Twin Valley girls split two games
by Jack Deming
Jan 11, 2014 | 2244 views | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VERMONT- After dropping their last two games to West Rutland and Mount St. Joseph Academy, the Wildcats needed a win to get back on track, and while they were able to cruise past Vermont Mid-Christian, a loss to Proctor on Tuesday night left the ‘Cats hovering uneasily just over 500.

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The Wildcat girls’ team came away from Quechee, with an easy win last Thursday night as senior captain Sammy Cunningham-Darrah knocked down a career-high 19 points including five three-pointers, and junior Colton Butler recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Mid-Christian would not allow the Wildcats to run away with the game too early, however. After the first quarter, the Wildcats were up 15-11, led by three-pointers from Savannah Nesbitt and a rare four-point play by Cunningham-Darrah.

Phoebe Seal would keep Mid-Christian in the game, scoring all 11 of her team’s first-quarter points as Twin Valley failed to match her in man-to-man defense. Switching to their more comfortable zone defense, the Wildcats began to turn the tide and pull away.

Cunningham-Darrah would knock down two more three-pointers in the second quarter to help the Wildcats build a double-digit 30-17 lead at the half.

Butler’s double-double was her first of the year, while Kirra Courchesne recorded a career-high six points. Hannah Swanson would lead her teammates in rebounds with 11, while adding five points. Twin Valley pulled away in the third quarter, building their lead to 16, then coasted to victory in the fourth quarter while resting their starters. Seale would end the game with 17 points while her sister, Anna Seale, came away with 11.

Coach Buddy Hayford said that a combination of three-pointers and free throws helped his girls pull away. “So far we’re not too bad,” said Hayford. “We’re beating teams that we should be beating, but we have difficult games on the schedule, and games we should in theory have no problem winning.”

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One of the more difficult games on the Wildcats’ schedule would be facing the two-time defending Division IV champion Proctor Phantoms on their home court. Twin Valley matched up well with Proctor, kept the game close for 32 minutes, and played their best zone defense. But 22 turnovers spelled doom for the ‘Cats as well as a huge night by the Phantoms on the offensive boards.

“We played good,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford, “ but we squandered an opportunity to put a stake in the ground and make some noise statewide, and let people know we’ve turned a corner.”

Twin Valley got out of the second quarter down by a surmountable six points, but three three-pointers by Proctor’s Jordan Mitchell helped the Phantoms to a 15-9 lead. Proctor would hammer the Wildcats with offensive rebounds, sometimes three in a row, but the inability to complete their shots kept the game close.

In a strange second quarter, both teams could only muster two points. While Twin Valley’s defensive play gave them a chance to get back in the game offensively, Proctor’s defense would play just as stingy, and there remained only a six-point deficit at the half. But in the third quarter, Proctor would find separation, scoring 13 points, nine of which came on three-pointers. Down a dozen at the start of the fourth, Twin Valley wasn’t able to gain any ground on the Phantoms as the teams scored 10 each to close out the game.

“It was a tough loss,” said Hayford, “but the girls came away feeling like if they limit turnovers we can beat some better teams in the league. Defensively it was not bad at all, but offensively we threw the ball away 22 times too many, and that’s just giving the game away.” Going into a tough game against Poultney Thursday night at home at 7 pm, Hayford said his team would work on their possession game.

Sammy Cunningham-Darrah and Savannah Nesbitt each had eight points for the Wildcats while Hannah Swanson and Christina Moore combined for 19 rebounds. Mitchell scored 17 for the Phantoms.

“We’re at 4-3, and we’re flirting with .500,” said Hayford. “They want to be able to host a tournament playoff game and if we’re at the .500 mark that’s not happening and they know that. Now the primary focus has to be to value the ball.”
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