Mount Abe girls’ hoop plays hard, but falls to Colchester
BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School girls’ basketball team did a lot right vs. visiting Division I Colchester on Friday.
Counting team rebounds, the Eagles earned a 39-29 edge on the boards. They had one fewer turnover than the Lakers (20-21), and sank one more free throw (9-8).
But the Eagles didn’t shoot well. They hit just 14 shots, compared to the 3-4 Lakers’ 21.
The result was a 52-43 Laker victory. Colchester led most of the way, but did not shake the Eagles until late in the fourth quarter.
Two free throws from Eagle senior forward Marley Keith followed by a layup from junior forward Laura Bonar, assisted by senior guard Savannah Scrodin, cut the Laker lead to 44-41 at 3:50 of the fourth.
But CHS responded with four straight hoops over the next 3:25, and the Eagles saw their record drop to 1-5.
Coach Connie LaRose said her team is athletic and hard-working (at least half of the 10 Eagles have played on championship field hockey, softball or lacrosse teams), but during this pandemic-shortened season they have yet to shake off the shooting woes that slowed them on Friday.
“We’re not blessed with a lot of natural shooters. I’ve got a couple out there who don’t even think they should shoot. I trust them more than they trust themselves,” LaRose said.
The good news is the Eagles have come a long way in learning the team’s offensive and defensive sets, and they moved their feet on defense and the ball on offense — despite, LaRose said, a series of injuries and ailments this winter that have kept the team from practicing with 10 athletes until late last week.
“We’re so much better than we were whenever we started all of this. It’s hard,” she said. “We’ve been practicing with seven, eight or nine because of stuff going on. It’s made things difficult, and I know they get discouraged, but they’re working hard. And what more can I ask for?”
Certainly, the Eagles were competitive with the Lakers. They took a 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter as junior Abby Reen hit a jumper and a three, and senior forward Cami Masse converted an offensive rebound.
But the Eagles cooled off, and the Lakers closed the period on a 9-3 run to lead by 15-10, with sophomore Ryleigh Garrow and senior Emmakate O’Donnell doing all the damage in the quarter for CHS. Another Reen shot from behind the arc was the only Eagle answer in that stretch.
The Lakers never trailed again, and at one point in the second quarter pushed the lead to 23-13 with help from back-to-back threes from senior Olivia Moore.
The Eagles crept back in the game with a 6-1 run. Junior Laura Bonar came off the bench and scored on an inbounds play, sophomore Maia Jensen hit a three, and a free throw by sophomore Madi Giles cut the Laker advantage to 26-21 at the break.
The Lakers pulled away again in the third, moving up by 40-28 at 1:41 after Garrow scored seven straight points, four in transition. Meanwhile, Jensen had scored all seven of the Eagle points in the quarter. In the final 1:08 a Bonar free throw and a Reen steal and layup cut the lead to nine after three, 40-31.
Bonar, one of the players who missed time earlier this season, then sparked the Eagles in the fourth, as did the Eagle defense, which forced 16 second-half Laker turnovers. Bonar scored six points inside, and Scrodin and Keith each sank a pair of free throws as the Eagles moved to within three, 44-41.
But Mount Abe’s surge peaked there. The shots stopped falling, and four Lakers scored in their decisive 8-0 run.
For the Lakers, Garrow led the way with 16 points, O’Donnell scored 15, and Moore finished with eight.
For the Eagles, Jensen finished with 12 points and three assists, Reen put up 10 points and eight rebounds, and Bonar contributed nine points, eight rebounds, two steals and at least two blocks. Scrodin chipped in three assists and three steals, and Keith added three steals.
LaRose went nine deep, with senior Emily Crowe and sophomore Lucy Parker also seeing action. LaRose noted the team will graduate only three seniors, and said the Eagles show promise for the future.
“We’ve got some quick kids, and they’re young,” she said. “They’re going to get better, and they’re going to get physically stronger.”
And regardless of its record LaRose said this year’s team is praiseworthy.
“They’ve just been a great group to work with, and they know we’ve been challenged,” she said. “They’re happy to come to practice every day, and they’re happy we’ve had a few games.”
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