DIXFIELD – There’s a difference when basketball is played with a purpose and the Dirigo girls’ team used all the right moves.

Senior Ricki Sinclair scored a team high 16 points and proved to be valuable down the stretch as the Cougars switched defenses for a 47-36 victory and a season-sweep against rival Mountain Valley.

Dirigo fought back for a 31-28 triumph against Mountain Valley last month in Rumford.

The contest was played under a playoff atmosphere at crowded Defoe Gymnasium. Mountain Valley, ranked No.5 in Western Class B, completed its regular season at 11-7.

Dirigo (12-5) is ranked No.6 in Class C and play at point-rich Jay, Wednesday.

“We came ready to play tonight,” Sinclair said. “We played Mountain Valley all summer long, so they know us and we know what they want to do. It was a whole different level of intensity with it being senior night.”

Sophomore Ayla Allen scored a game high 17 points, but the lack of a supporting cast hindered Mountain Valley. Allen (nine rebounds) had tied the score at 24-24 with 3 :15 left in the third quarter, but it was the Falcons last gasp.

“We played with a purpose,”senior Jane Hebert said, who scored 11 points and had eight rebounds. “The last game against them our intensity level was up, but we wasn’t just excited tonight we ran our (motion) plays and played smarter basketball.”

Hebert scored on a driving layup and Alyssa Wade made a free throw to put Dirigo ahead for good.

Allen made a runner, but the Cougars scored eight of the next nine points. Two free throws by Morgan Hutchins made it 35-27 early in the fourth quarter.

Dirigo deployed a 2-3 zone and prevented the Falcons from penetrating to the basket. The Cougars forced outside shots and controlled the boards.

Mountain Valley shot 36 percent from the floor and made nine of 16 free throws. McKenzie Paterson had four points, while Lindsay Gallant and Emily Knapp each had five points.

“Mountain Valley has a bigger gym,” Sinclair said, who was eight for eight from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. “We switched to a zone and was able to pack it in because our gym is half the size.”

Sinclair finished with seven rebounds and four assists.

Dirigo’s Hannah Knight scored 13 points and Trish Turner was solid on defense. The Cougars shot 36 percent, made one turnover in the fourth quarter and made 12 of 14 free throws in the game.

Mountain Valley came to life in the second quarter behind three points by Knapp and Gallant and two free throws by Allen to take a short-lived lead. But, Wade fed Hebert for a basket and Paige Murphy scored off a rebounds to give the Cougars a 19-17 halftime lead.

The key is rebounding,” Dirigo coach Reggie Weston said. “I wasn’t sure how we’d do playing the zone, but we focused and limited Mountain Valley to one shot.”


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