Wednesday December 19, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Don’t let Chris McAuliffe’s size fool you. He’s deceptively quick.

McAuliffe and Isaac Roach combined for 27 points to lead the Brattleboro boys varsity basketball team to its first win of the season, beating out Hartford, 57-41, Tuesday night.

McAuliffe led the team in scoring with 17 points, including a six-point run in the fourth quarter to help Brattleboro finish out. Most of McAuliffe’s shots were well-timed inside jumpers, with an occasiaonal fake, but he mostly drove it in as hard as he could.

"McAuliffe is trying to find his way at the varsity level," said Colonel coach Joe Rivers. "It is only his third game and he has improved. Tonight was an active game for him on both ends of the floor."

Underneath, McAuliffe was a force all night, grabbing at least 10 total rebounds.

The Colonels wasted no time going on the attack, outscoring their opponents 21-4 in the first quarter. Most of those goals came from Kyle Patno, who hit a deuce and a 3, while Roach and Jackson Batchelder each buried a couple 2’s.

Roach had 10 points on the evening, scoring two points in each subsequent quarter, and also put in the Colonels’ first basket, assisted by Batchelder.

Batchelder chipped in nine points, including a trey in the last quarter that got the BUHS fans on their feet. The senior guard worked the floor with Roach, and the two were double the trouble.

"They work great together," said Rivers. "If one falls behind, the other picks him up. Great teamwork."

Brattleboro missed a couple opportunities in the first few minutes of the second quarter, allowing Hartford some unanswered goals. But Roach went to work on the boards, and on one play, grabbed a rebound out of the air only to put it right back in the hole, all in the same up.

Tyler Higley ended his evening with six points and a steal. He and teammate Sam Siegel (one assist, one steal) went tandem to disrupt Hartford when they attacked.

The hosts were ahead 31-15 at the half.

The Hurricanes came within 10 points (38-28) midway through the third, but the Colonels’ Connor Elliott-Knaggs went in fast to draw some fouls. He sank both freebies that quarter and left with seven points total.

Hartford got its first basket of the second half from Josh Claflin. He went off in the third quarter, scoring seven, and had help from Justin DeVoid. The two put together 15 points with DeVoid hitting a deuce to make it 42-30, before the fourth got underway. Each had 10 points by game’s end.

"It’s all over!" chanted the BUHS fans with a few minutes left in play. Then about 30 of them, mostly students, blew their vuvuzelas. BUHS athletic director Chris Sawyer even had one in his hand.

"I was pleased our little schemes worked," said Rivers. "We did what we wanted to do both offensively and defensively. We knew what we were doing and it worked out to our benefit. Our goal is to stick to our program and not allow the opposing team time to run theirs."

Patno finshed with seven points for the 1-2 Colonels, who will host St. Johnsbury on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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