The Brattleboro Colonels' girls basketball team has struggled through the season. But last Friday night, against the Mount Anthony Patriots at the BUHS gym, the Colonels pulled off an improbable comeback with 59-48 win over the Patriots.
The win qualified 5-11 Brattleboro for the Division I playoffs.
“This group has the character and the heart,” said Colonels coach Paul Freed. “They just never quit.”
Brattleboro fell behind early, got close, fell behind again, and trailed by 12 at the half. Mount Anthony maintained the lead in the third quarter, but with about 3:30 left, the Colonels went on a 13-5 run and tied the game, 41-41, heading into the final quarter.
Devin Millerick made two three-pointers in the third quarter, and Hailey Derosia, Morgan Derosia, and Kelsea McAuliffe all had threes during the comeback.
The Colonels would then take the lead to stay in the fourth quarter. Thanks to great outside shooting, an effective zone defense, and a pair of technical fouls assessed against MAU, Brattleboro went on a 12-1 run in the last five minutes to secure the win. Shenise Taliaferro gave the Colonels rebounding and inside scoring off the bench, while Hailey Derosia scored six points during the final Colonel surge.
Freed said his team has had problems finishing games, but against MAU, they took control in the final minutes and never let go. “We really wanted it more than they did,” he said. “That was a team effort. We exhibited patience and poise, and I've not been more proud of this group than I am now.”
Millerick led the Colonels with 16 points. Hailey Derosia followed with 15 points, Taliaferro added 10, and Morgan Derosia scored nine. Brianna Legacy was MAU's top scorer with 16.
Earlier in the week, the Colonels played another tough team, the Rutland Raiders, on the road and came up short in a 34-28 loss on Feb. 1.
The teams were tied at 7-7 after one quarter, while the Colonels took a 15-13 lead into the intermission. Rutland responded with aggressive defense and rebounding that limited second-chance shooting attempts by the Colonels.
Gabby Carpenter finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds) while McAuliffe came off the bench to provide six points, three rebounds, and three steals. Hailey Derosia added five points and five steals.
• After losing six of their previous seven games, Bellows Falls got back into the win column with a 28-26 victory at Holland Gymnasium on Feb. 1. Hannah Kelly scored nine points and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead the Terriers, while Murphy Hicks had five points and 16 rebounds.
A night later, BF then made it two wins in a row with a 46-32 home victory over Poultney. Kelly and Abbe Cravinho scored nine points each as the Terriers improved to 6-11.
• In the third annual “Hoops for Hope” game against Twin Valley on Feb. 3 in Townshend, Leland & Gray led wire-to-wire in a 40-25 victory. The Rebels took a 14-6 lead after the first quarter, and then held the Wildcats to just two points in the second quarter.
Hannah Buffum and Jesse Stockwell led the 9-8 Rebels with 11 points apiece. Tayler Courchesne scored 11 points for 7-8 Twin Valley.
The Rebels have used their home boys' and girls' basketball match-ups against Twin Valley as a fundraiser in memory of Alexis “Lexy” Giallella, a Leland & Gray student who died of cancer in 2013. This year's game raised more than $2,000 for the Alexis Giallella Scholarship Fund.
• Brattleboro nearly had a fantastic finish of its own against Rutland on Feb. 4 at the BUHS gym, but fell short, 55-53.
This was a game that saw some extreme momentum changes. Rutland jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first 90 seconds, but four three-pointers - two each from Dylan DeJordy and Taylor King, sparked the Colonels to an 18-4 surge to close out the first quarter.
Rutland then rallied back, holding Brattleboro to just six points while getting a pair of threes from Noah Tyson and four points each from Chris Slade and Kyle Cassarino to take a 26-24 lead at the half.
The Raiders controlled the third quarter also as Cassarino added another six points and built their lead to 41-33 at the end of the third.
Brattleboro then rallied as DeJordy sank three more three-pointers. King got another three and Josh Hanson added six points as the Colonels battled back to cut the Rutland lead to two with less than 15 seconds to go. DeJordy tried a long three-pointer that fell short, and Rutland escaped with the win.
DeJordy was the Colonels' high scorer with 17. Hanson finished with 14 points, and King had 12 points. Cassarino finished with 20 points, Tyson and Nathaniel Kingsley added 11 each.
Colonels coach Joe Rivers said he was pleased with the ball movement and the way King and Hanson stepped up on offense, but he wasn't happy with the 15 turnovers his team committed.
“That's too many for this time of year,” he said. “Still, we competed right to the end and, overall, I'm pleased with our progress, especially when you compare it to the first game we played against them (a 66-55 loss on Jan. 14).”
Earlier in the week, Brattleboro held off Burr & Burton, 56-41, on Feb. 2 at the BUHS gym. The Colonels led by two, 20-18, at the half, but superior rebounding (a 33-20 advantage for the game) and outside shooting enabled Bratttleboro to pull away.
DeJordy sank four three-pointers and led the Colonels with 20 points, while Eli Lombardi and King added 12 and 10, respectively.
• Proctor snapped Leland & Gray's five-game win streak on Feb. 2 with a 75-51 win in Townshend. Nick Morrow scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the first half as the Phantoms had a 35-30 lead at the break. Proctor then took control of the game in the second half.
• Twin Valley rolled to a 55-33 home win over Green Mountain on Feb. 2. Brett Swanson and Baylee Crawford scored 18 and 11 points, respectively to lead the Wildcats.
The Wildcats then thumped Leland & Gray, 74-44, on Feb. 4 in the annual Hoops for Hope game in Townshend. Twin Valley ended the week at 13-5 with the No. 5 spot in the Division III rankings.
• Leland & Gray ended the week with a 66-25 loss at Windsor last Saturday, their third loss of the week. The Rebels fell to 6-12.
• Evan Perkins had three goals and three assists as the Brattleboro boys qualified for the Division II playoffs with an 8-2 road win over Burlington last Saturday.
Braxton Lynn also scored three goals and assisted on two others for the 5-12 Colonels. Dan McMahon and Declan Lonergan each had a goal and two assists and goalie Nick Perusse made 17 saves.
Jack Lenihan had two goals for the 2-12 Seahorses. Leo Nerbak made 23 saves.
Earlier in the week, on Feb, 3, the Colonels lost at home to Middlebury, 7-2.
• The Brattleboro girls ended their week one win away from a playoff spot. On Feb. 3, they lost on the road to Woodstock, 2-0.
Last Saturday at Withington Rink, U-32 skated to a 4-2 win over the Colonels. Michaela Bernier scored two goals and assisted on another to lead U-32. Megan Ryan and Logan Blake also scored for the 12-4 Raiders.
Axis Balsley-Petraska and Elizabeth Day each scored for the 3-13-2 Colonels.
Rec. Dept. presents Junior Olympics
• Brattleboro's annual Winter Carnival is next week, and a big part of the festivities is the annual Junior Olympics races presented by the Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department at Living Memorial Park.
On Monday, Feb. 15, at 9:30 a.m., downhill races take place at the Ski Tow. On Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m., skating races will be held at Withington Rink.
Students from grades 1-12 are eligible and are encouraged to enter the events. All events are free of charge.
There will be five grade groups for each event; grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Each event will have a boys' division and girls' division. Ribbons will be awarded to the first five winners in each division and participation ribbons to all. Register for each event the morning of the event. Call the Rec Office at 802-254-5808 with questions.