GRAY — A dizzying transition game, strong rebounding and dazzling shooting gave the Gray-New Gloucester boys basketball team the upper-hand on Friday night.

The Patriots’ defense also put a dent in Poland’s offense as Gray-New Gloucester glided off with a 75-64 victory against the stubborn rival Knights.

Gray-New Gloucester coach Ryan Deschenes pointed out that playing at that energy level can also slow a team down later in the game.

“I think that caught up to us in the third quarter,” he said. “We were trying to trap too much in the third quarter … and that led to some late rotations and Poland capitalized on that and credit to them for keep scrapping. …”

Gray-New Gloucester (8-2) opened up on Poland (3-6) from the get-go in the first quarter. The Patriots dominated boards and their transition game frustrated Poland. Junior guard Noah Hebert led the Patriots with nine points in the opening period and classmate Carter Libby (11 points for the game) helped out with six points in the frame. Hebert finished the game with 15 points.

“We knew we could get inside early, and they switched to a 2-3 (zone defense), and you know, it threw our execution a little bit,” Deschenes said, ” but we still moved around and found the openings and Nate (Hebert) had the good looks in the corner, so we took advantage of that.”


Deschenes said Libby turned in a strong performance on defense.

“Carter is very, very active,” Deschenes explained. “Defensively, he was getting the ball deflections and getting some offensive rebounds.”

It explains why Deschenes thinks defense when he places Libby on the court.

“Coach has me up front on our defense. I am long,” Libby said. “I think my deflections, tips, everything like that, I figured I played pretty good. I think we did good, but I know we can do better. Everybody did their thing and the win is what matters.”

The Patriots were still thriving in their transition game, but they took a more subtle approach in the second quarter with changes in personnel.

Gray-New Gloucester was holding a 14-point lead, but that didn’t deter Poland’s sophomore guard John Patenaude, who scored six straight points on two drives to the net and threw in a 3-pointer. He scored another two points at the free-throw line for a total of eight points in that second quarter. He finished the game with 23 points.


“(The Patriots) are a highly energetic team,” Poland coach Bill Flynn said. “They can shoot the ball. They are just about as dangerous as any opponent, really, in the state right now. We kind of knew that coming in and we knew energy was going to be a big deal.

“They got off to a big start (in the first quarter). We clawed our way back in the second quarter. (The Patriots) are so good off the dribble, we almost had to give them those (outside) shots and they had some big shots to finish the half.”

The Patriots hadn’t lost a step, though, with junior guard Nate Hebert, who hit back-to-back 3-pointers and scored seven of his 24 points in the second quarter. Mitchell Heinrich, a 6-foot-6 center, contributed five points and senior swingman Maxwell Kenney scored four points. The Patriots headed into the second half with a comfortable 49-28 lead.

The Knights began closing in a bit, but the Patriots maintained their distance and built a 62-48 lead in the third quarter.

“The third quarter was big for us,” Flynn said. “We cut (their lead) low enough that I think our guys believed they could get back in the game. We continued that in the fourth quarter. Our on-balls defense was outstanding again against a very terrific offensive team.”

The Knights never called it a night in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Patriots, 16-13.

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