Winthrop High School’s Natalie Frost, left, and Kena Souza (23) guard Mountain Valley’s Saydie Garbarini as she grabs a rebound during a basketball game Thursday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

WINTHROP — First, Madison Forgue hit the biggest shot of the Winthrop girls’ basketball team’s season. Then the rest of the Ramblers didn’t let another chance at their biggest win of the year get away.

Forgue hit a game-tying 3-pointer just before the final buzzer, and Winthrop rode that momentum to a 61-58 overtime victory over B South contender Mountain Valley on Thursday night at Winthrop High School.

The win extended Winthrop’s undefeated start to 8-0, and it didn’t come easily. The Ramblers twice appeared to have the Falcons (8-2) pinned, and twice let them come back, surrendering the lead both times.

With the game in the balance one last time, however, Winthrop was ready.

“We’re certainly resilient, and it certainly can come from lots of different spots,” said coach Joe Burnham, whose team has already eclipsed the win total from last year’s 7-11 mark. “Certainly, last year, this was a little too big for us. In those moments, we crumbled. But I was really happy with the way that we kind of fought back, stuck with it and at least gave ourselves an opportunity.”

Mountain Valley slumped in the first half before roaring back in the second, riding 24 points from Rylee Sevigny to the brink of victory. But a final Winthrop rally left the Falcons dealing with disappointment.

“I certainly can’t fault the girls’ effort,” Mountian Valley coach Craig Milledge said. “For us to hang around and to come back like that showed a lot of resiliency on the girls’ part. They always play that hard.”

Mountain Valley trailed 27-15 at halftime, clawed back to take the lead, then fell behind 48-40 with 6:50 to play before surging ahead again, getting five points from Sevigny in the span of 27 seconds to break a 50-50 tie and go up 55-52 with 12.6 seconds left.

Burnham called timeout, then brought in Forgue, who had only four points, to try to tie the game.

“It’s kind of unfair sometimes for us to sub a girl in cold from the bench and tell her she’s got to go shoot the game-tying 3,” Burnham said. “But she responded just like everybody else did tonight.”

Aaliyah WilsonFalcone (team-high 13 points) brought the ball up and it was eventually kicked out to Forgue in the left corner, who quickly got the shot up before the Falcons defender closed in — then watched it fall to tie the game at 55 with 1.5 seconds to go.

“I was extremely nervous,” Forgue, a sophomore, said. “I saw the girl come up to guard me, so I just dribbled and stepped back. I just crossed my fingers.”

The Ramblers had new life, and took advantage in overtime. WilsonFalcone stole the ball and went in for a layup on the first possession, then hit a free throw to make it 58-55 with 2:25 left.

“When Madison hit that shot, I just saw everybody’s faces light up,” WilsonFalcone said. “We did not want to lose this game. And when she hit that shot, we saw it as an opportunity. And we didn’t want to waste it.”

While Mountain Valley struggled, missing its first five shots of overtime, Winthrop kept building what became an insurmountable lead, as Jillian Schmelzer (11 points) hit a pair of free throws and Forgue (eight points) hit one to make it 61-55 with 1:01 left. An Avery Sevigny (five points) 3-pointer made it 61-58 and restored some drama with 29 seconds left, but with the Falcons at the foul limit, their chances were crippled.

Milledge said the team had started fighting an uphill battle well before.

“The 3-point shot (was) certainly a back-breaker,” he said. “I thought we defended it well, I thought that we contested like we should. … It took the wind out of our sails, and they outplayed us in overtime.”

Kierstyn Lyons added 11 points for Mountain Valley, while Saydie Garbarini and Courtney Carrier had eight apiece.

Kena Souza had 11 points for the Ramblers.

Winthrop High School’s Jillian Schmelzer goes up for two between Mountain Valley’s defenders during a basketball game Thursday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

Winthrop High School’s Aaliyah WilsonFalcone blocks a pass by Mountain Valley’s Kierstyn Lyons during a basketball game Thursday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

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