BRATTLEBORO >> Chewbacca, who got revenge by blowing away Ren on the big screen at the Latchis Theatre, wasn't the only accurate shooter on Tuesday night.
Rice's varsity girls basketball team, which has appeared in four of the last five Division 1 finals, made six shots from beyond the arc during a 53-35 victory over host Brattleboro.
"They are well coached and aggressive. We needed to play a zone against them, because they are too big and athletic," said BUHS coach Paul Freed of the Green Knights. "And they kept hitting those 3's."
Leading 29-20, Rice went on a 7-2 run to begin the second half. Lizzy Lyman started things off with a triple from the right wing, Jordan Lawrence knocked down a 15-foot jumper, and point guard Lisa Sulejmani finished off a break.
The visitors later got a couple of layups from Lawrence and another from Leah Larivee before taking a 42-29 advantage into the fourth quarter.
"They are in better condition than we are. I'll give them that," stated Freed. "I admire my team's fight right to the end. We're getting better and better as this season goes along."
The Colonels got a spark from Hailey Derosia, who opened the final frame with a trifecta from the right wing and later blew by Sulejmani along the right sideline.
"She's a freshman!" screamed the BUHS student section.
The Colonels were outscored 11-3 the rest of the way, with five different players making a basket for Rice. Down the stretch, the home fans had to be liking the physical play from Shenise Taliaferro, who was boxing out perimeter shooters and snagging defensive rebounds.
Lawrence (15 points), Sulejmani (11) and Rachel Chicoine (10) were the offensive leaders for the winners. Gabby Carpenter paced the 1-4 Colonels with 13 points, while Hailey Derosia followed with six points and Morgan Derosia added a nickel's worth.
"Carp's heart is as big as a dump truck. Early on, they just didn't have an answer for her," Freed told the Reformer.
The junior center scored eight points in the first half, on four free throws and a couple of layups.
After Carpenter's fourth make from the charity stripe deadlocked the score at 8-8, Rice went on an 8-0 surge. Quick passes against Brattleboro's 2-3 zone allowed for open treys by Sulejmani and Lawrence, and Chicoine contributed with a layup.
But the purple and white battled right back, using a freebie from Alexandra Livanis and an NBA 3 just before the buzzer from Morgan Derosia to get within 16-12 at the end of the opening quarter.
Lawrence and Larivee each connected from downtown over the next eight minutes as the hot-shooting Green Knights increased their lead to 29-20. All of Brattleboro's second-quarter points came on layups, including a putback from Taliaferro, a couple of Carpenter bunnies, and a pretty move by junior guard Devin Millerick.
The 1-4 Colonels will host Otter Valley on Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Division 1 Standings
Saint Johnsbury (4-1)
South Burlington (4-3)
Saint Albans (2-2)
Mt. Mansfield (2-3)
Burr and Burton (3-3)
North Country (0-4)
Missisquoi Valley (0-4)