The Brattleboro Colonels girls’ basketball team started its season last week with a 48-36 home win on Dec. 9 over the Springfield Cosmos, and a 47-37 road loss to the South Burlington Rebels on Dec. 12.
This Colonel team has a good mix of youth and experience, and is strong defensively. For head coach Paul Freed, it is all a question of how well this team can come together, particularly when it is challenged.
Against the Cosmos, the Colonels had to deal with a tightly-officiated game which put many players in early foul trouble and forced Freed to go deeper into his bench in the opening game.
“Our depth helped us weather that storm,” said Freed. That, and the Colonels converting on their free throws down the stretch. When the game was seriously in doubt in the final quarter, the Colonels went 8-for-10 from the line.
The defense did the rest. After trailing by 10 at the half, Springfield closed to within two, 34-34, with five minutes to play. The Colonels then clamped down and held the Cosmos to just a pair of free throws the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Kelsea McAuliffe, Morgan Derosia and Megyn Ayotte combined for six free throws, and Derosia and Ayotte each hit a three-pointer as well to seal the win.
“I’m pleased with the way we regrouped, scrapped and got the win,” said Freed. “We played enough decent defense down the stretch.”
Devin Millerick scored a game-high 13 points to the Colonels, while Derosia added nine points and Ayotte finished with seven. Elizabeth Mackenzie led the Cosmos with nine points.
“Devin is the heart of this team,” said Freed. “I told her before the fourth quarter to lead us and take us home. I told her that I trust her.”
While it was free throws and defense that won it for the Colonels in the home opener, the tables were turned against South Burlington.
Trailing 26-19 at the half, Brattleboro rallied to a 32-32 tie heading into the fourth quarter. However, it was the Rebels who were clutch at the free throw line, making seven of them in the final minutes to win the game.
Gabby Carpenter had a monster game for the Colonels, with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She had six points in the Colonels’ third-quarter comeback. Derosia hit a pair of three-pointers, and Jaida Henry pulled down 10 rebounds.
“We still haven’t figured out how to finish a game,” said Freed after the Springfield game. “Our game plan is to hold our opponents to under 50 points. Our offense will come around, I’m sure of that.”
• Leland & Gray completed its season-opening homestand with a 2-1 record.
On Dec. 7, the Rebels rolled over South Royalton, 52-21. Freshmen Hannah Buffum and Maris Linder led the way with 10 and nine points, respectively.
Two nights later, Windsor needed overtime to beat the Rebels, 53-46. Buffum was the Rebels’ high scorer with 15, while Rachel Borgesen added 10.
The Rebels will have lots of time to regroup, as they are off until Dec. 22, when they will face Conant in the Keene State Holiday Tournament.
• Twin Valley picked up a pair of wins last week, with a 46-28 road victory on Dec. 8 against Mid-Vermont Christian and a 27-20 home win on Dec. 10 against Woodstock.
Against MVC, the Wildcats were led by Tayler Courchesne (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Kirra Courchesne (12 points, 7 rebounds).
The Courchesnes again did the heavy lifting against Woodstock as Tayler has 12 points, 10 rebounds, and seven steals while Kirra chipped in with eight points.
The Wildcats improved to 2-1 with the wins.
• Bellows Falls lost at Arlington, 30-24, in the Terriers’ season opener on Dec. 9. Hannah Kelly and Murphy Hicks got into foul trouble early and sat out most of the first half for BF. Arlington also took advantage at the free throw line, outshooting the Terriers, 12-6.
• On Dec. 26, at 5:30 p.m., at Holland Gymnasium, the third annual Bellows Falls girls’ basketball alumni game will be played. Stars from past years will take on this year’s team in an exhibition game to benefit Our Place, the town’s food shelf and daytime shelter.
Admission is by donation — either cash or a non-perishable food item.
• After starting the season with a win, the Leland & Gray Rebels suffered two big losses, a 74-29 defeat at Proctor on Dec. 7, and a 76-46 loss to Brattleboro at home on Dec. 11.
Brattleboro head coach Joe Rivers had two priorities in facing the Rebels, give everyone playing time and escape without any injuries.
“We almost did both,” he said, pointing out that reserve forward Calvin Lafland turned his ankle at the end of the game.
The Colonels used the fast break to run Leland & Gray off the court. “We’re trying to establish a pace,” said Rivers. “We want to play good transition offense, because that’s what complements our skill set.”
In the first quarter, forwards Eli Lombardi and Josh Hanson scored nine and eight points, respectively, as the Colonels build up a 22-12 lead after one quarter. Brattleboro then put the game away with a 23-9 blitz in the second quarter as the Colonel guards started hitting their shots.
“Leland & Gray played well, I thought, but I don’t think they’ve played a game at this pace,” Rivers said.
Rebels head coach Andy Nystrom agreed. “Our defense was terrible in the transition game,” he said. “We gave up a lot of easy baskets. We could not match their physical style.”
This was the second straight year that the Division I Colonels played the Division III Rebels. “Last year, we got within four points with a couple of minutes left, so we can be competitive with them,” said Nystrom.
Bryce Karg led the 1-2 Rebels with 11 points. Owen Beattie added nine and Aaron Claussen and Nick Merrow chipped in eight each.
The Colonels spread the scoring wealth around as Lombardi finished with 19 points. Hanson added with 14 and guards Tyler DeJordy and Ian Fulton-Black finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Every Colonel played, and all but two scored.
Earlier in the week, the Colonels beat Mount St. Joseph, 65-55, in their home opener on Dec. 7. DeJordy had the hot hand with 19 points, including four three-pointers. Hanson had 14 points and four blocks, while Lombardi finished with 12 points.
• Mount St. Joseph rallied from a 30-22 halftime deficit to beat Twin Valley, 53-46, in Rutland on Dec. 9. The Mounties tightened up their defense in the second half and took the taller Wildcats out of their inside game.
Skyler Boyd (6-foot-3) lit up the Mounties for 20 points, but teammates DJ Lazelle (6-4) and Kyle Murdock (6-3) were held to eight points each. Boyd also pulled down 14 rebounds.
• Bellows Falls took a 28-16 lead at the half and kept the pressure on to beat West Rutland, 52-43, on the road Dec. 9. BF had three players in double figures as Anthony Mueller had 15 points, Shane Clark added 14, and Cam Joy chipped in 11.
The Terriers then improved to 2-1 on the young season with a 58-29 win over Springfield on Dec. 11 at Holland Gymnasium..
Mount Snow Express Bus runs again
The Brattleboro School Endowment recently announced the return of the “Mount Snow Express Bus,” which will run for its third year this ski season. This year’s buses are sponsored by A.L. Tyler & Sons, Lawton Flooring, The Marina Restaurant, and Vermont Country Deli.
Starting on Sunday, Dec. 27, the bus will run every Sunday (weather dependent) through the end of February. It will also run on the Thursday of February vacation week, Feb. 18, and on Town Meeting Day on March 1.
The bus leaves from Academy School’s front door area at 8 a.m., and then stops at the gas station on Route 30 around 8:15. It arrives at Sundance Lodge at 9 a.m. The return trip departs the Sundance Lodge at 4 p.m., arriving back to the gas station on Route 30 by 4:30 and back to Academy around 4:45 p.m.
Riders must sign a waiver of liability, and must be a seventh-grader or older in order to ride without an adult. Bus riders are responsible for being on the bus at the time of departure. One adult chaperone rides the bus each week. Reminders and cancellations will be announced via an email list they will maintain, and also on their Facebook page at Brattleboro School Endowment.
Email email@example.com to get on the list, or to volunteer to be a chaperone on the bus.