MONMOUTH — Paced by a stifling defense and scrappy play on the boards, the Monmouth girls shot out to an early lead Saturday, weathered a mid-game swoon and finished strong to remain unbeaten in Mountain Valley Conference play.
Kylie Kemp overcame early foul trouble to lead all scorers with 16 points and added 10 rebounds, Melissa Brassard posted 11 points and five other Monmouth players found the scoresheet as the Mustangs rolled to a 49-30 win over visiting Mountain Valley at Monmouth Academy's Foster Gymnasium.
"Everybody is taller than we are," Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. "That's always going to be a battle that we're going to have. We just try to limit the offensive rebounds that they have. We know we're going to give up some, but we try to make up for that with our pressure up front, stop as many possessions as possible."
The Falcons' Brooke Dolloff was strong on the boards, leading all players with 15 rebounds. But beyond the rebounds, Dolloff had a hard time against Monmouth's defenders all game, as did the Falcons' other taller players in the post.
"That was our plan, to come in here and pound it inside," Mtn. Valley coach Tammy Gallant said, "but they really played the post well and limited our chances inside."
Dolloff finished with nine points to lead Mtn. Valley's scoring attack. Freshman Sydney Petrie provided a much-needed spark off the bench for the Falcons and finished with eight points, all coming in the second half as the visitors attempted to rally.
"If it has to be a freshman that provides that spark, then it will be a freshman to find the spark," Gallant said. "Petrie came off the bench today and gave a great effort, and gave us a boost there in the second half."
After trading baskets and free throws early, Monmouth went on a run, limiting the Falcons to just one point over 12:36 spanning the first and second quarters while running its total to 20.
"That was a key," Wing said. "That was a testament to playing good, solid shutdown defense. I don't even remember them getting that many good shots in that stretch."
Brassard led the way in the first for the Mustangs, hitting for nine of her 11 points during that run.
"Melissa taking the ball strong to the basket was big in the first," Wing said. "It kept us in the game early and we hit some nice 12 to 15-foot jump shots when the penetration got stopped and we pitched it back out."
Trailing by 14 at the half, the Falcons rebounded in the third, and outscored Monmouth by a point.
"We went in at halftime and said we wanted to win the third period, and I think they did that," Gallant said.
Mtn. Valley got as close as eight points, at 35-27, in the fourth quarter, before Monmouth found its range again, finishing the game on a 14-3 run.
"We talked, we said, 'We've got to turn this thing back around here,'" Wing said. "Daisy Poole, I think, was the player, energy-wise, that got everybody back going again, and Ashley Coulombe played the best game of her high school career coming off the bench."