FARMINGTON Coming off a win over highly-touted Edward Little last Saturday, Lawrence coach John Donato saw Tuesday night’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference clash against Mt. Blue as a trap game.

There were indeed numerous occasions seemed to have the trap ready to spring, but every time, the Bulldogs would force a key turnover, grab a big offensive rebound or make a couple of clutch free throws to escape. And so they emerged with a 50-42 win to improve to 6-0.

Nia Irving scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Bulldogs. Dominique Lewis added 10 points and Paige Belanger chipped in with seven point and nine rebounds.

Caitlin Kane led the Cougars (3-2) with 15 points, while Eryn Doiron added eight points.

Lawrence never trailed but found itself protecting a two-point lead after Sarah Cummings drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:53 remaining.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they were already in the bonus. They didn’t score a field goal after Belanger fed a cutting Irving for two with 2:33 left, but Lewis, Irving and Jordyn Towers combined to make 10 of 14 free throws in the final 3:47 of the game to hold off Mt. Blue.

“The foul shots at the end were very important for us because they were getting a little physical at the end,” Donato said. “I told the girls don’t retaliate and it worked in our favor.”

The key stretch from the chairty stripe came with 50 seconds left and the Builldogs in the double bonus. Towers made two of two to make it 45-39. On the second make, Doiron was called for pushing Irving, sending her to the line for two.

Irving made the first and missed the second. With the rebound bouncing toward the right sideline, Belanger hustled and made a terrific save before it went out of bounds, throwing the ball to Towers, who was fouled. She drained the next two free throws, making it 48-39. The Bulldogs went from four points up to nine points ahead in five seconds.

“Jordyn Towers’ free throws at the end and that sae Paige Belanger had on a rebound were big for us,” Irvin said.

Lawrence went inside to Irving early and often to start the game. The 6-foot-1 junior had 10 points in the first quarter as Lawrence built a 19-6 lead.

Despite losing center Addie Brinkman for most of the second quarter after she picked up her second foul, the Cougars were able to score the first eight points of the period and pull within eight points thanks to a pair of Doiron 3-pointers.

“It was a trap game,” Donato said. “We just didn’t come with any emotion or any enthusiasm. So we made a lot of silly passes that we normally haven’t made.”

Lawrence led by nine at the half. Mt. Blue’s fullcourt press and zone cooled the Bulldogs off in the third quarter (2-for-9).

Brinkman returned to the floor to give the Cougars an inside presence offensively (six points in the quarter) and defensively. Her off-balance hoop over a double-team pulled Mt. Blue within 36-31 at the end of the third.

“We’ve had physical games so far this season against teams like Oxford Hills and Edward Little and we’ve played other very scrappy teams,” Irving said. “I think it makes us better as a team to play against aggressive teams. I mean, not every game is going to be willy-nilly. We’ve got to be used to that.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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