“It was an entertaining game,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “I was pleased with the fight shown by the kids in that game. Being senior night gave it a little extra incentive.”
Both teams exhibited fight throughout the game. The first quarter saw some back-and-forth action, as Twin Valley took an early 5-4 lead. Jarrett Niles knocked down three free throws and Tayler Courchesne had a layup go in. But the Rebels had the answers, tying up Twin Valley before they could get off a good shot. The Rebels took the lead, and Sierra Fillion dropped a three from the left side to put Leland & Gray up 11-5 at the end of the quarter.
Leland & Gray continued the pressure, opening up a 21-5 lead. Fillion continued her hot outside shooting, scoring 10 points in the half, and Arin Bates added a pair of layups to pull the Rebels ahead. But Twin Valley finished the half with five points to cut the lead to 21-10.
“Sierra Fillion had a nice first half,” said Hayford. “That was a little unexpected, and shows they have more than just an inside game. They hit some key shots from the outside.”
In the third quarter, it was the Wildcats’ time to shine. They amped up their defensive pressure and shut down the Rebels’ offense, outscoring Leland & Gray 8-4. Niles and Courchesne each hit three-point shots. The Rebels still led, but the score was 25-18 heading into the fourth.
The final stanza saw the Rebels’ lead bounce up and down like a yo-yo on a string. Skye Richardson scored for the Rebels, stretching the lead to nine. But after some slick perimeter passing, the Wildcats found Sadie Boyd open under the basket for a layup, cutting the lead to 27-20. Leland & Gray then scored on a pair of layups to go up 11. But Niles was fouled and dropped in the free throws, then Courchesne drained a three to slice the lead to six. After a Fillion free throw, Courchesne again dropped a bomb, and the Wildcats were within three, 32-29.
But that was as close as Twin Valley would get. Twin Valley’s aggressive play, which put them back into the game, also led to a number of fouls. Niles, Leah Putnam, and Tatyana Bowman all fouled out down the stretch, as did the Rebels’ Maris Linder. Leland & Gray made more free throws, and slowly pulled away for the final 12-point win.
“I told them after the game, ‘You showed me what you’re capable of,’” said Hayford. “Before the game, we talked about getting to the rim and drawing fouls. We went to the line 21 times. I was very happy with that. We haven’t had much of that aggressive play throughout the season. We just haven’t got to the free throw line.”
Courchesne led Twin Valley with 14 points. Niles had five. Boyd had six rebounds and Putnam five. The Wildcats committed 11 turnovers, while forcing 13. Leland & Gray out-rebounded Twin Valley 33-21.
“Leland & Gray is a good team, a tough team,” said Hayford. “I was pleased with the fact, when all the dust had settled, they (Twin Valley) showed themselves capable of being aggressive with their play.”
MVC 47, TV 25
WHITINGHAM- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity basketball team played its next-to-last game of the regular season on Tuesday evening. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they came up short, losing to Mid-Vermont Christian 47-25.
MVC came in as the top-ranked division 4 team, with a 14-2 record. Twin Valley managed to stay close to MVC in the first half, jumping out to an 8-5 lead. MVC closed out the quarter on a 5-0 run to nab a 10-8 lead at the break.
“We had them on the ropes in the first quarter,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “In the first quarter we came out with a full-court press and had an 8-5 lead. Their coach said they were caught off guard in the beginning by the press.”
In the second quarter, MVC stretched the lead to 24-17.
“We were down seven at half,” said Hayford. “That was a little discouraging, because we had played well, but we gave up a few easy baskets in transition. That happens when you play a good team.”
MVC came out at the start of the second half with increased defensive intensity, which led to a quick scoring run. Twin Valley took a timeout to regroup, but the wheels were already coming off the Wildcats’ wagon. MVC outscored Twin Valley 18-4 in the third, and had the game put away by the end of the period, 42-21.
“MVC cranked up the pressure with their man-to-man defense,” said Hayford. “We just turned the ball over, and couldn’t make the right pass or the right cut at the right time.”
Twin Valley played without its leading scorer, Tayler Courchesne, who was sick. Point guard Maria Page was in early foul trouble, picking up three in the first quarter. That forced her to spend much of the game on the bench.
Twin Valley was led in scoring by Jarrett Niles with seven and Kylie Reed with five. The Wildcats committed 26 turnovers, and were out-rebounded 32-22. Siblings Sydney Goodwin (15 points) and Hayley Goodwin (13) led MVC in scoring.
According to Hayford, one of the frustrating aspects of the loss was the number of missed shots by the Wildcats. It’s been a recurring theme for this year’s team.
“It’s so discouraging to see what should be easy buckets. We overshot, undershot, put it up too hard or too soft. It’s like there’s a lid on the basket. It’s difficult enough to play a team of that caliber, but to shoot yourself in the foot with missed easy layups doesn’t help.”
Twin Valley dropped to 5-13 with the loss. They close out the regular season tonight at Bellows Falls. State tournament pairings will be announced on Monday. Twin Valley is currently ranked 14th in division 3.