Only one of the Western C girls basketball quarterfinals went down to the final minutes. Not coincidentally, that’s the one that was the most memorable game.

No. 10 Madison is in the semifinals after beating Waynflete in the preliminary round, then knocking off Boothbay 43-41 in the quarterfinals on a pass from Kayla Bess to Emily Oliver for a short shot at the buzzer. Next up for the Bulldogs (11-9) is No. 3 Dirigo (17-2) in a 2:30 p.m. semifinal game Friday at the Augusta Civic Center. That game will be followed by the other semifinal between No. 1 Maranacook (16-3) and No. 5 Mountain Valley (15-5) at 4 p.m.

Madison coach Al Veneziano said his team has matured over the last two weeks, and there’s no question that the Bulldogs are playing their best basketball right now. Madison played the Cougars once during the regular season, losing 55-47 on Jan. 12. Dirigo upended Monmouth 48-33 in the quarterfinals.

“We obviously (have to) handle their pressure,” Veneziano said. “They looked like they put on a little bit of 1-2-2 half-court pressure. So we’ve (got to) make sure that we’re ready for that and we handle that — the same way we did (against Boothbay). I thought we handled pressure very good, to a point where they took it off.”

Jessica Conant led Dirigo with 16 points in the quarterfinals and Kelsey Hutchins added 11. Madison post players like Erin Whalen, Aly LeBlanc and Oliver will be tested on Friday — the Cougars out-rebounded Monmouth, 36-18.

“We can’t allow more than one shot at the basket at a time,” Veneziano said. “We gotta make sure we get rebounds, we check out. Erin and Aly did a great job of that (against Boothbay). I thought Emily Oliver did a great job of rebounding. So we’ve got to keep going to the boards. They’re starting to believe that has to happen, and that’s contagious once that happens.”


With Maranacook playing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Mountain Valley naturally playing in the Mountain Valley Conference, the teams didn’t meet during the regular season. They’re far from unfamiliar foes, though.

“We actually scrimmaged them preseason at Mountain Valley,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said. “We scrimmaged them last year as well. I’ve known (Mountain Valley coach) Ryan Casey for a long time and we’re a lot alike. We teach fundamentals and we’re going to go over fundamentals every single day. So I know his kids are going to know fundamentals.

“I’m excited about the matchup. I respect him as a coach. I respect his team. They’re a young team. They’re scrappy and they don’t give up.”

While it’s a small sample size, the teams look close to even based on their one common opponent. Maranacook knocked off Carrabec, 50-34, in the quarterfinals, but that was a six-point game early in the third quarter. The Falcons defeated Carrabec twice, by margins of 10 and seven points.

Most recently, Mountain Valley held Old Orchard beach to seven points in the first half and went on to a 41-27 quarterfinal win. The Falcons had a balanced offense, with 10 points from Emily Laubauskas and nine from Ashley Russell. Maranacook can also play some lockdown defense, and got strong games from players like Christine Miller, Liz D’Angelo and Catherine Sanborn in the quarterfinals.

“I think we have to make sure that we take care of the ball,” Paradis said. “We need to go to the basket and make sure we move offensively, whether they’re playing a zone or a man-to-man.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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