Defend, rebound and take care of the basketball.

No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester followed those simple principles to its second Class B South quarterfinal win in as many years over Spruce Mountain on Saturday, 45-34, at the Portland Expo.

The Patriots held the fifth-seeded Phoenix to one point in the second quarter while simultaneously attacking the paint at the other end to build an 11-point halftime lead.

Hunter Colby led the Patriots (13-6) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Zack Pomerleau added 12 points and Nick Pelletier 10. Brandon Frey and Jack Bryant led Spruce Mountain (14-5) with nine points each.

Gray-New Gloucester advances to the regional semifinals next Thursday, where it will meet No. 8 Wells, the two-time defending regional champion, at 7:30 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena.

The Patriots controlled the game from the second quarter on despite getting just three points from leading scorer John Martin. The senior guard was hurt after an awkward fall underneath the basket late in the third quarter, but returned to action in the fourth.

“We have a pretty senior-led team, so when we have a bad stretch, we huddle,” Pomerleau said. “We’re all one group, and we don’t care who scores and who takes the shots.”

“They took John away but our second- and third-leading scorers stepped up,” Gray-New Gloucester Coach Ryan Deschenes said.

The Phoenix led 9-7 after a feeling-out first quarter but made only two of its next 15 shots over the next two quarters.

“We couldn’t buy one,” Spruce Mountain Coach Scott Bessey said. “We started to do a little one-on-one, a lot of dribbling and stopped executing, really. And it just snowballed from there.”

Pelletier’s 3-pointer gave the Patriots a 10-9 lead. Then they started to attack the paint, with back-to-back hoops by Colby and Pomerleau’s drive down the middle of the lane to make it 16-9.

“They started off with a lot of energy, which I knew they would,” Deschenes said of Spruce Mountain. “They extended their matchup zone trying to stick next to our shooters. We were trying to get the ball inside and struggled for a stretch, and then in the second quarter, once we got the ball inside, I think that gave us a lift, and then defensively, we were really locked in that quarter.”

A pair of Colby free throws extended the lead to 18-9 before Frey scored Spruce Mountain’s only point of the period by making one of two at the free throw line.

The Phoenix missed all six of their field goal attempts in the second quarter.

“They wanted us from last year and we knew that,” Pomerleau said. “They won the first quarter, but we just needed to regroup. We knew we were going to have to battle this game.”

“That’s the biggest thing, hold them to one shot and then get a score at the other end,” Pomerleau said.


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