JAY — Rivalry week became a week of revelry for the Dirigo girls’ basketball team Wednesday.

After beating Mountain Valley Monday night, the Cougars finished the regular season in fine fashion with an impressive 42-38 win over Jay.

“This is a huge win,” said junior guard Hannah Knight.” We were so pumped for this game. We really needed it because we lost to them before, and we really needed to win.”

The Cougars (13-5) lost to Jay (12-6) 54-29 last month, but Dirigo started strong in the season finale and had the Tigers chasing them the rest of the way. Knight led all scorers with a career-high 21 points. She added six rebounds and four steals. Morgan Hutchins added 12 for Dirigo. Hillary Deane led Jay with 20, including all 10 points in the final quarter as the Tigers tried to rally.

“You’ve got to give Dirigo credit,” said Jay coach Chris Bessey. “They played like the wanted it.”

The Tigers were plagued by foul trouble. Both Mallory Bonnevie and Beth Moore had three fouls each by early in the third quarter. The Tigers also had nearly 20 turnovers and shot just 15-for-41 from the floor. Jay fell behind early and were playing catch-up the entire game.

“We had a little break our way because they missed some shots that in Dixfield they just broke our backs with,” said Dirigo coach Reggie Weston.

Though Dirigo had some cold spells shooting, especially in the second half, the Cougars still shot 6-for-9 in the second quarter (10-for-19 in the first half). That allowed the Cougars to open the early lead.

“We came out so much more intense, and we just wanted it so much more than last time,” said Knight.

Knight hit two free throws and scored on a leaner for a 12-6 lead in the first quarter. Dirigo then opened the second with a 6-2 spurt. Jane Hebert scored on a drive. Knight scored on a baseline move and Hebert set up Hutchins with pass in the post for an 18-10 lead.

“Jane did a good job directing the team,” said Weston, whose team should get a slight bump in the Western C standings and might even end up in a tourney bracket with the Tigers. “She knew when to go in and get it back out. They made some very good decisions. That’s what we want. We want to work hard, play smart and be proud of what we do.”

Hebert set up Hutchins again late in the second, and Knight hit a corner jumper for a nine-point lead, and Dirigo finished the half up 24-17.

“I can’t say enough positive things about the way Hannah Knight played,” said Bessey. “That’s the adjustment we had to make at halftime. We had to put somebody else on her and try to slow her down a little, but she still played well in the second half.”

Jay got within five on a Bonnevie drive midway through the third but baskets by Hutchins and Knight had the lead back to eight and nine points.

“I think we still felt pretty calm,” said Knight. “We just didn’t want them to catch up.”

In the fourth, Deane hit a 3-pointer to make it 35-31. After a Trish Turner free throw, Deane hit a pair of foul shots to cut the lead to 36-33 with 6:05 left. Dirigo ran time off the clock by slowing things down and took advantage of some Jay turnovers and subsequent fouls. Ricki Sinclair hit four free throws to open the lead to 40-33 before the Tigers trimmed the lead in the final minute.

“We ended up getting two possession, and it was a one possession game,” said Bessey. “We just turned the ball over.”


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