BRATTLEBORO -- As Alabama celebrated their BCS title Monday, a Crimson Tide crew of a different cloth rolled through the BUHS gym to enjoy a win of their own, as Brattleboro fell to Spaulding, 45-36, in a girls varsity basketball matchup held Tuesday evening.
The Colonels battled to within two points of the visitors during the fourth (34-32), and came close to a tie, but never managed to get ahead.
While Spaulding’s shots from the field were decent, the team likely won the contest on free throws, shooting 15-for-16, sinking seven of those priceless buckets in the final quarter. That was Colonel coach Paul Freed’s opinion.
"I was pleased," said Freed. "We could have called it a night, but we stayed in it. It was a great game to be part of. I thought Kara Pergentilli did particularly well tonight spotting our bigs. But everyone showed up and played with a lot of character and pride."
Hot on the Tide’s heels, Taylor Bird had an explosive fourth, racking up eight points, as she attempted to rally her team. On one of her trips to the hoop, the sophomore guard rebounded her own ball after a desperate try off the glass, then, while in the air, tossed it home to bring the Colonels to within six points, 3:30 left in regulation. Bird drained 13 points to lead the hosts.
Bird splashed the team’s first 3-pointer in the opening quarter, and worked a clean pass inside to Meghan Powell, who put the Colonels on the board with a deuce. Ari Harrison contributed with a graceful hookshot as the quarter drew to a close, Brattleboro trailing by a point.
Harrison put away six points, while Powell had four.
Spaulding surged ahead in the second quarter, 8-4, with Morgan Fowler, Paige McNally, and Isabel Hardy on shot duty. It was 16-11 after the first half.
Brattleboro scored nine points during the third, with makes from Kayla Savage, Bird, and Powell, plus Kara Pergentilli’s hoop and harm, to get the team to a six-point deficit.
Powell and Harrison teamed up underneath in the fourth to keep the Tide out of the paint, and finished with over a dozen rebounds between them.
Two perfect foul shots by Bird got the Colonels as close as they would get all night, after Spaulding pushed back to outscore Brattleboro, 17-16, in a physical, thrilling final quarter.
Conner LaFrance’s two-pointer gave Spaulding an 11-point advantage with only minutes remaining, which was enough to keep Bratttleboro off their backs. LaFrance led her team with 12 points. She and teammate Katie Thygsen carried the Tide from the line with six apiece.
The 2-5 Colonels will play at Amherst on Monday at 7 p.m.
David Aquino can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.