BRATTLEBORO — Each time Keegan Givens made a 3 on Tuesday evening, he reacted as if he had just hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer during March Madness.
And his fired-up celebrations seemed to spark his teammates.
The senior guard buried two trifectas in the second half as the Brattleboro Union High School varsity boys basketball team rallied from 11 points down to beat Rutland 58-57 on Tuesday evening.
"It was an exciting game and it was nice to have the support of our home crowd. We are now in good shape to host a playoff game," said BUHS coach Jason Coplan, whose team improved to 11-6 overall and is currently ranked fifth in the Division 1 standings.
With his team trailing 42-31 early in the third quarter, Givens splashed one from beyond the arc to begin the comeback. What followed was the accurate shooter hopping, yelling, and seemingly believing that this thing was far from over.
It certainly was.
The purple and white only needed about eight minutes to take a 50-49 lead. Charlie Galanes scored nine points during the surge, Givens electrified the home fans with another make from downtown, and Tyler Millerick sank a couple of free throws.
Millerick also pulled down a defensive rebound, went the other way, and kissed home a layup in traffic, before the home fans went bonkers.
"Let's go Colonels," members of the student section repeated in unison.
The lead traded hands three times in the final quarter. A trey from Galanes put the purple and white ahead 50-49, Evan Pockette connected from long range to put Rutland up 55-54, and then a steal and layup by Galanes put BUHS in front for good.
"We have been living by the 3 and dying by the 3. It's nice to have so many players who can make a 3, but we also have to be disciplined enough to take the best shots," said Coplan.
Brattleboro made 11 of 17 shots from the field in the first 16 minutes. Greg Fitzgerald, Gabe Packard, Millerick, Galanes and Givens all drilled a shot from beyond the arc in that span.
Noah Depoy was carrying the Raiders (8-9). The 6-2 forward buried a couple of half-hooks, knocked down a trifecta from up top, completed a three-point play, and made a pair of layups — all in the second quarter.
The teams were tied at four different points in the first half, including 0-0, 8-8, 16-16 and 18-all. The Raiders would then go on a run to take a 38-31 advantage to the intermission.
A trey from Eli Pockette and a free throw by Depoy made it 42-31. That's when Givens showed off his confident stroke from downtown and followed it up with an electric celebration to help spark a comeback.
The Colonels can clinch the league title with a victory over rival Mount Anthony Union on Tuesday at BUHS at 7 p.m.
Rutland scoring: Noah Depoy 21 points, Evan Pockette 12 points, Eli Pockette 8 points, Malik Hendrickson 7 points, John Foley 5 points, Finn McGuiness 4 points.
Brattleboro scoring: Charlie Galanes 17 points, Tyler Millerick 12 points, Greg Fitzgerald 10 points, Keegan Givens 9 points, Gabe Packard 8 points, Spencer Lawrence 2 points.