PORTLAND—A year ago, Brunswick’s girls’ basketball team exited the floor at the Portland Exposition Building in abject agony.

Friday evening, the top-ranked Dragons screamed with joy as they ran to the postgame locker room.

What a difference 52 weeks make.

Facing No. 2 Gray-New Gloucester in the Class A South Final, Brunswick never trailed, shot to a 15-8 lead after one quarter, thanks in large part to two big 3-pointers from junior Emily Doring, and held a 24-16 halftime advantage.

The Patriots, who beat the Dragons during the regular season, were then run out of the gym in a third period which saw Brunswick score 14 points to Gray-New Gloucester’s four, then the Dragons finished it off in style in the fourth quarter, holding the Patriots to just three points, as they went on to a most decisive 45-23 victory.

Doring led all scorers with 15 points and Brunswick improved to 19-2, ended Gray-New Gloucester’s season at 17-4 and advanced to the Class A Final, where it will take on Lawrence (18-3) Friday at 7:05 p.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.


“This is huge,” said Dragons coach Sam Farrell. “Ten of these 12 girls I’ve coached since second or third grade. To see the kids win, that’s what it’s about. It’s just awesome.”

First goal achieved

Brunswick’s 2021-22 season concluded with an upset regional final loss to Greely, but from the ashes of that defeat rose a juggernaut this winter.

The Dragons went 16-2 in the regular season, with their two losses coming by a combined five points (see sidebar for links to previous stories), before handling No. 8 Westbrook (58-31) in the quarterfinals and pulling away to oust No. 4 Falmouth (49-27) in Wednesday’s semifinal round.

“We left (after last year) and committed to working harder,” said Brunswick sophomore standout Lexi Morin. “We worked really well as a team and got here.”

Gray-New Gloucester surprised many by going 15-3, highlighted by a win over Brunswick. The Patriots nearly shut out No. 7 Greely in the first half of their quarterfinal round game before prevailing (39-25), then ended No. 6 Freeport’s Cinderella run Wednesday (45-36).


In the teams’ regular season meeting, host Gray-New Gloucester eked out a 48-47 decision.

Friday, the Dragons turned the tables and ended up where everyone predicted they’d be.

As the best team in Class A South.

Without a doubt.

Junior Dakota Shipley opened the scoring with a putback 29 seconds in and after the Patriots tied it up on a long jumper from senior Amber Fortin, a driving layup from junior Maddy Werner gave Brunswick the lead for good with 6:13 to go in the opening stanza.

Shipley then added two foul shots and with 4:08 on the clock, Doring’s first 3 made it 9-2 and forced Gray-New Gloucester coach Mike Andreasen to call timeout.


It helped, as sophomore Isabelle Morelli, who had a terrific tournament, made a pullup jumper, then senior Caitlin Taylor sank two free throws, but Doring turned momentum back in the Dragons’ favor with a second 3.

“Emily’s 3 were big,” Morin said.

After Shipley picked up a second foul and had to sit, sophomore Laney Farrar made two free throws for the Patriots, but another Brunswick 3, this one from senior Sophia Morin, made it 15-8 after one quarter.

The Dragons then threatened to run away with it early in the second period, as Doring sank her third 3 and Lexi Morin set up senior Kelsie Carlton, the team’s heart and soul, for a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 21-8.

Gray-New Gloucester would rally, however, as junior Ali Portas sank consecutive 3s and Portas added two free throws to cut the deficit to five.

Lexi Morin then stemmed the tide with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul and free throw).


Late in the half, the Patriots were denied two points when Portas went to the line and hit both ends of a one-and-one, but much to Andreasen’s chagrin, the officials ruled the wrong player had shot the free throws and they wiped the points off the board and sent junior Ellie Steele to the line instead, where she missed the front end of a one-and-one, keeping the score 24-16 Brunswick at the break.

The Dragons then ended all doubt in the third quarter, opening on a 9-2 run.

Doring, once again, sparked the surge, with a 3, this time from the corner.

