Monmouth junior Abbey Allen has a quiet demeanor off the court, but her impact on the Mustangs’ Class C tournament run can’t be ignored.

MONMOUTH — Abbey Allen’s earliest memories of one of the state’s great high school basketball traditions is her mother, Kelley, showing her the trophy case at her alma mater, Jonesport-Beals.

Allen remembers seeing all of the gold balls, which at the time numbered a dozen, and being in awe. A few years later, she watched her cousin, Garet Beal, the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2013 who went on to play for the University of Maine, add another to the display.

On Saturday night, Allen will try to help Monmouth Academy win its first gold ball when the Mustangs take on Dexter in the Class C state championship (7 p.m., Cross Insurance Center in Bangor). 

By mid-week, the reality of Monmouth’s first trip to a state title game since 2000 (when, coincidentally, it lost to Jonesport-Beals in the Class D championship) finally sunk in for Allen and the Mustangs. 

“It’s pretty exciting. We’re starting to get more focused,” Allen said.

Allen, a versatile 5-foot-8 junior forward, is often a focal point of opposing coaches trying to stop the Mustangs. But because of the steadiness of her game and her quiet demeanor, she is also frequently overlooked on a talented Mustangs team, even by the coaches who must game plan for her.

“She just does things that kind of go unnoticed,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said.

Dynamic junior point guard Tia Day usually draws the fans’ and opposition’s attention first, and with good reason. But Allen’s all-around game is also vital to the Mustangs’ success. 

Sometimes, her impact is most evident when she’s not on the floor.

“Tia’s obviously our point guard, but she’s probably one of our biggest keys when it comes to press-breaking,” Wing said. “She got in foul trouble one time when we were at Mountain Valley and it was quite obvious what she does for us. We struggled.”

“You’ll look after the game and Abbey will have 14 points, nine rebounds, a couple of steals, a couple of assists. But it’s always quiet,” he added. “It doesn’t come in streaks. It’s just steady and consistent basketball so it doesn’t stand out all of the time.”

In her typical fashion, Allen chalks that up to being just one cog in the wheel.

“We have a lot of chemistry. Certain people play better together,” she said. “We’ve been playing together forever.” 

Allen’s steadiness and versatility have been constants for the Mustangs. From game  to game or season to season, if they’re lacking in some aspect of the game, she can usually fill the void.

With the graduation of the MVC’s leading rebounder, Haley West, after last year, the Mustangs needed Allen to pick up some of the slack on the boards, and she leads the team averaging eight rebounds a game.

A skilled offensive player, inside and outside, she’s also stepped up her scoring, although that required a little more prodding from Wing and his veteran coaching staff.

“We had a little conversation after our Lisbon game (a 46-38 loss on Dec. 29) that she only took four shots in,” Wing said. “She shoots 55 percent from the field, so I said ‘If you shoot four shots, we’re not going to win games.'”

Once again, Allen, who is second on the team averaging 9.1 points, credits her coaches with boosting her confidence and her teammates with making it easier for her to take more shots while maintaining her gaudy shooting percentage.

“We move the ball pretty well, and we can usually see the open person and get it to them,” Allen said.

Sometimes, though, no matter how open the shooters are, the shots just won’t fall. The Mustangs couldn’t buy a basket in their 45-40 semifinal win over Waynflete. Allen, who is ranked third in her class, knew what had to be done. Battling against the bigger Flyers, she went to work on the offensive glass and got the second-chance points Monmouth needed, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds.

 “We weren’t really hitting outside shots, so I knew I had to step it up inside,” Allen said. “I got quite a few rebounds and put them back.”

“If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have made it past Waynflete,” Wing said. “She was the one that picked us up in that game and stepped up her scoring and rebounding against their big girls and got us through.”

On Saturday, Allen and the Mustangs will have to contend with one of the state’s best big girls, 6-foot Dexter senior Megan Peach, a Miss Basketball semifinalist. 

Allen is confident they will be ready. Quietly confident, of course.

“We’re a pretty short team. We’ve experienced it all year,” she said.

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