RUMFORD — When Mountain Valley has things working right, coach Ryan Casey and the rest of the team are convinced they are unstoppable.

They proved it again Saturday.

A pair of runs in the second half sparked by Ashley Russell, who scored a game-high 21 points, proved to be the difference as Mountain Valley extended its winning streak to seven with a 56-40 triumph and a season sweep against Madison at Puiia Gymnasium.

Mountain Valley started fast and refused to allow the Bulldogs to get into a rhythm. The Falcons exploited their inside presence with Russell, Sydney Petrie, Liza White and a quick transition game produced multiple high percentage shots. The Falcons have clinched a berth in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game at Thomas College next month.

Madison coach Al Veneziano said that they needed to defend Petrie and Liza White (7 points, 6 rebounds), which they had failed to accomplish in a loss to the Falcons at Madison.

“The fast start really helps. Our team (thrives) on it because it doesn’t allow the opposition to get settled,” said Mountain Valley guard Karen Flaherty, who scored 11 points, including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. “In the second half, we needed to keep our intensity level up and not allow Madison to get comfortable.”

Mountain Valley (13-1), ranked No.1 in Class B South, had traded baskets early in the third quarter, but Madison pulled to within five points, following a Madeline Wood three pointer. Russell made two free throws and scored on a pass from Petrie (12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds), Kayla Bess (11 points) drained a trey, but on the ensuing possession Flaherty (6 rebounds) squared up for a trey and Petrie scored inside for a 38-28 lead

“We worked hard tonight,” Casey said, “It feels really good to beat a good team like Madison. Ashley (Russell) really took over in the third quarter and Sydney (Petrie) continues to be all over the court and in the right place at the right time.”

Madison (9-5), ranked fourth in Class C South, pulled to with ten again, following a trey by Sydney LeBlanc (6 points). But, the Falcons responded with a trey by Abby Mazza, for a 49-36 lead. Emily Laubauskas (3 assists) scored a basket and Flaherty added another trey to put a nail in the coffin.

Mountain Valley started fast by scoring 16 of the first 20 points of the game. Petrie made two baskets and Flaherty and White each buried 3-pointers. Emily Billings had four steals.

“The team is playing well,” Casey said, “but, we are still identifying different things to work on and rotating in the right combinations.”

The Falcons lead 25-15 following baskets by Petrie and Russell. Madison made 5 of 7 free throws in the second quarter and trailed 25-18 at halftime.


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