Brattleboro center Ari Harrison used her right hand to score a dozen fourth-quarter points and essentially wave goodbye to 11th seeded Burr and Burton in a Division 1 girls basketball playdown game on Wednesday night at BUHS.
The No. 6 Colonels rallied from 17 points down to beat the Bulldogs, 50-47, in an absolute thriller.
"Give them some credit, they made some shots in the first half," stated Brattleboro coach Paul Freed, whose team trailed 24-7 with five minutes left in the second quarter. "And then we made a nice run."
Super sub Devin Millerick sparked the rally. The freshman guard had a steal, a defensive rebound, made two pretty passes and also buried a 3 from the right wing to get the hosts within nine points at the break.
"That 3 she hit woke the place up. She has a calming presence out there and she knows her limitations. She has great vision and made some nice passes," said Freed of Millerick.
Maddy Derosia powered a 7-0 Brattleboro run to begin the third quarter. She dished to Harrison for a mid-range jumper, drilled a trifecta from the left wing and then set up Millerick on a 2-on-1 break.
Freed was jumping up and down. The BUHS student section was into it. And No. 21 was getting ready to take over.
With her team trailing 39-34, Harrison would dominate over the final eight minutes. She played a part in all of Brattleboro’s last 16 points -- scoring a dozen, assisting on Meghan Powell’s jumper, and coming up with a steal that led to Taylor Bird’s runner. She also played tremendous post defense versus the talented Hannah Nicholson.
The Colonels were down, 47-44, at the 2:30 mark. But Harrison would score the last six points, going 2 for 2 from the line and delivering twice in the paint, to complete the comeback.
Brattleboro will now play at No. 3 MAU in Saturday’s semifinal at 2 p.m. The Patriots pounded Spaulding, 61-48, on Wednesday.
"I hope we are going into that game with some confidence. They are truly deserving of that No. 3 seed. It’s gonna be a tough one...it always is," noted the BUHS coach.
With five minutes to go in the first half, advancing seemed unlikely.
The Bulldogs played some lockdown man defense and also drained four shots from downtown in the first 10:30 to steal a 24-7 lead. Tessa Roberts hit two of those treys, while Hailey Brockett and Allessandra Gaiotti also connected from long range.
"I think a couple of our guards are afraid of challenging the 3 and getting beat off the dribble. But we can’t give up open 3’s. We play good help defense," said Freed.
He let his players know that there was plenty of time left, down 17 points with the visitors visibly pumped up.
Derosia started the comeback by sinking a couple of free throws and then completing a three-point play. And then Millerick swished a shot from beyond the arc that made it 24-15 and had the purple and white believing.
Derosia had a pair of assists and also splashed a trifecta during a 7-0 run that had the Colonels within two points early in the third quarter.
But with Harrison and Derosia later sitting with foul trouble, BBA power forward Olson Humphrey scored twice inside to help the visitors take a 39-34 lead into the final quarter.
Harrison was suddenly unstoppable.
The senior center had a putback, kissed home a short jumper on an inbounds play and later added a runner, thanks to a Kayla Savage screen, to give BUHS its first lead with 5:10 left.
After a 3 by Roberts, Harrison found Powell for an open jumper that tied the score at 42-42. And Nicholson would score inside, before Bird’s runner off of a Harrison steal made it 44-44 at the 2:30 mark.
The Bulldogs used a free throw from Roberts and a Maggie Oliver layup to go up 47-44. But Abbie Lesure had a key takeaway down the stretch and the last six points were all scored by Harrison, on a bunny, two freebies and a nice post move.
Harrison (21points), Derosia (10) and Millerick (7) paced the winners offensively. Roberts and Oliver scored 13 and 12 points respectively to lead the Bulldogs.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.