NORTH ANSON — After scoring 60 points in a season-opening win over Lisbon, the Monmouth girls looked like they left their swagger at home on Thursday night at Carrabec. Late in the first half, the Mustangs had scored a total of six points.

But the Mustangs must have recovered their mojo in the locker room, as they hit five 3-pointers in the second half alone. Sidney Wilson scored a game-high 15 points and made two clutch free throws with 3.5 seconds to go, and Monmouth held on for a 42-38 victory.

“We’ve been shooting well this season so far,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “That one girl there, the (Baylee) Atwood girl, she’s one of the best defensive players that I’ve ever seen — on the ball and away from the ball.

“I just told them at halftime to relax — they’re good shooters, their shots’ll come, and they’ll start to fall. We were just a little tight in the first half.”

Atwood concentrated on Monmouth freshman Tia Day, who scored 20 points against Lisbon but was held scoreless against Carrabec. This threw off Monmouth’s offense in the first half, as Carrabec led 12-3 and 15-6 in the second quarter.

The Mustangs hit a few three throws and a couple threes, but Carrabec still led 18-14 at the half behind Mickayla Willette and Emma Pluntke.

Right from the start of the second half, Monmouth looked more confident and less tentative. The Mustangs began the third quarter on a 7-0 run, and went up 21-20 when Caroline Bonenfant grabbed a tough offensive rebound in traffic, leading to a 3-pointer by Wilson.

“We wanted to get the game going a little quicker, to see if it could work to our advantage — and it did,” said Monmouth’s Haley West, who scored 12 points.

Monmouth hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter, including three bombs by Wilson. The Mustangs took their largest lead of the night when Maddie Amero made a fast-break layup to make it 32-24 late in the third quarter.

“We could have gone into our 1-2-2 a little quicker,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said. “We knew that they were a good three-point shooting team. I think we had a little bit of a lapse.”

Carrabec fought back and went ahead 35-32 when Willette (11 points, seven rebounds) hit a layup off an Atwood steal, then followed up a miss with another layup.

The Cobras led 38-37 with under three minutes left when Monmouth broke out on a 3-on-2 fast break. West got the ball inside the three-point line at the top of the arc, and stepped back behind the line for a three. The move was certainly unorthodox, but West buried the shot for a 40-38 lead.

“I was kind of like, ‘What are you doing?’ on that one,” Wing said. “It went in, and she was as surprised as I was. She’s becoming a better shooter, though.”

“That was big,” West said. “I had so much adrenaline going. I’m not usually a three-point shooter, and that shot was huge.”

Carrabec called timeout with 2:31 left, but wouldn’t score again. The Mustangs denied passes inside to Pluntke (11 points, seven rebounds) and the Cobras missed their last shot with about 10 seconds left. Wilson grabbed the long rebound, and made both ends of the one-and-one after being fouled.

Coupled with Wednesday’s 38-36 loss to Madison, the setback leaves the Cobras at 0-2. Since Carrabec won the Western C title last season, the natural tendency is to ask what is wrong and what needs to be fixed. While Rugh would like to see more offense from the Cobras, it’s a long season, and he’s not panicking.

“Right now, I feel that we improved on (Wednesday) night,” Rugh said. “Offensively, we played better. Defensively, we played as good as we played last night.

“Right now, we’re just not putting the ball in the hoop. But we’re improving. We’re building on the positives that we’re getting out of it. As long as we continue to build off that, I think it’s going to get better and better as we go.”


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