AUGUSTA — The girl who drained the game-winning free throws shed as many tears as the rivals who put her at the line.

Livermore Falls-Dirigo was that kind of Western Class C quarterfinal.

Given three pairs of opportunities at the stripe in the final 15 seconds Tuesday, Megan Therrien either swished or rattled home one out of two on each occasion. It was enough to let No. 3 Livermore Falls survive a furious rally from No. 6 Dirigo, 44-41, at Augusta Civic Center.

“I knew I had to make it for my team,“ Therrien said. “I just kept telling myself, ‘I can do it, I can do it.’ My team kept telling me I could do it.”

She did it, but in an agonizing fashion that fit the profile of the closing chapter.

Dirigo (12-7) rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 4:36, pulling even on Kayla Gaudin’s leaner in the paint with 24 seconds remaining.

Having used his last timeout, Cougars coach Reggie Weston implored his team to get back and play half-court defense instead of applying full-court pressure.

Weston’s girls struggled to hear him over the bipartisan roar in the cavernous arena. In rapidly retreating and trying to prevent Livermore Falls from driving for the potential game-winner, Dirigo fouled Therrien with 14.5 seconds on the clock.

“It was probably my fault as a coach for not telling them in that last timeout that if we made the basket to get back,” Weston said. “They got up and started pressuring and I said, ‘No, no, just get back.’ We got a foul that we didn’t need.”

Therrien made the first free throw for a 42-41 lead but missed the second. Marissa Welch — in another appropriate end, after the Andies’ utter dominion over the backboards all afternoon — grabbed the offensive carom.

Livermore Falls (16-3) called time and subsequently worked the ball inbounds to Therrien. Dirigo’s defense went after the ball but wrapped her arms around Therrien in the process.

It was ruled an intentional foul — two shots, plus Livermore Falls possession, with eight seconds left. Therrien sank only the second. Three ticks later, she hit the first of two.

Dirigo wasn’t able to get in position for a game-tying prayer.

“We’re up and down on the line thing,” Livermore Falls coach Mark Simpson said. “Marissa (Welch) is usually automatic, but she had a tough time. Kathryn (Ventrella), Annika (Durrell) and Michaela (Baron) hit some big ones before Megan.”

The Andies overcame 16-for-34 shooting at the stripe and 23 turnovers.

Livermore Falls will face No. 2 Waynflete at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.

Therrien and Durrell topped the Andies with 10 points each. Durrell grabbed 11 rebounds.

Ventrella added nine points and three steals. Baron combined nine points with nine rebounds. Welch chalked up six points and a team-high 12 boards, leading the Andies to a 44-20 disparity in that department.

‘We work on that a lot in practice, because we were really weak at it at the beginning of the season,” Baron sad. “It helped us out a lot in this game.”

So did Dirigo’s first-half struggles from the field, on the foul clock and on the training table.

The Cougars shot 4-for-24 prior to intermission while their two all-conference players missed significant second-quarter minutes. Hannah Knight sprained her ankle just before Alyssa Wade picked up her third foul.

“That hurt us, too, because a lot of times I can play (Knight) the whole game without taking her out,” Weston said. “We couldn’t do a lot of pressuring and play our style of game until the second half.”

Livermore Falls led 11-3 at the end of the first quarter and 24-11 at the half.

Knight favored her left ankle noticeably during the shoot-around prior to the second half but showed no ill effects once it mattered. She scored nine of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, five from the line.

“They scored a couple of quick baskets coming out, and I knew up at their place (a three-point Livermore Falls loss in a Jan. 27 MVC game), she put them on her back and she carried them,” Simpson said. “The Knight girl, you just can’t say enough about her. We face-guarded her the whole game, and she still could get her shot off.”

Wade (nine points, six steals) and Paige Murphy each nailed a 3-pointer to fuel Dirigo’s comeback in the fourth. Gaudin also scored her only two baskets.

Durrell provided the lone Livermore Falls field goal of the period, and Ventrella later hit back-to-back free throws to prevent the Andies from ever losing the lead.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Therrien said. “But my team, we’re all friends with each other. We all told each other we could do it, and we did.”

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