High school girls basketball

Different finish: Mustangs stave off Lions' comeback for end-of-season victory

Waldo County rivals split two down-to-the-wire court affairs this winter
By Ken Waltz | Feb 06, 2020
Photo by: Ken Waltz Mount View's Kricket Thompson eyes a free throw against Belfast on Feb. 5 in high school girls basketball in Thorndike. The host Mustangs beat Lions 36-32.

Thorndike — The last time the Mount View and Belfast girls basketball teams met this season, it took a hoop by the host Lions at the final buzzer to determine the winner.

While the regular-season finale between the Waldo County high school athletic rivals on Wednesday, Feb. 5 did not need the same level of drama to determine the outcome, the final few minutes of action certainly held plenty of excitement and uncertainty about which of the 1-15 teams would secure bragging rights for at least this night.

The host Mustangs built an 11-point second-half lead and then needed to make all the key plays down the stretch to stave off a determined, always comeback-hungry Lions as Mount View won 36-32.

Watch video and see more photos below.

The victory lifted the young Mustangs to a 2-16 record on the year, but also gave them momentum as they head to the future. The Lions finished 1-17, but, like Mount View, had other competitive games, including the 52-51 win over the Mustangs on Jan. 7 — thanks to Kayci Faulkingham’s putback score at the final buzzer.

In Wednesday’s game, Kricket Thompson grabbed key rebounds, scored five points, including a critical three-point play, in the waning seconds and Hannah Coolen iced the game with two late free throws to put the hosts over the top.

Meanwhile, Belfast’s Lillie Mitchell practically willed the Lions back from their deficit with 11 points in the fourth quarter, including five in a row, and a trey, to actually give the visitors a 32-31 lead with 1:02 left.

Thompson converted a three-point play with 31.4 seconds left to give the hosts a 34-32 win. Coolen then iced two foul shots with 5.6 seconds left to create the final 36-32 margin of victory.

“I am really proud of my team tonight as they battled through adversity when their shot wasn’t falling and when Belfast took the lead late," said Mount View Mark Cooper. “Last time we played Belfast we were up nine points in the fourth quarter and lost at the buzzer.

"We’ve talked about that a lot and have spent time working on end-of-game situations so we would be more prepared for closing out a close game. It paid off tonight. The players held their composure and kept playing.”

Belfast led 6-5 after one quarter, but trailed 10-8 at halftime and 25-17 after three quarters. In the first half, the opponents combined for 18 points, while in the final 16 minutes they combined for 50.

For the Mustangs, Coolen netted 13 points; Thompson, seven; Syd Vogel and Madison Roux, six; and Lydia Bryant and Sophia King, two. The host made 5-of-13 foul shots (38 percent) and got two treys from Roux and one from Vogel.

Coolen also chipped in 10 rebounds and two assists, Vogel eight rebounds and six assists, King five rebounds, Roux four rebounds, Bryant two caroms and Thompson nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.

For Belfast, Mitchell netted 18 points; Faulkingham, nine; Hailee Lindelof, four; and Sydni Moores and Grace Fitzjurls two. The Lions canned all six free throws, including 4-of-4 for Mitchell, and got 3-pointers from Mitchell and Faulkingham.

Additionally, Moores secured 12 rebounds and Faulkingham made five steals.

"The game started really slow with no one able to find the basket in the first half," said Cooper. "The second half was exciting as we were able to stretch the lead to 25-14 in the third and 29-19 in the fourth. Belfast made a great comeback and took the lead 32-31 with about a minute to go. We didn’t get rattled and persevered with a couple of key plays down the stretch from Coolen and Thompson to hold on."

Veteran Lion coach Scott Benzie said playing the night prior against Maranacook of Readfield — the Mount View-Belfast game was moved up a day due to inclement weather concerns — made it tougher for the Lions. Mount View also played the next before against Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.

Still, the coach liked his team’s overall effort against the Mustangs. “We had many shots that we normally make in the first half that just didn’t drop. We did exactly what we wanted in the first half, holding [Hannah] Coolen to two points and the [Mustangs] to 10. We just couldn’t get shots to drop.”

Cooper said his young team has "learned a lot this season, gained confidence and trust in each other. I really like this team. We finished the season with nine girls, battled injuries, and have come a long way from where we started. We have no seniors and five freshmen so we really believe that the Mount View girls basketball future is bright.”

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Mount View (2-16) is 15th and Belfast (1-17) 17th (last), while Hermon (17-1) is first in the 17-team region. The top 12 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Belfast at Mount View girls basketball
Mount View hosts Belfast on Feb. 5 in high school girls basketball in Thornidke. (Video by: Ken Waltz and Zack Miller)
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Lydia Bryant. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel, facing, and Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel, left, and Belfast's Natalie Hamlin. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Grace Fitzjurls. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast Sydni Moores, left, and Mount View's Sydney Vogel, right, and Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen, left, and Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson, left, and Hannah Coolen, middle, as well as Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Grace Fitzjurls. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Breya MacFarline. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sophia King, middle, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux, left, and Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Hailee Lindelof. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast players watch the game from the bench. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Sydni Moores, back, and Mount View's Breya MacFarline. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jettison Tozier, 4, of Benton helps keep the "books" at the scorer's table with Bonnie Shaw, left, and Allen Holmes. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Grace Fitzjurls. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Dakota Jones, left, and Belfast's Sydni Moores. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen, facing, looks to pass to teammate Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Breya MacFarline, left, and Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel, left, and Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Sydney Vogel, left, and Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Lydia Bryant, left, and Sophia King, middle, as well as Belfast's Hailee Lindelof. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Hailee Lindelof, left, Sydni Moores, middle, and Lillie Mitchell, far left, as well as Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen, left, and Sydney Vogel, back, along with Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Lillie Mitchell, front, and Mount View's Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Sydni Moores, front, and Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Grace Fitzjurls, right, and Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux, left, and Belfast's Grace Fitzjurls. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson, left, and Sydney Vogel, front, as well as Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen, left, and Sydney Vogel. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson, front, and Sydney Vogel, right, as well as Belfast's Lillie Mitchell. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Lillie Mitchell, left, and Sydni Moores, back, as well as Mount View's Sophia King. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Belfast's Sydni Moores, Hailee Lindelof, Grace Fitzjurls, coach Scott Benzie, Lillie Mitchell adn Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Lydia Bryant. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham, front, and Mount View's Hannah Coolen, right, and Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Madison Roux. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast coach Scott Benzie. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Sydni Moores, right, and Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast's Hailee Lindelof. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Kricket Thompson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast coach Scott Benzie, front, and the Lions during a timeout. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Belfast coach Scott Benzie, front, and the Lions during a timeout. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Hannah Coolen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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