RUMFORD – Vanessa Cayer proved that if there is a will, there truly is a way.

When the Mountain Valley sophomore forward found her route to the basket blocked in the closing seconds Thursday, she had to improvise.

“I just figured I might as well try, because there wasn’t much time left,” said Cayer. “I figured we had like five seconds left. So I had to do something. So I just drove to the basket, and it went in.”

Cayer maneuvered around a Jay defender in the post and sank a lay-up with three seconds left in regulation to lift the Falcons to a stunning 41-40 come-from-behind win over the Tigers.

“I don’t think they realize how good they can be yet,” said Mountain Valley coach Rich Allen. “This will help give them confidence and help them believe in themselves.”

Cayer finished with 16 for the Falcons (1-1) while Lauren LePage and Tanya Martin each added seven. Jay (2-1) got 17 from Kaylie DeMillo and 10 from Liz LeBlanc.

Jay had a 12-point lead early in the final quarter and were up by nine with 2:54 left. The Tigers couldn’t put the victory away and missed free throws that could have padded the lead. Tiger turnovers in the final minute also helped the Falcons rally.

“That’s what it comes down to – making foul shots,” said Jay coach Chris Bessey. “When you’re at the line in that situation, you’ve got to make them.

“And our defense disappeared. They hadn’t been able to penetrate all night, and that’s all they did in the last two minutes. They penetrated the middle and got lay-ups.”

After a DeMillo free throw made it 38-26, the Falcons got hoops from Cayer and Martin. Martin added a free throw and had the Falcons within seven with 3:03 left. DeMillo hit two free throws to up the lead to 40-31 with 2:54 remaining.

The Tigers wouldn’t score again as the Falcons produced 10 straight points. LePage started the rally with a drive to the basket. Katlin Drury took the ball to the hoop as well with 1:50 left and got Mountain Valley within five. Cayer then set up Meagan Maifeld for a score with 49 seconds left. The Falcons got the ball back after a DeMillo was called for double-dribble while being pressured in the backcourt. Maifeld scored again inside to get the Falcons within 40-39 with 20 seconds left.

Mountain Valley got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining after DeMillo was called for a five second violation after trying to shake Drury. The Falcons were looking to execute a screen and roll for the game-winner. A pass went into the corner and lured a double-team. Cayer got the ball in the low post but had a defender right on her back. She made a quick side-step to her left toward the baseline and moved around the defender for the shot.

“I thought if I could get around her, I’d be able to make it, but I wasn’t sure,” said Cayer.

The Falcons had spent much of the game trying to rally. After being down by seven in the second quarter, the Falcons got within three before halftime and then were within two in the third before outside shooting by DeMillo, Kristen Adams and LeBlanc opened up the lead.

“We were really happy that we finally came back and won,” said Cayer. “I think we’ll all realize that we can win any game and that we’re a lot better than we thought.”

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