BRATTLEBORO -- With Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at BUHS tied at 32-32 midway through the third quarter, the student section was going bonkers.
But the screaming by the Colonel Crazies didn’t seem to affect Joey Shehadi at all.
The junior guard buried consecutive shots from beyond the arc and calmly sank four free throws down the stretch to help undefeated Burr and Burton escape with a 49-46 victory over host Brattleboro.
"He’s our leader. He’s our leading scorer," said Burr and Burton coach Dave Shehadi of his son.
The more physical Colonels dominated inside early on. Power forward Kyle Patno rejected a shot and pulled down two offensive rebounds in the first quarter, while center Chris McAuliffe had three buckets in the paint.
That had the dressed-in-white BUHS students into it. The group started chanting things such as "de-fense" and "let’s go Colonels" in unison.
Shehadi quieted the Colonel Crazies with nine points in the first eight minutes, including a pair of trifectas and a pretty runner. A follow by backcourt mate Tyeshawn Gadson knotted the score at 12-12 at the end of the opening quarter.
With McAuliffe in foul trouble, the Bulldogs were able to get hoops inside from Will Tate and Jack Bunker in the second quarter and build a slight lead.
Bobby Righi drilled a 3 from the right corner for the hosts, who went to the break trailing 26-22. The sell-out crowd was then treated to a halftime game, featuring the Windham Wizards, which consisted of some accurate shooting and good, team defense.
Conner Elliott-Knaggs, who was often seen checking Shehadi, went 4 for 4 from the stripe during a 10-6 Brattleboro run that knotted the score at 32-32 with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter. Home fans such as Charlie Siggins, Dick DeGray, Shari Annis and Carl "Flipper" Anderson were loving it.
Momentum was clearly on the home team’s side. The student section was into it. Burr and Burton’s perfect season was in serious jeopardy.
That’s when Shehadi took over -- draining a couple of shots from downtown and also making four freebies in a seven-minute span to give the Bulldogs a 47-42 lead with 5:00 to go.
The Colonels then got layups from Isaac Roach and Sam Siegel, making it 47-46. But they went 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-1 from the charity stripe the rest of the way.
Roach, who wowed the crowd by completing a four-point play early in the fourth frame, and Elliott-Knaggs paced the 7-5 Colonels with 11 points apiece. Shehadi scored 24, including five treys, to lead the 12-0 Bulldogs.
"Those guys are a good team over there," said the Burr and Burton coach of the Colonels. "This is a difficult place to play."
The Colonels will host rival MAU on Friday night at 7. The current top 10 teams in Division 1 are: 1. Burr and Burton (12-0), 2. Burlington (11-1), 3. St. Johnsbury (10-2), 4. Rice (9-3), 5. Mt. Mansfield (10-3), 6. MAU (8-4), 7. Colchester (8-5), 8. Brattleboro (7-5), 9. South Burlington (7-5), 10. Middlebury (5-5).
Brattleboro’s varsity roster: Coaches -- Joe Rivers, Nick Rose, Jason Coplan. Players -- Bobby Righi, Isaac Roach, Conner Elliott-Knaggs, Liam Perra, Kassidi Ramirez, Kevin Tao, Kyle Patno, Sam Siegel, Tanner Freeman, Vijay Woodworth, Ryan Gilligan, Ryan McAuliffe, Chris McAuliffe, Lynden Bunker, Cheikna Doucoure.
Brattleboro’s JV roster: Coach -- Jason Coplan. Players -- Tony Martinez, Dillon Green, Dylan DeJordy, Braden Meyer, Stephen Kerylow, Oliver Goodman, Chase Cuniff, Ian Fulton-Black, Eli Lombardi, Ryan Fontaine, Calvin Lafland, Josh Hanson.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.