BBA holds off Fair Haven
MANCHESTER — Down by six going into the fourth quarter, the Burr and Burton Academy girls basketball team did not panic one bit.
Led by senior Hannah Nicholson, the Bulldogs were able to mount a fourth quarter comeback and defeat Fair Haven, 44-43.
Trailing Fair Haven by three with four minutes to go, Nicholson went to work on the Bulldogs' comeback.
The senior captain scored nine of her game-high 20 in the fourth quarter, hitting two free throws with under two minutes left in the game that gave BBA a 42-41 lead.
"I realized at that moment in the game that I needed to step for my team and assert myself more in the game," Nicholson said. "Once I was able to make a couple shots, my confidence went up and from there I went and got the win for my team."
Nicholson also had a double-double in the game, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds as well.
After the Bulldogs made a terrific defensive stand on Fair Haven to get the ball back, another senior stepped up for BBA in point guard Tessa Roberts, who knocked down two huge free throws to give her team a 3-point lead with 36 seconds to go.
"She has ice water in her veins," said BBA coach Ed Panzarino on Roberts' shooting at the free throw line. "That's the person we wanted at the line and she came up huge for us."
Roberts had five points in the fourth quarter and scored all eight in the second half, after being held scoreless in the first half.
After Roberts hit her free throws and the Bulldogs made another huge defensive stand, it looked like BBA had clinched its third win of the season, but Fair Haven's Alexis Quenneville wasn't going to let happen so easily.
The senior stole the BBA inbound pass and then got fouled while going up for a layup. She would then go perfect from the free throw stripe to make it a one point game with 11 seconds remaining.
"It got a little nerve-racking there," Nicholson said. "They had a chance to come back and win the game, so I was a little nervous the last couple seconds of the game."
On the next BBA possession, the Fair Haven defense would force an errant pass from BBA guard Ana Garay that sailed out of bounds and gave the Slaters the ball back for a chance to win the game.
Lucky for BBA, Fair Haven's Hallie Coloutti missed from the left wing and by the time the Slaters were able to get possesion of the ball for one last heave at the basket, the clock read zeros.
"This was a huge win for us," Panzarino said. "We have been scuffling a bit in close games this year so far, so getting a close win like this will be a big confidence booster for us going forward in close games."
The win for BBA was even more special because the team was able to celebrate it to with teammate Jessica Finnegan, who was attending her first game since she sustained a severe concussion back against CVU on December 5, that left her hospitalized for almost two weeks.
"It was really important to us to win this game with it being the first time that we had Jess back with us," Nicholson said. "Her being here really motivated us to come back and win this game. She is the true spark of our team and we're really happy she is back her with us."
Senior Stephanie Boucher and sophomore Emily Bleakie each had five points for BBA in the win.
Quenneville had a team-high 18 points for Fair Haven in the loss.
With the win, BBA is now an even 3-3 on the season.
The Bulldogs' next game will be in the Fair Haven tournament that starts on Wednesday. BBA's opponent and time of the game have yet to be determined.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.