ST. ALBANS – It wasn’t the prettiest of games when the BFA girls’ basketball team hosted Colchester on Friday, but the Comets did just enough to come away with the win.
In a game that turned out to be a defensive showdown, the Comets were clutch from the free-throw line in the second half to come away with a 38-33 win to remain unbeaten heading into the new year.
“This was a more exciting game than we would have liked it to have been,” said BFA coach Shawn Earl. “It’s still early in the season, so we still have a lot of things to work on, but we are very happy with being 3-0 heading into new years.”
After struggling from the line in the first half when they only went 4 of 13, the Comets were much better in the final two quarters when they hit 15 of 19.
Twelve of those free throws came in the fourth quarter alone with the Comets trailing until just over a minute remained in the game.
“The girls came up big in pressure situations at the free throw line,” said Earl. “We weren’t hitting out free throws in the first half, so it was very big to come out in the second and start knocking those down.
“It definitely wasn’t a pretty first half when we weren’t doing the little things,” he added. “But the girls showed a lot of fortitude in the second half hitting those free throws, getting down the floor and making some stops, getting loose balls and that’s a testament to their hard work on the floor.”
Colchester’s Gabby Gosselin was a force whenever she touched the ball, as she ended up scoring 22 of the teams 33 points in the game.
She fouled up late in the fourth quarter, which hurt the Lakers down the stretch.
“Gabby is obviously a great offensive talent for us, but we need other girls to step up,” said Colchester coach Jason Desjardin. “Once we find other options and don’t have to rely solely on Gabby, I think we are going to be in really good shape.”
After Colchester took a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, neither team’s offense found its groove in the second, as the Comets held on to a slim 15-14 lead.
Both teams started to get a little more going in the third quarter with both of them scoring 11 points. Gosselin had 10 of the Lakers’ points in the frame.
With BFA trailing by two in the final seconds of the third quarter, Elise Archambault hit a huge putback, drew a foul and finished up the three-point play to give the Comets the lead back.
The fourth quarter came down to the free throws for the Comets with all of their points coming from the charity stripe and the Lakers couldn’t answer once Gosselin went out.
Hannah Earl (4 of 6) and Andi Esenler (8 of 10) did the most damage from the line for the Comets in the fourth quarter.
It was a tough loss for the Lakers, who played well enough on the defensive side of the ball, but couldn’t find any more offensive options throughout the game other than Gosselin.
“I thought the overall team performance was great today,” said Desjardin. “We rebounded well, communicated very well and played very good defensively. Just have to find that offense.”
BFA had its own troubles finding its offensive rhythm after Kelly Laggis (six points, six rebounds) was limited all game after she ran into foul trouble in the first half and came out with an injury in the second half.
With Laggis off the floor, the Lakers were able to shift their attention to shutting down Earl and Esenler.
“Kelly is a big part of what we do, so it hurt losing her tonight,” said Earl. “But we also have the next player up mentality, and they are capable of stepping up.”
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for the Comets, but at the end of the day they are entering the new year with a 3-0 record.
Earl is hoping once the holidays are over, the team can get back into a rhythm and start finding their groove heading into the rest of the season starting Tuesday when they travel to Burlington.
“Early part of the winter season is very tough because of the holidays and breaks from school, so it’s tough to play a game, take a week off and play another game,” said Earl. “I’m hoping once everything settles down, we can start to find our rhythm and keep getting better.”
Comets 38, Lakers 33
Colchester 10 4 11 8 – 33
BFA-St. Albans 7 8 11 12—38
Colchester: Gabby Gosselin (22 points), Bailey Luter (4 points), Jess Laquerre (2 points), Hannah Pariseau (2 points), Ava Hayes (2 points), Maygan Blow (2 points)
BFA-St. Albans: Andi Esenler (13 points), Hannah Earl (9 points), Kelly Laggis (6 points), Lily McAllister (5 points), Elise Archambault (3 points), Alivia McCarthy (2 points).
Team Stats / Leaders
Colchester: 34 / Riley Magoon (13)
BFA: 32 / Earl (11)
Colchester: 11 / Gosselin (4)
BFA: 8 / Earl, McAllister (2)
Colchester: 3 / Magoon, Blow, Pariseau (1)
BFA: 2 / McAllister, McCarthy (1)
Colchester: 8 of 14
BFA: 19 of 32