BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro boys basketball team took a 51-39 victory over rival MAU for its sixth win, to finish out their regular season Friday night.
The BUHS student fans were in full regalia; some covered in purple and black face paint and beads, and one guy was in a skirt.
Brattleboro kept MAU virtually scoreless for the first few minutes of the matchup. Isaac Roach hit two 3’s, and Jackson Batchelder took his time to also splash in a trey that helped fetch him seven points that quarter. Batchelder led the team with 18 total.
"We did a good job keeping them off balance," said Brattleboro coach Joe Rivers, whose team ends its regular season with a 6-14 record.
Tyler Higley leaped about five feet into the air to pull down a difficult board, and later hit a careful jumper. He had five defensive rebounds. Roach was also stellar on the defense, and went away with 11 points and five rebounds.
MAU’s Aarynaston Bibens’ fancy feet carried him to six points, but teammate James Levin’s downtown attempt got stuck in the corner of the rim, which spelled bad luck that quarter for the Patriots, as Brattleboro was up 15-10 when it was done.
The teams shut down each other through the second quarter, but the Patriots managed to outscore the hosts, 5-4 before the break. The Colonels missed some easy shots underneath, but it didn’t matter since they compensated with their defense. Chris McAuliffe aimed high, and went clear above the MAU defense, to put away a deuce, then stuffed their offense on their next drive. McAuliffe had four points and seven rebounds.
MAU’s Hao Guo was an offensive threat in the second quarter, and for much of the second half, as the junior capitalized on almost every Colonel miscue. He aided in getting the Pats to within four before the quarter wrapped up, and finished with nine points on the night.
Conner Elliot-Knaggs exploded in the third quarter for seven points that led Brattleboro on a 16-8 scoring spree. McAuliffe drove it down low, then tossed it to Roach, who boomeranged it back to big man McAullife, who dropped one in off the glass. Roach had a steal, then buried a shot from no man’s land. Knaggs had 12 points and three boards.
"Knaggs is a guy you sometimes can’t deny," noted Rivers. "He can run some aggressive plays."
Knaggs would give the Colonels a 10-point lead with one of his layups, with five minutes on the third period ticker. He also assisted Batchelder, who spun and nailed a fadeaway. Higley made a big block, then kicked it to Kyle Patno. He got it off to Knaggs, who threw in a hook. Knaggs also nailed a 3 in the Colonels’ best quarter. Sam Seigel tossed the ball in from the sideline to set up an alley-oop to Higley before the buzzer.
With a comfortable 12-point lead heading into the fourth, you’d think Brattleboro might have backed off a bit, but the team stayed relentless, as the Patriots still had a few tricks in their strategy.
Guo added six points that quarter, while Bibens and Evan Sparta each made a basket. It was enough to give them 16 points that quarter.
Brattleboro went to the line and hit 11 of their 12 shots in the last quarter, with seven of those courtesy of Batchelder. The winners were 15-for-19 during the entire contest.
Colonel seniors, Batchelder, Higley, and Patrick Gilligan were honored for their athletic acheivements before the tip-off.
"It was an emotional game for the seniors," said Rivers. "They have hit some frustrating parts in the season, but they want to do well."
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.