Chiefs Edge Jacks
Chester Vt. — Green Mountain Union High has a girls team without a lot of depth and has a coach who does not go by the book. Consequently, when two of his better players got into foul trouble in the first half last night, Chieftains coach Chris Wood did nothing. That might have been the decision that won Green Mountain the game.
“I’m not a conventional coach,” said Wood, who will take his Green Mountain team onto the quarterfinals after a grinding 48-45 win over Windsor in a Vermont Division III first-round game last night at Nason Gym.
While the Chiefs (13-8) were playing at home as the seventh seed, they were probably the underdog to visiting Windsor (8-13), the 10th seed.
“I don’t think anybody gave us much of a chance,” said Wood.
The reason the Yellowjackets were probably the favorite is because of their schedule. Each year, the Jacks play a regular-season slate loaded down with Division I and II teams. Windsor has been scheduling tough teams throughout coach Bruce Mackay’s six-year regime and the results have paid off: all six years, Windsor has been a final four team and owns two state championships.
But the Chiefs have played well recently. After a 2-5 start, Green Mountain has won 11 of its last 14 games.
Another plus for Green Mountain is junior Madi Huntley, who had a 21-point game and kept getting the clutch basket.
“I can’t say enough about Madi,” said Wood. “She’s a big game player.”
Next for the Chiefs in a quarterfinal game on Friday against the winner of tonight’s Williamstown-Peoples game. Williamstown is the No. 2 seed and Peoples 15th.
Windsor’s Mackay, who spent a long time sitting on the bench after the game was over, felt that there were just too many mistakes.
“If you don’t take care of the ball and can’t finish, you can’t win,” Mackay said. “And some of those turnovers came at critical times.”
The foul situation was also a factor in the final quarter, a period that saw the scored tied four times. Green Mountain made five of seven free throws, while Windsor never got to the line as Green Mountain never put the Jacks into a bonus situation.
The game was tied for the last time at 43-43 with 3:07 to play. Then nobody scored until the 1:41 mark, when Leslie Rogers made a free throw for Green Mountain. Windsor came back to take a 45-44 lead when Laurel Dana scored from underneath. But that was the last time the Jacks scored.
With 34.3 seconds to go, Rogers was fouled and she showed some spunk by nailing both free throws to give the lead back to the Chiefs at 46-45. Windsor still had time, but one final turnover pretty much ended its night as Katie Heseltine made one of two free throws to account for the final score.
Green Mountain guard Leah Bodin picked up her third foul at 15.2 in the first quarter and Huntley picked up her third in the second quarter.
Wood never made a move from the bench as both girls continued to play and neither girl fouled out.
In addition to Huntley’s 21 points, Green Mountain got 12 from Haseltine and nine from Rogers.
Nikki Kibling, who was a rock all night for Windsor, had an 18-point game.