Kaeti Butterfield of Monmouth Academy drives through Lillie Williams, left, and Ashley Perreault of Dirigo on her way to the basket during the second period in Monmouth on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

MONMOUTH — After letting Dirigo score the opening basket without obstacle, Monmouth made the rest of the Cougars’ shots much harder to finish.

The Mustangs held Dirigo to just six baskets the rest of the way before getting their own offense in gear in a 39-23 MVC Class C South girls’ basketball victory Friday night.

It was senior night for the Mustangs (13-4), who wanted to give injured senior Destiny Clough one last chance to play on her home floor.

So Monmouth let the Cougars (4-12) take the opening tip, then stayed away as Mackenzie Ladd drove to the rim for the first two points of the game. Clough was then allowed an easy layup at the other end. After that, Clough, who has missed the entire season with a knee injury, went to the bench for good.

Monmouth coach Rick Larrabee said he discussed Clough’s opening cameo with Dirigo coach Rebecca Fletcher and the officials, and he expressed gratitude toward Fletcher for letting it happen.


After the teams traded uncontested layups, the Cougars took back the lead on an Alyssa McTyre 3-pointer, then made it 7-2 on Page Lueders’ layup.

The Mustangs missed a few close-range shots before Audrey Fletcher came off the bench and drained a 3 with 4:34 left in the first quarter that jump-started the Monmouth offense.

From that point on, the Mustangs went on a 24-8 run through the end of the third quarter.

“In any senior night, you’re going to have the high emotions, and everybody’s got to settle. Everybody knows that, every coach knows that,” Larrabee said. “So I knew eventually once I got the regular rotation in there, and players step into their normal roles, that we would step it up a little bit.”

The Mustangs could only muster 16 points in the first half, but held the Cougars to just four more points after the 7-2 start, including just a pair of free throws in the second quarter.

“They apply a lot defensive pressure in the man-to-man, and we just really struggled to be able to maintain composure and see our options with that pressure on,” Fletcher said. “So their defense is very disruptive.”


It also disrupted Dirigo’s own defense, which kept the Cougars in the game the first half.

“We were in a pretty good, packed-in zone there initially. And talking and communicating where their cutters were,” Fletcher said. “But, you know, if their defense is able to lead to some of their offense, you can’t stay in that all night.”

Julia Johnson made a transition layup 2:37 into the second quarter for the first points of the period for either team. That started a trend of the Mustangs turning their shutdown defense into offense.

Johnson had another transition layup less than three minutes into the third. She followed with seven more points in the third and finished with a game-high 14.

“I’ve been giving her a little bit more leeway to create, and to attack the basket, and to get some good shots up, and she’s doing really well with that,” Larrabee said.

“After we went in the locker room (at halftime), we knew that we had to step it up because they were pretty close — I think we were up five at half — and coach said we really need to get our butts in gear. ‘Let’s go. Let’s go out and do this,’” Johnson said. “And we got really pumped, and we came out and we showed you guys what we are.”


Fellow senior Kaeti Butterfield added seven points for Monmouth, and Fletcher had six off the bench.

McTyre led Dirigo with seven points, and Lueders had five.


Katie Harris of Monmouth Academy drives through Alexa Perreault, left, Lillie Williams and Mackenzie Ladd of Dirigo on her way to the basket during the second period in Monmouth on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Katie Harris of Monmouth Academy drives on Alexa Varnum, left, Devon Fletcher during the second period in Monmouth on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Monmouth Academy senior captain Destiny Clough (34) leaves the court after scoring the Mustangs’ first basket during Friday’s game against Dirigo. Clough is injured and did not play the rest of the game. Friday was senior night for the Mustangs. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Ashley Perreault of Dirigo shoots over Libby Clement of Monmouth Academy during the first period in Monmouth on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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