The last three years, only one team kept Greely High’s girls’ basketball team from winning something special – York. The Rangers lost only 11 games during that span, eight of them to the Wildcats, including three in the postseason.

So to say that Greely’s 43-41 win over York last week was significant would be an understatement. The Rangers trailed by 11 points in the first half before rallying for the victory. That has helped Greely move into the top spot in Western Class B with a 3-1 record.

First-year coach Kim Hilbrich said that victory showed what the Rangers are capable of achieving.

“At any school you’re at, there’s always that one school,” said Hilbrich, who knew of her team’s recent history with York. “But I just think my kids – and they’ve shown it in every game – they might struggle a bit, but they have heart. They work hard and they don’t quit.”

The 47-year-old Hilbrich, who grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and played college ball at Baylor, likes what she’s seen. The Rangers are gritty, smart, versatile and deep. “I have a really good group of kids that I’m ecstatic to be part of,” she said. “The kids are amazing, and as a first-year coach, this is sort of a utopia.”

The Rangers have shown great balance. Each game, a different player steps up to play a key role. Against York, sophomore Mykaela Twitchell scored the final four points to lift the Rangers. A couple nights later, freshman Ashley Storey had 18 points in a win over Falmouth.

“Other teams have to watch for multiple players,” said Hilbrich. “We’re not just a one-person team, which makes it fun.”

One player who has stood out has been junior forward Jaclyn Storey. “She hustles, she’s a smart player, she does everything we ask her to do, she always tries to get better,” said Hilbrich.

The Rangers have been without senior guard Taylor Readio, who suffered a knee injury in the loss to Wells. Hilbrich isn’t sure of the extent of the injury, or if Readio – who hurt her knee her sophomore season and played with meniscus pain last year – will return.

“I was really looking forward to working with her,” said Hilbrich. “I was blown away with what she was doing for us.”

OCEANSIDE IS off to a 2-1 start heading into tonight’s big Eastern Class B game with Camden Hills (3-0). The Mariners, of course, are the result of two schools – Rockland (1-17 last year in Eastern B) and Georges Valley (11-9 in Western C) – that consolidated.

Teel Foster, who coached at Rockland last year, said, “The girls are really embracing this new Oceanside.”

After watching them in preseason practice, Foster noted, “This group of kids has really come together. They click well, they’re all good competitors, they go hard in practice. They’re pushing each other in a good way.”

FIRST-YEAR HEAD coaches, in addition to Hilbrich, include Holly Brassard at Massabesic in Waterboro, Bill Goodman at McAuley, Tom Maines in Scarborough, Mike Andreasen at Gray-New Gloucester, Jay Lowery at Yarmouth, Julie Wescott at Lisbon and Norm McGuire at Pine Tree Academy in Freeport.

Maines, of course, is a coaching legend in Maine, albeit on the boys’ side. Andreasen is the boys’ soccer coach at Greely, and Goodman made the switch this year to McAuley from Greely.

Brassard had previously coached eight years at Wells. She resigned there following the 2005-06 season. Yarmouth’s Lowery has previously coached at the middle school and AAU levels. Wescott also serves as Lisbon’s field hockey coach and was the school’s junior varsity girls’ coach the last three winters.

This is McGuire’s first varsity position. He teaches art at the school, so he knows the players.

“I’ve always watched from the sidelines,” he said. “I’ve always wondered if I had the chance to coach them what I would do differently. Well, now I have that chance.” 

FREEPORT, EXPECTED to be a major player in Western Class B this year, suffered a big loss when returning point guard Aubrey Pennell was shut down after suffering a back injury in soccer. Coach Jennifer Chon is hopeful Pennell might be back for the postseason.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH