RUMFORD — The Falcons let it fly, and it worked.

Mountain Valley made 11 3-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter, to shoot past rival Dirigo 68-52 in a boys basketball battle at Puiia Gymnasium on Monday.

“We have guys who can shoot the ball, for sure. But we always talk about (that) we don’t want to live and die by the 3, we want to be more get to the foul line, getting to the basket, doing things like that that kind of cause us to get a little more offense,” Mountain Valley coach Scot New said. “It’s always one of those things, when the 3 is going, it makes everything else easier.”

Keagan Pitcher opened the scoring with a 3, the start of his 12-point performance that came solely from beyond the arc. Kalen Chase then sandwiched a pair of 2-pointers around two made free throws by Dirigo’s Charlie Houghton, and Zach New finished off the Falcons’ 10-2 start with a 3 of his own.

“It just felt like we came here, and right from the beginning the energy and the intensity was all in their favor, and that’s not typical for us,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said. “That’s one of the things that we pride ourselves on, and I feel like almost every game that we’ve played since I’ve been here that we brought more energy, and I felt like today was one of those games where we definitely did not.”

Mountain Valley, honoring Chase, Pitcher and six others on its senior night, pulled out to a 17-5 lead before the Cougars brought it back to 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.

“We hadn’t been coming out (well),” Scot New said. “We talked about it a lot that defensively we just got to be a better team, and I thought tonight, coming out, holding them to 10 points in that first quarter, today was just about weathering the storm a little bit. Because every time we’d get up by a 10-, 15-point lead they’d come back.”

Dirigo’s Charlie Houghton, middle, drives to the basket while being defended by Mountain Valley’s Caleb Frisbie, left, and Zach New during the first half of Monday night’s game in Rumford. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Houghton started to take advantage of his 6-foot-4 frame in the second quarter, scoring seven of his 13 points in the frame, and Dirigo slightly closed the gap to 28-22 at halftime. But it took Houghton until the final minute of the second to make a field goal. He soon added another. He also made three field goals in the quarter.

“I felt like we had opportunities (to get Charlie the ball). We have a young team, and I felt like they didn’t recognize very well when the spots were to have him open, and Charlie needs to do a better job of finding those open spots also,” St. Germain said. “I think it’s a little bit of them playing good defense on him, and a little bit of us not knowing where to give him the ball at.”

“We know the offense runs through him, the ball runs through him,” Scot New said. “I just basically threw three different guys at him to kind of give him different looks.”

A Bode Gray 3 got the Cougars to within 38-36 late in the third, and they were only down five (45-40) heading into the fourth. That gave New and the Falcons some nerves.

“We haven’t been finishing. The fourth quarter has been our Achilles heel,” Scot New said. “(After the third quarter) I said, ‘Nope, I’m not even going to say,’ because I didn’t want to even bring back the memories just not finishing the fourth quarter well.”

The start of the Monday’s fourth quarter wiped those sour memories away. Leon Salmon hit an early 3, and Pitcher Chase and Zach New also drilled one apiece in the period.

“Always about starting the game and finishing the game, and I thought both ends of it, we started the game well and I thought we finished the game well. I thought that fourth quarter was big for us,” New said.

Chase finished with a game-high 20 points. Zach New finished with 12 points and Airick Richard added nine.

Dirigo sophomore Trenton Hutchinson had 12 points and showed flashes of his potential.

“Our practices typically revolve around a few things, and one of them usually being figuring out how to get Trenton to the rim,” St. Germain said. “He has such good ball-handling ability, and once he gets the mentality to be attacking like that all the time, he’s going to be a really dangerous player in the next couple years.”

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