AUGUSTA — Sarah Clough left the court at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday with tears in her eyes after fouling out with 5 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the Western Class C girls basketball championship.

By the time the game was over she was crying once again, just for a different reason.

Clough knocked down four 3-pointers as part of a 17-4 run in the second quarter and her teammates held the lead from there as Maranacook downed Dirigo 47-37 to claim its first regional title in program history.

“Sarah’s very tenacious and she hit a lot of key shots that helped put us on top, but when it comes down to it, we’re a team,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said. “When one person falls we pick them up. We did a great job stepping up.”

Clough’s shooting was only part of the equation in Maranacook’s win. Where the Black Bears made their mark Saturday was on the defensive end, as they held Dirigo to 28 percent shooting from the floor and forced 21 turnovers. Dirigo — which was 15-of-26 on free throws — was held without a field goal in the second quarter and for the first 7:14 of the fourth.

“When they got their second wind they wanted to put the press back on,” Paradis said. “They pretty much led that themselves on the floor, which I think is great. I just act like I’m the leader sometimes but these girls really put it into play. They know each other very well.”

While defense ultimately sealed the win, it was Clough’s big second quarter that allowed Maranacook to open up a lead that it never relinquished.

After a rough shooting performance for both teams in the opening quarter, Clough buried her first triple 53 seconds into the second to give the Black Bears an 11-9 lead. The hot shooting would not be contagious though, as two Dirigo foul shots were the only points scored over the next 4 minutes.

Another 3-pointer from Clough was answered by two free throws from the Cougars’ Rachel Knight, but then in the final 1:39 of the quarter Clough and fellow senior Christine Miller hit their stride.

Miller — who finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks — followed a conventional 3-point play with a pair of free throws to give Maranacook a 19-13 lead. Clough then buried a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of the quarter to give the Black Bears a 25-13 advantage at the break.

“Most of our games this year we’ve actually started off really well, so to end the first quarter down by one was a little bit scary for us but we came back,” Miller said. “(Clough) was definitely very key because I wasn’t hitting shots, Catherine (Sanborn) hit a few shots in the beginning but most of us weren’t hitting. Sarah stepped up big and hit all her shots.”

Clough was 4-of-8 from the field in the first half for 12 points, but played very little from that point forward due to foul trouble. A balanced scoring attack from Miller, Sanborn, Kristen Hall and Sage Hyland provided enough offense to keep the Black Bears in front, although the Cougars did make Maranacook sweat a little bit down the stretch.

A 6-0 run all at the foul line midway through the final quarter cut the deficit to 38-32 and with 2:39 to play Sabrina Daoud had a chance to slice into it even further with another pair of free throws. Daoud could not convert either though and it would be as close as Dirigo would get.

Hyland got a layup at the other end, while the Cougars missed a short jumper in the lane on their ensuing possession. Liz D’Angelo continued the push with a layup and Dirigo came away empty again on their next possession after Hall took a charge on a driving Kelsey Hutchins. Hall then got another layup for the Black Bears to cap a 6-0 spurt to clinch the title.

“It was a team win. Obviously it wasn’t just one person scoring all the points, it was everyone,” Clough said. “It wasn’t just one person. Usually it’s me, Christine or Catherine scoring most of the points but other people stepped up (Saturday). It feels really good and I’m very happy for them.”

It was not the prettiest game at times, but ultimately Maranacook did all the little things as a team to get the win. Players like Justice Merrill, Jana Elwell and Sarah Clough did not do much statistically — one defensive rebound, three fouls combined — but each provided valuable minutes off the bench and played sound defense.

“We have kids that really want to step up and really work,” Paradis said. “I’m so proud of that.”

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.