MONMOUTH — Not many teams can survive a six-and-a-half-minute second-half stretch without a field goal, but the Monmouth Academy girls basketball team might be one of them.

The Mustangs used a full-court press throughout the first half and built a nearly 20-point lead off the shooting touch of senior guard Alexa Allen in a 48-30 Mountain Valley Conference win over Mt. Abram on Thursday night.

Allen scored a game-high 18 points for Monmouth (1-1) as she grows accustomed to a new focus on her game.

“In past years, I haven’t had much of this kind of (scoring) role on the team,” Allen said. “It’s been a little bit of an adjustment, but it’s the same for me and all the underclassmen. They’ve really stepped it up, too.”

Monmouth coach Molly Menice liked what she saw from Allen in the first week of play.

“We’ve been working on her confidence and getting her to take those open looks, and we’ve been waiting for her to have a night like this,” Menice said. “She works hard every day, and it showed in tonight’s game.”

But as nice as it was to have Allen firing away successfully from both long range and in tight quarters, it was the Mustang defense that carried the night.

Monmouth’s June Foyt recovers the ball from Mt. Abram’s Brynna Zelie during a girls basketball game Thursday in Monmouth. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Mt. Abram (0-2) was held to just four third-quarter points and never hit double figures in any single period of play. The Roadrunners committed 36 turnovers on the night — 23 of them in the first half.

Josie Arms led Mt. Abram with 14 points. More importantly, she helped keep the visitors’ from being run out of the building in a first half that saw post counterpart Kharlie Turner pick up her fourth foul just 17 seconds into the second quarter.

Arms and Turner were dominant in the paint. Arms finished with 10 rebounds for the double-double, while Turner grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.

“We’re a young team. We have numbers, but the girls haven’t played a lot,” Mt. Abram coach Lanie Roy said. “I thought the post players did a really good job for us, and I hope we can keep working that in.”

After a first half of full-court up-and-down pressure that produced chaos for both teams, Monmouth settled into a half-court defense after the break.

It didn’t do much to help Mt. Abram. Though the Roadrunners cut down on their turnovers, they struggled to find open looks or space to operate against the Mustangs man-to-man defense.

The defense was good enough that Mt. Abram wasn’t able to take advantage of that nearly seven minutes without a field goal for the home team.

“We definitely are not a high scoring team, so defense is a huge focus for us. If we can lock down defensively, that gives a lot of momentum on offense which is something we need right now.

“We’re a young team without a lot of experience, and sometimes we go through stretches where it can be a little tough (offensively). It was hectic basketball, but it was something we need to take the chances to work on these things.”

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