GRAY — Ten games into the Class B South girls’ basketball season, Gray-New Gloucester Coach Mike Andreasen says there isn’t much separating the best teams.

“It’s anybody’s (game),” he said. “That’s the way it’s going to be. We’ve got to do a little something to separate ourselves.”

And that’s what the Patriots did Tuesday night, opening an early big lead and then holding on at the end to defeat Lake Region 42-41. Gray-NG survived an 18-0 Lakers run midway through the game, then escaped a Lake Region rally in the final minute.

“I think it shows a lot of heart and the character that we have,” said Bri Jordan, the Patriots’ junior guard. “We just have to keep getting better. We have to work on things obviously. But it shows what our program’s about and what we can do.”

Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant battles for a loose ball with Lauren Jakobs of Lake Region. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

The Patriots, who lost at Lake Region (38-34) in the opener, improved to 8-2 as the top seed in Class B South. Lake Region, which entered ranked sixth, dropped to 8-3.

“I’m 100 percent proud of our kids and how hard we worked,” said Lakers Coach Paul True. “Obviously a lot of things didn’t go our way … I felt we were equally deserving to win the game.”

Jordan Grant, a sophomore center, led Gray-NG with 21 points, 16 coming in the first quarter, the other five in the fourth. Bri Jordan added 12.

Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant has the ball stripped away as she goes up for a basket by Lauren Jakobs, left, and Brooke Harriman of Lake Region. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Lake Region uncharacteristically came out in a zone defense and Grant went to work, leading the Patriots to an 18-7 first-quarter lead. Late in the first, the Lakers went back to their staple man-to-man defense and slowed Gray-NG down.

“Overthinking and overcoaching,” said True. “We went back to what we should have started the game with.”

The Lakers closed the first half with a 9-0 run, then scored the first nine points of the third quarter to take the lead, 30-25. Lauren Jakobs tied the game at 25 with two foul shots, Brooke Harriman hit two foul shots and a 10-footer on the left baseline and Shauna Hancock (15 points) hit a free throw to close out the run.

But the Patriots came back as an off-balance long 3-pointer by Jordan at the buzzer gave them a 33-31 lead entering the fourth.

It stayed tight, 37-35, after Jakobs hit two foul shots with 5:32 left. Jordan scored with 2:51 left to make it 39-35, then Grant got inside and put in a lefty hook with 1:36 left and it was 41-35.

Gray-New Gloucester’s Alexa Thayer plays tight defense on Shauna Hancock of Lake Region in Tuesday night’s girls’ basketball game. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

The Lakers weren’t done. Hancock hit a long 3 to pull within three. Grant hit one foul shot with 43 seconds remaining to make it 42-38.

But the Lakers forced a couple of turnovers on the press and Chandler True (12 points) hit a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left to pull within one.

The Lakers had one last chance after a Patriots miss at the foul line with 4 seconds left. True dribbled up the right with Jordan closely guarding her. She never got a shot off before the buzzer.

Andreasen said his young team – the Patriots have no seniors – is still learning to win games like this.

“It’s little things you need to do to close games out,” he said. “It’s being able to not only get ahead in the game but stay ahead in the game. It’s the little things we haven’t quite mastered yet, but we’ve got to work on.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH