BOX SCORE

Wells 45 Greely 43

W- 11 4 14 16- 45
G- 6 10 15 12- 43

W- Maxon 6-4-18, Ramsdell 4-5-15, McMinis 1-3-5, Marshall 1-0-3, Finn 1-0-2, Kreie 0-2-2

G- Graiver 3-10-17, Delisle 6-0-12, Ippolito 2-0-5, Smith 2-0-4, Kelman 1-0-3, Hester 1-0-2

3-pointers:
W (5) Maxon, Ramsdell 2, Marshall 1
G (3) Graiver, Ippolito, Kelman 1

Turnovers:
W- 10
G- 19

FTs
W: 14-26
G: 10-13

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CUMBERLAND—Wells’ undefeated season was hanging in the balance.

The reigning Class B state champion Warriors got everything they could handle from host Greely Thursday evening and midway through the third period, trailed by a dozen points.

Wells wasn’t just getting beaten on the scoreboard, it was also getting outhustled, but responding like the champions they are, and hope to be again, the Warriors roared back, thanks to a senior standout, as well as a freshman no-longer-secret weapon.

Wells held an 11-6 lead after one quarter, thanks to a late 3-pointer from the aforementioned senior standout, Grace Ramsdell, but Ramsdell picked up her second foul with 4:47 to go in the half and had to sit and that brought the Rangers to life.

Led by senior Kaiyla Delisle, who nearly had a double-double in the first half alone, Greely went on a 10-2 run and clung to a 16-15 halftime lead.

The Rangers then erupted to start the second half, as 3-pointers from junior Sophia Ippolito and senior Chelsea Graiver sparked an 11-0 surge and a 27-15 lead.

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Enter Maren Maxon.

The Wells freshman ended the run with three quick points and by the end of the third quarter, the Warriors only trailed by two, 31-29.

The game still hung in the balance with 1:37 to play, when Maxon made the biggest shot of her young career to date, a 3-pointer to put Wells ahead, 41-39.

Graiver countered with two free throws, but a Ramsdell free throw with 52 seconds to go put the Warriors on top for good and they held on for a 45-43 victory.

Maxon scored 18 points, Ramsdell added 15 and Wells improved to 13-0 while dropping valiant Greely to 8-3 in the process.

“We’re both better teams now than when we started (this game),” said Warriors coach Don Abbott. “It was really important to have a game like this. I’m pleased how it turned out, but I’m even more pleased with how it went.”

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Playing at a high level

Wells opened with decisive wins at Cape Elizabeth (60-18) and Traip Academy (47-11), then defeated visiting Poland (76-20), visiting Marshwood (52-37), host Marshwood (51-39), visiting Traip Academy (74-33), visiting North Yarmouth Academy (62-35), host Freeport (50-40), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (57-39) and visiting Old Orchard Beach (45-42). Last Wednesday, the Warriors held on to defeat host Yarmouth, 44-35, then they were 77-20 victors at Fryeburg Academy in their last outing.

Greely has a new look this season, but once it got past a couple early hiccups, the triumphant ways have returned.

The Rangers started 2-2, as they won at Fryeburg Academy (51-43), lost at home to Brunswick (54-40), beat visiting Gray-New Gloucester (64-45), then lost at Gorham (61-39), but a 54-48 victory at York on Dec. 29 sparked a surge and Greely defeated host Freeport (57-45), visiting York (47-26), host Falmouth (67-53), visiting Cape Elizabeth (47-30) and visiting Poland (68-32).

Greely and Wells didn’t meet during the COVID-shortened, postseason-less 2021 campaign.

The Rangers swept the title-bound Warriors in 2019-20, rolling at home, 69-34, then winning at Wells, 61-50.

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Thursday, Greely hoped to make it six straight in the series, but instead, after Warriors senior Riley Hansen stepped in in a pinch and belted out a rousing version of the national anthem, Wells beat the Rangers for the first time since Feb. 4, 2014 (43-40 in Cumberland).

Barely.

