SAINT JOHNSBURY >> After shocking third-seeded Essex in a playdown game, the No. 14 Brattleboro Union High School varsity girls basketball team knocked out No. 6 Saint Johnsbury, 50-46, in a Division 1 quarterfinal on Friday night.
"Cinderella is still dancing," said Colonels coach Paul Freed. "The gym was full. We had a bleacher full of supporters. It was a great atmosphere for a great playoff battle."
The Hilltoppers buried four trifectas in the opening quarter to take a 19-13 lead. The purple and white then adjusted their defense and limited Saint J to just one field goal in the second stanza.
Trailing 26-23 at the intermission, the Colonels outscored the hosts 20-7 in the third quarter to take control. Freshman Hailey Derosia led the way with 11 points in that eight-minute span while backcourt mate Devin Millerick chipped in with six points and four assists.
"It was ironic — Saint Johnsbury's strength, by far, is their guards, and Stetson is one of the best freshman in the state," said Freed. "Well, our guards took over the game, and there was no doubt in my mind who the best freshman on the court was."
He was referring to Derosia, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four steals. Millerick (16 points, 7 assists, 3 steals), Kelsea McAuliffe (7 points), and Shenise Taliaferro (6 points, 8 rebounds) also took their A games up north.
The Colonels will take on No. 7 BFA-St. Albans in a D-1 semifinal on Tuesday night at 6 at UVM. Andi Esenler and Kelly Lagis scored 19 and 13 points respectively to help the Comets surprise second-seeded Rice, 52-44, in a quarterfinal.
"We are truly enjoying the experience and will give it our very best, but also have fun. Go Colonels!" stated the Brattleboro coach.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Burlington will take on top-ranked CVU (22-0). Makayla King had 13 points to lead the Seahorses to a 44-29 victory over North Country, while Sadie Otley (23 points) and Laurel Jaunich (16) powered the Redhawks past MAU 67-36 for their 93rd consecutive win.
Brattleboro roster: Coaches — Paul Freed, Meghan Pacheco, Sarah Linn. Manager — Gigi Purcell. Players — Kai Boyd, Devin Millerick, Megyn Ayotte, Shenise Taliaferro, Alexandra Livanis, Jaida Henry, Danielle Wood, Kelsea McAuliffe, Meghan Sargent, Morgan Derosia, Hailey Derosia, Gabrielle Carpenter.
Thetford 38, Leland & Gray 20
THETFORD >> Regan Covey and Danielle Robinson scored nine and eight points respectively as the No. 2 Panthers eliminated the seventh-ranked Rebels in a Division 3 quartefinal on Friday night.
"Thetford played really aggressive defense and we struggled with their press which caused a lot of turnovers. I thought our girls fought hard and played great defense, but in the end just could not put the ball in the hoop. I am very proud of this year's team throughout the year. They never gave up, they always played hard, and they always supported each other," said Leland & Gray coach Terry Merrow.
Hannah Buffum, Madison Russ and Sierra Fillion all scored four points for Leland & Gray. The Rebels finished up with a 12-10 record.
This is Thetford's fifth consecutive trip to a semifinal.
Nute 54, Hinsdale 47
MILTON, N.H. >> The No. 5 Pacers finished the season with a 14-6 record after losing to No. 4 Nute in Friday's NHIAA Division 4 quarterfinal.
"The girls battled all game and were in it pretty much until the end," said Hinsdale coach Terry Bonnette.
Skyler LeClair paced the Pacers with 13 points. Jacqueline Atkins (10 points), Gabby LeClair (9) and Jen Matuszewski (8) also contributed at the offensive end.
"Jacqueline Atkins is our only senior and she not only provided senior leadership this year, she was also playing her best basketball down the stretch," noted coach Bonnette. "Obviously the girls are disappointed with the loss, but going 14-6 on the year was a very good season for them."