Although an injury to one of the key participants eliminated some of luster, the latest installement of one of Vermont’s greatest girls basketball rivalries was still plenty exciting as Enosburg Falls defeated Lake Region on Friday night, 42-35.
The Rangers, now 9-1, were without Division I college prospect junior guard Kylie Atwood, who hurt her knee in practice Monday and her absence was obvious as Lake Region struggled offensively until a late run fueled by their defensive pressure.
“We wish she was able to play,” said Enosburg coach Gary Geddes, who hoped to use the game as a measuring stick against the team that opened the season as the odds-on favorite to win its second Division III title in three seasons. “She’s a great player, but as they showed tonight they are a very good team without her, too.”
The Hornets, now 7-1, are widely considered the top threat to the Rangers and Friday night – despite a rare off night by 1,000-point score Jade Desroches, Enosburg showed it can win without a monster game from its biggest star.
“This was a great team win,” said Geddes. “We had so many players contribute.”
Desroches, held without a field goal for perhaps the first time in her stellar career, did have an impact on the outcome, sinking seven straight free throws in the final quarter to secure the win.
“We did a nice job on her defensively,” said Lake Region coach Mark Tinker. “But Enosburg is always a good free throw shooting team and she came up big for them at the end.”
Charlotte Hartman led the Hornets with 17 points, including 13 in the first half when the Hornets forged a 19-9 lead.
Desroches had seven points, Heather Mercy scored six, McKenize Gleason scored five, Allison Geddes scored three and Ashley Wods and Katja Langmaid scored two.
For the Rangers, Danika Gallup scored 20, including 13 (and three 3-pointers) in the final quarter. She was 5-for-5 from the line. Cailyn Gallup scored nine and Carly Perron, Paige Wells and Emily Comins each scored two.
Enosburg took an early 8-0 lead before the Rangers scored seven straight midway through the first quarter. Charlotte Hartman scored eight points in the first eight minutes and the Hornets led 12-7 after one quarter.
Hartman added five more points in the second quarter and the Rangers could only fashion a basket by Danika Gallup and trailled 19-9 at the break.
Enosburg extended the lead to 28-11 late in the third quarter before Danika Gallup scored the final five points and hit a pair of quick 3s early in the fourth to make things interesting.
Her two free throws with 3:28 left closed the gap to 38-35, but Desroches made four straight free throws to seal the win.
Two two teams have forged a remarkable history of success since the 2005-06 season.
Enosburg is now 105-18 in the that span with four final fours and two titles.
Lake Region is 104-21 with four final fours and one title.
Since their collective run has begun, Enosburg now holds a 7-6 edge with each team defeating the other in the state title game.
Tinker said he was hopeful that Atwood would be ready to play the Hornets in the rematch in less than two weeks in Orleans.
“She hurt her knee in the final two minutes of practice on Monday,” said Tinker. “It doesn’t seem serious at this point, but there’s no reason to rush her back. We want her back and healthy when it matters most.”
If Atwood, who is rumored to have interest from and interest in attending UVM, can secure a Divison I scholarship, she would join two other players from this recent rivalry to achieve such a feat – truly astounding for Division III high school programs.
Enosburg’s all-time leading scorer Alexa Johnson plays for Farleigh Dickinson and Lake Region’s all-time leading scorer Abbey Lalime plays for UMass after following former Catamount coach Sharon Dawley to Amherst.
In addition to those standouts, at least five players from the rivalry have also made their mark in the collegiate game – Enosburg’s Lindsey Larivee plays for Plattsburgh State; teammate and fellow 1,000-point scorer Maria Gleason also starred at Johnson State before continuing her education elsewhere. Former Hornet Jenessa Swainbank plays for Johnson this season. Former Ranger forward Donna Lawson has been one of the top players in the North Atlantic Conference at Lyndon State, where her high school teammate Danielle Lafont, a guard, is contribuing, as well.
SHAWN CORROW, is a freelance photojournalist in Vermont. He has a photo website and maintains a blog. You can follow him on Twitter (scorrow) to know when he’s posted to glowbass.com or to his blog. Have a question, comment or story idea, use the comment section to let Shawn know what you are thinking.
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