Saturday, March 8, 2014
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
CUMBERLAND - Joel Rogers saw all he needed to see during a scrimmage Tuesday night to know his Greely girls' basketball team was ready for the tournament.
From the outside it didn't look good. Greely limped into the postseason with a three-game losing streak while dealing with an online incident that cast a shadow over the school and its girls' basketball program.
But the fifth-seeded Rangers held off 12th-ranked Falmouth for a 42-40 victory in a Western Class B prelim game Wednesday night.
"We scrimmaged Deering (Tuesday night) instead of practicing and that was my barometer to tell if the kids were ready to play," Rogers said. "Deering is a tremendous team and my kids were really, really good against them, and that really made the kids feel good about themselves."
Greely advances to face fourth-seeded Leavitt (13-5) in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Portland Expo.
The scrimmage turned out to be a good primer for the Rangers (14-5), who were challenged throughout by the Yachtsmen (9-10).
In the early stages it looked like the Rangers were going to run the Yachtsmen out of the building. Greely built a 9-4 lead after the first quarter and pushed its advantage to 13-4 early in the second.
Anna Hickey finally provided a spark for the Yachtsmen after they only scored four points through the first 10 minutes of the game. Hickey nailed a 3-pointer shortly after a Falmouth timeout and added another in a 9-1 run late in the half to help her team move within 18-17 with only seconds left in the half.
"They knew they were playing with doubt and we kind of had to snap them out of that," said Falmouth Coach Mari Warner. "Once they recognized it, they did what they could do."
Ashley Storey, who paced Greely with 14 points, closed the half with a basket with just over a second remaining to give the Rangers a 20-17 lead at the break.
Storey opened the second half with a pair of free throws to move Greely ahead by five before Falmouth took over. Dayna Vasconcelos led the charge with seven of her game-high 20 points as the Yachtsmen went on an 11-0 run to grab a 28-22 lead.
Greely, however, maintained its composure. Freshman Sarah Felkel came off the bench and the Rangers responded with a 7-0 closing kick to regain the lead, 29-28, after three quarters.
"Sarah played a lot in the scrimmage against Deering and she really settled us down and ran the offense," said Rogers.
A free throw by Shannon Page of Falmouth to open the fourth quarter put the teams back on even terms at 29-29, but Haley Felkel followed with a 3-pointer to restore the lead for the Rangers.
The Yachtsmen got back to within 34-33 on back-to-back baskets by Vasconcelos and Ally Hickey with 51/2 minutes remaining, but Greely scored the next six points to restore a level of comfort on its way to the victory.
"We just have to stick together as a team and we feel like we did that tonight," Storey said after pausing a moment to reflect on the past week.
"When we all work together, good things will happen."