Middlebury girls’ basketball falls to Missisquoi

MIDDLEBURY — An improving Missisquoi Valley squad took advantage of the host Middlebury Union High School girls’ basketball team’s inability to find the bottom of the net on Saturday and left with a 40-17 victory.
The T-Birds, who have been more competitive this winter under Coach Taylor Coppenrath, moved to 2-8. Coach Jen Heath’s young Tigers — five freshmen saw minutes — remained in search of a breakthrough victory.
The game was close early. Tiger freshman Ivy Doran’s free throw at 6:33 of the second period pulled MUHS to within two at 8-6.
But Heath noted the Tigers at that point had already missed a few makeable shots. To compound the problem, they had also sunk just one of four from the line (MUHS made two of 11 free throws overall).
The T-Birds then closed the half on a 13-0 run in which sophomore forward Macayla Langlois scored four of her 18 points and junior guard Riley Noel tossed in three of her five. After a Tiger turnover MVU junior Serena Power went coast-to-coast to beat the buzzer and set the halftime score at 21-6.
The Tigers made run at MVU in the third when senior guard Taylor Sylvester nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key and Doran followed with a jumper from the lane at 2:30 to make it 23-11. But Langlois hit two free throws at 1:57 after grabbing an offensive rebound, and then beat the buzzer with a putback to put the game out of reach at 27-11 after three periods.
The T-Birds won the board battle, 44-32, including team rebounds, and after pressing full-court all game also had fewer turnovers than the Tigers, 24-31.
Doran led MUHS with six points, while senior forward Ashley Sunderland chipped in four. Sylvester and freshmen Hannah Turner and Ann Andrus each grabbed four rebounds, and Sunderland and Doran snagged three. Turner led the way with a pair of assists on the Tigers’ seven buckets. Freshman forward Alexandra Paquette added six points for MVU.
Heath said when the Tigers’ shots wouldn’t fall early they became hesitant in the half-court.
“In the first half we had a lot of great shots. They just didn’t fall,” she said. “We had layups. We had short shots and they didn’t fall, and I think we just got frustrated. We got frustrated and frazzled, and then everything kind of just started not working. I thought we had good defense in the first half, and parts of good defense in the second half. When the shots aren’t falling, it’s tough.”
Heath said the Tigers will keep plugging and making the necessary effort to improve.
“We haven’t given up in any game. We’re going to keep going. We have a lot of games than we can be competitive in,” Heath said. “We’re going to keep working.”

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