Mike Andreasen, coach of the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team, talks to his players during a timeout Thursday in a game against Wells in Gray. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team had a good record last year, going 12-6 in the regular season and 13-7 overall. But, as Coach Mike Andreasen pointed out, within that record there was a less assuring mark.

“We were 11-0 against teams with losing records,” he said. “We were 1-6 against teams with winning records. So beating a quality team was something (we hadn’t done). … It was a bit of fool’s gold.”

The Patriots have checked off that box this year. Gray-New Gloucester was ranked fourth in Class A South Heal points with a 10-2 record going into Friday’s games, but this time the record isn’t lacking in credibility. Last week, the Patriots handed top-ranked Brunswick (9-1) its only loss. On Thursday they outlasted Wells, a 10-2 team in Class B South, 43-35.

Skeptics can doubt the Patriots. But they’re making it a tougher argument.

“This year, we want to try to move ourselves into (that group) of beating good teams,” Andreasen said. “Not just competing with, but getting the win.”

The Patriots brought back three returning starters from last year’s team but were again looking for a signature win after getting their first seven victories against teams that were a combined 21-53 going into Friday. They got one on Jan. 10, holding off Brunswick, 48-47, behind 13 points from Isabelle Ross, 10 from Ella Kenney and a winning basket from Alexandra Portas.


“It was kind of a surprise to us, to be honest,” Andreasen said.

As the Patriots kept hanging in, Andreasen made sure to keep his team loose, referencing Nate Hebert’s 42-point game for the Gray-New Gloucester boys earlier in the season.

“I said, ‘We may not beat Brunswick tonight, but we have the same score as our guy. Let’s at least beat him,'” he said. “It kind of lightened (the mood). … We thought we needed to, No. 1, show Brunswick that teams can play with them, but No. 2, show ourselves that we can play with them. We hadn’t had that yet.”

Gray-New Gloucester’s Isabelle Morelli looks to take a shot while being defended by Alivia Boucher of Wells during their game in Gray on Thursday. Morelli had 11 rebounds in the Patriots’ 43-35 victory. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

After a loss to Mt. Ararat on Tuesday, the Patriots survived another gut check against Wells, pulling away despite having their lead cut to two points on three occasions in the fourth quarter. The game showed Gray-New Gloucester’s balanced scoring (no Patriot was in double figures until the fourth quarter) and solid rebounding, led by Isabelle Morelli’s 11 boards.

“Teams are beating us, but they’re not beating us on second-chance points,” Andreasen said. “That’s a big thing for us. It bothers us when we don’t rebound well defensively.”

Andreasen said his team has enjoyed life as an underdog. With wins like the ones they’ve achieved recently, the Patriots might need to adjust to a brighter spotlight.


“We don’t want to be out there, having people circle us on their calendar,” he said. “We kind of want to be sliding in under the radar.”

WELLS FORWARD Savannah Tardiff exited Tuesday’s game against Old Orchard Beach after suffering a hit to her face. The sophomore was unable to close her mouth and was taken to the emergency room at Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford, where she was diagnosed with a dislocated jaw.

Tardiff was inactive but on the Warriors’ bench for Thursday’s game at Gray-New Gloucester. She was out as a precaution, but is hoping to return to action next week, either on Tuesday against Fryeburg Academy or Thursday against Leavitt.

“I’m out for a little bit right now because if it gets hit one more time, it could pop right back out and it could fracture,” she said. “I’d rather miss two games than the rest of the season.”

Tardiff had scored 11 points and notched four steals off the bench before she took a shoulder to the face. A dose of morphine at the ER relaxed her jaw enough for it to reset on its own, she said, preventing doctors from having to put it back into place.

Tardiff said the pain immediately eased.


“It went from level 8 pain to 2 or 1,” she said.

Tardiff said she’ll be able to play with her same tenacity when she returns.

“I don’t have an off switch,” she said. “I think I’ll be all set.”

THE MOUNTAIN VALLEY Conference has allowed basketball teams to open their schedule to out-of-conference opponents in an effort to better prepare them for tournament play. One of those teams who could benefit is Spruce Mountain, which was set to play Yarmouth of the Western Maine Conference on Friday before snow pushed the game to Feb. 2.

Spruce Mountain Coach Zach Keene, whose team is leading Class B South at 10-0, said his team is excited for the challenge.

Spruce Mountain girls’ basketball coach Zach Keene says of the chance to play Western Maine Conference teams during the regular season: “We certainly view it as an opportunity to show we can play at that level.” Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“It’s something we’ve been wanting for a couple of years,” he said. “When the schedule came out and we saw we had a chance with Yarmouth and Freeport, it was huge for us.”


The MVC, made up largely of Class C schools, has struggled in the Class B tournament against schools from the larger Western Maine Conference and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference for years. MVC teams are 4-16 over the last six Class B South girls’ basketball tournaments, with seven of those losses coming as higher seeds.

Keene said it’s hard to avoid the talk each year about the MVC being outmatched.

“We’ve heard that forever, both the boys’ side and girls’ side,” said Keene, whose team is led by Jadyn Pingree, Olivia Mastine and Aubrey Kachnovich. “You hear that stuff and it does get at you a little bit. We certainly view it as an opportunity to show we can play at that level.”

UNDEFEATED TEAMS still top most of the Heal point standings two-thirds of the way through the season. The list of perfect teams going into Friday includes Bangor (11-0) and Oxford Hills (10-0) in AA North, Thornton Academy (12-0) in AA South, Gardiner (12-0) in A North, Old Town (13-0) in B North, Spruce Mountain and Oceanside (10-0) in B South, Hodgdon (11-0) in C North, North Yarmouth Academy (11-0) and Kents Hill (9-0) in C South, and Wisdom (11-0) in D North.

Two of those teams face upcoming clashes with defending AA champion Cheverus (11-1). The Stags play at Oxford Hills at 1 p.m. Saturday, then visit Thornton Academy at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.