It took nearly three quarters for the West Rutland boys' basketball team to catch winless Black River, but the Golden Horde had enough to get their sixth win of the season, knocking off the Presidents, 44-40, on the road in Ludlow. After honoring four seniors before the game Black River came out fired up, jumping out to a quick, 8-2 lead on the strength of two Covell 3-pointers and back-to-back steals from Tyler Schuab, one of which turned into an easy lay up.
After West Rutland sophomore Nick Anagnos scored on a rebound and put-back, the Presidents stretched the lead to 12-5 on hoops from Cucullo and freshman Matt Covell after back-to-back blocks from Jacob Covell and Schuab. The Presidents defense was active early, creating enough havoc to produce a 12-5 lead heading into the second quarter. "I give them credit," West Rutland coach Mike Lufkin said after the game.
"It took us nearly the entire game to figure it out and play our game."
The two teams would go back and fourth throughout the second quarter, with the Presidents building a 21-13 lead before West Rutland senior Adan Garcia hit a jumper to stem the tide. But the Black River tough defense continued with two more steals in the final minute, with the second resulting in a buzzer-beater shot from Cucullo to give the
Presidents a 23-15 lead heading into the break. Jacob Covell had 12 points for Black River at the half, while Nick Anagnos led West Rutland with 10.
Neither team could get any offense going at the start of the third quarter, with each squad committing three consecutive turnovers before Horde senior Ryan Harvey broke the ice with a floater in the lane.
However, Black River continued to play scrappy defense and despite not much flow to the offense, maintained a 27-19 lead halfway through the quarter.