Greely senior Anna DeWolfe soars to the basket for two of her game-high 23 points in Monday’s 66-28 win over Fryeburg Academy in a Class A South quarterfinal.

Photos courtesy Carolyn Clement.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 66 Fryeburg Academy 28

FA- 6 2 8 12- 28
G- 14 20 26 6- 66

FA- LeBlanc 4-0-8, Carty 2-1-5, B. Emery 2-0-4, Johnson 2-0-4, Darling 1-0-2, K. Emery 1-0-2, Lyman 1-0-2, Jones 0-1-1

G- DeWolfe 9-2-23, Clement 5-0-12, B. Obar 3-0-8, Fitzpatrick 3-0-6, M. Obar 1-2-5, Scott 2-0-4, Taylor 2-0-4, Martel 1-0-2, Storey 1-0-2

3-pointers:
FA (0)
G (8) DeWolfe 3, Clement, B. Obar 2, M. Obar 1

Turnovers:
FA- 30
G- 26

FTs
FA: 2-9
G: 4-6

PORTLAND—It took a couple minutes to get in gear, but once the Greely Express leaves the station, it doesn’t take long for the opposition to realize it doesn’t have any answers.

Or any chance at victory.

Monday evening at the Portland Exposition Building, the defending state champion Rangers, the top seed in the girls’ Class A South tournament, met No. 8 Fryeburg Academy in the quarterfinals and while the Raiders managed to stay even for a little more than four minutes, Greely eventually took off and left them in its wake.

The Rangers closed the first period on an 8-0 run to lead, 14-6.

In the second quarter, Greely senior standout Anna DeWolfe scored six quick points and helped the Rangers close the half on a 28-2 surge to lead, 34-8.

Greely continued to pour it on in the third period and held a 60-16 lead heading to the fourth, where the Rangers’ reserves finished off a 66-28 victory.

DeWolfe led all scorers with 23 points as Greely won its 35th game in a row, improved to 19-0, ended Fryeburg Academy’s season at 5-15 and in the process, advanced to meet No. 4 Kennebunk (13-6) in the semifinals Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., across town at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“I think our transition defense and running fast and playing our game got us going,” DeWolfe said. “I think the slow start was just nerves, our first (playoff) game, but we stuck with it. Nerves mean you care.”

Prohibitive favorites

As the defending champions, Greely received plenty of attention this winter.

With one of the state’s premier players, DeWolfe, leading the way, all eyes are on the Rangers.

And if that wasn’t enough to draw interest, winning 34 games in a row would do the trick.

Eighteen of those victories came this year, by an average of 28 points. There were a few close calls, as Greely held off visiting Oxford Hills (the top seed in Class AA North) by two points at home, won by six at defending Class AA South champion Gorham and twice beat Class B South top seed Gray-New Gloucester in close games (53-45 in Gray and 53-48 a home). 

Fryeburg Academy, meanwhile, captured two of its first three contests, but won just two more games in the regular season. As the No. 8 seed in Class A South, the Raiders got to host No. 9 Leavitt in the preliminary round and rolled, 57-21, Thursday.

The teams met Feb. 7 in the regular season finale in Fryeburg and the Rangers enjoyed a 75-41 victory behind 17 points from sophomore Camille Clement, 14 from junior Katie Fitzpatrick and 12 from senior Madison Scott.

Greely had taken all three prior playoff meetings: 78-57 in the 1998 Western B quarterfinals, 71-58 in the 1999 Western B quarterfinals and 53-45 in the 2005 Western B quarterfinal round.

Tuesday, the Rangers rolled again, but it took awhile to get going.

Fryeburg Academy scored first, as junior Kaylee Emery set up senior Tina LeBlanc for a layup.

Greely got on the board with a fastbreak layup, as Fitzpatrick set up Clement, then DeWolfe scored her first points, on a jump shot, but a spinner from Emery tied it, 4-4.

Senior Julia Martel fed Scott for a layup, but again the Raiders drew even, as freshman Brooke Emery made a jump shot with 3:36 on the clock.

The Rangers then closed the quarter on an 8-0 run to take control.

With 3:21 left, DeWolfe hit a runner in the lane to put Greely ahead to stay.

