“It was a mismatch,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “They’re a solid team and potential final-four team, for sure.”
Twin Valley played well in the first quarter, keeping the score close through the early minutes.
“Midway through the first quarter we were only down 6-0,” said Hayford. “I was pleased with how we were playing defensively.”
But Thetford’s aggressive full-court pressure was too much for the Wildcats offense to get in gear. Twin Valley committed turnovers in their first three possessions, and point guard Maria Page struggled.
“Before we knew it, it was 8-0, then 10-0, then 13-0,” said Hayford. “We just couldn’t get off a good shot. They were smothering Maria out front and made her life miserable. She had a hard time entering the first pass, because she was being hounded.”
Twin Valley was down 13-0 at the end of the first quarter. Thetford continued to pull away, outscoring the Wildcats 15-4 in the second quarter for a 28-4 lead at the intermission.
“Our wing guards were having an awful time getting open,” said Hayford. “We just couldn’t get into our offense. That’s what the good teams do. They played aggressive, in-your-grill, man-to-man defense.”
The Wildcats played their best ball in the third quarter, scoring seven while holding Thetford to nine. In the fourth quarter, Twin Valley was outscored 14-4.
“Thetford is in the Capital Division, which is really tough,”aid Hayford. “They play a lot of big schools and had a really strong season. Their level of opponent is a notch higher than ours. Come tournament time, they’re battle tested. They’re a quality team, no doubt about it.”
Tayler Courchesne led the Wildcats with six points and four rebounds. Tatyana Bowman added four points and two rebounds. Twin Valley ends it season with a 5-15 record. The team will lose three seniors to graduation, Courchesne, Bowman, and Leah Putnam, and should return a core of veterans for next year.
Despite the difficult ending, Hayford was upbeat about the season. “I was really proud of the way they played all 20 games. They never threw in the towel. They hustled, they did the best they could. There’s no disappointment on my part. The kids just need to step up their game in the off season, play AAU or go to camps, to be more competitive next season.”
BF 79, TV 23
BELLOWS FALLS- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity basketball team ran into a buzz saw last Thursday evening, getting sliced and diced by the Bellows Falls Terriers 79-23.
It was senior night for the host team, and they wasted little time celebrating. Bellows Falls had a 33-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the game was essentially over at that point. Twin Valley’s defense tightened somewhat in the second quarter, as the Wildcats only allowed 10 points while doubling their total to six.
“We tried to play man-to-man defense with full court pressure,” said Twin Valley coach buddy Hayford. “We had done OK playing that in our previous three or four games. I felt really good about it, the way we were playing. But Bellows Falls couldn’t miss, they were sharpshooters.”
Twin Valley was able to double its score again in the third quarter, but Bellows Falls continued to pull away, scoring 16. After three, the Terriers led 59-12. The final quarter was similar to the rest of the game, as Twin Valley had no answer for the host team’s hot shooting, and was outscored 20-11.
“That was the most points a Twin Valley girls’ team has ever given up,” said Hayford. “The defensive pressure was way too much. We committed 20 turnovers, and didn’t get to the line.”
Aside from the turnovers, Twin Valley was out-rebounded, 36-11. Jarrett Niles led the Wildcats in scoring with eight. Tayler Courchesne added six. Halle Dickerson led Bellows Falls with 17 points, and Taylor Goodell added 13.
The loss closed out the regular season for the Wildcats. They finished with a 5-14 record, good for the 13th seed in the division 3 state tournament seedings. Bellows Falls finished with a 16-4 record, which placed them seventh in division 2.