Wells senior Grace Ramsdell is defended by Greely junior Sophie Ippolito during the Warriors’ 45-43 victory Thursday night. Hoffer photo.

Delisle hinted at a big game to come when she made a layup for the game’s first points 52 seconds in.

The Warriors got on the board on a putback from senior Leah Finn, then Ramsdell scored for the first time, making a layup off a feed from junior Ava Kreie, before senior Ruby McMinis added two free throws for a 6-2 lead.

A layup from sophomore Lauren Hester ended Greely’s 4-minute, 7-second scoring drought, but Maxon knocked down a jumper for her first points.

After sophomore Zada Smith drove for a layup for the Rangers, Ramsdell’s 3-pointer made it 11-6 after eight minutes.

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Wells would struggle mightily in the second period, scoring just four points, and Greely took advantage.

Delisle started the quarter with a putback, then added another before Ramsdell picked up her second foul and had to sit the rest of the half.

“It was very frustrating,” Ramsdell said. “I hate when I get two fouls.”

Gravier made a free throw to tie it. Then, with 3:27 to go before halftime, sophomore Asja Kelman knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Rangers on top.

It took until the 1:27 mark of the period before the Warriors ended a 6:48 drought and Greely’s 8-0 run, as Maxon hit a jump shot in transition.

In the final minute, Graiver drove for a layup and McMinis answered with a layup to make it 16-15 Rangers at the half.

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Delisle finished the first half with six points and 13 rebounds.

Offense picked up in the third quarter, as both teams went on lengthy runs.

It was Greely racing out of the gate, as Delisle scored on another putback, Graiver set up Ippolito for a 3-ball, Kelman fed Graiver for a 3-pointer in transition and after a Graiver free throw, Graiver set up Delisle for a layup with 4:50 remaining, stretching the lead to 27-15.

But Wells was far from done.

Fourteen seconds later, Maxon took a feed from senior Grace Boucher and made a layup to end the 11-0 run and a 4:16 drought.

Maxon then added a free throw before another key reserve, freshman Hailey Marshall, buried a clutch 3.

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Ramsdell then got back in on the fun, making a free throw with 3:15 to go, then hitting two more 49 seconds later.

A layup after a steal by Greely’s Smith ended the Warriors’ 9-0 run, but Kreie made two foul shots before Boucher set up Ramsdell for a game-tying 3 from the corner.

“We weren’t up 12 long,” lamented Rangers coach Todd Flaherty. “That’s a good team. They’re well-coached and they’re used to winning.”

“I said at halftime, ‘You’re getting good looks, keeping playing and relax,’ then (Greely) came out and punched us in the mouth with an 11-0 run,” Abbott said. “I think the turning point when Todd called timeout when one of his girls got the ball on the floor. We pride ourselves on being first on the floor, first to the ball, but they got it and we were standing there looking. At that point, the girls realized that Greely was the type of team that if we don’t play hard, they’ll beat us.”

The Rangers went back ahead on a pair of Graiver free throws with 15.9 seconds on the clock and took a tenuous 31-29 advantage to the final stanza.

Where Wells did just enough to get out of town with the victory.

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Just 23 seconds into the fourth period, Ramsdell put home a miss to tie the score, but at the other end, Ippolito’s jumper made it 33-31 Greely.

Maxon tied the score on a bank shot, but Graiver hit two free throws, then, after a protracted period of scoreless play, Graiver got an offensive rebound and knocked down the follow-up shot to make it 37-33 Rangers with 3 minutes on the clock.

Back came the Warriors again, as McMinis made the first of two free throws with 2:46 to go, then, after Ramsdell collected a miss off her second shot, McMinis found Maxon for the game-tying 3-pointer.

With 2:05 left, Greely went ahead for the final time, as Graiver sank two free throws.

Maxon got a point back at the line at the other end, then, after a Boucher steal, Maxon calmly buried the go-ahead 3 to make it 41-39 Wells with just 1:37 left.

“I saw that (Greely) dropped down thinking I’d pass to Grace,” Maxon said. “I was open, so I just took it. I just want to do whatever I can to help. If it’s a shot I need to take, I take it, or I’ll be a playmaker out there.”

