WALES — The players on the bench were thinking the same thing as the fans in the stands when the Raiders looked the end of the first quarter Thursday night and saw a “zero” under their name on the scoreboard.

“Not scoring any in the first quarter was a little nerve-wracking,” Oak Hill senior Desirae Dumais said. “But we got the jitters out in the beginning.”

That the Raiders did, following Dumais’ lead en route to a 23-point second quarter and a convincing 46-35 win over Monmouth Academy in a Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball game. Dumais finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, the lanky guard blossoming during the late-season stretch run.

Oak Hill (14-3) won its seventh straight game. Monmouth (12-5), led by 10 points from Libby Clement, dropped its second consecutive decision.

Dumais scored six points in the second quarter to help right the Raider ship, but it was her 11-point third period that put Oak Hill firmly in control. She scored nine straight points for her team midway through the quarter, all of them from behind the 3-point arc.

“She’s really grabbed the bull by the horns, especially these last few games,” Oak Hill coach Mike Labonte said. “She really has taken charge. It’s not really her nature. She’s very unassuming and really wants to make sure her teammates are involved — but she’s acting like a senior for us.”

“I kind of made myself do it,” said Dumais, one of only two seniors for the Raiders. “I felt like I had to take control of the team because I’m one of the oldest ones. I just felt like if I took control, it would really help us out.”

All of that work came after a first quarter that Labonte felt was typical of the Monmouth-Oak Hill rivalry. It was just 3-0 through eight minutes, with Monmouth’s Katie Harris (eight points) breaking a scoreless tie with a free throw 6:05 into the game and Clement finally making the first field goal of the night 40 seconds after that.

“When we played them last time, it was 14-13 at half. That was a dogfight, too,” Labonte said of Oak Hill’s 50-43 win at Monmouth on Jan. 18. “They’re very athletic and they’re tall, and they put pressure on us.

“It just goes to show that we’re resilient.”

The key was Oak Hill’s poise following the wonky opening period.

The Raiders were charged with 10 turnovers in the first half, but only one of those came after the second quarter started. Where the frenetic play caused an 0 for 11 shooting effort in the first, the better ball control and shot selection set the Raiders in a groove in the second.

They were 7 for 19 in the second period, scoring 23 points and taking a nine-point lead into halftime.

“They have stretches where they’re getting it, and stretches where I pull my hair out,” Labonte said.

Monmouth tried everything in the fourth quarter, including a full-court press and seven 3-point attempts, but couldn’t close the gap. The Mustangs were out-rebounded on the night 29-18 and turned the ball over 25 times.

Emily Dillman finished with eight points for Oak Hill, while Paige Gonyea and Audrey Dillman added six and five, respectively. The Raiders connected on eight 3-pointers.

“This was a really big win,” Dumais said. “We worked really hard for it. Our hard work really paid off.”

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