BENNINGTON -- It wasn't the greatest offensive effort by the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team, but some stout defending and a glut of offensive rebounds allowed the Patriots to top Rutland 54-30 at Kates Gym on Tuesday night.
"We talked about it coming in: The key was to try and stay out of foul trouble and rebound the basketball," said MAU coach Brian Harrington. "We knew we had a height advantage on them and we wanted to exploit that."
And the Patriots did just that, outrebounding the Raiders 46 to 19 while hauling in 19 offensive rebounds and turning six of them into points.
"They are a team that is aggressive," Rutland coach Nathan Bellomo said. "When they miss shots they are going after the boards and we had to box out and we didn't do that tonight."
Kate Goodell and Carly Rogers both hauled in seven rebounds, while Brinkley Legacy led all players with eight boards in the winning effort.
The game, though, would start out very close.
In the first quarter, MAU scored first when Rogers (team-high 9 points) hit a jumper off a Madison Little pass, but Rutland would go up 5-2 on a 3-pointer from Logan Boyle (game-high 12 points).
MAU would come back to tie up the game and go up 7-5, but Rutland tied the game back at 7-7 on another Boyle bucket. But before the quarter let out, Legacy scored on an offensive putback to put MAU up 9-7 going into the second.
"I thought Brinkley played well tonight, considering the fact that she is coming off an injury," Harrington said of his starting center.
But for as close as the first was, MAU took the life out of the game in the second by outscoring Rutland 16-6 to go up 25-13 into the break.
Seven different Patriots would score in the quarter, with Keira Goodell scoring her only points of the game on a trey and Kate Goodell (8 points) and Kathryn Fraiser (6 points) each adding a field goal and a free throw.
"They are obviously a pretty good defense," Bellomo said. "They get in the passing lanes and body you up. It was a combination [tonight], we weren't shooting well and they were playing really good defense. That isn't a good cocktail."
MAU would add to its lead in the third, going up 18 when Rogers split the defense on a drive to the hole to make it 36-18 then 20 when Legacy scored on a post move. Kristen Switzer would hit two free throws before the quarter ended, though, making it a 38-20 MAU edge.
Rutland showed a bit of fight to start the fourth, scoring the first seven points sparked by five from Boyle to cut the deficit to 11, but a bucket by Brinkley Legacy on a Goodell pass and a driving layup by Brianna Legacy pushed the lead back to 15 and allowed MAU to cruise through the rest of the contest.
Talking about the height advantage, Harrington noted how he wanted to exploit it not only on defense, but on offense as well.
"That's why we didn't shoot as many threes as we usually do," Harrington said. "We were a little more resilient about trying to get the ball into the post for Brinkley and Carly."
Besides the rebounding haul, Goodell also added three blocks, two steals and two assists. Frasier added five rebounds, including four on the offensive end, a steal and an assist in the win.
Lauren Fabian had four rebounds and four steals for Rutland in the loss. Boyle also added two steals. MAU turned the ball over 18 times during the game despite getting the win.
MAU moves to 14-4 with the win, while Rutland falls to 7-12. The Patriots are now 4-1 in the Marble Valley League ‘A' Division.
The Patriots return to action on Thursday as they host Hartford, then the Patriots host Brattleboro on Friday. A pair of wins would secure the MVL crown for MAU.