FARMINGTON — For the last three weeks the Mt. Blue girls’ basketball team have been working on perfecting a 1-2-2 halfcourt zone defense. The Cougars rolled out a near finished product, beating Skowhegan, 44-27 in a Class A North matchup Tuesday.

Mt. Blue (9-8) held Skowhegan (6-11) to just two points in the first quarter and rolled to a 27-8 halftime lead.

“It was a great effort. We did a tremendous job on defense, especially in the first half,” Mt. Blue coach Gavin Kane said. “We played extremely well and at times frustrated Skowhegan.”

It was a dismal night for the Indians, who hit just one of nine shots in the first quarter, while the Cougars grabbed a 9-2 lead. By halftime, Skowhegan had made only four baskets in 21 attempts, turning the ball over 21 times.

“Hopefully what we did tonight can be a focal point for us,” Kane said.

Mt. Blue’s Caitlin Kane scored a game-high 14 points, 11 coming in the first half when the Cougars put the game out of reach. Kane ran five straight points in the middle of the first quarter as the Cougars raced out to a seven point lead.

As the game unfolded, Mt. Blue picked up the pace, creating turnovers and running the floor while developing successful fast-break baskets. Post player Olivia Ryan (10 points) benefited from Mt. Blue’s fast break, netting three layups of the Cougars break.

“Our post players got into the game and were running the floor,” Kane said. “We made some nice passes to finish off the break.”

Skowhegan finished the game with 34 turnovers while hitting 11 of 35 shots from the floor.

“The last two games we have made 68 turnovers,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “We are young, but we just don’t take care of the basketball. We have a young team that needs to focus of the game.”

Mt. Blue played well in the second quarter, hitting 6 of 12 from the field and connecting on 8 of 9 free throws to take a decisive 21-point halftime lead.

The Cougars went into halftime scoring 14 straight points in the final 3:25 of the second quarter. Five different Mt. Blue players scored during the stretch.

Eryn Doiron (8 points) kicked off the Mt. Blue run, scoring a conventional 3-point play. Mackenzie Harris sandwiched a pair of free throws and an offensive putback, around a single free throw by Doiron to give the Cougars a 23-8 lead with two minutes left in the half.

Mariel Damon scored on a fastbreak, Kane followed with a steal in the midcourt and layup, while Emilee Eustis closed out the half converting both ends of a one and one with 5 seconds left on the clock.

Alyssa Everett finished with a team-high 10 points for Skowhegan.

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