The Wildcats faced host Green Mountain first and played well offensively, controlling the first quarter by a score of 12-5. Twin Valley would cool off in the second quarter, but maintained a 19-17 lead at half-time.
Twin Valley has consistently out-rebounded opponents, but their struggles in playing a balanced game have been their Achilles’ heel in their first six games, and 23 turnovers allowed the Chieftains a supply of opportunities to stay in the game.
At the end of three, the Wildcats maintained a three-point cushion, 36-33, but neither team would find a way to put the game out of reach. Green Mountain would take a four-point lead in the fourth, fueled by eight points from Laura Rodgers. The Wildcats rallied again and took the lead on a pair of Colton Butler free throws, but could not maintain the lead for long, their defense unable to make a stop in the closing minutes, and they suffered a 55-51 defeat.
For Twin Valley, Abbi Molner led the scoring with 18 points, adding seven rebounds and three assists. Jordan Niles would add 14 points, while Christina Moore, Hannah Swanson, and Lexi Reinertson combined for 21 rebounds.
Maddie Huntley scored 21 for the Chieftains, with Katie Haseltine adding 20.
Springfield 42, TV 38
Twin Valley played the Springfield Cosmos in the consolation bracket of the Green Mountain Holiday Tournament on Saturday, losing another close game 42-38.
Twin Valley played with energy, maintaining a lead for the majority of the game, dominating the rebounding game, and cutting their turnovers from the previous night in half to 12. At the end of three, the Wildcats led 32-28, and their defense was playing consistently, with Sammy Cunningham-Darrah, Jordan Niles, and Colton Butler taking turns containing Springfield’s top scorer Chelsy McAlester, holding her to only six points with man-to-man coverage.
But with the game so close, the fourth quarter would prove to be pivotal as Twin Valley’s defense started to crack, allowing McAlester to score 12 of Springfield’s 14 fourth-quarter points. With the game at a deadlock, Butler hit a go-ahead backdoor bucket with one minute remaining to give the Wildcats the edge, but Twin Valley would not score again, losing 42-38 in the closing minute.
The Wildcats’ opportunities have been there, collecting 17 offensive rebounds, but rarely translating them into points. The effort is also there, and Twin Valley continues to keep games close (only one loss in double digits this season) but execution has faltered, and a mix of scoring woes and late defensive struggles has doomed the Wildcats too often.
Coach Buddy Hayford said if his team can focus on keeping their efforts strong for all 48 minutes, it will translate into success. “It’s a matter of missed shots,” said Hayford. “When you’re given that many opportunities that you don’t take advantage of you run into trouble. The effort is strong, but the execution is weak, and hopefully the execution will improve as the season goes on. This team, with a better defensive effort in the fourth quarter, could be 4-2.”
Hannah Swanson led the Wildcats with her first double-double of the year, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Niles scored seven, while Butler, Abbi Molner, and Christina Moore all added five. Lexi Reinertson added 10 rebounds as well.
The Wildcats play at home Thursday night at 6, hosting Mid-Vermont Christian School.