When the Mount View and Belfast high school girls basketball teams raced onto the court Wednesday night, Jan. 2 and glanced to the other end of the gymnasium, the Mustangs and Lions saw not only a longstanding Waldo County rival warming up, but an opponent who stood between them and an initial win early in the 2018-19 campaign.

And, as fate aligned things, the Mustangs and Lions had an accurate feeling that one of them would walk off the hardwood at the end of the night with that precious first victory in hand.

When the final horn sounded after a highly-competitive game, the home-standing Mustangs had rallied from an early deficit and used clutch efforts down the stretch to pull out a 41-37 victory.

Watch video and see more photos below.

The Mustangs used solid all-around performances from Hannah Coolen and Shala Davis, along with steady, consistent play from several other players, to pull out their first win of the season.

Belfast led 13-6 after the first quarter before Mount View stormed back, as the hosts outscored the Lions 9-1 in the second to lead 15-14 after 16 minutes. The foes netted a high number of points in the third, as the Mustangs outscored the Lions 16-13 to take a 31-27 advantage at the break.

Mount View closed the victory with an 11-10 run over the final eight minutes, but the outcome was not solidified until the final minute.

For the Mustangs, Coolen tossed in 18 points; Davis, 14; Alex Fountain, four; Sage Cassidy, three; and Sophia King, two. Mount View made 3-of-7 free throws (43 percent) and two 3-pointers from Coolen.

Additionally, Davis chipped in 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots; Coolen, two steals; Fountain, three rebounds; Cassidy, three rebounds, four assists and four steals; and King, five rebounds and two assists.

For the Lions, Grace Fitzjurls netted 12 points (all via shots from beyond the arc); Kiara Doolan, 11 (all in the second half); Lillie Mitchell, eight; Sydni Moores, four; and Madison Farris, two. The visitors finished with 5-of-9 foul shots (56 percent) and four treys from Fizjurls.

The opponent played mostly extended quarter-court zone defenses, with a few instances of fullcourt pressure.

The Lions got off to a fast start thanks to the long-distance accuracy of Fitzjurls, who drilled three first-quarter treys, supported by four points from Mitchell, which gave the visitors a 13-6 edge at the break. Coolen keyed Mount View with four points in the opening eight minutes.

Then Mount View used solid defense to hold Belfast to one point in the second quarter, while the hosts tallied nine, including three from Davis.

The game remained tight in the third quarter as the opponents found their offensive rhythm and touches, including eight points from Coolen, six from two sweet 3-pointers, and four from Fountain. Doolan netted four points and Fitzjurls canned another trey for the LIons to keep the game tight.

In the game-deciding fourth, Davis and Coolen scored four points to keep the Mustangs a step ahead, while Doolan netted seven points for the Lions in the staza.

Belfast coach Scott Benzie said despite the loss, the closeness of the game and the situations that cropped up down the stretch will pay dividends in the future.

"Overall good learning experience for my kids," he said. "A number of time and score situations they haven't experienced in an actual game."

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Mount View (1-5, 0.5556 points) is 13th, while Belfast (0-7, no points) is tied for 14th. Waterville (7-0, 22.4691 points) is first in the 16-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Previous game

Mount View nearly picked up its first victory, also at home, in a tough 35-32 loss to Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Mount View trailed 5-4 after one quarter, but led 18-12 at halftime and trailed 27-22 after three. The hosts outscored the visitors 10-8 in the fourth, but it was not enough.

For the Mustangs, Coolen turned in another standout performance as the freshman netted 22 points, which included a 3-pointer and 7-of-7 foul shots. Davis and King added four and Lydia Bryant two. The team made 7-of-8 free throws (88 percent).

For the Ponies, Mackenzie Beaudry scored 16 points; Ainsley Ade, eight; and Cailin Seavey and Cassidy Marsh, five. The visitors made 5-of-13 foul shots (39 percent) and four treys, including two from Ade, and one from Marsh and Seavey.