“We had a tough time putting the ball in the basket,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “It was a struggle for both teams. Both teams played pretty solid defense. Points were tough to come by.”
Points were indeed tough to come by, especially in the first half. The two teams were back and forth throughout both quarters, tied at 11 at the end of the first and tied at 17 at the halftime break.
“In the first quarter, you knew it was just going to be one of those nights,” said Hayford. “It was going to be tight.” Twin Valley missed numerous scoring opportunities, including a number of layups and free throws. After the intermission, Twin Valley came out and hit some key outside shots.
“The third quarter was the turning point,” said Hayford. “We weren’t hitting inside, so we went outside.” Sammy Cunningham- Darrah, Shannon Lozito, and Lexi Reinertson each hit three-point shots in the quarter. “That put us in the driver’s seat,” said Hayford of the hot shooting. Twin Valley built a 30-22 lead at the end of the third.
The Wildcats continued to ride the hot outside shooting early in the fourth quarter. Bit Aekus nailed another three-point shot from the left wing, giving the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game, 34-22.
But Green Mountain chipped away at the lead. They switched their defense to a very effective three-quarter-court trapping press. That caused numerous turnovers for the Wildcats, and led to foul trouble for Twin Valley.
Point guard Savannah Nesbitt fouled out with about half the quarter left. Green Mountain continued to pressure the Wildcats, but they managed to hold on to the lead and the win
“We struggled,” said Hayford. “But we managed to survive.” He cited the good play of Lozito, who took over running the point after Nesbitt was forced to the pine. “Shannon did a good job keeping the team composed,” he said. “Shannon stepped up, that’s what a senior does. She held her composure.”
Lozito had nine points for the game to lead the team in scoring.
Abbi Molner played a very strong game, with eight points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots, three steals, and two assists. “Every night she gains some confidence,” said Hayford in praising Molner’s performance.
Nesbitt had six points, three assists, two blocks, and five steals. Reinertson had five points and eight boards and played a good all- around game.
The Wildcats were abysmal from the free-throw line, only making four of 14, a 28% night. “It wasn’t like them,” said Hayford. “They normally shoot 60% or so.” But it was not a good shooting night at the line for either team, as Green Mountain was only six for 13.
In junior varsity action, Green Mountain edged Twin Valley 36-32 Friday night. The Wildcats were paced by Abby Putnam with 16 points and Colton Butler with eight. They also took a loss at Brattleboro, 42-30, and had a win at Bellows Falls, 34-28. The JV Wildcats record stands at 4-5.
Arlington 43, TV 36
ARLINGTON- Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford said prior to Tuesday night’s girls’ varsity game with Arlington that the “Eagles Nest” was always a tough gym to play in.
Hayford’s fears were justified, as the host Eagles handed Twin Valley its fourth loss, 43-36.
“It was frustrating and discouraging,” said Hayford of the loss. “We got outworked and outplayed. That’s enough to beat you on any given night when you’re playing a decent team.”
The Wildcats have been having problems making layups and free throws over the past three or four games, and on Tuesday those deficiencies cost Twin Valley a win. The team only made two of 12 free-throw attempts, while Arlington was 16 of 20 from the charity stripe. That discrepancy was the difference in the game.
“I thought we played fairly well defensively,” said a dejected Hayford. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.”
The game was close throughout. The score was tied 8-8 after the first quarter. Arlington held a three-point lead at the intermission. In the third quarter, the Eagles earned a small lead at 31-27.
As play unfolded in the fourth quarter, Twin Valley managed to tie the game at 35. But, needing to make defensive stops, the Wildcats were unable to do so, and had to resort to fouling the Eagles to get the ball back. The Eagles took advantage of the free shots, making 10 of 12 down the stretch.
“The game was won and lost at the free-throw line,” said Hayford. “Our free-throw shooting was dreadful, we left a lot of points on the free-throw line.”
Shannon Lozito continued her good play. She led the Wildcats in scoring with 13 points.
Bit Aekus had six points and two steals. Savannah Nesbitt notched six points with two steals and six assists. Lexi Reinertson had three points and six rebounds. Sammy Cunningham-Darrah dropped in a three-point shot and had four rebounds. Hannah Swanson had a bucket to go with five rebounds and two steals. Twin Valley outrebounded Arlington 26-23.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 7-4 on the season, and into seventh place in the statewide D-III standings.
Next up for Twin Valley is a long road trip to Mount Everett High School in Sheffield, MA, on Saturday. The JV plays at 3 pm, the varsity is slated to start at 4:30 On Monday, the Wildcats travel to Springfield. Game times are 6 pm for the JV and 7:30 pm for the varsity.