Patriots survive Rutland surge

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BENNINGTON >> What a difference a week makes.

Seven days after being run out of Keefe Gym in Rutland, the Mount Anthony boys basketball team wanted to get some revenge.

The Patriots led by as much as 15 and held on for a 70-68 win over the Raiders at Kates Gym on Tuesday night.

"We knew all week that wasn't us in Rutland," said Tyler Champagne. "We prepared all week, we knew it would be different. All week, the coaches are telling us, this is our time. We came out and did what we needed to do."

Heading into the fourth quarter, Mount Anthony led 60-48 and looked like they would add another win to their season total. But a gutsy Rutland squad made a run, scoring the next nine, capped off by a Kyle Cassarino (14 points) basket after an offensive rebound to pull the Raiders within three at 60-57 with 5:17 left.

"It was about taking a punch, coming back and handling adversity," said Champagne, who scored 11 points. "Basically finding a way to bounce back from their run. We picked the intensity up."

Moments later, Cassarino made both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it a one-point game, but Jonas Parker came right back with a hard-fought layup to push the lead to three with two minutes left.

Parker led all scorers with 30 points — 15 in each half. Nathaniel Kingsley led Rutland with 27, including five 3-pointers. Damon Burgess was the second-leading scorer for the Patriots with 14 points, including two 3-pointers.

Tyrell Johnson hit a layup after an offensive rebound to get it to 64-63, but the Patriots found Parker underneath again to make it 66-63 and Rutland called timeout with 1:23 left.

"They needed direction at that point, we needed to keep attacking, there was still way too much time [left]," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "We ran some sets and attacked after that long drought and it paid off."

Out of the stoppage, the Mount Anthony defense had its best sequence as Rutland took nearly a minute off the clock looking for an open shot that never came.

"That was a hell of a defensive stand there, we were taking away their two options in Kingsley and Cassarino, everything goes through them and we had it covered at both ends," Sleeman said. "We mixed things up and I thought that was a huge advantage."

Trying to pass it through to the wing, Champagne got his hand in the way and the ball went off the Rutland player and out, giving it back to MAU with 35 seconds left and a three-point lead.

Matthew Anderson, who had 13 points on the night, hit a pair of free throws after Rutland fouled three times to get the Patriots into the bonus. After a Rutland basket made the deficit three again, Parker finished off his 30-point effort with a layup in transition with seconds left.

Early on, the home court made a lot of difference as the Patriots led 18-17 after the first, then outscored the Raiders 22-11 in the second quarter to take a 40-28 lead into the break. Parker had 15 and Anderson had nine while Kingsley had 11.

Mount Anthony improves to 13-3, while Rutland drops to 14-3.

"We busted our butts and deserved to come out with a win," Champagne said.


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