January 2

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL: Nicely helps Mt. Blue beat Bangor

Cougars improve to 3-4 with win over Rams.

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue’s Miranda Nicely can make a legitimate case for being a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A all-star. Nicely was on her game Thursday night, and she had plenty of help from her teammates.

While Nicely recovered from a tough first quarter to score 21 points and pull down nine rebounds, Caitlin Kane hit key free throws, Addie Brinkman and Emily Knowles grabbed big rebounds, Kiana Thompson played smartly, and Sarah Cummings was impressive off the bench. The result was a 46-33 Mt. Blue victory over Bangor.

“We feel it’s starting to come together, and we’re starting to get more composure,” Mt. Blue coach Tom Philbrick said. “I think everybody contributed in one way or another who was on the court.”

It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Rams, who won the Eastern A title last season. Bangor is now 2-6, while Mt. Blue is 3-4.

Even without Cordelia Stewart (out for the season with a kneee injury), Bangor still had a height advantage inside with sisters Mary Butler (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Katie Butler (11 points). After being held scoreless over the first few minutes, the Rams tried to work the ball inside to the Butlers. They were successful at times, but often threw the ball away before getting a shot on a possession. Bangor was also 7 of 19 from the foul line.

Additionally, while the Rams are still looking for a point guard to replace Denae Johnson (who graduated last year), Mt. Blue handled the ball well on Thursday. The Cougars finished with only eight turnovers, compared to 22 for Bangor.

Bangor still led 7-6 after one quarter, but Nicely and Cummings led the Cougars back in the second quarter. Cummings, Nicely, and Kane sparked a 7-0 run to give Mt. Blue a 13-7 lead. When Bangor scrapped back and tied the game at 15, Cummings and Nicely hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Cougars led 23-17 at the half.

The Cougars came charging out of the locker room and took control of the game in the third quarter. Brinkman hit a baseline jumper off a nice pass from Thompson. Nicely grabbed a rebound and threw a perfect touchdown pass to Thompson for an open fast-break layup. When Nicely split two defenders for another layup, Mt. Blue’s lead was 29-17, and that would grow to 14 points with 4:17 left in the quarter.

Bangor made one final run, getting as close as 35-31 with 2:27 to play after two free throws by Mary Butler. Kane and Nicely each responded with two free throws, and Bangor never got close again.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243mdifilippo@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Matt_DiFilippo
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