DIXFIELD — When the Dirigo girls’ basketball team plays together as a cohesive unit, good things are going to happen.

They did on Thursday.

Senior Hannah Knight and Alyssa Wade combined for 33 points as the Cougars pulled away down the stretch for a 51-37 win against Monmouth Academy at Defoe Gymnasium.

Each team entered the game with momentum, after having won close contests the previous night. The score was tied or changed hands six times early in the first quarter, but Dirigo (9-3), ranked third in Western Class C, eventually made its move. A couple of runs midway through the second and third quarters produced a double-digit lead.

“We definitely kept our heads up,” said Knight, who scored a game-high 18 points.

“We are playing hard and working well together,” she said. “On defense, we were able to get back and make some steals and that opened up our transition game.”

In the third quarter, Paige Murphy (five steals) started things with a driving basket and Wade (15 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals) scored three baskets, including a 3-pointer.

The Cougars led 34-19, as Monmouth was held scoreless until Sierra Spencer scored with 5:20 left in the third frame.

Kristine Kahl and Kylie Kemp led Monmouth (4-8) with eight points each. The Mustangs hurt themselves with 20 percent shooting on 33 shots in the first half.

“In the second half we tried getting the ball inside,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “We had missed a lot of shots and that translated in to Dirigo being able to score a lot of transition baskets.”

Monmouth trailed by 10 following two baskets by Kemp early in the fourth quarter. But Dirigo scored eight unanswered points to lead 46-28. Ambyr Wilson and Knight made free throws and Wade stole the ball and dribbled in for a lay-up and completed a traditional three-point play.

“We’ve been playing well out on top,” Dirigo coach Reggie Weston said. “But, this is a young team and can get helter skelter at times and that did happen. Other teams have been trying to pressure us and I thought we handled it well, tonight.”

Dirigo made seven of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter, 10 for 25 in the game. Freshman Kayla Gaudin had nine rebounds.

Dirigo junior Miranda Shurtleff is missing following a season-ending thumb injury.

Click here to see more photos of the game.

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