WINTHROP — It was looking like the kind of game the Winthrop High School girls basketball team had lost before.

Carrabec was pulling off a comeback, chopping a 15-point third-quarter lead down to three with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. And Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone, a sophomore guard, could sense the familiar feeling beginning to set in.

“We’ve struggled in the past with keeping up,” she said. “We’d be up by six, nine (points), and then we’d end up losing by two or three because we’d panic those last couple of minutes in the game.”

It was a different story this time. Winthrop pulled itself together, holding the Cobras off the board the rest of the way and using free throws to salt away what ended up as a 49-42 victory in a Mountain Valley Conference matchup.

“I think this was the best game we’ve played together as a team,” said Wilson-Falcone, who led all scorers with 21 points. “I think that this is a good starting point to move forward for all the tough teams we have to (get) ahead (of). I think we’re doing really good, and we can only get better.”

Winthrop improved to 6-2. Carrabec fell to 2-3.

“This is a good team there, they play much better than their record. They move the ball extremely well,” Ramblers coach Joe Burnham said. “I thought we managed the last two minutes the best that we’ve done this entire year. We made them come to us, instead of forcing shots or forcing passes.”

Those issues did emerge when it looked like Winthrop was on its way to a comfortable win. After Wilson-Falcone stole the ball at half-court and went in for a layup to make it 37-22 with four and a half minutes to go in the third, the Ramblers began to get sloppy with the ball, committing five turnovers the rest of the way in the third and then nine more in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Carrabec, plagued by turnover woes of its own in the first half, began to knock down shots. The Cobras hit five of their last eight shots from the field to cut the gap to 38-33 by the end of the third, then pulled within three at 45-42 on a 3-pointer by freshman Sarah Olson with 4:14 to go.

“I was pretty impressed with Sarah,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said of Olson, who hit three 3-pointers and scored all 12 of her points in the second half. “This was really the first game she’s played any varsity minutes. She stepped right up, made some shots, got us back in the game.”

Her last shot marked the closest Carrabec would get, however. The Cobras missed their last 10 shots from the field, some of which were shots from the paint that could have kept the pressure on the Ramblers.

“This is our third game in a row we’ve let go,” said Rugh, whose team also got 11 points from Bailey Dunphy. “We’ve got to start winning. We’ve got to figure out how to win these games so we can try to get into one of those playoff spots.”

Burnham was satisfied with the way his team got more careful with the ball down the stretch, and stopped feeding into Carrabec’s comeback hopes.

“We’ve got to clean up some of those turnovers at the end, to not allow that to come back to where it did,” he said. “But it gave us a chance to work on some of the things we’ve struggled at since the start of the season, which are end-of-the-game situations.”

The Ramblers started off hot, scoring nine of the first 11 points of the game before turning that into a 29-17 halftime lead. Wilson-Falcone led the way, her active hands on defense generating one transition basket after another, while Kena Souza added seven points and Layne Audet scored six.

“Aaliyah’s got some of the best instincts of any player I’ve ever coached,” Burnham said. “I’d love to take credit for it, but it’s not something I’m going to teach. Her defense really generates our offense. … We hold her to a really high standard, and she always seems to meet it.”

It wouldn’t end up being an easy night, however. This time, though, Winthrop was ready to close the deal.

“We knew that this was going to be a tough game,” Wilson-Falcone said, “and that we needed to pull through as a team to get this win.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM