The Cobras started the final quarter with a 12-0 run and held the Mustangs to a mere four points to pull away with a 46-29 win.

Mickayla Willette led Carrabec (8-2) with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Macy Welch scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, to go with 11 rebounds. Emma Pluntke helped that duo dominate the paint throughout with seven points and eight boards.

Sidney Wilson paced the Mustangs (6-4) with nine points, while Kylie Kemp added six points, five rebounds and six steals.

“I think we were just kind of flat the first three quarters. We just knew that we had to pull this game out and we came alive,” Willette said.

Willette sparked the Cobras to life with some fine play at both ends of the floor, finding Welch inside for the hoop that started the run, converting a steal into a layup, scoring inside and then setting up a Jenna Davies layup with a steal.

After defending man-to-man for much of the game, Carrabec switched to a stifling zone that caused the Mustangs to rush their shots and passes. Monmouth missed its first five shots and turned the ball over four times in the first four minutes of the quarter.

“All season we’ve been trying to improve on that zone and this game we were finally able to step up and finish the game,” Willette said.

“We just didn’t make the shots,” said Monmouth assistant coach Ray Convery, who was filling in for head coach Scott Wing so he could attend to a death in the family. “We ran out of gas a little bit. We had open shots for awhile. They switched to a zone and we didn’t get as many good looks as we should have.”

A put-back by Welch and a layup by Willette off another turnover made it 37-25 with 3:31 remaining. Ashley Coulombe finally broke up the run with a pair of free throws, but Welch answered with the dagger, a 3-pointer from the left elbow with 2:33 remaining.

Monmouth didn’t get a field goal until Paxton Lessard put back their eighth consecutive miss of the period with 1:16 to go.

The Mustangs got virtually nothing going in the paint all night, yet they led 12-9 at the end of the first period after buckling down defensively to halt the Cobras’ initial success at getting the ball inside.

“The kids played tough for three quarters,” Convery said. “The kids did a nice job of adjusting defensively. We just didn’t execute in the fourth. When you don’t execute offensively, it leads to a lot of fast breaks, and a lot of their points came off the fast break.”

Carrabec countered the disruption to its offense by dominating the boards at both ends. The Cobras collected as many offensive rebounds, 13, as the Mustangs did total rebounds in the first half. They finished the game with a 43-22 advantage on the glass, including 17 offensive rebounds.

But the Mustangs hung around by limiting the Cobras to 1-for-14 shooting from the field in the second quarter. Unfortunately for them, the dribble penetration that had helped them build the early lead dissolved.

“They were obviously really fast and they had a couple of girls that were really skilled players and good dribblers,” Willette said. “We wanted to make sure to stop the drive to the middle and to make them shoot.”

Wilson accepted that challenge initially for the Mustangs, drilling a pair of jumpers to put them up 21-20 midway through the third period. Carrabec went inside to Pluntke for all seven of her points in the quarter.

Jenna Davies jumper pulled the Mustangs into a 25-25 tie with five seconds left in the third. But that would be their last field goal for nearly seven minutes.


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