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“Maren plays with confidence,” said Abbott. “I like that she doesn’t shrink away from a big opportunity. A lot of times when you have a transcendent player like Grace, especially when the chips are down, other players try to force it to her, but Maren realized she had chances to make plays and she did that down the stretch.”

Graiver was fouled five seconds later and made both attempts to tie the game for the seventh and final time.

It would be Ramsdell who produced the point that put the Warriors ahead to stay, as she hit the first of two free throws with 52.2 seconds showing.

Ramsdell missed her second attempt, however, and Graiver rebounded, but at the other end, Delisle’s contested shot went over the backboard, giving the ball back to Wells.

Maxon was then fouled with 22.8 seconds to go and she calmly buried both attempts.

“I love the pressure,” Maxon said. “It’s just me and the ball and the rim. ”

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Graiver had a look at a 3 to tie it, but it was short and Ramsdell was fouled with 14.1 seconds left.

Ramsdell made her first shot to make it a two-possession game, but she missed the second and Graiver set up Delisle for a layup with 3.3 seconds remaining to give the Rangers a pulse.

The Warriors were able to inbounds the ball to Maxon, however, who was fouled with 2.3 seconds to go.

Maxon missed both free throw attempts, but Ramsdell collected the offensive rebound after the second miss and that ran out the clock on Wells’ nervewracking 45-43 victory.

“It was a team effort,” said Maxon. “Everyone talked on defense. When we got a steal, the bench was into it and that gave us a boost and made us want to play harder.”

“This is the exact type of game we needed,” Ramsdell said. “It just goes to show our team can battle. We were down 12 and came right back and kept our motivation up and were able to win. We just needed to get our momentum going. We gave each other a look on the floor and knew we had to get going. We hit our shots and locked down on defense.”

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“We played less than our best in the first half,” Abbott added. “Shots weren’t falling, Grace was in foul trouble and we were out of sync, but we settled in, we made some shots and doubled-down on (Delisle) and tried to take away their 3-point shooters. Hailey Marshall did a good job on Graiver. She’s a lightning-quick athlete who relished the chance to play a few minutes.”

Maxon had a breakout 18-point performance. She also had five rebounds.

“Maren was a life-saver,” Ramsdell said. “She makes an impact coming off the bench. We all trust her on the floor.”

Ramsdell finished with a relatively quiet double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds. She also had a couple steals.

McMinis added five points, Marshall three (to go with three steals) and Finn (four rebounds) and Kreie two apiece. Boucher didn’t score, but had three assists and three rebounds.

The Warriors only made 14-of-26 free throws, but took good care of the ball, only turning it over 10 times.

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Greely got 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists from Graiver, while Delisle had a double-double of 12 points and 20 rebounds (with nine coming on the offensive glass).

“Kaiyla did a wonderful job,” said Flaherty. “She really played great.”

Ippolito added five points, Smith had four (as well as three steals), Kelman three (and four rebounds) and Hester two.

The Rangers had a 49-40 rebound advantage and made 10-of-13 free throws, but turned the ball over 19 times.

“We hung with them for sure,” Flaherty said. “We knew they were good and who their best players are. I’m proud of our effort. It was a good game. I told the girls we can play with the best teams and that’s a comforting feeling. They just made some shots down the stretch and we missed opportunities.”

Act II

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The teams play for a second time Feb. 4 in Wells and each team will be tested in the interim.

The Warriors go to York for a makeup game Monday, then visit Lake Region next Tuesday.

“This was really good,” Maxon said. “We needed a game like this. We know there are a lot of tough games ahead of us and we know we can win them.”

“This is game three of a five-game road swing,” Abbott said. “We have a brutal stretch at the end. These kinds of games get us tournament-ready. We look forward to it.”

The Rangers turn right around and travel to Yarmouth Friday afternoon, then host Fryeburg Academy next Tuesday and visit Lake Region next Wednesday.

“We have some big games left,” said Flaherty. “We don’t want to get on the wrong side of a losing streak.”

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

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