FAIRFIELD — A must-win game smack dab in the middle of the season, long before winter even reaches a welcomed January thaw?

Absolutely, as far as the Lawrence High School girls basketball team was concerned Friday night.

Sophomore guards Megan Curtis and Keagan Alley took over in the second half, blowing open a close game and helping the Bulldogs snap a four-game losing streak with a 61-49 win over Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A rival Nokomis at Folsom Gym. Curtis and Alley accounted for all 17 third-quarter points for Lawrence (3-4).

Curtis finished with a game-high 20 points,

“We’ve been trying to stress that we’re going to take one game at a time and only worry about that game,” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said, “but this really was a must-win game for us. It really was.”

After opening the season with two straight wins, Lawrence ran headlong into the iron of its schedule. It played the No. 2 team in Class A North in Hampden Academy, Class AA heavyweight Oxford Hills, A North No. 1 Skowhegan and unbeaten A South contender Brunswick in rapid-fire succession. The losses piled up.

Even if they hadn’t played badly in the four consecutive defeats, the Bulldogs needed a night in which the results matched their play. That came Friday.

“We didn’t play like the team that we are,” Alley, who finished with 16 points, said of the losing streak. “It wasn’t so much that we had something to prove to other people, but we wanted to prove it to ourselves that we’re as good a team as we believe we are.”

Long before halftime, there were signs that it could be a long night for a young Nokomis (4-4) team. The Bulldogs stormed out of the starting gate by hitting their first three shots from the floor and four of their first five overall.

The Warriors battled back in the second quarter, led by senior center Gabrielle Lord in the low post. She finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. When the Bulldogs’ shooting touch went cold in the second quarter, she was there to gobble up nearly every miss and begin the transition game the other way.

Nokomis tied the game at 21-21 on a steal and layup from Chelsea Crockett (15 points) with 4:40 left in the half, but it couldn’t stem the building tide. Lawrence senior Molly Folsom had an answer for Lord in the paint, scoring four of her 12 points as part of a 10-4 Bulldog run to close out the first half.

That set the stage for the heroics of Curtis and Alley after the break.

“It was mostly teamwork and getting off good shots,” Curtis said. “I kind of count on other people to get me into places to shoot and get me into it.”

Each hit 3-pointers, and each turned steals into layups for themselves at the other end of the floor. After dragging her defender out to the perimeter time after time, Curtis closed out the quarter with a backdoor cut to the hoop — taking a great feed from Camryn Caldwell to make it a 48-32 Lawrence lead through three periods.

“We hit some big shots in the second half, a couple of big threes,” Chesley said. “Well, it was more than a couple. We’ve shot a few of them all year, but tonight we shot a little better than normal.”

“Lawrence always plays well in their gym,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis added. “They’re intense and they’re physically strong… It shows.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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