Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittelstadt goes up for a shot while being swarmed by Leavitt’s Alison Noniewicz (3) and Emma Chiasson (2) in Turner on Monday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

TURNER — Mt. Blue’s sudden burst of offense in the third quarter didn’t take the wind out of Leavitt’s sails, but it sure came in handy down the stretch.

The Hornets (3-11) continued to hassle the Cougars (7-8) the entire fourth quarter and came within three points of catching Mt. Blue, which hung on for a 38-29 lead in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference girls’ basketball game on Monday night.

Mt. Blue went on a 24-11 third-quarter run, but going into the fourth the Cougars saw their lead dwindle to 30-25.

“It was a great run in the third quarter,” Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue said. “We talked about that at halftime. That was a tough grind, though.

“Hats off to Leavitt. They gave us a helluva game. It was very physical.”

Leavitt guard McKenna Redstone’s layup with 4:25 left in the game put the Hornets within striking distance. But guard Eva Stevens dropped in two of her seven points to bring Mt. Blue’s lead back up to five points. with 2:50 left.

“They did get within three, but I wasn’t really worried,” Conlogue said. “At the same time, I felt the girls kept their composure. We did what we had to. Lexi Mittelstadt made four key foul shots down the stretch to push our five-point lead to seven.”

Mittelstadt was fouled and hit both, giving the Cougars some breathing room with a 34-27 lead. Leavitt immediately responded when junior guard Alison Noniewicz, who scored the game-high 10 points, was fouled and dropped in both free-throws at 1:20.

Mittelstadt hit two more free-throws and Hannah Wilbur did the same at the charity stripe to put the game out of Leavitt’s reach. Mittelstadt only scored four points, but she helped Mt. Blue along as a behind-the-scenes player. She grabbed 21 rebounds, earned nine assists, four blocked shots and three steals.

Mt. Blue’s Kiely Reynolds (3) defends against Leavitt’s Kayleigh Gilbert (15) during a basketball game in Turner on Monday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“For us, Lexi got 21 rebounds, which was phenomenal, and she had nine assists,” Conlogue said. “Although, she only scored the four points, she clearly contributed in a lot of ways,  and they were trying to stop her from scoring.”

Junior Kiely Reynolds led the Cougars with eight points and stood her ground on defense.

“I think we did a really good job,” Reynolds said. “Our two normal leading scorers kept getting face guarded so they passed the ball and did a really, really good job.”

Reynolds knew this would be a physical game, but she said, “You just really need to be focused.”

It was hard to tell which team would eventually come out on top after the first half. The Cougars led 18-11 at halftime, but the Hornets were relentless and ate away at Mt. Blue’s third quarter lead.

Mt. Blue’s Eva Stevens, left, works against the defense of Leavitt’s Kayleigh Gilbert during a basketball game in Turner on Monday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

“Our kids played hard,” Leavitt coach Dave Gerrish said. “Kayleigh Gilbert just went out and gave everything she had. Everybody knows Lexi Mittelstadt is a tough cover and Gilbert did a terrific job, and Taylor White was playing great defense. Our triangle behind worked really well. Everybody was hustling and working very hard.

“They made more shots than we did, but we played just as hard,” he added. “Our kids were working at it the whole game.”

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