For the second time in two years, Monmouth has knocked off an undefeated Boothbay team. The Mustangs (12-2) handed the Seahawks a 49-36 loss Saturday in Monmouth to take over first place in the Class C South standings by less than two tenths of a point.

Monmouth held Boothbay to four points in the second quarter and never trailed after that. Junior Abbey Allen led the winning effort with 14 points and 10 rebounds while point guard Tia Day chipped in with 14 points.

There are good players on both teams — 6-foot-1 Boothbay guard Faith Blethen didn’t play due to injury — but the matchups come down generally to Boothbay’s size and Monmouth’s depth.

Depth prevailed as coach Scott Wing used 10 players in the first half with little or no drop-off.

“We’re starting to play much better,” said Wing, whose team shot 17 of 41 from the floor.

The Mustangs lost 44-37 in Boothbay just before Christmas and a week later were upset by Lisbon. They’ve made some changes since.

“Sometimes a loss like (Lisbon) is the best thing you can have,” Wing said.

Wing and his staff noted Allen took just four shots against Lisbon and have encouraged her to shoot more since. The 5-8 forward has shot more and is averaging 9.1 points a game for the season along with 8.5 rebounds.

“She’s really stepped it up,” Wing said. “We knew she could be a pretty good offensive player. She’s pretty determined and she’s very smart.”

Boothbay center Page Brown scored 20 points but had to work hard for all of them as the Mustangs used a variety of defenses and rotated four different players on her.

Day leads the team in scoring (11.2) and assists (6.1) followed by Allen and Hannah Anderson but balance is the key to their success.

“All of my kids can handle the ball and take it to the basket,” Wing said.

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It will take a big upset or two for Mt. Blue to get into the Class A North tournament, but after an 0-6 start, the Cougars (3-8) have won three of their past five games. When Fred Conlogue was hired in October, he inherited a team filled with good athletes but little varsity experience. Seniors Kasadie Barker, Leah St. Laurent and Kayleigh Fontaine have been solid contributors this season along with 5-11 junior Rebecca Harmon. But injuries throughout the program have forced Conlogue to mix and match his lineups. Sophomores Jacelyn Daggett and Mackenzie Libby have missed the season with injuries and a couple of others have recently returned. Several of the sophomores on the junior varsity were playing for the freshman team which was down to three players.

The Cougars have stayed in games on the defensive end but have had trouble scoring points, totaling less than 25 in three of their games this season.

“It’s just a matter of getting the offense to flow,” Conlogue said. “We’ve been able to hang around if we can keep (the deficit) to under 10 points.”

Freshman Lexi Mittelstadt has been a focal point of opposing defenses, enough so that Conlogue took her off point guard after six games to get her more scoring chances.

“She’s a great ball handler and a good shooter,” Conlogue said.

The Cougars have had trouble getting the ball below the foul line on offense but in a win over Cony, got 22 points from their post players. They’ve also benifitted from free throw shooting, going just over 60 percent from the line while making 21 in each of their last two wins.

There’s help coming from the middle school level and the junior varsity team is on a three-win roll. The primary issue for Conlogue is to get with his players in the summer.

“There’s a lot of athletic kids in the group,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the summer.”

• • •

Just two years removed from taking a year off from varsity play to shore up the program, Winthrop has emerged as a tournament contender in Class C South. The Ramblers, who went 3-15 last year, are currently 7-5 and in eighth place. They’re coming off their second win of the season against a pretty solid Oak Hill team and two weeks ago won at Lisbon.

The emergence of some of their freshmen, led by Kena Souza, has bolstered the team. Souza comes off the bench along with another freshman, Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone, and the pair are 1-2 on the team in scoring. Souza averaged 12 points a game but 17-18 over the last four games, according to coach Joe Burnham.

“She’s a tremendous outside shooter,” Burnham said. “She’s really come on in the second third of the season.”

Jillian Schmelzer, one of five freshmen on the team, starts at point guard.

“I knew we had a lot of talent in our younger players,” Burnham said. “We’ve started to play better as a team. The beginning of the season was a little too intense for them.”

Burnham said the three seniors and remaining upperclassmen have welcomed the freshmen into the fold and that’s led to the team’s current success. He also added a key assistant coach in Judith Auclair, who coached high school ball in California for 17 years and has recorded over 250 wins. Auclair and her husband Dan, who played for Winthrop teams in the 1960’s, decided to retire to Maine, and after taking a year off from coaching, Judith decided to get back into it.

“We’ve unleashed the offense on her,” Burnham said. “She’s got some great offensive sets. She’s brought a lot of leadership to the team and (relates) well to the kids.”

Burnham said the team from top to bottom had to learn how to win and once they did, other aspects of the game have followed.

“We’ve been able to introduce new concepts in practice,” he said. “It’s really helped in preparation.”

The Ramblers have some tough games remaining, including matchups against Boothbay and Monmouth and a home contest with Lisbon.

“We want to get in (the tournament),” Burnham said. “If we take care of things we should get a prelim game.”