BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro girls varsity basketball team fell to an unbeaten Essex, 46-32, Thursday night.
The Colonels couldn’t find their tempo in the opening quarter and missed some easy layups, allowing Essex to go on a 13-4 run.
The Colonels’ Kayla Savage tied it up early with a short layup. With effective passing, Savage and Abbie Lesure worked it down low to drop it inside to sophomore Meghan Powell, who pushed her way through some defense for a deuce. Powell had six points on the evening.
Powell also had a steal, but Kari Lavalette of Essex took it right back a few seconds later, and dished it to Alex Macfarlane, who put one in, finishing with eight points total.
Lesure had a dynamite second quarter, which she started off by splashing a three, and then followed up by draining a couple of jumpers.
Essex had a 22-11 lead at halftime.
Brattleboro tried to run some screens in the first half, but the Hornets had obviously done their homework and contested shots by the hosts.
Brattleboro got trapped in the corner over and over, which frustrated them as their opponents got a second wind. This enabled the Hornets to draw some fouls and score almost half of their total points on foul shots.
And they were nearly automatic.
Essex was 20 for 26 from the line, with 11 points coming from Kara Sheftic, whose only makes all night were from the stripe. Another Hornet starting player, Lauren Miles, also managed 11 points, and the two led their team in scoring.
"It was a lot of hard work to keep Sheftic away from the basket," noted Freed.
Taylor Bird made a free throw to bring the Colonels to within eight, as the second quarter got underway. She and Lesure led Brattleboro with nine points apiece total.
"I value our players’ effort tonight," said Brattleboro coach Paul Freed. "They didn’t give up, and worked hard right until the end."
The BUHS coach was right, as the Brattleboro team did not let their emotions get the best of them.
Slowly closing in on the leaders, the Colonels looked like they still had plenty of time to mount a comeback, as the third quarter began. Powell threw in a monster hook shot off the glass after receiving it from teammate Maddy Derosia, who had a goal herself in the fourth.
Brattleboro’s most successful quarter, was the last, as the team fought on to rack up 13 more points. It was Bird’s best, too, as she nailed a trey, sank a 2-pointer, then made a couple freebies.
"We’re still getting our feet wet and figuring things out," said Freed. "I told the players after the game to come out with their heads up. Essex played a great game. Right now, we are approaching a critical time (in the season), but we’ve got a good pulse."
The 1-2 Colonels play their next game at St. Johnsbury on Friday, Dec. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.