CUMBERLAND — Once the Greely girls basketball team figures out how to avoid a slow start, it’s going to be an even more dangerous opponent for anybody in Class A South. Friday night at home against Gray-New Gloucester, the Rangers struggled through the first quarter and into the second.

When the Rangers found their groove, though, they never let up.

Down eight points to the Patriots a minute into the second quarter, Greely took control of the game, and cruised to a 64-45 win. Both teams are now 2-1.

“I think that really shows a lot of character in our team. We’re a young team, so getting off from the start is a little difficult right now, but we’ll get there. As a team, we play super hard defensively,” said Greely senior Chelsea Graiver, who scored a game-high 28 points, including 17 in the pivotal third quarter to help the Rangers pull away.

A pair of Isabelle Morelli free throws gave Gray-New Gloucester a 19-11 lead 25 seconds in the second quarter. With 6:38 left in the first half, Sophia Ippolito sank a pair of foul shots that sparked a 9-0 run that gave the Rangers a 20-19 lead.

The same slow start happened in Greely’s last game, a 54-40 loss to Brunswick in which the Rangers never got going, Coach Todd Flaherty said. Friday night against the Patriots, Greely’s defensive pressure started to work in the second quarter, and that turned to offensive opportunities in transition.

“Our defensive intensity wasn’t there at the start, then they found it.  I think we wore them down a little bit,” Flaherty said. “Sophia Ippolito was a great on the ball defender, and it made them tough to run their offense.”

Ahead 25-24 at the half, Greely dominated the third quarter, outscoring Gray-New Gloucester 25-11 to take a 50-35 lead into the fourth. The Rangers forced 13 turnovers in the third quarter, getting easy layups in transition and utilizing the hot hand of Graiver.

“The biggest thing for me is not forcing shots, letting the game come to me. Tonight I guess it just all worked out. My teammates found the ball for me, and were extra helpful tonight,” Graiver said.

As well as playing strong defense with three steals, Ippolito added 18 points for the Rangers, including 10 in the second quarter to help spur the comeback. Both Ippolito and Graiver made four 3-pointers.

Morelli led Gray-New Gloucester with 12 points and six rebounds. Isabelle Ross added nine points for the Patriots, while Amber Fortin scored seven.


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