Monmouth Academy’s Abbey Allen (12) lays in a shot during a Class C South semifinal game Thursday against Richmond at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

AUGUSTA — The prospect of seeing its season end on Thursday snapped Monmouth Academy out of a third-quarter slumber in the Class C South semifinals.

Second-seeded Monmouth  pulled itself out of the doldrums of a one-point third quarter and dominated the final eight minutes to defeat No. 6 Richmond, 45-32, at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We just knew we wanted to come out strong and hard because we didn’t want this to be our last game,” said senior guard Tia Day, a Maine Miss Basketball semifinalist who finished with five points.

Abbey Allen led Monmouth (19-1) with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Hannah Anderson added 10 points and Julia Johnson nine points. Sydney Underhill-Tilton paced Richmond (15-6) with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Monmouth, the defending state champion, advances to face the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between top-seeded Boothbay and fourth-seeded Madison.

Sparked by a Johnson 3-pointer and six points from Anderson, Monmouth went on a 15-4 run to start the fourth to widen a two-point lead to 13. 

Advertisement

“At least we started the fourth quarter with some intensity, got some good rebounds, a couple of defensive stops and started running the floor a little bit more,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “That’s what opened it up for us.”

Junior center Destiny Clough grabbed all seven of her rebounds in the second half to help kickstart the Mustangs to the other end of the floor. She also had a putback to put them up, 37-28, midway through the third.

“She went in there and got us some rebounds and that helped so we could get out and get running the floor,” Wing said.

Richmond went nearly five minutes without a field goal between a Bryanne Lancaster 3-pointer that pulled the Bobcats within 31-27 and Underhill-Tilton’s hoop that made it 41-30 with 1:40 left.

The Bobcats, who lost by 15 and 20 points to the Mustangs in their two regular-season meetings, threw a wrinkle in for Thursday by having Underhill-Tilton, a strong forward, bring the ball up to control the tempo and try to open up some driving lanes for her and others to get to the hoop.

“That is going to stop us being able to put pressure on the ball,” Wing said. “As opposed to an Audrey Fletcher or a Tia Day guarding a guard and getting their hands all over the place and getting people going faster than they want to go.”

Advertisement

“We needed to have more help, just because we were having a post player guard her,” Day said. “She can also shoot 3s, so I guess it kind of changed how we played defense because we needed to make sure she wasn’t getting any shots off.”

 Tilton scored six points in the first quarter and the teams were deadlocked, 10-10, heading into the second.

Allen’s 10 points in the second quarter helped give the Mustangs a 25-17 at halftime. But they would miss all eight of their field goal attempts in the third, with only Johnson’s free throw adding to their point total.

“That (third quarter), honestly, was the worst basketball these girls have played in their high school career,” Wing said. “I don’t know what happened. We talked in the locker room at halftime about coming up and setting the tempo right off the bat and trying to open the game up. We came out and looked like we were sleepwalking.”

But the Bobcats could only chip six points off the deficit after shooting 3-for-14 in the quarter. Lindsie Irish’s 3-pointer pulled them to within 26-24, but that was as close as they would get.

“If we would have made a few more baskets early in the the third quarter, I think we probably would have had the lead going into the fourth quarter,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “To hold them to one point in the third quarter, if you had told me that, I probably would have told you we’re going to win the game.”

Monmouth Academy’s Kaeti Butterfield and Katie Harris celebrate after winning a Class C South semifinal game Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)Monmouth Academy’s Audrey Fletcher, left, tries to get around Richmond’s Ashley Abbott during their Class C South semifinal game Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)Monmouth Academy coach Scott Wing gestures during a Class C South semifinal game Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)Monmouth Academy’s Abbey Allen shoots over Richmond’s Caitlin Kendrick during their Class C South semifinal game Thursda at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.