LaRose nets 400th as Eagles win in overtime
BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School girls’ basketball team won its fourth straight game — and gave Coach Connie LaRose her 400th girls’ basketball victory — on Thursday, 60-52 over visiting Colchester.
LaRose’s 400th win came almost exactly six years after her 300th win in February 2010. Her victories piled up quickly in the intervening years, in which the Eagles made four consecutive trips to the Division II finals between 2011 and 2014. Now, her record stands at 400-191, for a 0.677 winning percentage entering games this week.
The Eagles won championships in those final two years, finishing at 23-1 in 2013 and 19-4 in 2014 and earning LaRose the second and third titles in her tenure at Mount Abe, which began in 1991. The Eagles also won the D-II title in 1997. In the four-year stretch ending in 2014, the Eagles averaged 19.5 wins.
LaRose said knew she might be close to 400, but that husband Ron LaRose is the family statistician, and he did not clue her in. She did not realize until game time on Thursday, when one of her daughters-in-law let the news slip, that she was on the threshold of the milestone.
“I had no clue. I never check it. The only one who keeps track of that is Ron,” LaRose said. “I figured he would tell me when I was close, but he never did.”
She said her athletes were responsible for her record.
“I look at it like I have 400 wins worth of great players who got those wins,” LaRose said. “I can’t go out there and bounce the ball and play defense and get those rebounds and put it in. Those are young kids who have to do that it. And that’s where the credit should go.”
And she praised her current Eagles, a young team that is gelling down the stretch.
“They’re figuring some things out,” LaRose said.
The Eagles led by 12 in the third, but saw the D-I Lakers (10-8) come back to take a seven-point lead in the fourth. Then the Eagles rallied to take a two-point lead, but a turnover with seconds to go allowed Colchester to tie the game at 47-47.
LaRose said she was pleased the Eagles did not allow the miscue to rattle them. In overtime they outscored the Lakers by 11-5, with points from Emma Carter, Olivia Young, Emma LaRose and Jessie McKean.
Carter finished with a career-high 32 points, Abby Mansfield and Young scored seven each, and LaRose and McKean chipped in six each.
Now, LaRose said, it’s even possible her team, which stands at 8-10 after a 1-8 start headed into games at Middlebury and Vergennes this week, could make some noise in the D-II playoffs.
“We’re learning to manage the clock and learning to manage the game a little better,” she said.