MAU stifles Bratt to reach Division I semifinal
BENNINGTON -- If the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team is going to lose this postseason, they were determined to make sure it wasn't inside their own gym.
In the quarterfinals of the Division I tournament, the Patriots handed Route 9 rival Brattleboro a 50-37 loss at Kates Gym that sends the third-seeded Patriots back to Patrick Gym at UVM for the first time since 2008.
"Looking up to them, our captains and our seniors, I'm overjoyed," sophomore Kathryn Frasier said. "We are a family and I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather go with my family."
Playing against Brattleboro for the third time this season, with MAU winning the first two, the Patriots' biggest test of the game came in the closing stages of the second quarter.
Up 15-9 after one, MAU extended its lead on a 12-2 run that spanned six minutes of the second quarter. The run started on a Kate Goodell pass to freshman Brianna Legacy and junior Maddy Main (6 points) hit a 3-pointer off a pass from freshman Madison Little to give MAU its first double-digit lead of the day.
But before the Patriots could hit the locker room, Brattleboro pushed back with a 7-0 run to close the half.
Colonel senior Arianna Harrison, who led all scorers with 19 on the night, started the push when she played a give-and-go with classmate Kayla Savage for a bucket and capped it with four-straight free throws to make it 27-18 going into half.
"We had just played BBA three days ago and were down 17 in the second, and similarly cut it to nine at the half," said Brattleboro coach Paul Freed. "That's all I asked for, let's see if we can get this under double digits."
In the MAU locker room, coach Brian Harrington used the run as motivation to start the second half, which started in a big way when senior Makayla Farrara (6 points) hit her second trey of the day on the team's first offensive possession to make it 30-18.
"I told them at halftime, Brattleboro isn't going to go away," Harrington said. "We had them down by 12 in their gym and they forced overtime. I thought we had a couple lapses on defense at the end of the first half but I was really happy to come out and hit that three-ball right off the bat in the second half."
Frasier, who scored a team-high 13 in the win, extended the lead to 14 on a drive to the basket several plays later. Thanks in part to an off-shooting night by the Colonels, the Patriots extended the early 5-0 run to an 11-5 quarter that gave the team a 38-23 edge going into the fourth.
Frasier, who scored six points during the third, was instrumental in sparking the quarter.
"[Her driving] put a lot of pressure on Brattleboro's defense, that's for one," Harrington said. "And she isn't afraid to do that and she is a pretty decent free throw shooter so I encourage that."
"I was just thinking I want to get to Patrick [Gym] and what is the quickest lane I could take to get there," Frasier said. "It was our seniors' last game [at Kates Gym] so we wanted to leave it out on the floor."
For Freed, Frasier's drives highlighted the issues that his team had trying to defend against the depth of Patriot shooters and slashers.
"It's a challenge, and that is one of the biggest keys of the game: Being out there close enough to contain and control those three-point shooter and be able to move your feet so you don't get beat off the dribble," Freed said. "Most of those kids will take that three or drop their heads and go to the basket. That is a very difficult challenge."
In the fourth, Brattleboro would cut the deficit to 11 when Harrison grabbed a rebound and went back up to make it 43-32, but a bucket from Kate Goodell on a put back, one of her 11 rebounds on the day, on the next play and a drive from the wing for Hewitt pushed the lead back to 15.
The win gives MAU a 3-0 sweep of the Colonels on the season. While sometimes the third game can be a trap for a team that won the first two, Harrington thought the familiarity helped in this instance.
"I think some positives are that we knew going in who we needed to stop," Harrington said. "We couldn't stop Harrison, but we stopped everyone else on the perimeter."
Frasier finished with six rebounds and two blocks to go along with her 13 points, while Brianna Legacy added seven boards off the bench and seniors Brinkley Legacy and Carly Rogers had six each. Junior Morgan Hewitt had seven points off the bench for MAU. Harrison finished with a double-double for Brattleboro with a 19 point, 15 rebound effort. Savage added eight boards and two steals.
MAU advances to play Rice Memorial, the two-seed, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Patriots opened the season with a 61-50 defeat to the Green Knights to start the season, and will look to avoid ending it in the same manner.
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