BOX SCORE

Greely 49 Marshwood 27

M- 6 5 9 7- 27
G- 16 14 6 13- 49

M- Theriault 3-1-8, Aloisio 3-0-6, LeBlanc 2-0-4, Mitchell 2-0-4, Nashwinter 1-0-3, McClellan 1-0-2

G- Graiver 6-3-16, Kelman 4-3-11, Delisle 4-2-10, Ippolito 3-1-8, Hester 1-0-2, Sites 0-2-2

3-pointers:
M (2) Nashwinter, Theriault 1
G (2) Graiver, Ippolito 1

Turnovers:
M- 19
G- 16

FTs
M: 1-6
G: 11-19

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PORTLAND—On Feb. 21, 2020, Greely’s girls’ basketball team had its two-year championship reign come to an end with an upset loss to Marshwood in the Class A South Final.

While a lot has happened over the past two years, Rangers senior Chelsea Graiver hasn’t forgotten that day and Monday afternoon, two years to the day later, she and her second-ranked teammates delivered a dose of revenge to the seventh-seeded Hawks in a Class A South quarterfinal round contest at the Portland Exposition Building.

Graiver scored seven quick points in just over two minutes to set the tone and by the end of the first period, Greely had a 16-6 lead. The Rangers continued to play smothering defense in the second quarter and by halftime, had a commanding 30-11 advantage.

After Greely took a 23-point lead, 36-13, Marshwood scored the final seven points of the third period, then drew within a dozen at 37-25 early in the fourth quarter, but the Rangers slammed the door from there and went on a 12-2 run to put it away en route to a decisive 49-27 victory.

Graiver led all scorers with 16 points, sophomore Asja Kelman added 11 and senior Kaiyla Delisle had a double-double as Greely improved to 14-4, ended Marshwood’s season at 8-11 and advanced to meet No. 3 Falmouth (14-5) in the Class A South semifinals Wednesday at 1 p.m., at the Expo.

“Two years ago we lost to Marshwood in the regional final on this date and I remembered that feeling well,” said Graiver, who will play at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts next year. “It was coincidence we played them today, but it definitely feels good to beat them and not by a little, but by over 20.”

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Not this time

In 2020, Greely was the two-time reigning Class A champion when it ran into Marshwood in the regional final and the Hawks upset the Rangers, 47-44, en route to the state title. Greely had won the four prior playoff encounters against Marshwood (see sidebar).

That loss ended an era where the Rangers competed for championships with a Clement, DeWolfe or a pair of Obars on the roster, but this year’s squad has come along quite nicely, led by the underappreciated Graiver and an ever-improving supporting cast.

Greely lost two of its first four games, then won six straight before suffering successive losses to reigning Class B champion Wells and Yarmouth, but the Rangers won five straight to finish the regular season, highlighted by an upset victory at Wells.

Marshwood went 7-10 during the regular season, then downed No. 10 Westbrook, 49-36, in Wednesday’s preliminary round.

Monday, Greely started fast, never trailed and advanced to the semifinals for the 15th successive tournament.

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Greely senior Kaiyla Delisle and Marshwood senior Sophie Mitchell take part in a jump ball to start Monday’s Class A South quarterfinal, won by the Rangers, 49-27. Hoffer photos.

Gravier made an immediate impact, as she drove through traffic for a layup just 25 seconds in to give the Rangers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

After driving for another layup, Graiver showed off her shooting touch by getting a 3-pointer from the corner to rattle in with 5:50 to go in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

“It’s definitely a different environment here,” said Graiver. “It’s not your usual gym. It takes a little while to get your shooting going here, so I was glad I hit my first one. It got me in rhythm.”

Thirteen seconds later, the Hawks got on the board, when freshman Sarah Theriault put home a miss, but sophomore Lauren Hester made a layup and sophomore Zada Smith set up Delisle for a layup on the fastbreak for an 11-2 lead.

Delisle was whistled for her second foul moments later and Marshwood tried to rally, as senior Abby LeBlanc made a layup and off an inbounds feed from senior Catherine McClellan, LeBlanc made a jumper to cut the deficit to five, but after a Graiver steal, she set up Kelman for her first points, a layup.

The tandem then hooked up again, as Graiver stole the ball and Kelman made a layup.

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“It makes us all feel safe with Chelsea handling the ball, but we know we have to help her as well,” said Kelman.

“I recognize when teams are face-guarding or running their defense, but they can’t run their defense if you’re pushing the ball up the floor fast,” Graiver said. “My teammates know to run the floor, so I can get them open shots and easy baskets. Asja brings hustle and scrappiness. She’s fast and runs up the floor with me. She gets me some assists.”

Graiver added a free throw to make it 16-6 Greely after one quarter, as she scored half the points, while adding three steals and a pair of assists in the first eight minutes.

The Rangers didn’t let up in the second period and added to their lead.

