AUGUSTA — When you’re good enough to make the playoffs and contend for a championship every year, other teams start using you as a measuring stick. On Saturday morning, Mountain Valley wanted to make a statement against Madison.

Mountain Valley came in with a 2-3 record and a great opportunity to take a game against one of the best girls basketball programs in Class C. And if the crowd was bigger than usual because people were filing in to watch the ensuing Winthrop-Dirigo boys showdown, all the better.

That’s how it ended up going down. Mountain Valley trailed after one quarter, but controlled the rest of the game for a 60-29 victory over Madison at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We have been talking about relevance,” Mountain Valley coach Ryan Casey said. “Our team feels like we’re relevant. In each and every game that we play in, other than the Monmouth game this year, we’ve been really competitive. But we needed a win against a quality program, and this morning, that’s what that represents. The girls are proud of themselves. They stuck with the game plan, and they played well against a good team.”

The game was part of the 20th annual Capital City Hoop Classic. The day featured over 12 hours of basketball, but the Mountain Valley-Madison game and three others counted in the Heal points standings. In a game that didn’t count in the standings, Madison followed up the loss to Mountain Valley with a 49-29 victory over Class A Cony.

Madison (4-4) used its typically balanced scoring to build a slight 9-6 lead after one quarter. But the Bulldogs, who had previously scored at least 38 points in every game this season, made only six field goals the rest of the way. After looking like a team playing a 10 a.m. game in the first quarter, Mountain Valley scored 25 points in the second quarter, with Ashley Russell, Emily Laubauskas and Tori Ryerson combining for 23 of them. That trio was held scoreless in the first quarter.

“One of our players came off the bench, kind of got us some life and some energy,” Casey said. “We talk about people filling roles, and we were a little slow out the get-go. Emily Laubauskas came off the bench, spark-plugged us a little bit, and things started to feel a little better.”

Madison has only two seniors this season, and one of them, Bronte Elias, will miss the entire season after having ACL surgery. The Bulldogs have done a nice job of pressing on without their best all-around players, but definitely missed Elias’ influence on Saturday.

“I think we did some good things in the first quarter-and-a-half,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “I thought we were right there. I think, after that, we let down, and we let our emotions probably get the best of us. We can’t let that happen. We’ve got to be mentally tougher than that. I think we’ve also got to play more physical.”

Mountain Valley’s lead was still only 31-20 at halftime, but Karen Flaherty opened the third quarter by draining two jumpers from the right corner — a 3-pointer, and then one from just inside the line. That made it 36-20 less than a minute into the second half.

The Bulldogs began to take quicker shots, but couldn’t get them to fall. While no one on Madison scored in double figures, Mountain Valley had four players with at least 10 points: Russell with 13, Laubauskas and Flaherty with 11 apiece, and Liza White with 10.

“You’re trying to get points scored, and you get a little frustrated with your shot, so you don’t run offense and get to a point where you can score — you kind of force it up a little bit,” Veneziano said. “It happens. We have a young team. We’ve got to get to a point where we’re confident in what we’re doing.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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