DeWolfe added a free throw, junior Brooke Obar hit a 3-pointer from the corner and DeWolfe set up Scott for a fastbreak layup and a 14-6 advantage after eight minutes.

The Rangers turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, but forced eight turnovers and got into a rhythm that continued in the second quarter.

DeWolfe scored six points in a 13-second span to start the frame, first draining a 3-pointer, then, after a steal, making a layup while being fouled and adding the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play for a 20-6 lead.

With 6:40 left in the half, LeBlanc’s left-handed leaner ended Greely’s 14-0 run and a 4-minute, 56-second scoring drought, but Fitzpatrick hit an elbow jumper and sophomore Mollie Obar’s long 3-pointer forced Fryeburg Academy coach Coreen Hennessy to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as DeWolfe made a layup after a steal and after Kaylee Emery had to leave the game with an injury, Clement set up Martel on the fastbreak for a layup, Clement made a long 3 and with 1:34 to go, sophomore Madison Storey put home a miss to give the Rangers a commanding 34-8 advantage at the half.

DeWolfe led all first half scorers with 13 points, while Greely forced 19 turnovers.

The third quarter was more of the same.

A putback from Fitzpatrick, a DeWolfe bank shot and a Clement layup (off a DeWolfe feed) stretched the lead to 40-8.

After sophomore Kayrin Johnson hit a runner for the Raiders to end an 8-minute, 42-second drought, Brooke Obar drained a 3 from the corner, DeWolfe hit a 3, then DeWolfe made a layup after a steal to make it 48-10.

Brooke Emery’s layup got two points back for Fryeburg Academy, but DeWolfe made another 3.

Junior Madeline Darling made a layup for the Raiders, but Clement hit a 3, Brooke Obar scored on a floater and Obar set up Clement for a layup.

In the final minute, junior Sierra Lyman made a jump shot for the Raiders and Mollie Obar countered with a pair of free throws for the Rangers to make the score 60-16 heading for the fourth period.

There, Greely coach Todd Flaherty cleared the bench and the Rangers’ reserves finished it off.

A jumper from Greely sophomore Abigail Taylor started the frame. 

The next 11 points went to Fryeburg Academy, as junior Merys Carty made a free throw, LeBlanc made a layup after a steal, Carty hit a jumper, LeBlanc made another layup, Johnson banked home a runner and Carty’s jumper cut the deficit to 62-27, but Taylor and Fitzpatrick countered with layups before Raiders freshman Camden Jones’ foul shot brought the curtain down on the Rangers’ 66-28 triumph.

“Great defense is where it starts,” said DeWolfe. “It stepped up in the beginning when we were struggling.”

DeWolfe had a game-high 23 points, as well as six steals and four assists.

Clement added 12 points, Brooke Obar had eight (to go with four assists), Fitzpatrick six (to go with seven rebounds), Mollie Obar five, Scott and Taylor four apiece and Martel and Storey two each.

“What’s great about us, is if someone struggles, someone else steps up,” said DeWolfe. “We have so many weapons.”

Greely had a 39-21 rebounding advantage, made 4 of 6 free throws and overcame an uncharacteristic 26 turnovers.

Fryeburg Academy was paced by eight points from LeBlanc, who also had three steals. Carty had five points, Brooke Emery and Johnson four apiece, Darling, Kaylee Emery and Lyman two each and Jones one.

The Raiders turned the ball over 30 times and made just 2 of 9 free throws. 

Bigger challenge?

Greely will next meet a Kennebunk squad playing in the semifinals for the first time in 19 years. The teams didn’t meet this year and have played just once before in the playoffs, a 47-42 Rams’ victory in the 1993 Western B semifinals.

“Everything last year is in the past,” said DeWolfe. “We need to focus on this year, being better on defense and being better on offense. We love the challenge. We love to compete. We just have to play our game and focus on defense. I want to make the most of it and take advantage of every game left.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Greely sophomore Madison Storey and Fryeburg Academy senior River Lusky reach for the ball.

Greely junior Brooke Obar protects the ball from a defender.

Greely junior Katie Fitzpatrick looks for a shot.

Greely senior Julia Martel drives to the hoop.