AUGUSTA – Logahn Walker had older sisters on the Mt. Abram High School girls’ basketball team the last time the Roadrunners reached the regional semifinals. She’s pretty sure they were on the last team from her school to beat Dirigo.

“Of course, they’re both 24,” Walker said.

No. 5 Mt. Abram weaved a story Thursday afternoon that the current players will tell when they’re 24, 44, even 84, if anybody will listen. The Roadrunners rallied from a six-point deficit in the second half to dismiss No. 1 Dirigo, 33-28, providing the second major upset of the Western Class C semis at Augusta Civic Center.

Janessa Thomas scored five of her 11 points in the fourth quarter for Mt. Abram. Brittany York added eight points and 16 rebounds.

Winner of seven straight, Mt. Abram (15-6) meets No. 7 Winthrop (11-10) at 7 p.m. Saturday in a pairing that you wouldn’t find projected in anyone’s pre-tournament bracket. The Roadrunners will play in their first sectional final since conquering back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992.

“It feels good to know that we didn’t play our best basketball and we were able to beat a team like Dirigo,” said sophomore Kenni Norton, who scored all six of her points in the second half and added seven rebounds.

Mt. Abram avenged a 46-40 loss during the Mountain Valley Conference regular season and denied Dirigo a berth in the Western C championship game for the first time since 1994. Hall-Dale ended the Cougars’ state record streak of 11 Western crowns in last February’s final.

Shannon Daley delivered each of her team-high seven points in the fourth quarter. Prior to that outburst, no Cougar collected more than four points.

Dirigo (18-2) committed 21 turnovers and shot 12-for-51 (24 percent) from the field. Most possessions were a one-miss-and-done proposition thanks to Thomas and York’s size and rebounding advantages and Mt. Abram’s disciplined zone defense.

“We certainly had enough open looks. Certainly as the game wore on, I thought some of those shots would eventually have to start falling, but it didn’t turn out that way,” said Dirigo coach Gavin Kane. “Our kids gave one our better defensive efforts. We did well in our traps and disrupted Mt. Abram from doing much of anything offensively.”

Mt. Abram recovered from its own disastrous first half (5-for-24 from the field, 1-of-7 from the free-throw line, 14 turnovers) to score the last dozen points of the third quarter and open a 23-17 lead.

Norton scored twice in transition. Walker fed one of those after a steal and used another theft to set up Stephanie Coburn for a 12-foot jumper.

“Nerves. It was all nerves,” Mt. Abram coach Doug Lisherness said of the Roadrunners’ late-arriving offense. “We did a very good job defensively, and that kept us in the game.”

Dirigo somehow built a 17-11 lead at the half without Daley and Katie Hutchinson, who were relegated to the bench with foul trouble. Daley’s return sparked a brief resurrection in the fourth quarter, when she scored three inside hoops in a span of just over four minutes to level the score at 25.

Thomas nailed two free throws with 3:08 remaining to retrieve the lead for Mt. Abram. Hutchinson hit two from the stripe for Dirigo to make it 30-28 with 1:05 to play. The Cougars made two steals to give themselves a chance to tie in the final minute, but a Coburn steal and an errant pass fizzled both opportunities.

All five Dirigo starters – Daley, Hutchinson, Megan Russell, Katherine Gagne and Abby Fenstermacher – played in their final game for the Cougars.

“Gavin scouted a lot of our games,” Walker said. “I think he expected to see us again somewhere in the tournament. We wanted this chance so much.”


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