AUGUSTA — Monmouth Academy girls basketball coach Scott Wing was happy with everything about his team’s Western Class C quarterfinal game against Old Orchard Beach, except the outcome.
“One thing I could never fault my kids on all season long is the effort. They never give up,” Wing said. “I honestly think that’s the best game we’ve played this year. That’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
Wing’s Mustangs trailed by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, but rallied to cut the deficit to one. The Seagulls, however, hit some big shots of their own down the stretch, and took a 63-57 win at the Augusta Civic Center.
No. 3 Old Orchard Beach (14-5) will face No. 2 Madison in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. No. 6 Monmouth ends the season at 14-6.
While Old Orchard Beach fans may have gotten nervous as Monmouth rallied in the fourth quarter, Seagulls coach Dean Plante said he and his team stayed cool.
“We’ve been here before. I’ve coached in this situation. My seniors have been in the tournament three straight (years). There’s going to be runs up here, and weird things happen. They just answered the call,” Plante said. “As close as it got, everybody was rattled around us, but our cage was pretty calm.”
After going just 8 for 14 at the free-throw line in the first half, the Mustangs made 14 of 15 foul shots in the second half, including 5 for 5 in the fourth quarter, and that helped spark the rally. Down 53-45 with five minutes to play, Ashley Coulombe hit a layup, and Kylie Kemp made a 3-point play to cut Old Orchard’s lead to 53-50.
After Christine Colman made a free throw for the Seagulls, Sierra Spencer made a 3-pointer for Monmouth to cut the deficit to one, 54-53, with three minutes remaining.
A defensive key for Monmouth in the fourth quarter was a switch to a 1-2-2 zone, which helped force turnovers and create offensive chances for the Mustangs.
“It would be nice to be able to play that all the time, but we just don’t have enough energy to play that way all the time,” Wing said.
Sierra Spencer scored to pull the Mustangs within a point, 56-55, with 1:49 to play, but Colman made a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Seagulls a four-point cushion. Colman scored a game-high 23 points and made four 3-pointers.
“She’s been steady all year. She was first-team all-conference for us. We’re pretty balanced most nights. Nobody scores 20 for us,” Plante said. “For her to score 20, that’s a heck of a night. We needed that big night tonight, and she stepped up like a senior should.”
Added Wing: “I’ll take the blame for that 3-pointer. What happened was, we were subbing offense for defense there, and we got screwed up on our matchups.”
Anna Foss and Colman each hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to seal the win for Old Orchard Beach.
“We just needed to get that one more (shot) to get the lead and get control in our hands,” Wing said.
Monmouth led 8-5 early in the first quarter before Old Orchard took the lead for good with a 12-0 run. Kemp had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Mustangs, while Spencer added 11 points.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242