BRATTLEBORO >> Gabby Carpenter participated in a pre-game dance routine in honor of her senior teammates on Monday evening at Brattleboro Union High School.
Luckily, the junior center saved a few moves for the varsity girls basketball game that followed.
Carpenter scored a game-high 15 points, using her patented up-and-under on the low block, and also pulled down a dozen rebounds to lead the Colonels to a 43-39 overtime victory over visiting Rutland.
"We kept fighting together and found a way to get it done," said BUHS coach Paul Freed.
Trifectas by Jessica Cassarino and Grace Schillinger gave Rutland a 26-25 advantage with 3:50 left in regulation. Morgan Derosia would score all nine of Brattleboro's points in the fourth quarter, including a couple of makes from downtown and three freebies, as the hosts went up 34-31 with 19 seconds remaining. But another 3 by Cassarino would force the extra session.
"Wow, Morgan just took over. Great senior leadership, courage, and confidence to take and make those big, clutch shots," stated Freed.
The Colonels would make nine out of 10 free throws in overtime, whereas Rutland was limited to a chip shot by Mariah Forte and a triple from Cassarino. Carpenter sank five out of six from the charity stripe in OT, while Devin Millerick and Jaida Henry (11 rebounds) each went 2-for-2.
"That's mental toughness," noted Freed, regarding his team's accuracy from the line.
Millerick, Derosia, Henry, Meghan Sargent and Alexandra Livanis played a 2-3 zone in the first quarter that held Rutland to just seven points. But the Colonels could only manage layups from Millerick, Sargent and Carpenter, and trailed 7-6 after the first eight minutes of action.
"Rutland plays the best defense of anybody we have seen all year," said the Brattleboro coach.
The Raiders would increase their lead to 13-6 before student section chants of "Here we go Colonels" and "Defense, defense" seemed to wake the hosts up. Sargent delivered along the right baseline, Shenise Taliaferro made a couple of buckets, and Carpenter drained a 15-foot jumper during a 10-0 run that put Brattleboro up 16-13 at the intermission.
The purple and white got third-quarter rejections from Carpenter, Henry and Taliaferro. Carpenter would complete one of her two three-point plays, Millerick scored on a blow by, and freshman Hailey Derosia added a bunny to help the hosts stretch their lead to 25-20.
That cushion evaporated when Cassarino and Schillinger connected from long range in the final frame. That's when Morgan Derosia began to carry the Colonels — drilling two treys from the left wing and going 3-for-4 from the line to help force overtime.
Carpenter and Morgan Derosia paced the 8-11 Colonels with 15 and nine points respectively. Cassarino scored 14 points and Forte added 10 for the 9-10 Raiders.
Brattleboro will play at rival MAU (9-10 on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Note: On Senior Night, Brattleboro 12th graders Alexandra Livanis, Jaida Henry, Meghan Sargent and Morgan Derosia were honored with a pre-game dance routine by their teammates.