POULTNEY- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity basketball team bested the Poultney Blue Devils on Friday and Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford said he was pleased with more than just the win.
“The last two games, the girls have played their best basketball. We knew it would be tough, because it was a home game for them on senior night. As tough a season as we have had, I feel energized, and the players feel energized. It was a really good win.”
The first quarter saw the two teams evenly matched, and by the end Poultney had a 13-12 lead. According to Hayford, Jarrett Niles scored half of those points with two three-pointers. “She is really coming into her own and showing what she is capable of,” said Hayford.
The second quarter was also close, and at the half the Wildcats led 25-24. “Tayler Courchesne scored eight points and really carried us that quarter,” said Hayford.
Looking back on the second quarter, Hayford said he noticed that the Poultney players were looking tired. “They looked fatigued, and they had only played two quarters. So I decided that we should apply some man-to-man pressure in the third quarter, and they (the Twin Valley girls’ team) did, they played great defense, which really fueled our offense. We had lots of steals and easy transition baskets.” The Wildcats added 21 points to their score, leading 46-39 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Wildcats extended their lead. “Tayler continued to be on fire,” said Hayford, “she scored two three-pointers, and Sammy Morse also sank a three, and Kendell scored 10 points, so the other team had numerous threats to worry about.”
Hayford said that the win over Black River in the previous game had a definite effect on his players. “They were talking about how much fun they had, and how enjoyable that game was. I think they caught fire during that game. They were always willing to keep working at it, and put in a good effort, but in these last two games, they have been playing the kind of basketball that we have been aiming for.”
Courchesne scored 21 points, Howe 14, Niles nine, Morse seven, Makayla Boyd three, and Leah Putnam two. Courchesne nabbed seven rebounds and stole the ball four times. Howe pulled down eight rebounds and Tatyanna Bowman and Sammy Morse grabbed four rebounds each.
Windsor 59, TV 26
WINDSOR – After winning their last two games, the Twin Valley girls’ varsity basketball qualified for the state tournament. The team traveled to Windsor to face the number one seed Yellowjackets on Tuesday.
“It was the kind of game you would expect in tournament play when a number one seed faces a 16,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “There was no miraculous upset. But these Twin Valley girls, you have to hand it to them. They never threw in the towel, and that’s the way they have been all year. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.”
The unevenness of the match-up was evident after the first minutes of the first quarter, Hayford said. The Yellowjackets outscored the Wildcats 25-4. “They (Windsor) were ultra-aggressive. They were using a three-quarter court trapping defense, and they were excellent,” said Hayford. “Then they switched from that particular defense to a crushing man-to-man.” The Yellowjackets prevented the Wildcats from making any points in the second quarter, and the score was 39-4 at the half, by which point Windsor coach Bruce Mackay put in his second team.
“He is a gentleman and a friend,” said Hayford.
The Wildcats added nine points to their score in the third quarter, but the Yellowjackets grabbed another 15 points, making it 53-13 going into the fourth. During the fourth quarter the Wildcats outscored their opponents by seven points but lost the game by 33. “They could have hung a hundred points on this game, no question,” said Hayford. “There’s no shame in losing to them. I would be surprised if anybody beats them.”
Tayler Courchesne scored 11 points, Kendell Howe six, Sammy Morse five, and Leah Putnam four.
Hayford said he hoped his players remembered their ability to come together as a winning team at the end of their season, more than anything that happened at the tournament.
“We won those last two games against teams that are on our level. It’s too bad in a way that we couldn’t have just ended the season on Friday. Our team played great defense in those games, and played the way we wanted them to all season.” he said. He also praised Morse, Howe, and Courchesne for helping keep the team’s morale up in the face of adversity. “ I told the girls to keep up a positive attitude. It’s easy to throw in the towel, but not this group, they never did.”
Twin Valley finished the season with a 5-16 record. Windsor improved to 18-3 and will play eighth-seeded Enosburg on Friday.