Patriots weather storm, edge Slaters

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BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony boys basketball team's home opener against Fair Haven had the feel of a heavyweight fight.

The Patriots and Slaters went back and forth, each taking the other's best shots.

In the end, Mount Anthony got the knockout blow, a Brandon Anderson steal and basket with 10 seconds left to give MAU a 57-53 win at Kates Gym on Wednesday night.

"It was such a heads up play by Brandon there to pick [the loose ball] up," said MAU coach Marcus Hass. "If he missed it, we're 4-on-5, but he got there and made the play."

Tied at 51-51 with 2:18 left after an Abe Amidon bucket, Fair Haven retook the lead with a basket from Aubrey Ramey to give them a two-point lead. Ramey led the way for the Slaters with 16 points.

But missed free throws down the stretch would be Fair Haven's downfall. After the first one, Amidon tied it against with a hoop with less than 30 seconds to go and Hass took a timeout to regroup.

Drew Eddy missed the front end of a one-and-one shortly after, but Andrew Ferrara came up with an offensive rebound and he was fouled.

With 16.6 seconds left, Ferrara missed the front end of his one-and-one to keep the game even, and the loose ball went out of bounds off the Patriots.

On Fair Haven's inbounds, the ball went toward half-court where Anderson made a play, speeding past to pick up the loose ball and score to take the lead, 55-53.

On the Slaters' last possession, a three was well short and Anderson was fouled intentionally with less than a second left and he made both foul shots to seal it.

Amidon led all scorers with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Jack Bushee added 12, also with three from beyond the arc.

The Slaters came out of the gate fast as Mount Anthony struggled to find the mark in the first quarter. A basket from Ferrara in the last 30 seconds of the first quarter gave Fair Haven a 13-2 lead after one.

An Austin Martinka hoop kept MAU from a shutout in the frame.

"We knew we were going to have to weather a storm," Hass said. "They have guys who played football and they won the [Division II title], so they know how to win."

The Slaters continued to extend the advantage into the second quarter, eventually making it 21-4 after a pair of free throws from Ramey, the sophomore, and finally Hass took a timeout with 5:14 left in the half.

After that, Mount Anthony seemed to play with more energy and purpose — and it showed on the scoreboard as MAU went on a 22-6 run to end the half, led by Amidon and Bushee and Will Fischer, as the Patriots only trailed by one at the half, 27-26.

"I've got some guys who went through tough games being behind last season, it's just like before," Hass said. "We have to come back, the shots will start to fall for us."

Mount Anthony took its first lead of the night early in the second half as Bushee hit a three, and it went back and forth before a three from Anderson — his first points of the game, extended the advantage. It was one of nine shots from long distance on the night for MAU.

"The big thing for me is going to the next play," Hass said. "You might mess up, but work hard on the next play."

Moments later, the Patriots went on a 10-0 run, capped by 1-of-2 at the line by Amidon and a Gavin Johnson putback to make it 45-33 with less than a minute left in the third.

Johnson had four points and 10 rebounds in his second varsity game.

"He's just getting his feet wet in varsity basketball," Hass said. "Being able to contribute right away has been big for us and will be down the stretch."

MAU is 2-0 and travels to finish the North-South Challenge on Saturday against Spaulding.


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