GRAY — Gray-New Gloucester started the first quarter on a double-digit scoring run against York before battling in a second half of foul shots, ultimately pulling out a 53-38 win in a WMC girls basketball game Saturday.

Izzy Morelli scored a game-high 19 points for the Patriots (11-2), which she attributed to the team’s offensive unit.

“It was just the team basketball that we play, swinging the ball and finding teammates and uplifting each other,” Morelli said about her high scoring. “It felt good, it was a good team win, we played great team basketball and we swung the ball a lot.

“Our team just uplift each other. We’re all very close, and when things aren’t going our way, we’re all there for each other.”

The odds were in the Patriots’ favor at the start, as they outscored York (8-5) 19-6 in the first quarter, including an 11-0 run. Emma Joyce started the offense for York by scoring a 3-pointer, but the Wildcats only added three more points during the rest of the quarter.

Wildcats coach Jess Stacy said the team came out flat, and it took a minute for York to pick it back up. Stacy also said the team “got away from some of what our bread and butter is,” and settled for outside shot attempts instead of moving the ball inside the point for baskets.


Gray-New Gloucester coach Mike Andreasen said he was happy the team secured the win, but said he would not call it a “pretty game” to look back on due to the physicality and rocky points.

“It was up and down, it was a lot of falling, it was very physical,” Andreasen said. “A lot of foul shooting, but it wasn’t even good foul shooting, I think we missed a bunch of foul shots. But, we were able to do what we do and win again.”

Both Stacy and Andreasen commented on the physicality of Saturday’s game, with Andreasen saying York is as “physical and tough of a team as we’ve seen this year,” and Stacy saying that any time two tough teams match up, “it’s going to be physical play.”

“The key to that is keeping your composure,” Stacy said about the physicality. “I think that’s one of the things that we need to make sure that we’re honing in on and making sure that we’re paying attention to is keeping your composure when things get physical and things get tough.”

Andreasen said the first quarter started out strong for the Patriots, and that the team looked well-conditioned, but as players on both sides kept taking hits on fouls or hits to the floor, “it’s going to take its wear and tear on you.”

Almost the entirety of the second half points were from foul shots, with Gray-New Gloucester scoring 12 of its 20 second-half points on free throws and York scoring seven of its 18 points from the free-throw line. Morelli said going into Saturday’s game, the Patriots knew to expect a tough, physical game and were ready to battle.


“They’re a strong, aggressive team, definitely not a team to underestimate,” Morelli said about York. “They have a lot of strong players.”

Specifically, Andreasen said McKayla Kortes was on the team’s radar as a tough player, and that pre-game suspicion held true as Kortes battled at the rim on several shots, finishing with eight points for the Wildcats.

“McKayla Kortes, she’s one of our leaders on the court all the time,” Stacy said. “Regardless of if she’s scoring points, she’s a top (player) and she’s super tough on defense.”

Other York standouts in Saturday’s game, according to Stacy, were Mya Avery (10 points) and Ava Brent (seven points).

“Mya Avery had a great game, she scored a lot of points down at the end, getting to the rim, getting fouled,” Stacy said. “Ava Brent is another, she’s one of my other senior captains and she took control of our offense, which was really good to see.”

Andreasen said the third quarter was a key determining factor for the Patriots, because it allowed the defense to maintain the scoring lead, despite the offense only adding nine points, while York added five. That came after both teams scored 14 points in the second quarter. Andreasen also added that the defense has been “pretty set” the entire season, and games have come down to the offense needing to add points.


Gray-New Gloucester has yet to give up 50 points this season, and the closest opponents have gotten is scoring in the 40s. Andreasen said the only two losses this season, to Mt. Ararat and Brunswick, were games that the offense didn’t break the 40-point threshold.

“We haven’t given up 50, but we’ve been in the 40s,” Andreasen said. “In fact, the big thing for us is our offense. Twice this year, we haven’t hit 40 offensively, and those are two losses. We just kind of get settled in and say ‘OK, if you’re going to beat us, you’re going to need to score on us.’”

Gray-New Gloucester relied heavily on taking the fluid, easy shot inside the paint, and only scored two 3-pointers Saturday. Abbey Steele had one in the first quarter and Alexandra Portas scored the other in the second quarter.

“We just need to do a lot of the dribble-drive and find the open person,” Andreasen said. “I think that’s a big thing for us is making sure that the person takes a shot doesn’t have to work super hard for the shot. So if I do a lot of dribbling and pass to you, and all you got to do is catch and shoot it, that’s perfect.”

Steele said the offense has evolved this season to get more rebounds, which has translated into more points. The freshman tallied several rebounds in Saturday’s game, as well as a few steals.

“Abbey’s our sixth man,” Andreasen said. “She’s also our backup point guard, and Laney (Farrar) tends to get some fouls at times, the last two games she’s fouled out of, so Abby’s got to be ready. They (freshmen) come in a little bit hesitant at first. I think when kids are on high school teams as freshmen, they don’t know what their role is and they don’t know where they fit in the hierarchy.”


The team’s other freshman, Emma Hamilton, is the “seventh man,” Andreasen said, and has been also logging minutes on the JV team.

“Emma just is a tough kid,” Andreasen said. “She’s a different player than Abbey, she’ll get in more a little bit, finishing on the basket.”

Looking to the next games and the remainder of the season, Stacy said the Wildcats needss to “clean some things up offensively,” like seeing cutters and getting to the rim, rather than “settling for outside shots.” She also noted how competitive the Class B teams are this season, and said anybody will be a contender for the playoffs.

Andreasen said he is rigid about keeping a one-game mentality, and for the Class A Patriots, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

“If you’re always focused on the end, what good is the journey?” Andreasen said. “These kids are 14-, 16-, 17-year-old kids, enjoy the experience. That’s what we do, who we’re playing next or where we’re going in the tournament, this and that … we have Deering on Thursday, and that’s what’s important to us.”

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