PORTLAND — Big quarters from a pair of veterans led Gray-New Gloucester to a 50-37 victory over Brunswick in a Class A South girls basketball quarterfinal Monday at the Portland Expo.

The fourth-seeded Patriots’ balanced attack was led by Sam Fortin’s 15 points and 14 more by Jordan Grant.

Gray-New Gloucester (13-6) will return to the Expo to face top-seeded Greely (18-1) in the A South semifinals Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

Grant, a four-year starter, began to assert her dominance in the second half, scoring five points in the third quarter and three in the fourth, a while also grabbing seven boards and blocking two shots after halftime.

“I think I was just trying to get in and be aggressive,” Grant said. “I knew that if I wasn’t getting touches in the paint then I had to help out in other ways, so that helped.” 

Eliza Hotham jump-started Gray-New Gloucester’s offense with a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Patriots an early 6-5 lead midway through the first period.

Brunswick (15-4) held a 13-11 lead before Grant drove through traffic and made a layup with two seconds remaining to tie the game at 13-13 at the end of the first frame.

Fortin, a senior, took over in the second quarter, scoring nine points — from the free throw line, under the hoop and a couple of baseline jumpers — and boosting the Patriots to a 27-17 lead at the half. With Grant going to the bench early in the quarter with her second personal foul, Fortin’s performance was crucial.

“She gets a lot of looks because she’s sort of the second big and Jordan gets all the attention,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Mike Andreasen said. “Sam kind of, we call (Fortin and Grant) Batman and Robin, and sometimes one doesn’t have a good night. Sam had to defend (Guptill) when Jordan got her second foul, and she was defending, rebounding and she doesn’t play outside of herself.”

Five Patriots scored in the second half, which spread the fifth-seeded Dragons’ defense thin.

“I think at half we just needed to keep the pressure up and not get complacent,” Grant said. “They couldn’t just stay in the paint, they had to go out on our shooters. Eliza shot really well in the first half, and I think they saw that. Mady West was getting in the paint and I think they realized they had to guard everybody, and that opened up the paint.”

Brunswick’s Morgan Foster hit a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers to keep the Dragons close, but they couldn’t overtake the Patriots, who are in their first season playing in Class A after winning two of the previous three Class B state championships.

“Gray just kept hitting shots, and we had enough shots rim out or miss,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said. “Gray’s got so much experience and they showed it. When we made a run on defense, we couldn’t counter with our offense. We had a run of, I think, three turnovers in a row and we couldn’t score. We were down eight, and if you score two of those then it is a whole different game.”

The second half was opened up for Grant after her teammates began to hit shots and take some of the attention away from her. A more open court mixed with a more-aggressive approach to the game led Grant to her big second half.

“I think the difference from the first half was the fouls,” Andreasen said. “In the second half, I thought she was able to play a little easier, and it’s just playing. She hit foul shots and her foul shots kind of closed it. … She gets everyone’s best shot every night, and she’s done a nice job adjusting.”

In the fourth, sophomore Logan Brown, who led Brunswick with 10 points, and senior Alexis Guptill each scored five points, but the Dragons didn’t slow down the Patriots enough on the other end.

The Dragons start a freshman and two sophomores, a far cry from Gray-NG’s starting lineup of five seniors. 

Brunswick decreased its deficit 51-43 with 5:35 left in the game on a Brown steal and layup in transition, but couldn’t reel in the Patriots any closer. 

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