RUMFORD — A freshman stepped to the line with nine seconds left and the game tied.
“I was really scared because I knew the game was probably on the line right there,” Rylee Sevigny said.
Sevigny calmly — at least it appeared so — made both free throws, and Mountain Valley held on for a 55-53 win over Winthrop in a Mountain Valley Conference girls’ basketball game Thursday.
“It was probably the best feeling ever,” Sevigny, who finished with a game-high 29 points, said.
The Falcons took a 10-point lead into the final quarter, but the Ramblers went into a full-court press that targeted Sevigny. It worked, and Winthrop came back to tie the game at 48 with about two minutes left on a bucket by Natalie Frost.
“We made a couple adjustments,” Ramblers coach Joe Burnham said. “We knew who was hurting us and we started to double team her and just keep the ball out of her hands. She had a tremendous night tonight, but that was our focus in the fourth quarter, and slowly it started to work but it just didn’t get there in the end.”
Brooke Carver hit a free throw, Saydie Garbarini scored a putback and Kierstyn Lyons made a free throw with 1:20 remaining to put Mountain Valley up by four points, 52-48.
As they had all game, the Ramblers came back.
Kena Souza hit a long 3-pointer and Layne Audet followed another free throw by Lyons with a basket in the post to tie the game at 53-53 with about 20 seconds left.
The Falcons took the ball down and took some time off the clock, before Sevigny drove the lane looking for contact. She got enough to draw a foul, setting up her game-winning foul shots.
“I was honestly really nervous, so I figured if I tried to draw the foul then we could get shots,” Sevigny said.
Mountain Valley coach Ryan Casey said that while youth might have played a part in the Falcons losing the lead in the fourth quarter, it also helped them make enough plays to pull off the victory.
“Our youth, we make some mistakes, but we also don’t necessarily know how big the moment is,” Casey said. “So we can survive some of those real action-packed, pressure situations.”
Aaliyah WilsonFalcone came off the bench to score 18 points for Winthrop. She played a major role in the Ramblers’ comeback, both defensively and offensively, scoring 10 of her team-high points in the fourth. That included a pair of 3-pointers.
“She’s been playing well for us all season,” Burnham said. “The Aaliyah that was out there tonight, we’ve had it all season. She kind of sets the pace of our team with her defense, and tonight she scored out of the halfcourt, which is something that hasn’t really happened, so we’re excited to see her take that step with her game.”