NORTH ANSON — Thursday night’s girls basketball game between Carrabec and visiting Madison shaped up as a wild one, and it was — but for some of the wrong reasons.
On the basketball side, Carrabec picked up its biggest win in years by holding off the Bulldogs 44-39 with some great foul shooting in the final 35 seconds. On the extra-curricular side, there was a 19-minute delay after a fan threw a water bottle that landed at the Carrabec bench and a woman needed medical attention.
“The stands are packed,” said Carrabec junior center Emma Pluntke, who led the Cobras with 14 points and 13 rebounds. “It was just so awesome, the support we got from our school, and our parents, everyone.”
“This was an interesting one,” a still wound-up Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said after the game. “We tried to downplay it, but it’s a big game. We knew it was going to be packed and loud, and the JV game got it going.”
The two schools are natural rivals in every sport, and both brought a couple parking lots full of fans. The two student sections sat on the same side of the court, and “interacted” throughout the game. When Carrabec had the ball, the Madison fans would often chant “Defense!” and the Carrabec fans would keep responding “What?”
A few Carrabec fans enjoyed this so much that they spent the chant looking at the Madison fans instead of watching the game.
But things degenerated from fun and school spirit to something a little more scary late in the third quarter. After Carrabec’s Jessica Vaillancourt knocked down a 3-pointer to extend Carrabec’s lead to 33-27, the Cobras got the ball again.
Madison’s Madeline Wood ran into a blind pick and went down hard to the floor. Wood curled up, clutching her stomach as play continued and the Madison fans booed loudly. When Madison’s Kirsten Wood grabbed a rebound, the officials stopped play with 54.4 seconds left. Just after that, someone threw a water bottle from the other side of the court, and it skidded at the Carrabec bench area.
“It hit my assistant coach,” Rugh said. “I really don’t know what happened. All I know is I just happened to glance and I saw the can fly by me. I wanted (the players) to stay focused on what was going on.”
Rugh helped clean things up, but at the same time, a woman in the stands needed medical attention. She was treated and wheeled away, and waved to the crowd as she left. Both teams had gone to their locker rooms at that point, and the total delay before play resumed was 19 minutes.
Carrabec (13-3) led by as much as eight in the fourth quarter when Pluntke started things off with two quick baskets. Madison got within 38-37 when Kayla Bess made two free throws with 1:16 to go. But the Cobras made several key plays to seal the win.
First, Vaillancourt alertly called a timeout as Madison tried to steal the ball from teammate Mikayla Willette, who was on the floor. Then Willette made a fast-break layup for a three-point lead. In the final minute, both Willette and Kate Stevens made both ends of one-and-ones at the line.
“Kate has been our best foul shooter all year,” Rugh said. “She’s been struggling of late, and Mikayla’s struggling, but she’s just starting to find her stroke. She hit them when it counted. That’s big pressure. That’s a good job. They’re both sophomores.”
Carrabec controlled things early by foing inside to Pluntke, Stevens, and Macy Welch. The Cobras led 24-17 at the half when Liberty Chestnut followed up a miss with a short one-hander to beat the buzzer.
“They’ve got some good guards, and they know where to get the ball,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on it.”
Bess led Madison (10-6) with 10 points. Kirsten Wood added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.