RUMFORD — With the stakes as high as they’d been all season, Dirigo proved  able to maintain its composure in a crowed and hostile Puiia Gymnasium.

Cody St. Germain scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to spearhead dominating Cougars performance in a 54-40 win over Mountain Valley, sending the Falcons to their first MVC loss since 2009 and avenging a 52-45 loss to Mountain Valley last month.

Dirigo, 16-1 and ranked No.1 in Class C, scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter to open up a double-digit lead. St. Germain was a force in the paint and scored baskets by grabbing several rebounds and tapping the ball in to the basket. Ben Holmes (12 rebounds) scored on a drive and Josh Turbide (14 points) stole the ball and sprinted in for the layup.

“In the second half we outplayed them,” said St. Germain, who was 10-for-10 from the free throw line. “Our (transition) game got going and we never looked back.”

The Cougars still have a chance to play in the MVC title game, depending on the teams’ season finales. The Cougars host Jay, and the Falcons travel to Telstar.

Mountain Valley also 16-1 and third in the most recent Class B Heal Points, was simply unable to respond to the Dirigo surge. Izaak Mills (team-high 16 points) finally ended the Falcons’ drought by burying a three pointer with less than three minutes to play in the game.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Mountain Valley coach Rick White said. “We couldn’t do anything right in the third quarter. There was no execution offensively and turnovers really hurt. (The loss) is a humbling experience, but its better to do it now than later.”

The Falcons’ up-tempo offense had sputtered, winning games against Livermore Falls and Winthrop by three and five points, respectively.

A 15-0 run in the second quarter gave Mountain Valley a 25-19 lead at halftime. A trey by Isaac Roberts, a basket by Cam Kaubris (13 points) and two Mills treys provided the Falcons with hope.

Dirigo enjoyed a wide margin on the free throw line (11 of 19) compared to the Falcons’ two free throws on four attempts. Caleb Turner (six assists) directed the Cougars’ offense.

“Our X was the difference in the second quarter,” Dirigo coach Rebecca Fletcher said, referring to the Cougars’ trap. “That gave us energy and a late switch gave us a ball screen on the strong side.”

In the third quarter, baskets by St. Germain and Holmes (five steals) put the Cougars back on top. The Falcons responded with a Kaubris trey, but a Turbide bucket gave the Cougars the lead for good at 34-33.

“Defense and free throws won it for us,” Turbide said. “I remembered the last game when Mountain Valley beat us on the free throw line.”

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