Mill River edges Patriots in overtime, 60-51
BENNINGTON — For the past three games, the Mount Anthony boys basketball team has played with its opponent right to the end.
Close losses to Otter Valley and Hoosick Falls had the Patriots keyed up for Tuesday's game against Mill River.
A roller-coaster of a contest saw MAU take a double-digit lead, lose it and hit a game-tying shot with three seconds left. But in the end, the Minutemen got the better of the Patriots, taking a 60-51 win at Kates Gym.
"These guys are tough, they've been tough all year long and they are getting tougher," said Mount Anthony coach Marcus Hass. "It sucks to lose one like that, but to see the effort and see how hard they are working, I'll take that any night."
Mount Anthony started well, taking a four-point lead, 20-16, to the break. They scored the first eight points of the third quarter to go up 12 and force Mill River coach Jack Rogers to take a timeout.
Eventually, after a basket from Brandon Anderson with 4:02 left in the third, MAU took a 34-21 lead. But Mill River clamped down defensively for the rest of the quarter, outscoring MAU 13-2 during that time and going to the fourth quarter down just 36-34 after two Tyler Shelvey free throws.
Will Grabowski tied the game on the second possession of the fourth quarter, then Colby Fox (11 points) gave the Minutemen a 41-39 lead with 4:30 left.
Gavin Johnson re-tied it with two of his game-high 18 before Aidan Botti buried a three — one of eight on the night for Mill River — for a three-point advantage.
Johnson led all scorers with his 18 and added 16 rebounds for a double-double. Anderson was next with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
With 4:10 left in the third, Johnson had to come out of the game with four fouls, and he sat for the rest of the quarter.
"It's tough when you pick up fouls with a short bench," Hass said. "Other guys have to step up and we did a great job of stepping up in his absence."
Quintin McIntire had eight points and 11 rebounds as well.
Fox scored on a turnover with 2:29 left to give Mill River a three-point lead, 46-43, and it looked like the Minutemen would seal it when they got offensive rebounds on back-to-back shots.
But the Minutemen's free throw shooting was much to be desired. Fox missed a pair and then Grabowski missed two as well to give MAU life. On the next possession with just under a minute to go in regulation, Cole Aines stole the ball, but gave it back on a travel. Overall, the Minutemen were 12-of-26 from the line.
Anderson scored with 28 seconds left to cut the lead to 46-45, and MAU fouled immediately, putting Zach Ames at the line.
Ames missed both to keep it a one-point game and shortly after Fox hit 1-of-2 to give Mill River a 47-45 lead with 14.3 seconds to go, the Patriots had their last chance.
"We got to know who to foul and we did a good job of it late in the game," Hass said. "We put guys on the line who weren't shooting well, we plan for that stuff."
They got the ball inside to Johnson and the sophomore made it count, missing the first, but tipping it back in with three seconds left to tie it at 47-47.
"We wanted to get something downhill and get Gavin going toward the basket," Hass said. "Being able to get back up to put in the rebound, that's something you get really excited."
Resetting for overtime, Shelvey and Johnson traded baskets, but then Fox and Aines each scored, Aines' coming in transition on a steal.
Johnson cut the lead to two on the next possession, but Mill River scored the last seven to snag the victory.
The loss was the 10th straight for the Patriots, but despite defeats in their last three, Hass is optimistic that his team, devastated by injuries and ineligibility, will turn things around as the season hurtles towards its conclusion.
"[Mill River] got the better of us in overtime, but I can't be more proud of this team," Hass said.
Mount Anthony hosts Burr and Burton on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in a makeup from last week.
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