By Mike Lowe
GRAY - With six games remaining in the regular season, Joel Rogers had a simple question for his Greely High girls' basketball players: "Are we going to fall back into the middle of the pack (in Western Class B) or are we going to stay in the upper tier?"
He got his answer Friday night.
With Ashley Storey scoring four points in overtime, the Rangers edged Gray-New Gloucester, 44-41.
Fifth-ranked Greely recovered from a seven-point third-quarter deficit to improve to 11-2. The sixth-ranked Patriots dropped to 10-3.
"It was an up-and-down game, a physical game, bodies flying all over the place," said Rogers. "In the end it was a quality win over a quality opponent."
The Rangers won despite being without starting point guard Caton Beaulieu (back injury), and having both Ashley Storey and Jaclyn Storey pick up three fouls in the first half.
Gray-New Gloucester's frenetic defense forced 11 Greely turnovers in the first half, which ended with the Patriots ahead 19-14. Greely switched from its man-to-man defense to a 3-2 zone in the third quarter, limiting the Patriots' chances and allowing the Rangers to get into a nice rhythm.
Jaclyn Storey scored eight of her 15 points in the third quarter and Ashley Storey, scoreless in the first half, had four of her 10.
"We should have been more forceful pounding the ball inside earlier," said Rogers. "That's really what we need to do."
Greely took a 31-30 lead into the fourth and led by three a couple of times. But Gray-New Gloucester kept rallying back. Three times in the final 2:21 the Patriots tied the game, the final time at 39-39 on an offensive rebound by Stephanie Greaton with 47 seconds left.
Both teams missed opportunities in the final seconds of regulation.
"We were one layup away from winning in regulation," said Mike Andreasen, the Gray-New Gloucester coach. "This was a tough one."
In overtime, Julia Martell of the Patriots drove left for a 41-39 lead. But Ashley Storey powered her way inside to tie it. She hit a 10-foot turnaround jumper with 1:13 remaining to put the Rangers up for good, 43-41.
Greely's defense in overtime was impressive, forcing the Patriots into difficult shots.
"We knew that defense was going to win the game," said Jaclyn Storey. "We knew we needed to make some stops."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: