Gray-New Gloucester’s Aidan Hebert, left, and Noah Hebert, right, team up to steal the ball from Freeport’s Jonathan Pound during a Feb. 21 game at the Portland Expo in Portland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

When they see an opening, Aidan and Noah Hebert are going for it — they’ll attack the lane and try to dunk. It doesn’t matter who is in front of them.

Sometimes they miss, but their coach says the payoff is worth the risk.

“There are times where they throw it down here, and the next five minutes the place is just on fire, and we’re on a run because of the energy that they brought,” Ian McCarthy said. “And because of that, we encourage them. We look for dunks.

“And it’s fun to watch them because they’re only 6 feet tall.”

McCarthy added that even the missed dunks show how locked in the Heberts are and that they aren’t going to back down from anyone.

“Obviously, it feels great, it looks good,” Noah Hebert said. “But, I mean, after every dunk, it feels like it’s static in the room, and yeah, it just feels amazing.”


Gray-New Gloucester plays fast and furious. It’s a frenzy, with nonstop action.

The defense quickly invades opposing players’ space and rarely relents. When the Patriots get the ball back, the offense is immediately aggressive and attacking.

“Somewhat organized chaos,” McCarthy said.

The Patriots go, go, go on both sides of the ball all game long, and this year they’ve gone farther than they have in nearly 50 years. Last week’s Class A South championship is the Patriots’ first boys basketball regional title since 1975 and it advances them to the program’s first state final since they won the Class C title that same year.

Gray-New Gloucester (19-2), ranked fifth in the latest Varsity Maine poll, will face A North champion Hampden (19-2), which is ranked sixth, in the Class A title game Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Setting the tone for the Patriots this season is Noah and Aidan Hebert.


“The twins are the greatest all-around basketball players I’ve ever seen,” Patriots senior Carter Libby said. “They can score. They’ve had 20-point games this year, they’ve had 15-rebound games this year. They play defense like no one else I’ve ever seen.”

Gray-New Gloucester’s Noah Hebert, left, steals the ball from Freeport’s Connor Slocum during a Class A South semifinal last week at the Portland Expo in Portland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

There is another Hebert on Gray-New Gloucester’s roster. Nate Hebert is the twins’ uncle. He was born a few months before them, so all three are seniors and they essentially grew up together.

“We’re more like brothers,” Nate said. (One of his actual brothers, Ian, is the twins’ dad. Ian Hebert was a standout player at Gray-NG in the 2000s, and the twins’ other adult brother, Jordan, also played for the Patriots.)

Nate Hebert has been one of the best shooters in the state, if not the best, for the past few years. In a game last winter against Lake Region, he drained seven 3-pointers and scored 42 points.

He leads the Patriots in scoring with a 20.5 points per game average (regular season and playoffs). Junior John Patenaude ranks second at 17.7 points per game.

Gray-New Gloucester can flat-out score. But everything starts on defense.


“Ultimately, they’re what drives our defense,” McCarthy said of Aidan and Noah Hebert. “And so we follow their lead.”


The 1975 Gray-NG team, which won the Class C title with an 85-78 overtime win over Narraguagus, featured players like Dave Wilkinson, who was described in the Sun Journal as a “rugged 6-3 forward and center,” while Peter Muzzy was “an unusually tall guard” at 6-foot-2, and Brad Pollard was “a 6-5 14-year-old.”

Gray-New Gloucester’s Aidan Hebert takes the ball up the court under pressure from York’s Lukas Bouchard during a Jan. 20 game in Gray. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Other than reserve center Mitchell Heinrich, who plays key minutes, this year’s team doesn’t have that kind of height. It’s made up mostly of 6-1 or 6-2 players (such as the three Heberts).

The twins’ combination of athleticism and versatility prevents the Patriots’ size from being an issue on defense or with rebounding. They also are Gray-NG’s fastest players, and they’re strong. So both can guard taller or shorter players.

“We contribute on offense, I think, very well, like we move the ball very well,” Noah Hebert said. “But on defense, I think we have more of an impact.”


Aidan Hebert typically is assigned to defend the opposing team’s best player, but he chalks that up to “just how things have kind of panned out,” and said Noah is “definitely capable of all that.”

Their hustle never stops, and they never hold back. They dive for loose balls and chase each rebound with intent. Bumps, bruises, floor burns and cuts are things that happen along the way and not things that get in the way.

McCarthy is in his first season as the Patriots’ head coach, but he served as an assistant to previous coach Ryan Deschenes for four years. He said the twins weren’t always known for their toughness.

“Something clicked, and they just became, overnight almost, absolute dogs,” McCarthy said, “and the toughest kids you’ll meet.”

They aren’t the only Patriots who play like that, just the leaders of it. Libby is similarly versatile, dogged and athletic — he’s a state-champion distance runner and two-time Sun Journal All-Region Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Nate Hebert and Patenaude also aren’t afraid to hit the floor, and in last week’s regional final they defended Noble’s top to players man-to-man.



Aidan Hebert is the Patriots’ top rebounder, pulling down 8.6 per game this season.

“Aidan has, I don’t know, he has a dog in him,” Noah Hebert said. “He wants every board and every defensive possession he can get.”

Noah is second at 6.3. Noah (2.4) leads the team in steals, and Aidan (2.1) ranks second.

They also have key roles on offense. Aidan plays point guard, and he runs the offense and sets the pace. He’s more likely to get his points by driving to the hoop or on putbacks.

Noah, meanwhile, leads Gray-NG in 3-point shooting percentage (42.5%) with a shot, McCarthy said, “I would rival against Nate’s.”

“Noah’s shooting is phenomenal,” Aidan Hebert said. “He has ups and downs, but like, mostly ups. He’s really, really efficient. Takes the right shots. Very unselfish — sometimes, honestly, too unselfish; kind of like him to shoot more if he’s that efficient.”


They’re versatile on offense, too. Noah can drive and create for himself and others. Aidan has improved his shot significantly over the past couple seasons and is 3-point threat.

Aidan averages 9.3 points per game, and Noah 8.4. Both could score a lot more. Nate Hebert’s favorite stories about them are about their scoring in AAU tournament championship games: their sophomore year, Aidan went off for “30, 40 points,” and last spring Noah “just lit it up. Probably went probably 9 for 9 from 3.”

When Patenaude transferred from Poland over the offseason, Gray-NG added a proven scorer, someone who can hit 3-pointers but also score on drives to the hoop or pull-up jumpers.

But McCarthy wondered if there were enough shots to go around. So did Aidan Hebert.

“I was thinking it was going to be a little difficult to balance, but we play so fast, we have so many possessions, it kind of balances out,” Aidan said. “And we’ve done a good job creating the mindset where it’s not like, ‘I need mine now.’”

Aidan and Noah sacrificed scoring opportunities, and so has Nate Hebert, who reached 1,000 career points this season. McCarthy said that Libby could average 15 points on most teams, but with the Patriots his shots are limited.

Giving up shots is easy because of how close the Patriots are as a group. They also are driven solely by the desire to win a state championship, and Patenaude’s scoring makes Gray-NG even more formidable.

“This is our last year, so, you know, we got to give it our all,” Noah Hebert said. “And, obviously, when leaving, like saying, ‘Hey … I won my last high school game.’ So, yeah, that’s a very big motivator.”

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