Kaeti Butterfield of Monmouth Academy grabs a pass over Kathryn Ross of Winthrop High School during the first half in Monmouth on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

MONMOUTH — The Monmouth Mustangs were seeking momentum, and when they seized it, boy did they ever.

The defending Class C state champions scored 24 straight points to break away from Winthrop in a 54-25 girls’ basketball victory Thursday.

“When you’re in a situation that we’re in, I think when you let teams hang around it gives them a little bit of confidence sometimes,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “We talk about that all the time, about trying to take it to teams and get on a roll, and try to get that momentum going our way.”

After trailing 13-6 after one quarter, Winthrop cut the deficit to 16-12 thanks in large part to a pair of steals and layups by Aaliyah WilsonFalcone.

Then the Mustangs took over, holding the Ramblers scoreless the rest of the first half while scoring 19 straight point before halftime and the first five after, making the lead 40-12.

“We switched defenses, and I think that got them a little bit scrambled up,” Wing said.

Monmouth’s change from man-to-man to zone sped up the tempo and kept Winthrop off-balance, which led to several turnovers.

“They definitely controlled the pace of the game,” Winthrop coach Joe Burnham said. “We tried to match the pace of the game, and we played hurried and they did the things that they are successful at.”

Monmouth scored on fast breaks, jumpers in the post and on second chances during the game-changing run.

“We pretty much just wanted to make sure it was all fast-paced, because we knew Winthrop as a team, they are a lot better than last year, and we knew we had to get right on the court and play our game,” Monmouth post Destiny Clough said.

Ten Monmouth players scored, led by Abbey Allen’s 16 points. Posts Kaeti Buttefield and Clough added nine and eight points, respectively.

Butterfield and Clough took advantage of Winthrop’s extended zone opening holes down low.

“When we got the ball reversed, and we got our post player rolling down off the high post — Kaeti Butterfield did a great job at that tonight, rolling off the high post to the lost post,” Wing said.

Monmouth’s post players also created several second-chance opportunities.

“We just wanted to make sure we got a ton of offensive rebounds,” Clough said, “and we wanted to make sure we controlled the boards most of the time.”

Clough finished with 12 rebounds.

WilsonFalcone paced the Ramblers with 13 points.

“I was happy with our effort,” Winthrop coach Joe Burnham said. “Execution-wise, we just didn’t have it tonight, but that’s more on us as coaches, we just maybe didn’t prepare them the way that we probably should have.”

Both teams were missing starters: Monmouth was without Hannah Anderson, and Winthrop was without Kena Souza.

Next up for the Mustangs (2-0) is a showdown with fellow Mountain Valley Conference favorite Boothbay (1-0) at Boothbay on Monday.

The Ramblers (1-1) host Mt. Abram (1-1) on Friday.

Abby Ferland of Monmouth Academy gets a shot off while being guarded by Layne Audet of Winthrop High School during the first half in Monmouth on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Aaliyah WilsonFalcone of Winthrop High School gets a hand on a ball being brought up the court by Abbey Allen of Monmouth Academy during the first half in Monmouth on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Audrey Fletcher of Monmouth Academy looks to pass while being guarded by Natalie Frost of Winthrop during the first half in Monmouth on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)