TOWNSHEND -- On a night when NBA players were being dealt from city to city, Haley Buffum basically stayed in one spot.
And who could blame her?
The sophomore forward drained three outside shots from the left wing that she rarely vacated, including a clutch 3 that sent the game to overtime, and the Leland & Gray girls basketball team nipped visiting Bellows Falls 42-40 in a Senior Night thriller.
"Buffum came through with that 3 and (Ashley) Goddard was strong for us in overtime," said Rebels coach Gregg Morrow, whose team improved to 8-10 overall. "I’m glad to get this one over with because of the jitters and nerves."
Trailing by 14 points early in the second half, six different players scored for the Rebels in the third quarter to get them within 25-20 with eight minutes left in regulation. And then Buffum connected three times from the outside in the fourth, including a trifecta from the left wing with 19 seconds remaining that knotted the score at 33-33.
And it forced a four-minute overtime period, in which all of the points scored were from the free throw line until Goddard’s putback put the hosts ahead 40-36 at the 25-second mark. Chelsea Wilder would then bury her third triple for the Terriers to make it a one-point game, but Buffum would calmly knock down a pair of freebies with seven seconds to go and then a Wilder free throw would make the final score 42-40.
"It was a tough situation for us. This group had never been in an overtime game," noted Bellows Falls coach Justin Aube, whose team fell to 4-13 with the heartbreaking loss.
The night began with Leland & Gray seniors Chelby Nystrom, Natalia Coelho, Alex Morrrow and Goddard all being honored. And then the fans watched a defensive struggle, with Enny Mustapha and Goddard ripping down rebounds and just 10 total points being scored in the opening quarter.
The Terriers started the second frame with a 6-0 surge, highlighted by Corina Stack’s 15-foot jumper, to up their lead to 12-4. They would take a 17-9 advantage to the break.
It was the seniors who led the hosts back in the third quarter. Coelho’s putback, layups by Goddard and Morrow, and Nystrom’s 3 made it 25-20 at the end of the third. Buffum and Wilder would put on shooting clinics from the outside in the final quarter, with Buffum’s heroic equalizer from the left wing being set up by Goddard’s skip pass.
Goddard and Buffum each scored 13 points to pace the victors. Wilder (15 points) and Emily Dufault (13) did the offensive damage for the Terriers.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.