Thirteen wins.

That’s what Mike Andreasen and his girls’ basketball coaching staff at Gray-New Gloucester High were hoping for when the season began. That would have been a good season.

The Patriots ended up going 17-1 and earned the second seed in the upcoming Western Class B tournament.

“Seventeen (wins) is nice,” said Andreasen, in his fourth season as coach of the Patriots. “That’s a nice number. But it doesn’t mean a thing when they toss the ball up on Tuesday.”

That’s because the Western Class B tournament has any number of teams that could win it all. Start with top-seeded and unbeaten Spruce Mountain. Then consider the Patriots, whose only loss was to Fryeburg Academy a month ago. Or third-seeded Greely, which has won nine in a row heading in … or fourth-seeded York, which traditionally makes a long tourney run.

Andreasen considers his team almost an underdog when looking at the others.

“My biggest concern is that we’re not one of the annual contenders,” he said. “This is really our first go-around. We’re kind of the new face in the crowd, crashing the party. But I think we have as good a shot as any.”

The Patriots play Poland – a team they beat twice during the season, 47-23 and 37-19 – in the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Portland Expo.

It’s been a while since Gray-New Gloucester was in this position. From 2001-04, the Patriots were among the best teams in Western B. They won back-to-back regional titles in 2001 and 2002, losing in the state championship game each time to Mt. Desert Island. Then they lost to Greely in the regional final in 2003 and Gorham in the regional semifinals in 2004.

Since then, they’ve had some good seasons, but nothing like that stretch.

Now they’re back in the hunt. And for Dawn Armandi, an assistant coach at McAuley who played for the Patriots during the championship runs as Dawn Ross, “It’s nice to see. They’re tough kids and they battle hard. They’re fun to watch.”

Andreasen said the key to Gray-New Gloucester’s season might have come in the first four games, when the Patriots defeated Greely 59-47 and York 52-35. Those wins over the teams many considered preseason co-favorites in the Western Maine Conference gave the Patriots a big boost of confidence.

“We stressed playing one game at a time and not worrying about what was down the road,” he said. “And the kids have done well with that and not focusing on winning a championship. Maybe we’re not mature enough of a program to talk about things like that yet.”

Senior guard Maria Valente leads the team in points (14.4), rebounds (8.6), steals (3.1) and assists (2.8). Sophomore center Skye Conley adds 9.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. Alicia Dumont, another of the sophomores who contribute regularly, scores about eight points a game and has become a better playmaker. Grace Kariotis is the long-range shooter who can break zone defenses and Isabelle DeTroy is a defensive stopper.

“We’ve been working really hard together,” said Conley. “And we have really good chemistry on and off the court. It’s kind of like playing with all your friends. And that helps a lot.”

Kariotis added, “When you know someone off the court, you know what they’re thinking on the court. It just makes everything better.”

Of course, the Patriots have faced adversity this year, and perhaps none greater than losing senior forward Zoe Adams to a knee injury sustained in a Jan. 27 game against Falmouth. Adams was averaging 11 points a game and considered the team’s best post player.

“I think the key to that now is that our post players, me, Skye, Izzy, have to really step up,” said Valente. “We need to pick up the slack in rebounding, defending and boxing out.”

Andreasen isn’t worried about the offense. The team has five or six players capable of scoring in double figures every night. But Adams’ loss on defense is critical. “And it makes our bench a little thinner,” he said.

Going in as the No. 2 seed adds a little pressure, Valente said, but she’s sure it won’t affect this group of players.

“It’s nothing we can’t handle,” she said. “We’ll try to treat it like a regular game and do what we do. That’s play hard.”