RUMFORD — Sisters Lydia and Ella Rice led Winthrop to a convincing 41-29 victory on the road in MVC girls basketball at Mountain Valley on Thursday.

Lydia Rice scored 11 points while Ella pitched in 10 as the Ramblers controlled the game from start to finish.
Mountain Valley senior guard Autumn Freeman led all scorers with 14.

The MVC showdown was turned on the press defense of Winthrop, which forced Mountain Valley into some rushed possessions and turnovers that resulted in points for the Ramblers.

“I think that Winthrop defensively made it really hard for us to get any quality looks,” Mountain Valley coach Craig Milledge said. “I think they’re incredibly disciplined on the defensive end, they’re incredibly well-coached and they don’t break down. They make everything hard on you and they’re well-coached and they make you work for everything.”

The Ramblers led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter, with Ella Rice scoring six points to start the game.

Lydia Rice scored eight of her points in the first half and Winthrop only allowed four Mountain Valley points in the second quarter on its way to a 22-12 halftime advantage.

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“We really got better at pulling the string and working together defensively,” Winthrop coach John Baehr said. “What the string is, is trusting the person behind you. I thought the girls did a very good job of trusting each other.

Senior guard Maddie Perkins also scored eight points for the Ramblers on Thursday night.

“I think the two seniors played really well, Lydia and Maddie,” Baehr said. “I like the young guards in Ella and Madeline (Wagner) and how they attacked and limited their turnovers. The two seniors did a really great job (as well).”

Wagner scored a quick six points in the third quarter to stave off a pushing Mountain Valley, which never took its foot off the gas.

The Falcons got points from four players in the third quarter, with Freeman initiating much of the offense and tallying a couple of steals.

“Autumn is talented enough where she will always find a way to put the ball in the hoop,” Milledge said. “Teams are keying in on them and she’s going to face defenses that are focused on her. She played well and she doesn’t just score, she does a lot of the little things. She’s scoring more now but she will always be someone who fills the stat sheet.”

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Alana Young helped Freeman get the ball out of the backcourt through Winthrop’s press, but the home team struggled to score at times.

“I think our biggest step forward was, despite the pressure we faced, we didn’t turn the ball over,” Milledge said. “Once we got into the front court, though, we didn’t turn possessions into points. Our halfcourt (offense) has to get better, but there’s no question we dealt with the pressure well.”

For Lydia Rice, the difference in the game was Winthrop’s team defense.

“Help on defense was there if they got by, we got traps and used a team defense basically,” Rice said. “That’s what coach said, team defense. Make them play and think fast, and when they think fast, they throw the ball away.”

Freeman added six points in the fourth quarter, four coming at the free-throw line after being fouled on layup attempts. The senior guard was a focal point for Winthrop’s defense.

“It’s very tough. It’s a five-man defense, so we want to make her play a little faster than she wants to,” Baehr said. “She always makes that right decision and so she needed to make those right decisions. She did a fabulous job tonight and really settled down.”

Emily Richard added nine points for Mountain Valley.


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