GRAY — Gray-New Gloucester locked down the top seed in Class B South girls’ basketball, but Freeport made the Patriots earn it.

The Patriots outlasted the Falcons in a battle for first place

Thursday, winning 52-43 on the final night of the regular season.

“This is a game that reminded us a little bit of a tournament game in that it’s tight till the end, it isn’t pretty, but it’s whatever team seems to make a play or two more,” Gray-New Gloucester Coach Mike Andreasen said.

The game featured six lead changes, but it seemed like the lead was always up for grabs.

Though none of those lead changes came in the fourth quarter, Freeport (14-4) stayed close until the end.

The Falcons trailed only 38-37 after Taylor Rinaldi made a 3-pointer with less than four minutes remaining. But on the next possession, Gray-New Gloucester’s Eliza Hotham swished a 3-pointer, and the Patriots held at least a four-point advantage the remainder of the game.

“That was big,” Andreasen said. “She buried it.”

“Every time it seems like they punched, we counter-punched.”

The Patriots also were helped by their rebounding, which led to second-chance opportunities and prevented Freeport from having many.

“We did not hit the glass offensively or defensively,” Freeport Coach Mike Hart said.

Jordan Grant led the Patriots (14-4) with 26 points. The sophomore, who typically scores chunks of her points in transition, was forced her to earn points in the post. She even suffered a bloody nose late in the first half.

“They were fronting us a lot, and I know … they were double-teaming me,” Grant said. “So sometimes we’d have to look to the other side, get it to Sam (Fortin).”

Fortin, also a sophomore, came off the bench to score eight points, including six in the second half.

“Sam did a really good job underneath tonight,” Grant said. “She had a really good game.”

Andreasen said his team was thrown off by Freeport using a taller lineup than expected, and that helped the Falcons take a 16-11 lead after one quarter. But Gray-New Gloucester responded by holding Freeport to three second-quarter points and led 22-19 at halftime.

“Once it got to be 16-11 early, my concern was they might run away from us and make it a double-digit lead,” Andreasen said.

“We were down, and we pulled through and kept playing hard,” Grant said.

The Falcons took the lead early in the third, 25-24, on Jessie Driscoll’s three-point play. But Gray-New Gloucester went back in front for good a few minutes later when Bri Jordan (eight points) drove for a bucket.

“We gritted it out,” Andreasen said.

“They played hard,” Hart said. “We just didn’t execute down the stretch, and they did a better job executing what they needed to do.”

Taylor Rinaldi hit three 3-pointers and led the Falcons with 15 points. Caroline Smith and Driscoll each scored 11.