BRATTLEBORO >> Kara Miner, Courtney Christmas, and Jennifer Hamilton helped the Brattleboro Union High School varsity girls basketball program reach four consecutive Division 1 semifinals from 1991-1994.
And they each have a daughter on this year's BUHS team, which defied the odds and became the first 14 seed ever to make it to the Final 4.
"They deserve this and we will make sure, as always, to give it all we have and at the same time truly enjoy this magical and historic event. I am not sure I have ever been more proud of a group," said Colonels coach Paul Freed, whose team will face No. 7 BFA-St. Albans (11-11) in tonight's D-1 semifinal at UVM at 6.
Following a 2-10 start, who could have imagined that Kelsea McAuliffe, Devin Millerick, and Gabby Carpenter would go all the way to Patrick Gymnasium like their moms had? After all, this is the ninth Final 4 appearance ever for the Colonels and their first one since 1994.
"This group came in and worked hard every day. They stayed connected, and that type of heart and unity in our case has given us this opportunity we are in," stated Freed.
The team that starts three first cousins, including Hailey Derosia, Morgan Derosia, and Millerick, began the tournament by shocking third-seeded Essex 45-43 in overtime. Millerick scored a team-high 11 points in that one, and super sub Shenise Taliaferro netted nine of her own.
The purple and white then knocked out No. 6 St. Johnsbury, 50-46, in Friday's quarterfinal. Hailey Derosia and Millerick led the way with 17 and 16 points respectively, while McAuliffe and Taliaferro teamed up for 13 more.
"Cinderella is still dancing," said Freed after that upset.
Now the Colonels (10-12) will go up against a Comets squad that just surprised second-seeded Rice, 52-44, in Round 2. Andi Esenler, who scored a team-high 19 points in that victory, is averaging a BFA-best 10 points per game. Hannah Earl (8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Kelly Laggis (7 ppg, 6 rpg) also have game.
Carpenter is averaging a double-double for Brattleboro, including 10.4 points and 10.7 boards per contest. Millerick is scoring 10.7 points and dishing out 4.7 assists per game, Hailey Derosia averages seven points, and Morgan Derosia is good for five points and four caroms a night. Meghan Sargent, McAuliffe, and Taliaferro have been the sparks off the bench.
"Gouger's Market and our Booster Club are supporting us with food for our trip," noted coach Freed. "It's great to have the support from our community. Our fans have traveled well. coming to both Essex and St. J. It's great inspiration to have that passionate of a following. We are a very fortunate group."
In tonight's other semifinal, at 7:30 at UVM, top-seeded CVU (22-0) will square off against No. 4 Burlington (15-7).
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.