BRATTLEBORO >> On a night that was sandwiched by the Democratic and Republican debates, voting for the player of the game would have been a head scratcher.
The Brattleboro Union High School varsity girls basketball team got offensive explosions from its starting guards and a big boost from super sub Shenise Taliaferro during a come-from-behind 59-48 victory over rival MAU on Friday at BUHS.
"This group has the character and the heart, They just never quit. That was a team effort," said winning coach Paul Freed, whose team battled back from a 14-point deficit.
Trailing 34-20, the hosts knocked down five shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter. Devin Millerick drilled two of those, while Hailey Derosia, Morgan Derosia and Kelsea McAuliffe all hit one 3 in that span.
The teams entered the final frame deadlocked at 41-41 and were tied at 47-47 with 5:20 remaining.
Brattleboro would finish the game with a 12-1 run. Hailey Derosia scored six of those points, Taliaferro added a couple of bunnies, and Millerick went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Other key plays down the stretch were a block by center Gabby Carpenter, an offensive rebound from Jaida Henry, and Hailey Derosia's steal.
"We did finish the game properly. We really wanted it more than they did," stated coach Freed. "I have not been more proud of this group than I am now."
The pedal-to-the-metal Patriots ran out to a 10-2 lead by turning poor BUHS passes and misses into points. Madison Little (10 points) and Brianna Legacy (16) each made a couple of layups early on.
With reserve Shenise Taliaferro owning the glass and scoring twice inside, the purple and white fought back to within one (16-15) late in the opening quarter. Morgan Derosia's trifecta from the left corner was Brattleboro's offensive highlight during the surge.
Using a 1-3-1 zone defense, the visitors limited Brattleboro to just one field goal in the second quarter. Makes from downtown by Legacy and Little sparked an 11-0 MAU rally and the Patriots would take a 32-20 lead to the break.
But after Michalla Glanovsky's layup made it 34-20 at the beginning of the third quarter, the Colonels caught fire from the perimeter. Millerick splashed two triples, while Hailey Derosia, Morgan Derosia and McAuliffe also connected from long range to help the hosts pull even at 41-41 with eight minutes left.
The fired-up student section erupted with cheers of "Let's go Colonels" and "Defense, defense!"
"Our crowd really got behind us. It really helps us to have that kind of environment," noted coach Freed.
Millerick paced the 5-11 Colonels with 16 points. Hailey Derosia followed with 15 points, Taliaferro added 10, and Morgan Derosia chipped in with nine of her own.