CUMBERLAND — Greely forward Jordyn Copp said it best.
“It’s nice to know when either the offense or defense is struggling, the other is going to help us out.”
Strong defense at the start and the Rangers’ offensive spark in the third quarter were the difference as Greely held on for a 42-34 win over York in a Western Class B girls’ basketball game Thursday night at Greely High.
“Defensively, it was by far our best effort,” Greely Coach Joel Rogers said. “Offensively, we really struggled in the first half, but it came together in the third. Really, the difference was we didn’t make our foul shots at the end (3 for 9 in the fourth).”
Ashley Storey scored 10 of her 22 points in the third to push the Rangers (7-2) to a 37-23 lead after three quarters. But York (6-3) went down fighting as Paige McElwain scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter to trim it to 40-34 with 30 seconds to play.
Storey, who also had 13 rebounds, four steals and a block, scored the Rangers’ first eight points in the decisive third quarter, sinking two free throws 25 seconds in, then scoring three straight baskets from the low post, as teammates found her with passes over the top.
“Third quarter we came out on a run and outscored them (15-9),” Storey said. “But in the fourth we lost focus and our defense had to step up.”
York was hindered by early foul trouble against Shannon Todd (10 points), who is still recovering from mononucleosis.
“The plan was to get in Todd’s face and wear her out,” Rogers said. “That and we had to worry about (Chloe) Smedley (4 points), but I think our height kept her from doing what she likes to do.”
Oddly enough, with Todd sitting out the second quarter with three fouls, the Rangers failed to capitalize. The Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to cut it to 15-13, before Sarah Felkel hit the first of her two 3-pointers, and Blaise Tardif (6 points) hit Storey on the baseline for a bucket, then she sank two free throws with a minute left to give Greely a 22-14 lead at the half.
“Coach said at halftime that we were doing really well on defense,” Tardif said. “We just needed to keep doing that and come back on offense.”
The biggest blow of the second quarter came when freshman guard Moira Train injured her arm on a fall and missed the rest of the game.
Known for her defensive play, Train showed offensive spark in the Rangers’ previous game, scoring 14 points in Greely’s 75-29 win over Kennebunk on Tuesday.
“She’s our best defensive player,” Rogers said. “All I can hope is she’s not hurt too badly. Molly Chapin and Kristina Smith stepped in nicely and had some good minutes.”
“I like the way we came back,” York Coach Rick Clark. “When she’s out we’re still looking for a leader. (Anne Graziano) is recovering from the flu, so she wasn’t able to do as much as she normally does.
“And Suzanne Donovan’s out with the flu, so I couldn’t spell (Smedley). We see them again in two weeks. We’re looking forward to it.”