Visiting the Cosmos, Twin Valley played tight defense in the first quarter, keeping the score at a close 7-6 deficit. In the second quarter, however, the Wildcats’ inability to produce on offense began to spell doom, and not a single shot fell. On the night, Twin Valley would only score six buckets, and were outscored 9-1 in the second quarter.
The game was still in reach for Twin Valley going into the second half down 16-7, but an overabundance of turnovers made any hope of a scoring run impossible as the Wildcats turned the ball over 26 times, while producing only four steals. Once again, Twin Valley’s defense held Springfield to nine points, but the offense converted on only two shots.
“Against a team like Springfield, you can’t be throwing the ball away,” said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. “We have to learn to keep our composure better and that means taking care of the ball.”
Twin Valley was outscored 9-8 in the fourth, losing 34-19. Lexi Reinertson led Twin Valley with five points, and seven rebounds, while Sammy Cunningham-Darrah, Christina Moore, and Hannah Swanson added four each. Chelsey McAlester scored a team-high 13 for Springfield.
Hayford says that he got exactly what he wanted out of his defense, but his team out-defended themselves.
TV 28 Bellows Falls 22
WILMINGTON- A low scoring defensive battle played out Monday night as Twin Valley held the visiting Bellows Falls Terriers to 22 points using a highly effective half-court trap and transition takeaways to get the win.
The first quarter was sloppy, with a 0-0 deadlock for the first 4:36 of play until Enny Mustapha hit a free-throw for Bellows Falls, and Colton Butler hit a two-point field goal for Twin Valley. Nothing would fall for either team, a result of smothering defense by both teams. After the first quarter the Terriers held the edge 5-2.
In the second quarter, the shots continued to miss but Twin Valley was able to take advantage of their free-throw opportunities, including five from Abbi Molner. After Bellows Falls pulled ahead 12-7, Twin Valley ended the quarter on a 5-1 run, with a jumper by Colton Butler and three of Molner’s free throws, after being fouled beyond the arc.
With the Terriers winning at the half 13-12, Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford dialed up the pressure, using full-court pressure to force turnovers and panic. Both teams played hard in the third and kept shooting, but the game remained deadlocked at 16. Then Jordan Niles came alive.
Niles scored the Wildcats’ last six points of the third, as the Wildcats’ passing attack found her open beyond the arc on the right side time and again. Twin Valley’s ability to win offensive rebounds kept the ball out of the Terriers’ offensive half for much of the third.
In the fourth, Niles kept up the attack, scoring on a fast-break layup to begin the scoring, and giving the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night, 26-17.
Bellows Falls’ Molly Default would score on a three-point play at the end of the quarter, but Twin Valley’s offensive passing attack kept Bellows Falls running in circles for the majority of the quarter.
“When I look back at the game, we were getting our chances but we couldn’t get shots to fall,” said Hayford. “Neither team was lighting it up the entire game, but we hit key baskets when we needed to and we played good defense start to finish and that’s what we hung our head on.”
Molner led Twin Valley with 13 points, six rebounds, and three steals, while Niles added three steals to her eight points. Butler ended with four points and five rebounds. Reinertson led Wildcat rebounders with seven. Dufault scored 13 for the Terriers.
The Wildcats sit at 3-6 on the year and play at home tonight at 6:30 against Green Mountain.