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Cougar girls pull away for win
DIXFIELD -- There is a point when the ebb and flow of a game can change dramatically and that’s what transpired with Dirigo, who maintained its composure in a girls' basketball game.
Hannah Knight and Alyssa Wade combined for 24 points and the Lady Cougars played inspired team defense to remain unbeaten with a 50-38 win against Madison in Defoe Gymnasium.
Dirigo didn’t start out on fire, however, the players adjusted and built a double-digit deficit late in the second quarter. A 13-4 run included baskets by Wade (10 points, five assists, three steals), Ambyr Wilson, Knight (14 points, five rebounds) and Paige Murphy (six points), who stole the ball and dribbled in for a layup.
“We boxed out and worked as a team,” said junior center Angela Ronan, who was a force with eight defensive and six offensive rebounds. “They didn’t have any real tall girls like in our previous games, so we matched up better and we were able to break the press.”
Dirigo (4-0) had a scare when Madison guard Samantha Weese (13 points made two baskets and Kristin Wood made a free throw to trail by 10 points. The Cougars responded with a 6-0 run, baskets by Wade, Miranda Shurtleff (six points) and Ronan (eight points) to lead 43-27 after three quarters.
“The middle opened up,” said Murphy. “It hadn’t been in the first half, but we found the gaps.”
Madison (2-2) shot itself in the foot by shooting 34 percent and turning the ball over 25 times. Dirigo supplied plenty of pressure and it prevented the Bulldogs from setting up their offense.
"We needed to rebound better and move the ball,” said Madison coach Al Venzeniano. “Dirigo did some good things against, but we needed to stop Knight tonight because she is a talented player.’’
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars held off Madison on free throws, two by Murphy and one by Ronan, which became critical. They made two baskets on 11 shots in the final period.
“I’m very proud of these girls,” said Dirigo coach Reggie Weston. “We are a young team and at times I would have liked them to slow down and be patient. Backing the ball out will hopefully create more opportunities, but you can't help but admire our hustle.”
Dirigo turned the ball over 21 times and were six of 17 from the free throw line.