Patriots pull out 67-62 playdown win over Burlington to advance

BENNINGTON — Coming into Tuesday's opening round Division I playdown between No. 8 Mount Anthony and No. 9 Burlington, the Patriots wanted to prove that they could play with and at a high level against the Seahorses, who beat MAU by 22 at Kates Gym in December.

What a difference a few months makes.

Mount Anthony trailed for most of the game, but a surging Patriot squad wouldn't be denied, outscoring Burlington by 15 in the second half to pull out a 67-62 win at Kates Gym.

"We were 100 percent confident," said junior Abe Amidon. "We were watching film all week, preparing for them. We have some of the best fans in the state and when they get going, that gets us going."

Trailing by 10 at the half, Mount Anthony pulled within one at 43-42 at the end of the third to set up an exciting and nip-and-tuck final eight minutes.

Tenzin Kelly started the fourth by hitting a three to give Burlington a four-point lead early, but Mount Anthony tied the game with back-to-back baskets from Gavin Johnson and Brandon Anderson.

"We were missing a couple of guys back in December, but just our heart and intensity [was huge]," said MAU coach Marcus Hass. "I had never beaten Burlington, either as a player or a coach, so it was special for me. They put everything they had on the line and that toughness has won us games all year."

Kelly gave Burlington a lead again on the next possession, but Mount Anthony ratcheted up the pressure and scored the next nine in a row to take control.

Senior Matt Glanovsky went to the rim for two to tie the game and then Abe Amidon made a long jumper for a 50-48 lead. Off a miss at the Burlington end, MAU ran the floor and the ball eventually made its way to Amidon in the corner and he calmly made a three to give MAU a 53-48 lead as Burlington coach Thomas Barron took a timeout to regroup.

"I've been working with the coaches on going off the dribble and going north-south, not east-west," Amidon said. "I saw the opening and shot it. Then on the other one, I got the pump fake and he went for it, so I stepped out and hit [the shot]."

The Seahorse timeout didn't help right away, either, as Matt Steadman scored the next basket to up the MAU lead to 55-48 with 3:56 to go.

Steadman had 17 points on the night to lead the Patriots, one of four MAU players to have at least 10 points on the night — Amidon was second-best with 16, while Brandon Anderson had 13 and Johnson 11.

"We raised the intensity in our last game, kept it going [tonight] and we knew we could play well," Steadman said. "It was a real team effort, we work as a team and we win as a team."

Kevin Garrison hit a three to slow MAU's momentum momentarily, but Amidon hit another three and then two Glanovsky free throws and one from Anderson gave MAU a 61-51 lead with 1:28 left.

Burlington had one more gasp left to quiet the Kates Krazies student section a bit as the clock ticked away too slowly for any of them.

Jensen Daly hit a pair of free throws and after an MAU turnover, Garrison had another two to make it 61-55 with 1:09 to go.

Moments later, Haji Haji, the leading scorer on the night with 18 points, hit a pair from the line to cut the lead to four. Amidon hit 1-of-2 on the other end as Burlington intentionally fouled to extend the game and Garrison scored on a three-point play after a layup and foul to make it a one-possession game at 62-60 with 25 seconds remaining.

Garrison was second-highest scorer for the Seahorses with 14 points, while McCall Heimert added 12, all in the first half.

Amidon made one-of-two to make it a 63-60 game but on the next Burlington possession, senior Will Fischer came up with a steal to give the ball back to MAU. He was fouled and made both free throws to essentially clinch it.

"Will's steal was amazing and he's always good for plays like that, he's always hustling," Steadman said.

"He's a ball-hawk, a competitor on the football field or basketball court," Hass added. "It was a big moment for us."

Mount Anthony has another tough opponent in front of it — the undefeated Rutland Raiders — on Friday at Keefe Gym.

"We need to pull it all the way through," Hass said. "It gives them confidence and we need that going against Rutland. If we bring the intensity we brought tonight, we'll be in any game we play."


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