Saturday December 15, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- It was Sophomore Night at BUHS, but nobody knew it until the game was over.

Okay, it wasn’t officially said holiday, but Brattleboro’s Meghan Powell and Taylor Bird were celebrating as if it were.

Bird and Powell combined for 24 points to lead the Colonels girls varsity basketball team to a 52-41 victory over Wahconah, Friday evening.

"We’ve got good mental toughness for such a young group," said Colonel coach Paul Freed. "We fell out of it for a while, but not until the fourth, and the players reconnected to finish it out."

Bird wasted no time going to the hoop during the opening quarter and drew some foul shots to put the team’s first point on the board. Meanwhile, Ari Harrison and Powell went to work on the boards.

It was 14-8 at the close of the first quarter, with half of Wahconah’s points coming from the line.

Harrison led the winners on defense with eleven rebounds and six steals, while Powell managed nine bounds. The two combined for nine offensive bounds total.

"Defensive rebounds are all about position," said Freed. "Offensive ones are all about heart. Powell came through with a lot of heart tonight on defense, and she took some shots that helped us out when the team was out of flux."

In her varsity debut, Powell was 5 for 9 from the field, scoring 11 points, which included a nice corner shot that tied the game 20-20 just before Wahconah’s Maddie Sprague gave her team the lead with a three. But Powell made both free throws and teammate Kayla Savage made a short shot to get Brattleboro back on top, 25-22, before the break. Savage had four points on the night.

Gabby Lavinio had her way with the Colonels through the first half. Brattleboro threw several gurads at her, in case she got hot.

And she got hot.

Lavinio surged in the second quarter to score 15 points, including two crucial 3’s, that kept Wahconah on the Colonels’ heels. But Harrison put a stop to that, stole the ball, then went away with it for an easy layup to close the gap, take back the lead, and keep it for the remainder of play.

"It was our first game, so we were really scrappy," said Harrsion, who finished with six points total. "We’re not quite completely together, but we’ll come around soon enough. The team has the connection -- now we just need the spark."

Lavinio hit another trey as the third quarter came to an end, but the Colonels were still in the lead, 36-33. Meghan Siggins hit a monster from downtown for Brattleboro.

On arguably their most memorable drive, Savage made a quick steal, then dished it off to Harrison, who handed it to Bird for a layup. This play discouraged the Warriors and they couldn’t find a way out.

Wahconah gave up four possessions in the fourth quarter.

Both teams went scoreless until about halfway through the last quarter, until Wahconah’s Shannon Lussier splashed a three to bring the score to within 10 points with five minutes left in regulation.

Brattleboro’s Maddy Derosia (4 points) made an easy layup, assisted by Savage, with only seconds on the clock, to seal the deal.

Bird scored 13 points to lead the Colonels, who will play at Burlington on Monday at 6:30 p.m.

David Aquino can be reached at daquino@reformer.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.