CUMBERLAND—For the first time in a long time, Greely’s girls’ basketball isn’t one of the first teams mentioned when it comes to Class A South contenders.

But it might not take long for the Rangers to prove the pundits wrong.

Saturday afternoon, Greely hosted Fryeburg Academy in the teams’ mutual regular season opener and while the Rangers made their share of mistakes, when the fourth quarter began, they played like the reigning regional champions they are.

And rolled to their first victory of the season.

Greely showed first-game jitters in a first quarter which saw it turn the ball over 11 times and trail, 17-12, as the Raiders’ dynamic junior tandem of Mina Milosevic and Sydney Shaw held sway.

The Rangers pulled even early in the second period, but by halftime, Fryeburg Academy had opened up a 31-26 advantage, as Milosevic nearly produced a double-double.


Greely amped up the defense in the third quarter and held the Raiders to just six points, all from the free throw line, and the game was deadlocked, 37-37, heading for the fourth.

There, senior Sophia Ippolito sank a couple foul shots to put the Rangers on top to stay, then sophomore reserve Molly Partridge and junior reserve Lauren Hester sank consecutive 3-pointers for some breathing room. Ippolito added a 3 of her own, then made four free throws down the stretch as Greely finally opened it up and went on to a 59-45 victory.

Ippolito scored a team-high 20 points, the Rangers also got 14 points from junior Asja Kelman and 10 from sophomore Grier Wright and they held the visitors to a lone second half field goal as they opened the season in style.

“It’s a better Fryeburg team than we’ve seen in years past and they gave us all we wanted for a long time,” said Greely coach Todd Flaherty. “I thought a lot of people contributed today.”

Work in progress

Greely was supposed to be mortal a year ago and was in the regular season, but thanks in large part to the heroics of Chelsea Graiver, the Rangers flipped the switch in the tournament and made a stirring run all the way to the state final where they lost to Skowhegan, 60-46, to finish 16-5.


Graiver is now playing at Stonehill College and Greely has a new look this winter, but the Rangers have their usual high expectations.

Fryeburg Academy was 4-13 last season and hopes to improve this winter.

Last year, Greely beat the visiting Raiders, 53-35.

Saturday, the Rangers struggled to find consistency most of the way, then peaked in the fourth quarter, thanks to clutch shots from sources expected and unexpected, and prevailed going away.

After Greely turned the ball over on its first four possessions, the first points of the new season came courtesy Wright on a putback 90 seconds in.

Fryeburg Academy then scored seven straight, as junior Jilyan Byrne made two foul shots, sophomore Alysa Grawe sank a 3, then Shaw scored her first points on a driving layup.


Ippolito stemmed the tide with a 3-point shot and after Milosevic answered with her first basket, a fastbreak layup from Shaw, Hester drained a 3, then Ippolito set up Hester for a layup on the fastbreak to put the Rangers back on top, 10-9.

After Shaw banked home a runner, Ippolito sank two free throws and Greely had a one-point advantage again.

But that would be their last lead for a long, long time.

The final six points of the opening stanza went to the Raiders, as Milosevic found an open Shaw behind the defense for an easy layup, Milosevic made two free throws, then Milosevic hit a layup for a 17-12 advantage after eight minutes.

The Rangers were hindered by poor ball-handling, as they had almost as many turnovers (11) as points.

Greely responded to start the second quarter, as junior Kylie Crocker made a jump shot, then Wright got a 3-ball to bounce in to tie it up.


Shaw then fed Milosevic for a fastbreak layup and Fryeburg Academy went back on top. After Kelman tied the score with a jumper, Shaw drove for a layup, Milosevic hit two foul shots and after Kelman made a free throw for the Rangers, Milosevic made a layup, then Shaw banked home a runner for the Raiders’ biggest lead, 27-20.

Greely tried to rally late in the half, as Partridge found Kelman for a layup and Wright banked home a shot, but a pair of free throws from Byrne and two more from Milosevic restored the seven-point bulge before a last second layup after a steal from junior Avery Butler made the score 31-26 at halftime.

Milosevic had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half and Shaw added 10 points.

The Rangers settled down in the locker room and were a dramatically improved team in the second half, although their hard work didn’t really bear fruit until the fourth quarter.

