MAU late-game run falls short against Brattleboro
Down by 14 heading into the final quarter in its playdown matchup against Brattleboro, MAU needed some sort of a spark to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The high energy, junior guard was exactly the spark the Patriots needed as she knocked down four three-point shots in the quarter to get the Colonel lead down to two.
The deficit was just a little too much to overcome though and Brattleboro went on to win 51-45 at Kates Gym.
The loss ends MAU's season and they finish with a 13-8 record.
Patriots coach AJ Mahar recognized that those early mistakes to get them into the hole was what did them in, but was proud of the play down the stretch.
"We did the same thing we've been doing all year and it came back to bite us in the butt," Mahar said. "We started off slow and it got a double-digit lead. The resiliency was key to this team. That's what we've done all year. We could of got down 14 and folded, but we continued to battle and played for each other."
MAU and Brattleboro have played three close games this season. The Patriots won the first two contests by two points apiece, so Wednesday was the day that the Colonels finally got over the MAU-sized hump.
A major reason for Brattleboro getting over that hump was the play of junior Hailey Derosia. Derosia was hot from the first tip on both ends of the floor. She scored a game-high 28 points and was a force on the defensive end, causing multiple turnover from the Patriots.
"Hailey is just a phenomenal athlete at the end of the day," Mahar said. "She just plays so hard. She's so smart and she did what she had do out there."
The Colonels had solid night's from Lauren McKenney and Nicole Norcia as well, as they had eight and seven points respectively.
Entering the final quarter, Worthington hadn't scored a basket, but in the fourth is where she really shined. She scored 14 points in that final frame. Fellow junior Caroline Musinski also had 14 points. When MAU got down early, it was Musinski who was knocking down jumpers to keep the Patriots afloat.
The pair both had four made 3's on the night.
Credit has to go to the stout Brattleboro defense for the way they defended MAU's usual two top players of Grace Mahar and Anna Iannotti. Both players were held to just seven points and Grace Mahar was held scoreless in the second half.
With their season now over, MAU is set to lose a trio of seniors from this year's squad to graduation, Iannotti, Kaity O'Brien and Emma Arlotta. With the growth of the Patriots younger players, the future looks bright in Bennington.
"Our seniors gave this team so much from a leadership aspect and setting the trend and playing so hard," AJ Mahar said. "We're going to miss them for sure. With that being said, I'm really excited for the core we have returning. We kind of have some excitement going for the girls basketball program and I'm hoping that we have a busy summer in the gym and come out ready next year."
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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