Panthers Prowling: TA Overpowers Windsor, 54-36

Windsor — With seven seniors and four juniors coming back from a team that won 15 games and reached the Vermont Division III girls basketball semifinals last year, Thetford was among the choices to be in the hunt for a state title this winter. Nothing the Panthers have done so far this season has given any indication to change from that thought.

The Panthers ran their record to 4-0 with a convincing 54-36 win over Windsor on Monday night at Windsor High.

It was the second time this season the Panthers have beaten the Yellowjackets. Other Thetford wins have come against Rivendell and Division II semifinalist Hartford.

The Panthers lost just one player to graduation. Among the talented players returning is senior Shyann Josler, who was the Capitol League’s player of the year for the 2012-13 campaign.

Thetford ran out to a 23-2 first-quarter lead on the Jacks (2-2) and worked the bench the rest of the night.

It was also a night that found Windsor coach Bruce Mackay home nursing the flu, leaving the team in the hands of assistant coach Sarah Atwood.

It was Atwood’s first chance as a head coach, and she said Mackay told her to stick to the game plan and play hard on defense. What Mackay didn’t tell her, however, was that she was up against a Division III power.

“Thanks, Bruce,” said Atwood with a chuckle.

The Panthers started hot, and the Yellowjackets could never get started. The 21-point hole staring at Windsor after the first eight minutes was just too big a hole to escape.

“Nothing went right in the first quarter,” said Atwood. “We certainly didn’t play as well as we can.”

Thetford went to the bench early and hit a couple of rough spots, but was never in trouble.

“You know, we had a good practice last night and it seemed to carry over,” said Thetford coach Eric Ward.

Thetford scored the final 20 points in the first period. Josler dropped a pair of 3-pointers during the stretch, the Panthers’ only trifectas of the night.

Windsor outscored the Panthers 34-31 after the first quarter, but the damage had been done.

Aside from the depth and experience, Ward thought his team speed was also a factor. “We’ve never been tall at Thetford, but we’re really quick,” said Ward.

Josler ended up with 10 points and was the game’s only scorer in double figures. Michaela Pomeroy had nine and Ella Chapman seven for the Panthers.

Annie Nelson with eight points and Ashleay Wilcox and Haley Wood with seven points paced Windsor.

Thetford has a Friday home game with Blue Mountain while Windsor goes to Leland and Gray on Saturday.