After Lexi Morin drove for a layup, Portas scored on a putback, but Lexi Morin scooped a shot off the glass, then she set up Sophia Morin, her sister, for a layup off an inbounds set to make it 33-18.

“We were going into the second half like it was 0-0,” Lexi Morin said. “We knew we had to work hard and put it away.”

Freshman Ella Kenney got a jumper to rattle in for Gray-New Gloucester, but Doring responded with her fifth and final 3-ball.


“Emily shot smooth and easy,” Farrell said. “Every one of those 3s came after a defensive stop. She’s probably one of the most unheralded defenders in the state. She doesn’t get a lot of love and a lot of people don’t know her name, but she’s always in the right place and it showed on the 3s. She was open because she put herself open and you love to root for a kid like that.”

Werner then drove for a layup just before the horn and the score was 38-20 heading for the final stanza.

Which proved to be a prolonged Brunswick coronation.

Taylor started the frame with a free throw, but Werner answered with one of her own, Lexi Morin sank a pair, then Werner drove for a layup to more than double up the opposition, 43-21.

A Kenney runner with 4:57 to play proved to be the Patriots’ final points and a Sophia Morin layup made it official.

At 8:17 p.m., the horn sounded and the Dragons celebrated their emphatic 45-23 victory.


“It feels so good,” said Lexi Morin, who was named the regional tournament’s most valuable player. “I’m so happy. It was our revenge game. We lost to (Gray-New Gloucester) earlier in the season and we lost here last year to Greely and now we’re going to states. Gray-New Gloucester had a great game the first game. We were just rushing a little bit. We just needed to slow it down. We relaxed and did better. We just kept driving and got fouled and got to the line.”

“I knew (Gray would) be tough,” Farrell said. “They’re scrappy, well-coached and play great defense. This game, we had to relax and deal with the pressure and close out on their shooters. They didn’t get many open looks. We gave up seven points in the second half, so we must have done something right.

“These girls don’t get down and they just cheer like crazy. There’s three things I look for in a team. Do they work hard, do they get along and are they talented? I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team that checks all three boxes. They love being together, which makes my job easier because I can get on them because they all lift each other up. We have fun every day.”

Doring led all scorers with 15 points. Lexi Morin finished with nine points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists. Sophia Morin added seven points (and three steals) off the bench, Werner had seven points and five rebounds, Shipley four points in limited action and Carlton tallied three.

Brunswick made seven 3-pointers to the Patriots’ two, had a 23-16 rebound advantage, made 6-of-8 foul shots and only turned the ball over nine times.

Better than expected


Gray-New Gloucester was paced by Portas, who had 10 points. Kenney added four, Taylor had three and Farrar, Fortin and Morelli each contributed two.

The Patriots made 7-of-10 free throws and turned the ball over 16 times.

They knew they had met their match.

“The first half, we looked pretty good and had a lot of heart, but I think we only scored a touchdown (seven points) in the second half,” Andreasen said. “We’re not at their level. I think we stole one from them earlier.

“We had a heck of a year. The kids played really, really hard. Sometimes, you run into a better opponent. Tonight, we just ran into a better opponent.”

Graduation will take its toll, but this program is always in the hunt and expect that to be the case again next winter.


“We lose two starters and my first two off the bench,” Andreasen said. “We do lose size. We’ll have to play a lot of small-ball next year. Depending on what the MPA does, four-class, five-class, if you take Brunswick out of the mix, I think we can be competitive.”

Daunting task

Brunswick and Lawrence didn’t play this year. The Bulldogs are coming off an upset win over previously undefeated Gardiner in their regional final Friday.

The Dragons will appear in their second-ever state final (they lost to Messalonskee in 2017) and will be going for their first Gold Ball.

“So much pressure, but I’m so excited,” Lexi Morin said. “Lawrence is a good team. We just have to go strong, have some patience and play well.”

“(The girls are) all fired up to practice on Monday,” Farrell said. “We haven’t played up (in Augusta) since the last state championship game. Win or lose, these girls make me proud.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

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