Cougar girls hold on for 41-37 win
DIXFIELD -- Dirigo turned things up when it had to and executed down the stretch in a Mountain Valley Conference girls' basketball game.
Kayla Gaudin scored a career-high 18 points and proved to be a force on both ends of the court as the Lady Cougars stepped up defensively in holding on for a thrilling 41-37 win against Carrabec at Defoe Gymnasium.
Each team had numerous opportunities to gain an advantage, but turnovers and missed shots in the waning minutes failed to help. It was the fast-paced action that had the players scrambling on the floor for loose balls. Carrabec that tied the score on a basket by Jerzee Rugh at 37-all with 3:27 left to play.
Dirigo pulled the air out of the ball and received solid ball movement. The strategy eventually paid off when Jessica Conant bounce passed to Ambyr Wilson, who cut down the lane. The teams each traded turnovers and then Dirigo was patient and Gaudin scored off a feed by Lindsy Crutchfield with 1:16 left to play.
"They had come back on us and we had started to get down on ourselves," said Gaudin, who had nine rebounds, five on offense and four steals. ''A couple helped us get energy and everyone stepped up.''
Dirigo (3-1) replaced four starters, and still have plenty of things to work on, but they are also developing depth. Conant scored seven points, six rebounds and three steals, while freshman sparkplug Emma Leuders had four steals off the bench and handled the ball in fourth quarter.
“We had an in-your-face defense and the pressure was a key in fourth quarter,'' said Dirigo coach Reggie Weston, regarding the Cougars 18 steals and the Cobras 41 turnovers. “We had started out with the in-your-face defense and I felt Carrabec was having trouble against it, but the girls got tired. We haven't had any practices since playing last Saturday because of the snow days.''
Carrabec had pulled within 33-29 in the third quarter on baskets by Mercedes Welch (13 points) from over the top. Dirigo had shot itself in the foot by missing 18 of 22 shots. The lone baskets were an offensive rebound by Gaudin and a Leuders drive.
''We had too many turnovers,'' said Weston, who plays Mount Abram in Salam tonight. ''It should be 15 in a girls game and I think we are better than that. I told the girls they need to anticipate passes more and get back to help.''
The score was tied or changed sides 12 times in the first 11 minutes. Gaudin scored eight in the second quarter for a 27-22 lead at halftime. The Cougars and Cougars each made seven free throws, but Carrabec shot 50 percent to 28.