Cheverus sank six of its first nine 3-pointers to open a large first-half lead, then rolled to a 61-39 victory against visiting Sanford in an SMAA girls’ basketball game Thursday.

“We came in knowing this was a game we needed to win,” said Abby Cavallaro. She scored 14 points for the Stags, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

“We’re not in the playoffs now and we obviously want to make a run … We’ve got to get some big wins in there or our season will be shorter than we would like.”

Kaylin Malmquist also scored 14 points for the Stags (3-2).

Five players hit 3-pointers for Cheverus, which opened a 19-5 lead when Alayna Briggs hit the Stags’ sixth 3-pointer of the game less than a minute into the second quarter.

“Everyone has the green light to shoot,” said Cavallaro, who sank all three of her 3-pointers in the first half. “We just try to find whoever is hot that night and go to them.”

“We shoot 3s,” Cheverus Coach Steve Huntington said. “That’s who we are. We’ve got a bunch of shooters.”

But Huntington doesn’t want his players to toss up just any 3-point shot.

“We’re trying to focus in on rhythm 3s instead of just taking 3s,” he said. “We’re trying to find that balance. What’s a good 3? What’s a bad 3? Not every open 3 is a good 3.”

The Stags carried a 30-12 lead into the second half, but the Spartans (3-5) recovered to make a run in the third quarter.

Paige Cote, a 6-foot-1 freshman center, started the third quarter by scoring seven of her game-high 19 points and Megan O’Connell completed two three-point plays during the final two minutes of the quarter to trim the Cheverus lead to 12 points.

Cote’s three-point play in the opening minute of the fourth quarter brought Sanford (3-5) within 41-30, but that was as close as it got.

Huntington inserted a smaller, quicker lineup into the game and the Stags went on a 12-2 run to open a 54-32 lead with a little more than two minutes to play.

“I think the group we had in was a fast-paced team,” Cavallaro said. “There’s a lot of defense in that group. We love to play together defensively. It’s fun to watch and fun to play.”

All of the Stags’ points in that late-game run came off of their fast breaks.

“Everyone says we live and die by the 3, so we’re trying to switch that up a little and get some more consistent shots in the post,” Cavallaro said.

Huntington said the victory was a step toward goal of reaching the postseason.

“We want to get in (the playoffs), and I don’t care where we’re at (in the seedings) as long as we’re playing our best when we get there,” Huntington said.

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