The Brattleboro Colonels girls’ basketball team isn’t the tallest or the fastest team in Division I, but teams without speed or height can rise above those shortcomings with good defensive play.
Against their archrivals the Mount Anthony Patriots on Jan. 7, the Colonels used hard work on defense with just enough scoring to battle back from an eight-point deficit and win, 52-46.
Senior guard Abbie Lesure was the key to the win. She only made one field goal (a 3-pointer), but was 12-for-14 from the free-throw line — including some high-pressure free throws in the final minutes — to finish with 15 points.
“Abbie’s the heart of this team,” said Colonels coach Paul Freed. “We feed off her energy. And she never gets tired.”
Her teammate, sophomore center Gabrielle Carpenter, added 13 points and six rebounds, while Maddy Derosia had eight points and six rebounds.
It was the Colonels’ defense that won the game in the fourth quarter, as Lesure and Maddy Derosia forced some Mount Anthony turnovers to spark an 8-0 run that turned a 43-35 deficit into a 43-43 tie with 3:30 to play.
Carpenter scored the go-ahead bucket and added a free throw, and Meghan Powell followed up with a layup off an inbounds play to give the Colonels a 48-43 lead with 1:45 to go.
“Our defense was the difference,” Freed said. “Mount Anthony has averaged 65 points in their last four games, so we just wanted to get stops.”
The Colonels played man-to-man defense most of the game and kept the 7-2 Patriots from getting into any kind of shooting rhythm.
Mount Anthony mass-substituted all night long and tried to use its depth to tire the Colonels, but Brattleboro hung tough and played the Patriots to a 24-24 tie. The Colonels faltered a bit in the third quarter but pulled things together in the final eight minutes to win.
“MAU tries to wear you down and make you play their game,” Freed said. “We got impatient in the third quarter, but once we settled down, we started playing our game.”
The win improved the Colonels’ record to 4-3.
• Coach Joe Goodhue says his Bellows Falls team “has speed and has talent. We just have to use it.” After 10 days off that were devoted to several hard practices, the Terriers found their groove with a 57-21 rout of Woodstock on Jan. 9 at Holland Gymnasium.
BF quickly put the game out of reach by outscoring the Wasps, 14-5, in the first quarter. The second quarter was the Hannah Kelly show, as the sophomore forward scored 12 of her game-high 23 points in that stretch for a 29-11 lead at the half.
Senior guard Chelsea Wilder spread the scoring wealth as she finished with 10 assists to go with her 10 points. Sophomore guard Keri Ticino scored eight of her 10 points in the second half.
Woodstock had trouble scoring all night, particularly in the final quarter, when the Wasps were held to a single basket.
“We worked on closing down their inside game,” Goodhue said. “I’m very, very pleased with how we played.”
The win evened the Terriers’ record to 3-3.
• Twin Valley beat Woodstock, 47-23, on Jan. 3 to improve the Wildcats’ record to 3-4.
• Kelsey Wedin hit a jump shot and a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to give West Rutland a 41-37 win over Leland & Gray on Jan. 6 in Townshend.
Wedin finished with 10 points, while teammate Brooke Raiche led all scorers with 19. Haley Buffum scored 13 for the 2-8 Rebels.
• Twin Valley kept its unbeaten streak going with a 53-40 win over Bellows Falls in Westminster on Jan 6. Sam Molner had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, while teammate Skyler Boyd contributed with 10 points and nine rebounds. Cameron Joy led the Terriers with 9 points.
Two nights later, the Wildcats improved to 9-0 with a 69-52 win over Proctor. The reserves played a big role in the win as Brett Swanson sank five 3-pointers and Kyle Murdoch added 11 points. Molner led the starters with 16.
• Tanner Freeman scored a game-high 11 points to help Brattleboro to a 46-27 win over Mount St. Joseph on Jan. 5. It was the third consecutive victory for the 4-5 Colonels.
• Bellows Falls fell to 1-7 with a 56-27 loss to Green Mountain on Jan. 9 in Chester.
• Jan. 8 wasn’t a good day for the Brattleboro hockey teams. In a doubleheader at Withington Rink, the Colonel boys were blanked, 7-0, by U-32 while the Colonel girls fell to Burr & Burton, 6-1.
Brattleboro goalies Nick Perusse and Durin Hoyer faced 37 shots as the Raiders took a 6-0 lead after two periods. It made for back-to-back losses for the 4-5 Colonel boys.
The loss to Burr & Burton snapped a two-game win streak for the 2-5 Colonel girls.