Monmouth Academy bench celebrates after winning the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

AUGUSTA — Monmouth Academy can’t measure up to the Boothbay in inches, but for the second year in a row in the playoffs, the Mustangs proved that size isn’t everything.

The Mustangs stood toe-to-toe with the rival Seahawks, who have three 6-foot-tall rotation players, and made amends for their lone regular-season loss by getting revenge with a 51-47 victory in the Class C South girls’ basketball final at Augusta Civic Center on Saturday.

Monmouth had lost 50-47 at Boothbay early in the regular season, an outcome which paved the way for the Seahawks to secure the No. 1 seed in C South, while the Mustangs finished with the No. 2 seed.

“Obviously, when you got three girls that big, who are 6 feet tall, it’s a bigger challenge,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “And the big thing is is just trying to get rebounds.”

“They’re really tall,” said 5-foot-8 Monmouth senior forward Abbey Allen, who was tasked with playing inside against Boothbay’s bigs.

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Allen held her own, as did fellow frontcourt players Destiny Clough, Hannah Anderson and Kaeti Butterfield.

Boothbay coach Brian Blethen said his team needed to capitalize on its height advantage, but the Mustangs didn’t let that happen.

The game was tied 11-11 after one quarter, and the Mustangs (20-1) went ahead early in the second. Tia Day, who was held to just seven points combined in the regional quarterfinals and semifinals and none in the first quarter, sandwiched a layup and a 3-pointer around a floater by Boothbay’s Faith Blethen. Day helped the Mustangs grow that lead with a three-point play for a 26-19 advantage with 3:24 left in the half.

The advantage was still seven, 30-23, going into halftime.

The Seagulls (20-1) cut into that cushion by outscoring Monmouth 13-8 in the third quarter. Blethen scored six points in the period, and younger sister Glory added a three-point play.

The Mustangs’ lead was wiped out with 6:18 left when Page Brown made a pair of free throws to make it 38-38, but those were Brown’s last points and that was the last time the teams were tied. Day drilled a 3 less than 30 seconds later and the Mustangs never gave the lead back.

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“They can shoot the basketball,” Blethen said. “Those girls, if you leave them open for one opportunity, they’re going to knock it down. And they capitalize on your mistakes better than any team. And that’s their key. They can shoot the ball and they capitalize on mistakes, and if you miss one defensive assignment, or allow one screen to slow you down, they’re going to make good on it.”

While Day finished with a team-high 14 points, it was Allen who had some of the biggest points down the stretch, making 5 of 6 free throws when it counted.

“I’ve been in that situation before, so just breathe,” Allen said of her approach to those late-game foul shots.

The Seahawks pressured the Mustangs with a slim lead, but the Mustangs were able to avoid committing turnovers.

“You need a veteran team. And you need a team with poise,” Wing said. “There’s nothing that ever … they never get flustered. And when you got people like Tia and Abbey out there, they’ve played a lot of basketball.”

The Mustangs were able to grow the lead to five on multiple occasions, at 45-40 and 49-44. Allen said it helped to have that two-possession advantage.

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Faith Blethen cut it back down to one possession on a 3 with 16.8 seconds left, but the Mustangs made one more free throw to put it away.

“I wish we made a few more foul shots down the stretch,” Wing said. “That would have made things a lot easier on the heart.”

Faith Blethen finished with a game-high 21 points off the bench, with all of them coming in the final three quarters.

“It’s nice to see her continue to climb her ladder, and really realize her athleticism,” Coach Blethen said. “But the other thing I would have liked to have seen is typically that has created openings for her teammates, and she’s been able to distribute the ball, whereas these guys — give them credit, they did a great job defensively and they locked down the other players so those people don’t come open like they typically do for Faith to find those folks.”

Brown added 15 points in her final high school game.

Allen and Butterfield both had 12 points for Monmouth. Allen was named the Robin Colcord Award winner, given to the most outstanding player in the Class C South tournament. She scored 16 points in the quarterfinals and 11 in the semifinals.

“I think probably the thing that I’m most proud about is that Abbey Allen finally got recognized for the player that she is. She’s the one that really gets overlooked all the time,” Wing said. “Abbey deserves it. She does so much stuff for us.”

The Mustangs will be looking for their second-consecutive Class C state title next Saturday. They’ll have to beat North regional champ Houlton to do get it.

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Boothbay’s Glory Blethen, left, tries to block pass by Monmouth Academy’s Tia Day during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)
Boothbay’s Page Brown tries to block shot by Monmouth Academy’s Kaeti Butterfield during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Tia Day passes during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Boothbay’s Glory Blethen, left, battles Monmouth Academy’s Abby Ferland for rebound during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

The Monmouth Academy bench reacts to first-half action during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy bench reacts to first half action during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Audrey Fletcher defends against Boothbay’s Faith Blethen during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Abbey Allen, left, and Boothbay’s Glory Blethen battle for rebound during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Kaeti Butterfield, center, tries to shoot between Boothbay defenders Page Brown, left, and Emma Brewer during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Boothbay’s Isabel Harkins tries to block shot by Monmouth Academy’s Hannah Anderson during the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy players celebrate after the Mustangs won the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Julia Johnson cuts net after the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)
Monmouth Academy celebrates after winning the Class C South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Civic. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

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