With his team up nine points early in the second quarter of Wednesday’s Class A South girls’ basketball semifinal, Gray-New Gloucester Coach Mike Andreasen reminded his team that Freeport was down by this much or more in its last game and rallied to win. Keep playing hard and smart, he told his team.

“As long as you make good decisions, the other team has to make good plays. You make bad decisions, you give them free stuff,” Andreasen said.

The No. 2 Patriots (17-3)  maintained their lead throughout, winning 45-36 at the Portland Expo to advance to Friday night’s regional championship game at the Expo. No. 6 Freeport ends the season at 11-9.

Gray-New Gloucester took the lead for good late in the first quarter on an Ellie Steele 3-pointer. The Patriots led 27-18 at the half and by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter. Freeport cut the deficit to seven midway through the fourth but could get no closer.

“We didn’t get to the free-throw line like we did last game (Monday’s upset win over Mt. Ararat). We couldn’t generate enough offense. When we did get good looks, we didn’t capitalize on those situations,” said Freeport Coach Seth Farrington.

This was the 16th time in 20 games this season in which the Patriots held an opponent under 40 points. The key was the defensive effort to shut down Freeport scoring threat Angel Pillsbury. In a 58-53 quarterfinal win over Mt. Ararat, Pillsbury scored 26 points. Wednesday afternoon, with Steele guarding Pillsbury throughout the game, the Falcons’ senior scored just four points, all in the second quarter. Two came on a fast-break layup, while the other two came at the line.


In three games against Freeport this season, the Patriots held Pillsbury to 18 total points, Andreasen said.

“I think it was definitely a team effort. If my teammates hadn’t done their job, I would’ve had to come off her a little more. Being able to stay right on her was kind of key,” Steele said. “She’s left-handed and really good at shooting the 3, so I definitely had to respect that.”

Farrington said Gray-New Gloucester’s size and length made them a matchup problem for his team.

“They rebound well and they’re really good defensively,” Farrington said.

Offensively, the Patriots moved the ball throughout the game, working inside and out and around the perimeter to find an open shot. Gray-New Gloucester made seven 3-pointers, with Alexandra Portas knocking down three and Laney Farrar making a pair. Another key was staying composed, especially when Freeport made its run in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not a team of stars,” said Andreasen. “You keep those ebbs and flows to a minimum, you’ll be OK.”

Portas and Ella Kenney each had nine points for Gray-New Gloucester, while Izzy Morelli added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Maddie Cormier led Freeport with 14 points.

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