PORTLAND — Gray-New Gloucester left the locker room at halftime determined to take over in the second half.

The Patriots did, and a big third quarter propelled them to the Class A state championship with a 52-41 victory over Hampden Academy on Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena.

“It feels great, man,” senior Nate Hebert said. “All the hard work we put into this, all the adversity we faced, for us to come together as a team — I mean, this was a full team effort, you know, every single person, the managers, everybody, this is a team effort. It feels great.”

The state title is Gray-New Gloucester’s first since winning Class C in 1975.

The Patriots (20-2) trailed 24-22 at halftime Saturday and felt like they hadn’t dictated the pace or played like they wanted in the first two quarters.

After Gray-NG’s halftime discussion, head coach Ian McCarthy expected a good second half.


“I looked at their eyes and said, ‘There’s no way they’re going to lose. They’re clutch,’” McCarthy said.

Nate Hebert said the Patriots were ready to go out and seize the goal they’ve been chasing since last season ended in the Class A South semifinals.

“That gold ball. That gold ball was going through my head, through all of our heads,” Nate Hebert said. “We knew what we needed to do. We had a game plan, we needed to stay composed and stick to it.”

Hebert was the catalyst of the third-quarter charge, hitting two of Gray-NG’s 3-pointers in the period and scoring nine points.

“Nate knew what he wanted,” Patriots senior Noah Schaeffer said. “We definitely all did.”

Gray-New Gloucester flipped its two-point deficit into a nine-point advantage, 43-34, by the end of the third quarter.


Nate Hebert opened the third with a turnaround jumper that tied the game at 24-24.

“I would want to say that we all want it the same, but this kid, he lives for this,” Aidan Hebert, Nate’s nephew, said. “He’s awesome. When he wants something, he gets it. That’s what makes him so good.”

Aidan Hebert, who missed most of the first half due to foul trouble, set up twin brother Noah Hebert for a corner 3-pointer that put the Patriots ahead 27-24.

J.J. Wolfington, who led Hampden (19-3) with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Zach McLaughlin (10 points, eight boards) scored their only baskets of the second half to put the Broncos ahead for the last time, 28-27.

Then Gray-NG took off.

Nate Hebert hit a trey, Aidan Hebert added a basket, and Noah Hebert scored on a fast break. A free throw by Nate Hebert and a layup by John Patenaude completed the 10-0 run that gave the Patriots a 37-28 lead.


“We knew we were due for a run, for sure,” Nate Hebert said. “They did a great job in the first half, I mean, we looked sluggish out there. They slowed the game down, they were up two. But we knew it was our game to get. We knew if we stuck to that slow game, they had a chance. But as soon as we speeded it up and went on that first run, it was our game.”

Aidan Hebert made up for lost time in the third quarter. He was the first Gray-NG player on the court after the halftime break, reaching the hardwood floor while the rest of his teammates were 20 or 30 feet behind him.

During Gray-NG’s run, he slapped the floor and shouted to teammates, “Let’s go!”

He pushed the pace in the second half and played a big role in slowing the Broncos’ offense after halftime. He grabbed four rebounds in the third and seven in the second half.

“The first half was definitely an eye-opener. I had to definitely lay off a little bit,” Aidan Hebert said. “But I was really locked in. And props to them for doing what they do, they’re a great team, but, yeah, we were all ready after the half.”

Hampden’s Sawyer Worcester stopped the Patriots’ scoring streak with a 3-pointer, and teammate Aiden Kochendoerfer scored another bucket to make it 38-33.


But 3-pointers by Nate Hebert and Carter Libby pushed Gray-NG’s lead to double-digits, 43-33.

Libby said that third-quarter takeovers were common for the Patriots this season.

“We get a new life in us,” he said. “We’re onto loose balls, making crisp passes, looking down the court, getting easy layups, getting a lot of 3s up. It’s just electric.”

The Patriots didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter, but they did hit 9 of 10 free throws and held Hampden to seven points.

Nate Hebert finished with a game-high 21 points. He was crafty, penetrating to create shots, making short turnaround jumpers, drilling 3s with a hand in his face and kicking the ball out to get it moving. He also had seven rebounds.

“Nate Hebert’s the hardest worker I know,” Libby said. “He’s been working his whole life for this, and he knew this was his game. He may not get all the recognition he deserves, but he showed today that he’s capable of amazing things.”

Patenaude and Libby added nine points apiece and Noah Hebert scored eight for Gray-NG. Aidan Hebert finished with five points and a team-best eight rebounds. He also didn’t commit a foul in the second half, so he was on the floor to make the final two free throws with 13 seconds remaining.

After a final miss by Hampden, Nate Hebert secured the rebound, dribbled out the clock and threw the ball in the air to begin the celebration of the Patriots achieving their season-long goal.

“We wanted it a lot,” Nate Hebert said. “I won’t say we wanted it more, but we wanted it a lot. We needed it.”

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