With three players returning to the lineup after missing last season with knee injuries, Monmouth Academy girls basketball coach Scott Wing wasn’t sure what to expect from his team this winter.

So far, so good.

The Mustangs are 4-0 in the Mountain Valley Conference going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Mountain Valley. Among their wins are a one-point victory at Boothbay and a three-point decision against Hall-Dale.

“I can’t say that I’m surprised, but I was unsure,” Wing said. “I knew these kids had the potential to play that well.”

Danielle Bumann, Sierra Spencer and Ashley Coulombe all missed last season with knee injuries. Bumann is the team’s point guard and top defender while Spencer is a good perimeter shooter and starter and Coulombe is the backup point guard. One thing the Mustangs don’t have is height but they’ve used their quickness to neutralize taller teams like Boothbay.

“We don’t slow it down much,” Wing said.

Junior Kylie Kemp has come into her own this season and leads the team in scoring, rebounding and assists.

“She’s just an athlete,” Wing said.

On a team with little size, 5-foot-7 senior Melissa Brassard has also proven invaluable as a rebounder and defender. Wing also benefits from having former Winthrop coach Ray Convery as one of his assistants.

“We just hash everything back and forth with each other,” he said. “He has a wealth of knowledge. One of the biggest things he does for me is he’s just an unbelievable scout. He picks up on player tendencies like nobody I’ve ever seen.”

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Richmond suffered just its third regular-season loss in three years when it fell 56-54 in overtime at Rangeley last Friday night. The game was filled with fouls, 55 in all, and the teams combined for 79 free throws, 51 by Rangeley and 26 by Richmond.

The Lakers made 26 free throws while the Bobcats converted 15. Four Richmond players fouled out before the overtime period.

“Overall it was a good game and fun,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. “We don’t get to play in a good game very often.”

Foul trouble meant more playing time for Richmond’s reserves and Bishop may have discovered a point guard in junior Haley Murphy who handled the ball well.

“She’s just grown tremendously,” Bishop said.

Freshman Kaylah Patterson also played well and hit a free throw to send the game to overtime.
Richmond senior Jamie Plummer led all scorers with 29 points and is now 86 away from 1,000 for her career.

• • •

Planning to defend Leavitt’s Kristen Anderson and doing it effectively are two different things.

Gardiner coach Mike Gray found that out Friday night when Anderson scored 34 points, including eight 3s, in the Hornets 71-44 win against the Tigers.

“She was firing up from deep, well behind the 3-point arc,” Gray said. “When she’s hitting shots like that they can beat anybody.”

Anderson has already accepted a scholarship to play for the University of New Hampshire next season. Her older sister Courtney is the point guard for the University of Maine.

Gray said his team has already put the loss behind it.

“I’d rather have that happen now than game 15,” he said. “At the same time it was a good wakeup call.”

The Tigers (3-1) host Maranacook (2-2) on Friday night in what is shaping up as a good battle. Both teams lost to Leavitt while Maranacook also has a loss to Nokomis. Gray expects a zone press from the Black Bears throughout the game.

“That’s what they’ve been doing,” he said. “(Coach Jeanine Paradis) has athletic post players who can play on top of a of a press.”

The Bears have received good production from 5-10 sophomore Christine Miller, who has a 35-point game against Morse earlier this season.

“If she’s going to be inside we’ll put Kelly (Macomber) on her,” Gray said. “If she wanders outside we’ll put Ally day on her.”

• • •

Kents Hill athletic director Jim Smucker has returned to the sidelines after a six or seven-year hiatus from coaching the girls basketball team.

“I love it,” Smucker said. “It’s a good group of girls who compete each day and learn.”

The Huskies compete in Western Maine Class C and have a couple of disadvantages. First they play just 14 games rather than the usual 18 and second they’re practice time is limited.

“They just went on break,” Smucker said. “There’s no practice for two weeks.”

One advantage Kents Hill has is it draws students from around the state, country and the world in some instances. This year’s team is 1-1 and returns several experienced players including Caroline Tortorella, Marissa Tarrio, Ashley Doyle and Emma Curin. They’ve also added Messalonskee transfer Sara Grenier, a junior  who leads the team in scoring. Faith Forsythe, a sophomore transfer from

Lawrence, is the team’s sixth person despite playing her first year of basketball.

The Huskies play a competitive schedule that includes Western Maine Conference teams Waynflete, Old Orchard and Sacopee Valley as well as Class D powers Richmond and Rangeley.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
ghawkins@centralmaine.com