The Gorham girls’ basketball team had no answers for Thornton Academy in the regular season.

The Rams found one in the postseason, however.

Ellie Gay scored 20 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining, and No. 3 Gorham stunned top-seeded Thornton Academy, 44-41, in the Class AA South final Saturday night at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Gorham (12-9) will play in its second straight state final, and fifth in seven seasons. The Rams, who also got eight points from Summer Gammon and seven from freshman Lauren Dunbar, will face Oxford Hills next Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena.

“We really just had a mindset switch,” said Gay, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “We knew that we had nothing to lose coming into the game as the underdog.”

The Rams’ underdog status didn’t hurt their confidence.


“We all told each other that this was going to be an upset,” said Gammon, who hit a pair of clutch fourth-quarter shots. “That’s what we really wanted, that’s what we set our hearts to.”

Gorham dropped four of its last five games in the regular season but passed gut check after gut check in the tournament, ousting Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinals and then No. 2 Sanford in overtime before prevailing down the stretch to take out the Golden Trojans.

“I felt like we had that mindset before the game even started that we were going to compete,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “We wanted to make sure we were locked in and we competed each possession. We didn’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Thornton, led by 16 points and eight rebounds from Addisen Sulikowski and nine points from Jessica Dow, finished 18-2. The Trojans won games against the Rams by 18, five and 34 points during the regular season, but this time couldn’t separate on the scoreboard.

“I’m just really disappointed. As a coach you always look back, knowing there are different strings you could have pulled or different decisions you could have made,” Thornton Coach Eric Marston said. “They took it from us. We didn’t just give it to them. They were a little more crisp in some of their execution than we were.”

The game was tied at 41 in the closing seconds when Gay was fouled while driving to the basket. She hit both free throws, and Gorham then intercepted Thornton’s long inbounds pass. Dunbar made one more free throw to round out the scoring.


Gay, the team’s lone returning starter from last year’s regional champion, stayed cool with the chance to win the game.

“I had to just tune out the crowd, tune out everything, pretend like I’m in practice,” she said. “But I knew that those foul shots had to go in.”

The Trojans had the upper hand going into the fourth after a Dow 3-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer put them ahead 32-28. Gorham fought back to tie it at 37 with 4:07 left on a Gammon 3-pointer, and Gammon struck again with a pull-up jumper with 1:24 left to give the Rams their first lead of the quarter at 41-39.

“We needed other kids to try to chip in a little bit offensively, make them guard us at all five spots,” Berthiaume said. “I thought Julia Reed, Kalin Curtis, Summer Gammon, Lauren Dunbar, they all took their opportunities to get in on the offense and they couldn’t key on just Ellie.”

Sulikowski hit a clutch runner with 53 seconds left to tie the game at 41, and a Gorham turnover with 41 seconds to go gave Thornton a chance to take the lead. Dunbar gathered the rebound of a missed shot, however, setting the stage for Gay’s heroics.

“I did think when we got up a little bit that we were going to start to possibly pull away, but we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds, they got some kick-out 3s, and before you know it, it’s tied again,” Marston said.

“It’s the extreme sadness that it’s over. … It was just an incredible season.”

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