me play behind her and have our guards dig. It was the hustle that kept her to low points in the second quarter.”

Fitzpatrick and Chelsea Graiver helped Greely stay alive early with a combined 14 first-quarter points. 

Fitzpatrick finished with a team-high 18 points.

Greely held Grant to a single layup in the second quarter and quickly erased the 20-17 first-quarter deficit.

Graiver (17 points) drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 22-22 with five minutes remaining in the first half. 

Brooke Obar made a layup on the next possession to give Greely the lead it maintained for the rest of the game. 

“They’re well-rounded, they have five players on the court that can score and we don’t, and over 32 minutes it wears you down,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said. “You almost have to play an error-free game. I told the girls after the game that we played an A-minus game, but I don’t think an A-plus game beats that team.”

Greely held a 32-26 lead at halftime and continued to limit the offensive impact that Grant could have. 

“She gets tired. They figured out that she is our first, second and third option, and we scored 20 of our 40 the first quarter,” Andreasen said. “She was missing some shots, too, and I don’t know how many she had, but she can’t carry it.”

Along with holding Grant to four points in the third, Greely also suffocated ball-handlers in the half-court, notching three steals and holding Gray-NG’s other players to two points in the period.

“That’s one of our pillars of our program is trying to disrupt people in the man defense,” Flaherty said. “I thought we did a good job of that, and if you don’t get a hand on it, we at least try to make them run their offense way out past the 3-point line.”

Greely increased its advantage to 42-32 after the three quarters and poured it on in the fourth with help from a pair of 3s by Fitzpatrick. 

“We start off slow, so once we get in a rhythm and our shots start to fall we also started working on pairing off, where we screen and get open,” Fitzpatrick said. “We were kind of stiff starting off and so just getting the movement and getting the energy up it helped us start shooting well.”

Greely (9-0), which has won two consecutive Class A state championships, holds the longest win streak in the state after two big wins over reining state champions (Oxford Hills won the Class AA title last year and Gray-NG won Class B).

Fitzpatrick said these mid-season challenges will be beneficial come tournament time.

“We are exhausted, to say the least,” Fitzpatrick said. “We knew coming into this game that Grant always gives us a good game and that they were going to come in fighting. It was a tough battle with these two games in a row, but even our game Saturday against Wells is going to help us in stretches in the tournament of long, difficult games.”

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