PORTLAND — Gray-New Gloucester overcame a difficult first half and beat Kennebunk 55-51 on Saturday in the Class A South boys basketball quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.

Nate Hebert scored a team-high 17 points and made the go-ahead shot, but several Patriots contributed on both ends of the floor, whether it was drawing a charge, making a steal, making it tough for the Rams to score or hitting a timely shot.

“That’s when we’re at our best,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Ryan Deschenes said. “Nate’s our scorer, it’s great to have a 20-point-per-game guy at this level, but it’s even better when you have multiple guys that can make plays, and that’s what we do have.”

The second-seeded Patriots (16-3) advance to face third-seeded Marshwood (14-5) in the semifinals Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Portland Expo. The Hawks defeated No. 6 Fryeburg 51-35 earlier Saturday.

Gray-NG struggled in the first two quarters and trailed 32-23 at halftime. The Patriots quickly got back in the game early in the third, but didn’t take the lead until Hebert’s 3-pointer put them up 48-47 with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter.

Before Hebert’s go-ahead trey, teammate Carter Libby drew a charging foul on the other end of the court to give possession back to Gray-New Gloucester.


“That charge was definitely a momentum changer,” Noah Hebert said.

Libby was hurt on the play and had to exit the game. But the Patriots took advantage and Nate Hebert’s fourth 3-pointer of the game gave them their first lead since 8-7 in the opening quarter.

“I got open, teammates drive-kick, you know, do what they do, it’s easy to do what I do,” Nate Hebert said.

Following Hebert’s 3, which was the last made field goal until the final seconds of the game, Kennebunk called a timeout to regroup. But on the ensuing inbound pass, Gray-NG’s Maxwell Kenney stole the ball, was fouled and made both free throws to make the lead 50-47.

Though the Patriots led for the rest of the game, the Rams didn’t let them pull away until the final 30 seconds.

A pair of free throws put Kennebunk within one point, 50-49, with 3:36 to play, and the score went unchanged for more than two and a half minutes before Nate Hebert made one of two free throws with 1:01 remaining.


After a few empty possessions by both teams, Nate Hebert made a pair of foul shots with 27.2 seconds left and Noah Hebert did likewise with 11.6 seconds remaining, extending the lead to 55-49.

“We’re very experienced, and we’ve been here before, and we stayed together,” Noah Hebert said.

Deschenes agreed that Gray-New Gloucester’s experience advantage was a factor at the end of the game.

“We were hoping our experience would show, and I think it did the last few minutes,” Deschenes said.

Kennebunk’s Theo Pow finished the scoring with a dunk with a few seconds left, giving the sophomore a game-high 23 points.

“I thought we competed. I thought we came out and worked as hard as we could,” Kennebunk senior captain James DiGiovanni said. “I mean, I thought we played a great game of basketball. Sometimes things don’t go your way, sometimes things out of your control don’t go your way.”



Over the final four minutes, Gray-New Gloucester senior Mikey Ryan drew another charge and the Patriots forced Pow, who seemed unstoppable in the first half, to miss a few shots in the post.

Deschenes and Nate Hebert said that the Patriots’ most important improvement was their defense.

“We started out flat, we needed more energy. It was all defense,” Nate Hebert said. “We were getting the shots we wanted, but, you know, when we went out on defense in the second half, we knew what we needed to do. And we just stuck together.”

Gray-New Gloucester scored 16 points apiece in the third and fourth quarters, while holding Kennebunk to 19 second-half points.

“Our defense translates to our offense a lot,” Nate Hebert said, “so when our defense isn’t going, it’s kind of hard to rally on offense. … We started out a little bit flat, but like I said, got it together for the second half.”


Neither team scored during the first two minutes of the second half. Noah Hebert broke the scoreless stretch with a layup. Nate Hebert added a 3 and Ryan added a basket as the Patriots opened the half with a 7-2 run that cut their deficit to 34-30.

The lead fluctuated between four and six points until Ryan hit a 3 to get Gray-NG within a point, 38-37. Kennebunk took a 41-39 lead into the fourth quarter.

Nate Hebert tied game early in the fourth, but Pow answered at the other end. The Patriots tied the score a few times during the first four minutes of the final period, but the Rams continued to answer until Hebert’s go-ahead 3.

Along with Nate Hebert’s 17 points, Noah Hebert and Aidan Hebert, Nate’s nephews, scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, Mikey Ryan added nine, Kenney scored six and Libby had two points.


Gray-New Gloucester struggled to slow down Pow in the first half.


“Defensively, we weren’t as engaged as we needed to be,” Deschenes said.

The Patriots responded to a quick start by the Rams by scoring six straight points to take an 8-7 lead. But Pow took over, scoring nine straight points to put Kennebunk up 16-8.

“Theo’s a good player,” DiGiovanni said. “He’s got a lot in front of him. I’m excited to see what he does, but he’s been solid for us all year. Only a sophomore.”

Gray-New Gloucester spent the rest of the half trying to catch up, and timely shots by Kennebunk prevented the Patriots from getting closer than five points in the first quarter, and from cutting the deficit to less than seven in the second period. The Rams’ biggest lead of the game was 13 points.

Pow only scored two in the second quarter, giving him 13 in the first half, but Isaac Jensen made two baskets and Max Andrews and Jacob Thompson each hit a 3-pointer, and the Rams led at the break 32-23.

Andrews scored nine of his 11 points in the first half. Seven Rams scored in the game. Other than DiGiovanni, every Kennebunk player who played Saturday is a sophomore or a junior.

“This is a strong group,” DiGiovanni said. “I’m the only senior. This team’s got a bright future, and they’ve got a lot in front of them, and I’m really excited to see what they do in the years to come.

“I think the important thing for all of us is not to dwell on this, there’s more in front of us for every single one of these kids. And you can’t win them all.”

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