NORTH ANSON — One way or another, you had a feeling it might come down to an official’s call.

And boy, it sure did.

In a game that featured 38 fouls, Carrabec’s Jerzee Rugh was fouled in the backcourt with 0.2 seconds left and the score tied. Rugh made the first free throw, and Carrabec had a 37-36 victory over Madison in Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball action Monday night.

The Cobras, who won the Western C title last year, were coming off a one-point loss to Dirigo, and had lost by two to Madison earlier this season.

“We’re finally pushing where we need to go,” Rugh said, “and we’re getting over the hump.”

“We really came together tonight,” said Mickayla Willette, who led the Cobras with 13 points. “And this is really what we needed.”

After a furious Madison comeback in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 34 with under two minutes left. Erin Whalen found Aly LeBlanc in the post for a basket, and the Bulldogs led 36-34 with 55 seconds to go.

Carrabec’s Emma Pluntke (10 points) made one of two at the line, and Liberty Chestnut grabbed the rebound, allowing Willette to tie the score with another free throw with 23.4 seconds remaining.

After a Madison timeout, Chestnut stole the ball with nine seconds to play. Carrabec never got close to a shot — the Cobras never even got the ball out of the backcourt — but Rugh was bumped near midcourt with 0.2 showing on the clock.

“They’re just playing hard and playing strong,” said Madison coach Al Veneziano, whose team dropped to 5-5. “Things like that happen.”

Rugh would have a one-and-one at the line, meaning the game would come down to one foul shot.

“I was very nervous,” Rugh said, laughing. “I just took some deep breaths.”

“I was nervous,” Willette admitted, “but I had every ounce of confidence in her, and I knew she was going to make it.”

Rugh made the free throw, and the gym erupted. Her second shot was no good, but all Whalen could do was grab the rebound and try to fire the ball the length of the court without any way to get the shot off in time.

There were 17 fouls in the first 12 minutes of the game, and both teams barely hit 30 field goal attempts for the game. There were many off-the-ball fouls, and LeBlanc, Whalen, Pluntke and Carrabec’s Kate Stevens each sat out with foul trouble.

“What we have to concentrate on is focusing the entire game, on and off the floor,” Willette said. “The biggest thing for us with that is just to forget about all the craziness, and just focus on what you’re doing.”

This was still Madison-Carrabec, so the level of play was intense. That was best demonstrated in the final minute of the first half. Willette missed a shot, and when she went for the offensive rebound, Madison’s Lauren Hay ripped the ball out of her hands. Willette regained her balance and took the ball right back, then put it high off the glass for a layup.

Carrabec (4-4) was ahead 21-17 at the half and led 28-20 after three when Rugh grabbed a rebound and made a layup at the buzzer.

In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Pluntke picked up her fourth foul, but had to stay in the game when the Cobras couldn’t get a sub in quickly enough. The Bulldogs immediately went to LeBlanc in the paint, but Pluntke blocked her shot. Kayla Bess tracked down the rebound for Madison, and knocked down a 3-pointer.

That one sequence made the Madison fans part of the game again. Bess (game-high 17 points) followed with another three, and Madison took the lead and capped a 9-0 run when LeBlanc scored with five minutes to play.

“Overall, I thought we did a great job coming back from being down,” Veneziano said. “We had chances to score early. We just didn’t score early, and we needed to convert some of those baskets.”

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