RUMFORD — On a night when Mountain Valley’s 1,000-point scorer Rylee Sevigny and fellow senior Courtney Therrien were honored, a trio of juniors played starring roles for the Falcons in a rivalry win over Dirigo on Monday.

Emily Richard, Autumn Freeman and Alana Young each took turns standing out in the Mountain Valley girls basketball team’s 35-29 victory at Puiia Gymnasium.

“The three junior starters are some of the most genuine, wonderful people I’ve ever met in my entire life, and I couldn’t be more proud of all three of them than I am right now,” Mountain Valley coach Craig Milledge said. “A rivalry game, tough game, great opposing team — lots of talent over there, they’re well-coached — and our three juniors, when there was so much pressure on Rylee defensively, stepped up and did exactly what they know they could do.”

Richard got the Falcons going with four early points in the first quarter. Sevigny also scored her only four points in the frame, and Mountain Valley led 8-4 after one.

“I think that Emily Richard is underappreciated in so many ways, and it was great that she scored points tonight so it was more noticeable, and she’s getting that recognition,” Milledge said. “Typically it’s rebounding, it’s setting solid screens, it’s making great passes off the ball. She does those little things. I’m glad tonight she did things that showed up in the box score, and she’ll get credit for that, because she deserves that.”

The Cougars clawed back in the second quarter despite cold shooting. Alexa and Alyvia Perreault both had layups in the first four minutes of the frame, each time bringing Dirigo within two.

“We tried to get the ball inside a little bit, but I thought their defense did pretty good of not giving us anything easy inside,” Dirigo coach Reggie Weston said.

Mountain Valley’s Emily Richard, right, defends Dirigo’s Grace Robbins during the first half of Monday night’s game in Rumford. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Dirigo’s Jayce Brophy hit a late 3-pointer in the second to cut Mountain Valley’s lead to 12-11 at halftime.

Then it was Autumn Freeman time.

“We wanted to try something different because we figured that they would make adjustments on what we were doing in the first half, so we went out and did something else defensively, which left Autumn Freeman open,” Weston said. “And if she’s got open space, she knocks it in.”

Freeman made a trio of 3s in a 62-second span within the first 2:10 of the third quarter, then later made a layup for a personal 11-0 run.

“Autumn Freeman is an absolute stud athletically. She’s a three-sport athlete, she’s great in all three of them,” Milledge said. “She scores, she’s strong, she plays incredible defense. She is an absolute star already.”

Those were the only points the Falcons scored in the frame, but coupled with stifling defense they took a 23-16 lead into the fourth quarter.

Young opened the fourth with four points (1 of 2 free throws, then a three-point play) to stretch the lead to double digits, and a Richard layup made it 29-16.

The Cougars, though, answered with a 13-2 run to get within two points, 31-29, in the final minute. A Grace Robbins layup capped off the run, giving her four points in the frame, while Brophy had five and Page Lueders four more.

Richard made a layup with 15 seconds left, then another with three ticks remaining. to finish out the game.

Richard finished with 13 points, Freeman 12 and Young six.

Brophy paced Dirigo with 10 and Lueders had nine.

“We got the open looks that we wanted. We usually average around seven or eight 3s a game. They just weren’t going,” Weston said. “But I got to give a little bit of tribute to the (Mountain Valley) defense, too. They weren’t always easy shots.”

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