MANCHESTER -- It took 32 minutes of battling, but when the final buzzer sounded, members of the Burr and Burton Academy girls basketball team met near midcourt and embraced.
In a back-and-forth game on Thursday night, the Bulldogs (2-3) edged Mill River Minutemen 44-39.
Freshman center Hannah Nicholson was the main star for the Bulldogs, recording a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Rory Halligan added eight points and Alessandra Gaiotti chipped in with seven for the Bulldogs.
"I think it was a great team win," said BBA coach Terry Merrow. "I think everybody on the team contributed in their way and they're pumped and they should be. They did a good job."
Foul shots kept Mill River in the game as they hit 13-of-16 from the line in the second half. However, BBA's ability to rebound on the offensive glass and get extra opportunities eventually hurt the Minutemen.
"I think down the stretch for us was rebounding," said Mill River (3-3) coach Ken Webb of what hurt his team the most. "We talked about, right before the game started, that they were bigger than us [and] physically a little stronger. We knew if we couldn't rebound and box out it could be a tough one for us."
Up three, Burr and Burton was forced to hang on late. The game came down to the wire as Minutemen junior guard Kyle Weatherhogg hit a jumper to pull within a point.
BBA's Claudia Mosher hit one-of-two from the line on the next possession, but Nicholson was right there to clean up the mess, grabbing the offensive rebound and drawing the foul.
With a 41-39 lead and 37.5 seconds left, Nicholson stepped to the line and knocked down two crucial free throws to make it a two possesion ball game. BBA's defense came up big in the final minutes as they forced Mill River into two crucial turnovers in the waning moments.
Mill River captain Trisha Burden led the Minutemen in scoring with 17 points.
BBA will play at Middlebury tomorrow at 6 p.m. and will then travel to Spaulding High School on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. game.