MAU-BBA: Take Two


BENNINGTON >> Rivalry games are a great tradition in sports and the Mount Anthony Union High School and Burr and Burton Academy rivalry is a prime example.

Just on Tuesday night, the MAU AND BBA girls put on an absolute classic, with MAU coming out victorious with a 65-61 victory over the Bulldogs.

Tonight the boys will have their chance to create another great memory in the MAU-BBA rivalry, when the Bulldogs host the Patriots in their second meeting of the season.

In their first meeting back in January, MAU came out on top, dominating the contest from start to finish, 88-61, and making a big statement in this rivalry.

"They brought it to us in that first game and beat us pretty good," BBA coach Dave Shehadi. "We got off to a bad start in the game and they took advantage of that. To beat a team like MAU, you have to play a complete game."

The MAU victory snapped a nine game winning streak the Bulldogs had on their Patriot rivals.

It also was the first time that Shehadi had ever lost to MAU during his time as coach of BBA.

"We have been the lead dog in this great rivalry as of late, but one thing about high school basketball is that every year is different and that any rival can beat the other," Shehadi said. "This year MAU is really good team and we're going to have play our best game if we want to beat them."

Both MAU and BBA are having great years so far.

The Bulldogs are off to a 10-7 start and right now the eighth seed in Division I, while the Patriots are flying high at 13-3 on the season and are coming off a big win against Rutland on Tuesday night.

"This has been a terrific season for us so far," MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "We have won a lot of big games and pushed through any adversity that has come our way. We have proven that we are a very good and resilient team."

One big win for MAU was beating BBA at home.

"It always is a great win for your team when you play in a playoff like atmosphere and beat your rival, who are a good team and have had the upper hand against you in recent years," Sleeman said.

As the two prepare for what possibly will be their last meeting against each other this season, both are looking at the game as great test to for themselves going forward into the playoff in a couple of week.

For BBA, beating their rival would mean the end of their current four game losing streak and could help them start to climb up the Division 1 standings. They will also avoid being swept by MAU this season with a win as well.

"I have said it all year that our focus was get to playing our best basketball when playoffs come around and that starts Friday night," Shehadi said. "We have lost a couple in a row, so beat a good team like MAU would be huge for us."

While for the Patriots, the BBA game will be what Sleeman said will be another huge playoff type game for his kids.

"This is another great test for our team," Sleeman said." I have said all year that you have be road warriors if you want to win a state championship, so what better way to prepare yourself for that then going on the road to play your rival school in a great playoff atmosphere."

Wins and losses aside, tonight's game will be mark another chapter in the MAU-BBA rivalry a rivalry that both coaches are proud to be apart of.

"This a great rivalry," Sleeman said. "Every sport that we play each other in is fun to watch and to be apart of. That's what you want in a rivalry and MAU-BBA has that and much more."

The next chapter in this great rivalry will tip-off tonight at 7 p.m.


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