Milosevic opened the third period with two free throws, but Ippolito sank a 3 from the corner, then Kelman did the same to cut the deficit to just one. After senior Ally Southwick made a free throw for the visitors, then Milosevic added another, Ippolito ended a nearly five-minute scoring drought with a long jumper and with 1:15 left in the frame, a long 3 from Kelman gave Greely a 37-35 advantage, its first lead since the score was 12-11.

In the final minute, Milosevic tied the score with two free throws and despite failing to make a single field goal in the third quarter, Fryeburg Academy went to the fourth even at 37-37.


And there, the Rangers saved their best for last.

To say the least.

With 6:52 to go, Ippolito was fouled, Shaw’s fourth, and she made both attempts to finally put Greely on top for good.

After Ippolito added another foul shot, Milosevic answered with two to cut Greely’s lead to 40-39.

The Rangers then turned to a couple of unheralded players to extend the lead.

First, with 6:06 to go, Ippolito set up Partridge for a 3.


“That was a huge shot and I had Molly in for defensive purposes,” said Flaherty.

Then, 23 seconds later, Ippolito set up Hester for another 3 to make it 46-39.

“We hit those shots in the fourth quarter and that was huge for us to get in that rhythm,” said Ippolito. “Those shots were huge. It helps them gain confidence for future games. All of us can make the shots. We do that in practice. It was great to see that in this game.”

After Shaw got two points back at the line, it was Ippolito’s turn, as she took a pass from Wright and made a 3 of her own for a 49-41 advantage with 5:23 remaining.

Ippolito then added two free throws before setting up Kelman for a dagger of a 3 to stretch the lead to 13 with 4:36 on the clock.

“You just have to believe in yourself,” Kelman said. “Even if you don’t, we have an encouraging team and your teammates lift you up.”


Byrne answered with two free throws, but that’s as close as the Raiders would get.

Ippolito countered with two foul shots, then with 2:35 to go, Wright banked home a runner while being fouled, then added the and-one free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play.

That would be it for Greely’s offense, but the Rangers put it away regardless.

Not before Fryeburg Academy finally scored its lone field goal of the second half, a Byrne jumper with 1:49 to play.

Greely then ran out the clock and celebrated its 59-45 victory.

“We’re a scrappy team no matter what and we always keep our heads up,” Kelman said. “Having experience from going to states helps and we just have to do what we know how to do.”


“I think it all started on the defensive end in the second half,” Ippolito said. “Our ball pressure picked up and we caused turnovers, which is really our game. We got out and scored in transition and that helped the confidence and energy in the entire gym. I’m really proud of how everyone stepped up in the second half.”

“There were a lot of mistakes and it was a rusty game, but I was happy with the fourth quarter,” Flaherty added. “The girls responded well. Having won before helped in that situation.”

Ippolito paced the Rangers with 20 points. She also had five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Kelman added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. She also had a game-high six steals.

Wright also finished in double figures with 10 points. She grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists.

Hester added eight points (and five rebounds), Partridge had three points and Butler and Crocker wound up with two apiece.


“Asja had a lot of rebounds and Sophia did her thing,” Flaherty said.

Greely enjoyed a 48-34 advantage on the glass and overcame 21 turnovers and 11-of-24 foul shooting.

Fryeburg Academy got a game-high 21 points from Milosevic, who also had 11 rebounds.

Shaw stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Byrne added eight points, Grawe had three and Southwick one.

The Raiders made 22-of-30 free throws, but turned the ball over 30 times.



Fryeburg Academy is back in action Tuesday at home versus Westbrook.

Greely’s next test will be a doozy, as it goes to preseason favorite Brunswick for a regional final rematch Wednesday.

“We were underdogs last year, so we’re used to it,” Kelman said.

“I think everyone has their role and we’ll continue to get better from here,” said Ippolito. “The way we were able to be scrappy and push through tonight is going to be huge for us. I only see improvement here from everyone. We’re excited.”

“The girls like each other and they’re working hard,” Flaherty added. “We’ll get better as the year goes on. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a really fun group. I think we can fix the defensive breakdowns, but we had too many turnovers and we have to get more good shots and I think the team knows that.

“Brunswick’s big and they’re good. I think they’re probably number one. I think it will be a good game.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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