BANGOR — Calm down.

Shawn Graham had that simple message for his Houlton High girls’ basketball team with three minutes left in the Class B state championship game Friday night. The Shiretowners had seen a 12-point lead against Gray-New Gloucester drop to five and were reeling.

“I simply said we’ve been in this situation before, use it to your advantage,” said Graham. “Settle in and stay composed.”

And the Shiretowners responded. Houlton went on a 10-2 run to close out a 48-35 win over the Patriots at Cross Insurance Center. Six of those points came at the foul line, where Houlton was 9 of 9 in the fourth quarter.

It’s Houlton’s second consecutive state championship. The Shiretowners won the Class C crown last year. Houlton is the smallest Class B school in the state, with an enrollment of 332.

“I think it’s unbelievable for the school and the community,” said Graham. “We’re not deep, only about six deep. I can’t say enough about these girls. They’re just winners. They know how to get it done.”

Houlton’s big-game experience was a factor – the Patriots were making their first appearance in a state final in 14 years. So was Houlton’s defense. Gray-New Gloucester hit just 32 percent of its shots and was 0 for 6 from 3-point range.

Kolleen Bouchard, a sophomore, led the Shiretowners with 21 points and 12 rebounds. She scored seven points in the fourth quarter.

But Gray-New Gloucester Coach Mike Andreasen said Houlton’s other players stepped up as well. Natalie Hill had 10 points, six in the fourth. And Aspen Flewelling scored eight points, hitting two 3-pointers.

“She was the catalyst, no question about it,” said Andreasen. “But their other kids … We knew they could shoot the ball, but they defended well, they handled the ball well. They made the plays that players two through five need to make.”

It was a tight game for most of the first half. But Houlton scored the last six points of the second quarter to take control. The Shiretowners slowly extended the lead in the second half as Gray-New Gloucester couldn’t get any offensive rhythm. But trailing 38-27 after a Bouchard three-point play with 5:30 left, the Patriots fought back.

A Brianna Jordan layup cut it to 38-29. After a Bouchard turnover, Jordan found Skye Conley (13 points, six rebounds) inside for another basket.

Isabelle DeTroy made a steal on the press and passed to Alicia Dumont for a layup, and suddenly it was 38-33 and Graham was calling a timeout. The Patriots’ press had rattled the Shiretowners into uncharacteristic turnovers.

Bouchard wasn’t worried, however.

“Coach told us to settle down,” she said. “Come back out, play your game, run the offense and score.”

Bouchard was called for an offensive foul on Houlton’s possession after the timeout, but the Patriots committed a turnover. That led to two foul shots by Rylee Warman and a 40-33 lead. A missed Gray-NG shot led to two foul shots by Bouchard.

After DeTroy hit a foul line jumper to cut it back to seven, the Patriots stole the ball. But Kristen Graham got back to intercept a pass, leading to two foul shots by Hill.

“We were able to get it to five,” said Andreasen. “But we couldn’t get it down to three.”

In the end, he added, Houlton’s experience in pressure situations may have been a difference.

“It seems everything we did, they could do better,” he said. “We hit 1 of 2 foul shots, they hit 2 of 2.

“They made more plays. They really looked like their big-game experience, playing on this court, playing in a state title before, really aided them late. It looked like our kids were a little tentative taking shots, like they hadn’t been in this situation, this environment before. Well, they hadn’t. I guess it gives us something to shoot for next year.”