The task was for the students to write down their goals. Mt. Blue guard Lexi Mittelstadt, then in seventh grade, didn’t take long to make up her mind.

“We did this bucket list project in my seventh-grade English class, and that’s the main thing I put on my bucket list, was to score 1,000 points in high school,” she said.

Mittelstadt reached that milestone on Friday, scoring her 1,000th point during a 25-point outing in a 64-34 loss to Gardiner. The senior, who will be playing for the University of Maine next year, reached the landmark with her 24th point with just under three minutes remaining on the first of two free throws.

Mittelstadt was awarded the game ball and posters that were made up for her after the game ended.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” said Mittelstadt, who also made her 100th 3-pointer in the game. “It was exciting, just knowing that I’ve had that goal for myself all these years, and I finally met that goal.”

“She’s one of those special players,” coach Fred Conlogue said. “She’s worked so hard to get to that goal, and obviously to get to the goal of playing at Maine as well.”

It nearly didn’t happen — not on Friday at least, when Mittelstadt woke up with the same flu symptoms that forced her to miss Thursday’s practice. But she wanted to reach the number at home, and she wanted to do it with her father, David, who flies to California for work, in attendance.

“I was talking with my dad and we were just trying to see how the day went,” Mittelstadt said. “I went to school that day, so that was good. … I drank, I ate, and I finally I was just like ‘You know what, I’ll just do it.’ Then right before the game I got really focused, and I really made it a goal for myself to score the 1,000th.”

The illness didn’t hold her back that night.

“You couldn’t tell, the way she was playing,” Conlogue said. “She was making everything.”

Finally, when she was fouled going to the basket in the closing minutes, Mittelstadt had her chance. She knew what she needed before the game but had lost track along the way, so when the first free throw dropped, the reaction in the Farmington gym took her by surprise.

“(Assistant coach) Zac (Conlogue) called the ref over, and so then I finally got that feeling. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so close,’ ” she said. “I didn’t even know my first foul shot was going to be the final point. So at first I was like ‘Wait, what?’ ”

Conlogue said it was a fitting moment of celebration for Mittelstadt, who’s averaging 17.1 points per game and has led the Cougars to the brink of the A North playoffs.

“This season in particular she’s really, really stepped up,” Conlogue said. “(She’s) making everyone a lot better around her. … This year we’ve had a lot more confidence, and I think she brings that to her teammates.”

 

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One doesn’t need to peruse every schedule to find a game of the week this time around.

Gardiner visits Hampden Academy on Friday in a matchup of two of the state’s best teams to date. The Tigers and Broncos are both 13-1 and in the top two spots in A North, and while Hampden had the top position at the start of the week, the No. 1 seed should come down to whichever team wins the head-to-head tilt.

The game is still days away, but Gardiner coach Mike Gray acknowledged that the matchup is on the team’s collective mind.

“We try to look at it a week out, and figure out everything we need to do,” he said. “It’s obviously there, it’s on the back of our minds. We know we have this huge stretch to close the season, where we have them and we finish with three road games. … Finish strong on the road, against really good competition, has really kind of been our selling point.”

At the same time, Gardiner has an always anticipated rivalry game with Cony up first, and Gray said he’s made sure his team doesn’t overlook the Rams.

“We’ve been talking about, the whole second half of this season, we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” he said. “Everyone knows if they beat us, we’re worth a lot of points, they can get right into the mix. And it’s Gardiner-Cony at the same time. I think the kids will come ready, knowing it’s Gardiner-Cony, but also knowing that we always have tough games with them.”

 

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After winning two games last season, Cony has already doubled that win total this year. It hasn’t been easy, however.

The Rams have had to deal with a pair of injuries to core players in forward Alyssa Redman and guard Julia Reny, and have seen an offense that was already struggling to score with the top half of the division tested even further.

Coach Adam Rich acknowledged the difficulty with the injuries, but said the team has been pushing to fill the void.

“We’ve been injury-bugged the whole year,” coach Adam Rich said. “You lose those two key pieces, and then you have other girls that are actually stepping up their game and getting minutes, and they’re performing. A lot of them stepped up a lot.”

Rich pointed out the defensive play of Kristin Kirk and Sierra Prebit, and contributions on offense from guards like Linelys Velazquez and Reilley Fleck. Kirk, Prebit and Fleck are sophomores, as is Redman, forming part of what Rich hopes is a good youth movement at Cony.

“I think going forward, you’ve got those kids that are going to step up their game and start shooting and start performing better,” he said. “We’ve got it coming. Just hopefully everyone stays healthy.”

 

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Oak Hill is within reach of taking the No. 1 overall seed in B South for the second straight season. But for the 12-3 Raiders to overtake 11-3 Freeport for the top spot, they’ll have to weather a tough closing stretch of Mountain Valley Conference competition.

First up for the Raiders is a matchup with Hall-Dale on Tuesday, which is in 15th place in C South but one spot below the playoff cut line, and which would considerably boost its postseason odds with a win on its home court. From there, Oak Hill hosts 11-3 Monmouth Academy, which it beat 50-43 on Jan. 18, and then visits 13-2 Winthrop, which beat the Raiders 62-60 on Jan. 10.

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