CHESTER- The Twin Valley Middle High School girls’ varsity basketball team racked up 22 steals and went on a 16-4 run in the final minutes to close out their first win of the season, knocking off Black River, 50-35, on Thursday. The game was the consolation round of the Green Mountain Union High School Tip-off Tournament.
Just as coach Buddy Hayford had predicted before the season, the Wildcats’ tight defense late in the game proved to be the winning ingredient as they converted turnovers into easy layups. Up just 34-31 early in the fourth, Twin Valley ratcheted up the pressure defense and pulled away.
“It was still a close game at the start of the second half, but the girls really ramped up the pressure and closed the game with that 16-4 run,” Hayford said. “We have to hang our hat on our defense, creating those turnovers and getting some easy shots on the other end. If we can do that we’ll stay competitive.”
Tayler Courchesne led the way for Twin Valley with another full stat sheet. The senior had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, just missing a triple-double with nine steals. Courchesne also racked up four assists and four blocks.
“That’s the kind of performance we need to get out of her every night,” Hayford said. “And it’s nice to get some balance in our scoring, too.”
Senior Tatyanna Bowman added eight points and proved to be a force on the defensive end, using her long reach and quick hands to shut down passing lanes and help stifle the Black River offense. Fellow senior Leah Putnam had four points and six boards, while junior Jarrett Niles dropped in seven points.
Freshman Sadie Boyd had her best game yet, with six points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Classmate Jayden Crawford added two points.
“Great game for the freshmen,” Hayford said. “They’re coming along nicely, and they bring a lot of energy on both ends. Hopefully we can build on this performance.”
The Wildcats return to action at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 3, at home against Springfield.
“It’s nice to have that first win going into the new year, with a lot of basketball left to play,” Hayford said. “I’m still optimistic, and I think the girls still are. We have plenty to work on, but we’ll just keep plugging away.