Maine Girls’ Academy utilized its full-court press from the start Tuesday night in beating visiting Westbrook 54-47 in a girls’ basketball game.

The unbeaten Lions forced more than a dozen turnovers off its full-court press en route to their third straight victory.

“We feel confident with our press by being able to rotate girls in and keeping up the pressure,” Lions Coach Bill Goodman said. “We have the girls to play full court, so that’s what we are doing.”

MGA forced seven turnovers in the second quarter – five off the press – to turn a first-quarter deficit into a 10-point lead at intermission, 28-18.

Catherine Reid (eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals) got things going with a steal on the defensive end that led to a bucket down low by Serena Mower (game-high 22 points and nine rebounds).

Madison StoreySmith then picked off a pass on the ensuing full-court press before Reid scored on an offensive rebound put-back to make the score 24-16.

A fast-break layup by StoreySmith – off a missed Westbrook shot – pushed the lead to double digits for the first time before a Hope Olson steal and pass to Reid countered a Mikayla VanZandt fast-break layup to finish the half.

Four more third-quarter turnovers off MGA’s press helped build its biggest lead, 38-20, with 2:47 left.

“We can’t buy confidence and experience but that’s what were getting,” Goodman said. “We played four tough preseason games and been in three tough regular-season games and my team is showing me that when the pressure gets going they step up.”

Westbrook’s Diana Manduca, a former standout at Deering when Goodman was an assistant, is in her first head coaching position. She knows there will be growing pains and strong performances.

“We’ve been working on that all year – keeping our composure, not having silly turnovers and just throwing the ball away,” she said of her team that is 1-2. “We are getting better at it. So I am glad they pressed us so it gave us a little something to think about.

“We just need to take those next steps and learn that basketball is about runs. And if (the opposition) goes on a run we have to combat it. And we didn’t do that tonight. We need get better at that – (recognizing) the momentum-shifting runs and stopping them.”

Mower, a sophomore guard who put up 11 points in each half, showed her versatility throughout the game.

She scored on the fast break, from beyond the arc, medium-range jump shots and driving to the basket. She said the pace of the game helped her get in a groove.

“I am a person who likes to go fast on the court, so the momentum from the press really helped me tonight,” she said.

Goodman said Mower is reluctant on being the go-to player.

“I’ve been begging, pleading with her to look to score more,” he said. “She is a very unselfish player. She does so many things on the floor for us but I really want her to look to score. I am proud of the way she played tonight.”

Jill Joyce also hit double figures for the Lions, finishing with 13 points.

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