“They were too big and too aggressive,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “They are much more aggressive than we are. Anytime there was a tie-up, they were coming away with the ball and we were getting beat down the court.”
The Rebels not only came away with the ball, but also came away with all the scoring in the first quarter, blanking the Wildcats on their way to a 10-0 lead. Twin Valley had opportunities, but missed the mark on a number of layups and outside shots. Turnovers also cost the Wildcats, as the Rebels capitalized on their aggressive defense to force bad passes.
Twin Valley came out in the second quarter and finally broke the scoring vacuum. Leah Putnam put in a shot in the paint, then Tatyana Bowman and Tayler Courchesne added baskets to give the Wildcats a 6-0 run. The Rebels answered with a basket, but Twin Valley’s Jarrett Niles dropped a three from the top of the arc, and suddenly the Wildcats had closed the gap to 12-9.
“We tried to pack the paint to try and defend their tall players,” said Hayford.
That strategy contributed to the Wildcat comeback, but the Rebels closed out the half on a 5-0 run and took a 17-9 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Rebels iced the game with a strong third quarter. They held the Wildcats to only five points, while scoring 15. Once again, Leland & Gray played to its strength, using the height advantage to score easy points in the paint. After three quarters, they led 32-14.
Twin Valley tried to make another run in the fourth quarter, cutting the Rebels’ lead to 12. But some missed shots by the Wildcats and the Rebels’ spirited play proved too much for Twin Valley to overcome.
“They just had too much size,” said Hayford. “Couple that with their aggressiveness, and it was trouble.”
The Rebels out-rebounded the Wildcats 33-20. Hazard paced the Rebels in scoring with 22. Courchesne led the Wildcats with eight points, seven rebounds, and two steals. Niles chipped in five points and Putnam added three. The Wildcats committed 18 turnovers. Twin Valley dropped to 5-10 on the season, the Rebels improved to 7-10.
The game was senior night for the Rebels, as they recognized players Bostrom, Hazard, Kassidy Wyman, Morgan Stevens, and Rebekah Winot and team manager Nikki Sanderson. In a nice act of sportsmanship, they also recognized Twin Valley seniors Courchesne, Putnam, and Bowman in the ceremony prior to the game.
The teams will square off again on Saturday at 6:30 pm at Twin Valley. It will be senior night for the Wildcats. On Tuesday, the Wildcats host Mid-Vermont Christian at 5:30 pm.
TV 66, Woodstock 15
WHITINGHAM- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity basketball team came away with one of its biggest wins of the season on Thursday, February 8, outrunning and outgunning Woodstock 66-15. The score was almost identical to the 67-14 road win the Wildcats had over the Hornets in January.
“It was kind of freakish, that the score was almost identical,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “It was a mirror image of the first game.”
Woodstock hung with the Wildcats early in the game, knotting the score at five in the first quarter. But Twin Valley closed out the frame with a 15-0 run to break the game open. At halftime, the Wildcats led 40-11. By the end of the third quarter, it was 52-15.
“We just had their number this year,” said Hayford. “Clearly, most teams have had their number. They’re quite young, they started three freshmen.”
Tayler Courchesne led the Wildcats with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Sadie Boyd also had her first career double-double, notching 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Tatyana Bowman added 10 points and seven rebounds. Natalie Stevens led Woodstock with 11 points.
“Sadie had a really good game,’ said Hayford. “Taty had some nice buckets and played well on the inside.”
Everyone of the Twin Valley players scored at least two points, including junior Jarrett Niles with nine.
“The key for us, always, is limiting turnovers,” said Hayford. “We only committed 11. Our goal is to stay under 15. Granted, the competition wasn’t Green Mountain or Bellows Falls. Nevertheless, we took care of the ball.”