Wednesday December 19, 2012

AUSTIN DANFORTH

Assistant Sports Editor

BENNINGTON -- When the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team snagged its first lead of the season, it came on a Maddy Main drive to the hoop in the first quarter.

When the Patriots went ahead for good, pulling away for their first win midway through the fourth quarter, it was a Maddy Main free throw, followed by a pair of smooth finishes in the paint that did the trick.

Main, a sophomore, may have started the game on the bench, but she finished it on the floor as Mount Anthony's most influential player Tuesday night in a 45-34 win against Wahconah (Mass.).

"I felt like I was on fire and everybody else kept going with me," Main said. "I've got to do good so I can play more."

Led by Main's 13 points and seven rebounds the Patriots' second-string was the engine when put the test, hanging 27 points on the Warriors (1-3).

"We've had a lot of people step up, especially since [point guard] Kate [Goodell] can't play," MAU coach Courtney Reif said. "They're taking advantage of the opportunities they have."

After two losses to open the season, the win was welcome boost for Mount Anthony (1-2), which faces demanding contests against Spaulding, Essex, Rice, Burlington and Pittsfield (Mass.) in the next five games.

"It's a huge relief, especially with the schedule we have the first eight games, to get a win under our belts, to build on the win and keep going," Reif said. "It's hard to keep going in a positive way if you keep losing."

The Patriots led at the end of every quarter, using five first-quarter free throws to gain an edge and a 6-0 run at the end of the half that included back-to-back baskets in the paint from reserve Kendra Pembroke.

At halftime, the MAU subs had 14 points in a 22-15 lead.

Wahconah surged ahead in the back-and-forth, turnover-strewn contest when Shannon Lussier capped an 8-2 run to start the fourth quarter to make it 34-31.

However, reserve guard Morgan Hewitt canned her second 3-pointer of the night from the top of the key to knot the score 16 seconds later.

Main provided the next five points and the MAU defense blanked the Warriors for the last six minutes to secure the win.

"I don't know what it was, but [Main] had their number tonight," Reif said. "She has that capability to do those things and I'm glad she showed that today. She finishes well. She's almost like a guard at times when she's taking it to the basket."

Brinkley Legacy added eight points and five rebounds for the Patriots. Maddie Sprague led the Warriors with 16 points and Gabby Lovinio netted 10.