BENNINGTON >> One of the most important stretches in a basketball game is the three minutes left before halftime. The Mount Anthony boys basketball team and coach Dan Sleeman stress that point because it gives the Patriots momentum heading into the locker room.
MAU used a 9-1 run in the last three minutes of the half to pull away en route to a 63-50 victory over visiting Brattleboro on Thursday night.
"They responded to it in the timeout," Sleeman said. "The rebounding battle was even, we need to be on the plus side. We were winning, but that's not it."
In the first quarter, Brattleboro hung around with some good 3-point shooting, but Mount Anthony took a 17-11 advantage to the second quarter. Then Jonas Parker, after only scoring two points in the first quarter, added 10 more in the second to lengthen the MAU lead.
"We came out with lots of intensity, even early on. Brattleboro is just one of those teams who always fight to the end, we always have to grind it out against them," said senior Tyler Champagne.
Champagne and Damon Burgess also hit shots from distance in the frame as MAU outscored the Colonels 20-8 in the second quarter.
"There are four of those three-minute stretches that we have to win — the first three minutes of the game, the last three of the first half, the first three of the second half and the last three of the game," Sleeman explained. "Good teams win two of the four, great teams win three of the four and unstoppable teams win all four. Against Rutland, we didn't win any, tonight we had three of the four."
Brattleboro started to hit a few more shots in the second half as Eli Lombardi, who only scored two points in the first half, had 17 in the second to try and pull the Colonels back in it. Early in the fourth, they got the lead down as low as 10, but MAU maintained its advantage for the victory.
"We talked about not underestimating Brattleboro. There are some things we're trying to eliminate so we can win against the tougher teams," Sleeman said. "It's about defensive rotations, valuing offensive possessions, and rebounding — we were plus six. Those three areas have hurt in the toughest moments."
Parker led all scorers with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Champagne added 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the winners.
"We have to have those fourth, fifth and sixth scoring options," Sleeman said. "We know that Jonas, Tyler and Damon will get their points, but who else? Having that is what wins championships."
Lombardi was the top scorer for Brattleboro (8-7) with his 19 points, while Dylan DeJordy pitched in 10, including a pair of threes.