(Portland ME) The Mount Desert Island band was incredible………..but I digress.
Senior Bri Jordan put Gray-New Gloucester in front with a triple midway through the first quarter and the Patriots were on their way to a, 43-30, Class B championship at the Cross Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Bri was the star for (20-2) GNG. She finished with fifteen points and eleven rebounds and was huge in the tense part of the fourth quarter when the Trojans (19-3) were within four (34-30) with 3:53 to go.
The MDI offense went totally dry the rest of the way.
“When we got within four, they hunkered down defensively,” said MDI coach Brent Barker afterwards. “We had some decent shots but just couldn’t make them.”
“Our defense was very good today,” said GNG coach Mike Andreasen. “To hold a strong team like MDI to thirty points is very good. Our offense came-and-went but our defense was consistently solid.”
A key matchup was Bri Jordan limiting Maddy Candage to only four points.
The Patriots’ offense not only missed a lot of shots, but they also turned the ball over at least twenty times.
“Our turnovers today hurt us,” said Coach Barker. “They capitalized on some of them.”
The team from Gray had a ten-point lead (32-22) early in the final quarter after a Bri Jordan layup.
Credit the team from Bar Harbor. They didn’t pack it in. Instead, the Trojans put together their best collection of offense of the day. Four free throws (Mandy Candage), and layups by Rachelle Swanson and Alexis Clarito in a three-minute stretch and suddenly we had ourselves a ballgame!
But credit Gray-New Gloucester. They tossed a shutout the rest of the way and scored nine points.
“When they (MDI) got close we tried not to focus on the scoreboard,” explained senior Alexa Thayer.
“MDI never quits,” said Coach Andreasen. “They have four senior starters. Luckily, we withstood their best shot. It was pretty special.”
Jordan Grant had ten points for the Patriots. “We came out strong knowing that it would be a hard game. They are a good matchup for us. We had to play as a team and play to our advantages.”
GNG had noticeable height advantages with Bri Jordan and Jordan Grant. “We’re not a huge team,” said Coach Barker. “Sometimes you can’t defend height.”
This was the Patriots second title in the last three years. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win a championship,” said junior Jordan Grant. “My freshman year was the same way. It’s a feeling that you never want to stop happening.”
Coach Barker: “We tried to key defensively on two players (Bri Jordan & Jordan Grant) and force some other players to beat us. Those other players stepped up.”
Bri Jordan (commit to St. Joseph’s): “To be able to work with teammates and pull this off is awesome.”
Alexa Thayer: “It is so exciting. Being a senior, it’s really special to see my teammates come together like this.”
Alexa told me that she is going to attend Husson in the fall and major in occupational therapy.
Then there’s that MDI band! Those folks could play and everyone at Cross Arena on this afternoon would agree with me.
(All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)