BRATTLEBORO -- The Colonels came out strong in the first quarter, but lost momentum in the second half, and Rutland beat Brattleboro, 33-25, Thursday at the BUHS gym.
"We came out with a lot of energy and were on a roll," said Colonel coach Paul Freed. "It wasn’t a ‘single person’ kind of game, but there were some ‘deer in the headlights’ moments for us."
Brattleboro’s scoring was very spread out against the 9-8 Raiders. The Colonels’ top earners were Kayla Savage, who led with six points, and Abbie Lesure, who had five.
Two minutes into the contest, Ari Harrison, one of Brattleboro’s star players, went down and left the game with an ankle injury. Freed said Harrison has stepped up her game recently, asserting herself early to control the center. The loss of Harrison was an early blow to the Colonels, which created some opportunities for the Raiders.
But these opportunites didn’t come cheap, as Brattleboro had taken a 10-6 advantage after the first quarter, their highest scoring period. The purple and white moved the ball around with care and ease, tossing it underneath, then up top, to throw off the Rutland defense.
Lesure bounced a pass to Harrison, who threw one in off the backboard, to give the Colonels their first bucket. On the Raiders’ return, Harrison was injured when trying to tear down a rebound.
With Harrison out, the Colonels’ defense could still rely on Savage and Aidan Early underneath, to attack the glass. Savage hit a couple jumpers from a sweet spot just inside the arc, and Brattleboro’s Meghan Powell, a junior forward, made a shot from near the foul line.
Rutland’s first hoop came from Logan Boyle, who hit a deuce after the team’s floor general, Maresa Bowen, gave it up to her from the top of the key. Bowen, a senior guard, totaled nine points.
Taylor Bird was Brattleboro’s defensive stopper all night, and she made Bowen’s life difficult when she attempted to set up plays. Bird also did her best to guard players a lot bigger than her, noted Freed.
The Colonels kept the visitors scoreless for about five minutes as the opening quarter wound down, until Rutland’s Jenna Olson and Kaitlyn Delong crashed the party, and put away six points between them to end the drought. Delong led the red team with 10 points.
Brattleboro tried to stick to its plan in the second quarter, but Rutland got wise to the home team’s strategy, and ended up tying it up, 17-17, at halftime.
Lesure picked up a loose ball and came down the left side, then slung it across the top to Daisy Giroux, who kicked it back out to Meghan Siggins, so she could bury a 3 to give the Colonels a seven-point lead. But Rutland’s Bowen with four minutes left.
The Colonels fought back that quarter, as Bird and Molly Goodhue each had a bucket. Then the Raiders’ Kristen Switzer tied it again with a freebie before the break. Switzer had eight points.
Switzer and Bowen helped Rutland stay on top in the third, as the team took a four-point lead before the fourth. Powell and Kara Piergentili were Brattleboro’s only shot makers that chapter, as the team struggled in the paint.
The Raiders burned up the fourth quarter clock to outscore the hosts, 9-5. Lesure hit a 3 at the buzzer.
The 7-10 Colonels will play at Windsor on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
David Aquino can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.