FARMINGTON — Eryn Doiron may have felt under the weather but you would have never known it based on how she played Thursday night.

The Mt. Blue junior sparked a key run at the end of the second quarter with a pair of starters on the bench with foul trouble, and in the second half the Cougars took over defensively en route to running away with a 54-21 victory over Skowhegan.

“I was very pleased, particularly coming out of the second half with the defensive intensity,” Mt. Blue coach Gavin Kane said. “We were very stingy and really made things extremely difficult for Skowhegan on their offensive end of the floor.”

Doiron finished with 10 points, four steals and three assists for Mt. Blue (8-4) Thursday night, while Caitlin Kane poured in a game-high 18 points and five steals. Junior Emilee Eustis had four steals and played a strong game at both ends of the court for the Cougars.

Eliza Bedard led Skowhegan (2-10) with 11 points and Noah Stevens chipped in with nine rebounds.

While the final score ultimately ended up decidedly in favor of the Cougars, the Indians managed to stay within striking distance for the better part of the first half.

Following a Bedard basket with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter Skowhegan’s chances of hanging with Mt. Blue seemed promising, as it only trailed 18-12 and two of the Cougars’ top players — Caitlin Kane and Addie Brinkman — would soon find themselves on the bench in foul trouble.

“Early on we competed with them, we kept them off the boards a little bit and we handled their pressure,” Skowhegan coach Bob Witts said. “The first game (against the Cougars) we didn’t handle their pressure, we turned it over a few times and we did a better job with it tonight. Unfortunately it was only for a quarter and half.”

A combination of cold shooting, turnovers and strong play from Doiron allowed the Cougars to break things open.

Doiron sandwiched a 3-pointer around a pair of baskets in the paint to extend the home team’s lead into double figures and a bucket from Mackenzie Harris allowed Mt. Blue to take a commanding 27-12 lead at the break.

“(Everyone) steps it up when we have a little bit of trouble,” Doiron said. “I’d like to think that we’re pretty deep, so if one person fouls we all just pick it up.”

Added Gavin Kane: “I thought (Doiron) did a very nice job for us in the second quarter at the point when Caitlin and Addie were out with a couple fouls each. At that time I didn’t want us rushing shots, I thought that would be playing into Skowhegan’s hands. I thought she calmed us down and got us some good possessions — including a couple hoops herself.”

In the third quarter the Cougars hit their stride, utilizing full-court pressure and relentless match-up zone defense when Skowhegan did advance the ball into the front court to pull away.

The Indians were held to just a single point on a free throw from Lindsey Warren with eight seconds remaining in the quarter, going 0-for-8 from the floor, 1-for-4 from the foul line and turning the ball over 10 times.

Warren’s free throw snapped not only a streak of 24 unanswered points for Mt. Blue but also a stretch in which the Indians were held scoreless for 13 minutes and 59 seconds. For the contest the Cougars held Skowhegan — who scored just four combined points between the second and third quarters — to 6-of-34 shooting from the field and forced 27 turnovers.

“Coach is a brilliant guy,” Doiron said of the Cougars’ defense. “We work on it a ton at practice, so it’s a main focal point for us.

“Offensive is obviously nice, but defense is our bread and butter.”

It was a tough night for the Indians and it likely will not be the last, but Witts has been around long enough to know success comes in ebbs and flows when it comes to coaching high school basketball.

Last winter Skowhegan’s season ended with a close quarterfinal loss to eventual Eastern Maine Class A champ Oxford Hills, while this year the Indians will be luck to make the playoffs. With a number of promising young players already logging significant minutes though, Witts is confident in his team’s future.

“The program is in a change now and down the road this program will be back where it belongs,” Witts said. “It just happens to be a bridge year for us.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.