MAU emphatically snaps losing skid
BENNINGTON -- Coming into Monday night's matchup against Monument Mountain, the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team was 1-7.
But the team that came out onto the Kates Gym floor didn't look like one that was 1-7.
MAU used an effective press from the opening tip and led by more than 20 for most of the game in a 74-53 rout of the Spartans.
"We have more confidence now," said MAU (2-7) coach Courtney Reif. "It took a little while to realize we're not doing anything different from Day 1. They're finally getting the confidence they can do it."
Juniors Makayla Farrara and Brinkley Legacy combined for 36 of the team's 74 points, including 15 in the first quarter.
Tied at 2-2 early on, the pair scored 10 in a row to make it 12-2 less than three minutes in, forcing Monument Mountain (3-5) coach Chris Unsworth to call a timeout to regroup his team.
"They did a good job of running the floor," Unsworth said. "And if you let them catch and shoot, there's a good chance it'll go in. We were not finding shooters. They run very up-tempo, and we didn't respond very well."
Mount Anthony extended the lead in the second quarter, using steals to get into the transition game. Legacy hit two free throws with 3:41 left before the half to make it 38-19, then Morgan Hewitt, who added eight points, drained a three late in the half to give MAU a 17-point lead into the locker room.
"That comes with confidence, getting a lead," Reif said. "When we're pressed, we feel rushed and it gets us out of the comfort zone, so why not do it to someone else?"
Farrara had 14 at the break.
"I have more confidence, and I just need to keep shooting -- even if you miss, you have to think they are going to go in," Farrara said. "[Coach Reif] was a shooter and so am I, so we have the same thought, I guess."
In the third quarter, Keira Goodell (seven points) made the lead 20 with a basket, then Kendra Pembroke (six points) added two hoops in the post to take a sizable lead to the fourth.
"We practice with the post players, things like finishing layups and rebounding," Reif said. "We just carry it into a game. Our focus on finishing hasn't been the best so far, so doing it tonight, I was glad to see it."
In the fourth, Reif was able to use her bench as nine players entered the scoresheet in the final frame.
"I think we got frustrated by how many they made and it affected the rest of our game," Unsworth said. "We dug ourselves a hole in the first quarter we couldn't get out of."
The Spartans' Kayla Aberdale led the way with 16 points.
Reif said the win can go a long way the rest of the season.
"We have 11 games left and they are all winnable games," Reif said. "We're battling the injury of a key player and moving players around to different spots. We're battle-tested and can play with anyone."
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