Senior Sophie Mitchell opened the quarter with a short jumper for the Hawks, but Kelman scored on a putback.

After senior Jasmine Aloisio hit a jumper for Marshwood, Kelman set up junior Sophia Ippolito for a layup, then Graiver drove for a layup for a 22-10 advantage.

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Theriault got a point back at the line, but the Hawks wouldn’t score again in the half, and Graiver set up Delisle for a layup, Kelman made a free throw, Ippolito buried a 3, then Kelman’s two foul shots made the score 30-11 at the half.

Graiver had 10 points and Kelman nine in the first half and the Rangers held the Hawks to 5-of-32 shooting from the floor.

Greely threatened to make the game a blowout in the third quarter, but Marshwood hung tough.

Greely senior Chelsea Gravier races into the frontcourt as Marshwood’s Savannah Nashwinter prepares to defend during the Rangers’ 49-27 victory in a Class A South quarterfinal Monday. Graiver had a game-high 16 points. 

Graiver drove for a layup to start the second half, then Graiver set up Ippolito on the fastbreak for a layup and after Aloisio made a layup for the Hawks, Kelman’s jumper made it 36-13 with 5:31 to go in the frame, but the Rangers wouldn’t score again and Marshwood chipped away at the deficit, as Aloisio banked home a long jumper, McClellan scored on a runner and Theriault’s 3 pulled the Hawks within 16 points, 36-20, heading for the fourth period.

Where Greely ended any lingering doubt.

Marshwood opened the final stanza with a 3-ball from junior Savannah Nashwinter and after Ippolito made a free throw, a layup from Mitchell cut the deficit to 37-25, but Delisle made two free throws, then Delisle made a layup to reverse the tide.

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The Hawks’ final points came on a jumper from Theriault with 3:25 to play.

The Rangers then got a runner off the glass from Graiver, a putback from Delisle, two free throws from Graiver and finally two foul shots from sophomore Sabine Sites to slam the door on their 49-27 victory.

“We let up for a little bit coming out of halftime with a big lead,” Graiver said. “We didn’t play with the same scrappiness we had at the beginning. We pulled it together because we didn’t want them to come back.”

“It’s nice to get this first one out of the way,” said Rangers coach Todd Flaherty. “The inexperience factor was there, but we got off to a great start. Our leaders did a good job. Chelsea got us going. Defensively, I thought the whole team did a nice job. We have to have some shutdown quarters to be good. It seemed like we didn’t score in forever, so we had to hang on with our defense, then we had an (offensive) spurt.  It’s a whole new group, but we knew Marshwood’s a good team. They’re physical and play great defense. They clog the middle, but Chelsea did a great job getting to the basket.”

Graiver didn’t just lead all scorers with 16 points, she also had seven assists, four steals and four rebounds.

“Chelsea’s been putting on a show all year, but I don’t think everyone’s seen her yet,” Flaherty said. “She’s carried us in many games this year.”

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Kelman added 11 points in her playoff debut. She also had nine rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists.

“It was great to win with my team,” Kelman said. “I know I’ll remember my first high school playoff game forever. I had a lot of fun. I knew my shot wasn’t doing well today, so I did what I could and I got support from my teammates.”

“Asja’s very underrated,” Flaherty said. “She rebounds, she defended (Mitchell), which was a big challenge, and she scores for us.”

Delisle finished with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Ippolito had eight points and Hester and Sites each finished with two.

Greely out-rebounded Marshwood, 45-44, made 11-of-19 free throws and overcame 16 turnovers.

Marshwood was led by Theriault, who had eight points and nine rebounds. Aloisio added six points, LeBlanc and Mitchell (11 rebounds, three steals) had four apiece, Nashwinter three and McClellan two.

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The Hawks made just 12-of-58 shots, including 2-of-20 from 3-point land, hit just 1-of-6 foul shots and turned the ball over 19 times.

Rivalry game

Falmouth (which rallied to beat Morse, 41-29, in its quarterfinal Monday) and Greely played way back on Jan. 11, a 67-53 Rangers’ win in Falmouth.

The squads have split two prior playoff meetings, with Falmouth prevailing, 47-44, in overtime, in the 2008 Western B semifinals and the Rangers squeaking out a 42-40 win in the 2013 Western B preliminary round.

“I’m excited to see how it goes,” Kelman said. “We just have to hustle and play as a team.”

“We just need to stay focused and push the ball as fast as we can,” Graiver said. “We’re best when we’re running the floor.”

“They have two stars who are tough to guard and they got through their tough game, which is always a sign for a team that’s going to move on, surviving a scare,” Flaherty added. “We’ll have to play great defense and we have to rebound.

“It’s all fun. It’s great to be back in this building again. I don’t know if the girls feel it, but I definitely feel a lot less stress this year. I don’t think anybody expects us to win four in a row, but we could. We’ve improved a lot and that’s what the coaches are most proud of.”

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

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