Despite jumping out to a quick lead and a frantic, late game comeback from Black River High School, the West Rutland girls' hoop team recently hung on to beat the Lady Presidents, 31-29, in Ludlow.
"This one wasn't pretty but we'll take it," West Rutland coach Carl Serrani said after the game. "It's a good thing be built up that first quarter lead or we might not have hung on."
Indeed, the Lady Golden Horde jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead in this one, triggered by a full-court, trapping defense that produced turnovers and easy transition baskets. The freshman duo of Sammy Lacz and Mikayla Dambrackus each scored baskets early and senior Heidi Byrne also pitched in with a basket and some good defensive pressure.
Black River had a tough time early on with the Horde defensive pressure, turning the ball over several times before finally being able to connect on some passes and run their offense. However, they dug themselves a pretty big hole as West Rutland led 11-4 after the first quarter.
The Lady Presidents finally started making some noise in the second quarter sparked by the play of senior-captain Michelle Gagne, junior Liisa Koivunen and junior Alyssa Collins, and managed to cut the lead to six halfway through the quarter. Black River also switched to a one-three-one zone defense which really slowed down the West Rutland offense, but the Golden Horge managed to get to the locker room with a 19-12 lead.
At the start of the third quarter, the Lady Golden Horde continued to have trouble figuring out the Presidents' zone defense, however, they kept working hard and had a six point lead half way through the period, thanks to the frosh Byrne, who handled the point well and made good decisions on the floor and limited the turnovers that had plagued the Horde through the first three quarters.