Lewiston’s Myah Nicolas goes up for a basket and is fouled by Mt. Blue’s Eva Stevens during the game in Lewiston on Wednesday evening. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

LEWISTON — Lewiston struggled at the line in the first half and also had a hard time stopping Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittlestadt.

Defensive adjustments were made, players stepped up and the Blue Devils (3-4) left their home gym Wednesday night with a 46-37 girls’ basketball win over the Cougars (4-3).

The main changes Lewiston made at halftime focused stopping Mittelstadt.

The Mt. Blue junior scored 18 points, with six free throws and two treys, in the first 16 minutes, prompting Lewiston head coach Lynn Girouard to switch up assignments and the game plan, moving Myah Nichols onto Mittelstadt.

“I think team-wise, defensively, we changed,” Girouard said. “We just shut her down from getting to the rim. If she gets in the paint and shoots her floater or a stop-and-pop, she’s going to make her shots. But I told them, ‘You can have two feet in the paint and just stand there. She’s going to force it and if she kicks it out then we have to let other people beat us.’ We will live with that ,and fortunately we made some shots.”

Lewiston went into halftime tied 22-22, thanks in large part to Emily Strachan’s second quarter outburst, that included eight of her team-leading 15 points. Strachan hit two 3-pointers from the top of the arch off the same play to keep the Blue Devils firmly in the game.

Strachan’s 3s were especially important because the Blue Devils shot 0-for-8 from the free-throw line in the first half.

“It’s always big when you hit a 3. It changes the flow of the game, especially with the free throws we were missing, it kind of makes up for that,” Girouard said. “We run that one play and Emily comes off of two screens and gets a good look and that helps. A 3 can change a game in an instant.”

In the second half, the Blue Devils created some separation. Mittlestadt was held scoreless, while the Cougars mustered just five points in the third.

“We were trying to move a little more,” Mt. Blue co-head coach Zac Conlogue said. “I don’t know, it was a weird game for us. I wouldn’t say we totally didn’t come to play, but at the same time we didn’t have the energy we needed.”

With the Cougars’ offense struggling in the third, Lewiston’s Madeline Foster took advantage and scored six of her 12 total points in the period. Foster was a force in the paint, grabbing 10 rebounds while constantly driving and scoring down low.

“She can get to the basket at any time she likes,” Girouard said. “She can take any girl off the dribble, she’s quick with that first step and then she just battles for rebounds. She has a knack for the ball and she just outworks a lot of teams.”

Lewiston relies on Foster in the paint to make plays and get second-chances.

“I just try to get around whoever blocks me out and get as many rebounds as I could because we aren’t super big, it’s just me and Lauren (Foster), so we have to work super hard to get rebounds,” Madeline Foster said.

Mittlestadt continued to struggle in the fourth and was held to only three free throws in the second half to finish with 21.

“She got the calls in first half and they were going through, but she didn’t really get any in the second half,” Conlogue said. “We just didn’t have enough movement, not only for her but for our whole offense.”

With the defense taking control in the second half, the Blue Devils finally started to make some free throws to put away the game. Lewiston went 10-18 in the final quarter, with Strachan making five of them. That didn’t get the Blue Devils completely off hook, though.

“I feel like if we had made more free throws in the first half it would have been a different game and it wouldn’t have been so close,” Foster said. “We had to make it up in other places and we are definitely going to work on them tomorrow in practice — Coach already told us that in the locker room.”

Lewiston’s Cece Racine swivels in search of a teammate to pass the ball during Wednesday night’s basketball game in Lewiston.(Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Mt. Blue’s Eva Stevens plays defense against Lewiston’s Jordyn Rubin during Wednesday night’s basketball game in Lewiston. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Mt. Blue’s Mackenzie Libby plays defense against Lewiston’s Cece Racine during Wednesday night’s basketball game in Lewiston. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Lewiston’s Jordyn Rubin gets fouled by Mt Blue’s Sierra Fay during Wednesday night’s basketball game in Lewiston. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

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