AUGUSTA — Those who may have questioned Carylanne Wolfington’s selection as Mountain Valley Conference southern division player of the year were supplied with ample evidence Monday night in the conference championship game.

With teammate and center Taylor Massey on the bench with foul trouble most of the game, Wolfington took over, leading Hall-Dale to a 49-41 victory against Livermore Falls.

Wolfington finished with a game-high 23 points, most of tough drives to the basket, played stellar defense and came up with two big plays at the end.

“She did just about everything you can do on a basketball court tonight,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “She’s just a great player making great plays.”

The Bulldogs trailed briefly twice in the fourth quarter, the first time when senior center Marissa Welch (15 points) scored on a layup to make it 34-32. Welch drew all four fouls assessed to Massey and figured to have a field day once the 6-foot-1 senior went to the bench. But junior Natalie Fenderson did a nice job containing Welch and her teammates all pitched in.

“It’s definitely hard when our go-to player in the post is missing,” Wolfington said. “But I think lots of people stepped it up on our team.”

True. The Bulldogs got nine points from Wendy Goldman and Kristen Moody and Kristina Buck scored key baskets in the fourth quarter. But everything went through Wolfington first. The 5-foot-6 junior capped an 8-0 Hall-Dale run with a pair of driving layups to put her team up 42-35 with three minutes left to play.

The Andies responded with six straight to make it 42-41 before Buck made an impossible looking putback and Moody hit a free throw with 57 seconds left. Livermore Falls would put the Bulldogs on the line twice in the late going and twice they missed the front end of bonus opportunities. Wolfington was there to bail them out, though, first with a steal, then with a tough rebound.

“It ices the game away right there,” Terrill said. “She only knows one speed, she 110 percent all the time.”

The Hall-Dale coach brought Massey back in during the final two minutes and she hit four free throws to seal the outcome. She finished with a season-low six points. Kathryn Ventrella added 13 points for the Andies.

The teams didn’t meet during the regular season but could play one another again in next week’s Western Maine Class C tournament on the same Augusta Civic Center floor. They’ll meet in the semifinals if the seedings hold up. Hall-Dale, 17-1, is seeded first while Livermore Falls, 15-3, goes in No. 3.

“It’s big for us,” Terrill said of the championship. “It’s a huge confidence booster and we get to say we’re back-to-back MVC champions. It’s a great honor.”

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Conference awards were announced between boys and girls championship games. Monmouth senior Tim Whitmore was named Southern Division player of the year and was joined on the division first-team all-star by teammate Roger Bachelder. Winthrop’s Billy Gordon and Monmouth Robby Neal were named to the second team.

The Southern Division girls team included Wolfington and Massey along with Winthrop senior Nikki Scott while Terrill was named division Coach of the Year. Monmouth’s Kristine Kahl and Hall-Dale Kristina Buck were named to the second team.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
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