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Mid Vermont girls basketball stuns with upset over No. 1 seeded West Rutland

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Sydney Goodwin, right, pressures West Rutland's Jenee McGee in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Hayley Goodwin, right, is pressured by West Rutland's Kiera Pipeling in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Sidney Goodwin, center, is pressured by West Rutland's Anna Cyr, left, and Kiera Pipeling in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Hayley Goodwin, right, steals the ball from West Rutland's Kiera Pipeling in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Sydney Goodwin keeps the ball inbounds against West Rutland in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Hayley Goodwin, center, is sandwiched by West Rutland's Elizabeth Bailey, left, and Madison Guay in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Emma Foster, right, pressures West Rutland's Elizabeth Bailey in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Hayley Goodwin, rear, brings the ball around West Rutland's Kiara Grabowski in Barre on Monday, March 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 3/9/2020 9:59:01 PM
Modified: 3/10/2020 2:47:26 PM

BARRE, Vt. — What inexperience? What nerves? What taller, bigger West Rutland players? What melting in a rare Barre Auditorium moment?

What? Mid Vermont Christian?

What the heck?

Sophomore Hayley Goodwin led a 27-for-35 team effort at the free-throw line — sinking 21 of 23 attempts herself en route to a game-high 29 points — as fourth-seeded MVCS stunned No. 1 West Rutland, 61-49, in a VPA Division IV girls basketball semifinal at the Aud on Monday night. A Mid Vermont program making just its second all-time appearance at Vermont’s postseason hoops mecca, the first in 12 years — and with a roster boosted by four program-less Sharon Academy basketball refugees — won’t have to wait as long for another visit with Saturday’s state championship on the horizon.

“Just stay calm and go hit free throws, I don’t know,” the soft-spoken Goodwin said afterward. “If we didn’t make the free throws, we wouldn’t have won. A lead helps. We were not as nervous as they were.”

The Eagles (17-6) took advantage of the Golden Horde on multiple fronts.

With West Rutland (20-2) capable of putting 6-foot-1 Elizabeth Bailey and Isabell Lanfear on the floor at any time, Mid Vermont started in a 3-2 zone and never left it. Knowing several Horde regulars play aggressive defense, Goodwin sought contact while dribbling and was rewarded with frequent trips to the charity stripe in a tightly called game.

Most importantly, showing they weren’t awed by circumstance or competitor, the Eagles shook off a 10-point second-quarter deficit and a smaller third-quarter gap to set up the upset.

“It started with senior night, with the Proctor game (on Feb. 25), where we started to put it all together,” MVCS coach Chris Goodwin said. “I wish I could say I knew why we put it all together (then).

“We boxed out. We took care of the ball. We made our free throws. When you do all three of those things, even against a really good team … usually that adds up to a win.”

Mid Vermont won the opening tap, scored the opening basket and spent the first quarter everywhere but trailing. Lydia Eastman put the Eagles on the board with a left-wing jumper and Hayley Goodwin hit two free throws to get MVCS started.

The Golden Horde went to three-quarter-court trapping pressure shortly after that, and the Eagles did well to not let it rattle their nerves. West Rutland drew level at 7-7 and 9-9, but a Sydney Goodwin 3-pointer left MVCS holding a 12-9 lead through one quarter and looking fairly confident.

The Horde did its best to make the Eagles irrelevant with 15-2 burst to open the second period. Jenee McGee hit a lane runner, Kiera Pipeling converted a putback, Deanna Kenyon sank a 3-pointer and McGree polished off a penetration move. McGee then hit back-to-back triples — one from each corner — to stretch the lead to 24-14.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the rout: Mid Vermont didn’t wilt. The Eagles scored 17 of the first-half’s final 19 points, holding the Horde without a basket the whole time. Goodwin scored eight points in the run, including Mid Vermont’s final six, the last one of her three strip-and-score layups of the opening 16 minutes, for a 31-25 halftime lead.

Hayley Goodwin had 14 points in the first half, going 6-for-7 at the stripe. She was only warming up.

“We always want to be aggressive,” Chris Goodwin said. “We knew Bailey is aggressive on defense; we knew (Lanfear) was aggressive. Once we had the lead and they started pressing a little bit, we dictated the game.”

 

McGee (team-high 17 points) helped West Rutland regain a 36-35 lead with two buckets in an 11-4 Golden Horde start to the second half. The top seed’s hopes took a hit, however, when the speedy guard turned her right ankle with 2:25 left in the period, hobbling off the floor under her own power.

Eastman drilled a 3-pointer upon the resumption of play, putting Mid Vermont in front, 38-36. Bailey tied the game from the right block, but a 3-ball from Rachel Horner-Richardson (six points) returned the lead to the Eagles with 1:31 left in the third.

Mid Vermont didn’t trail the rest of the night.

“I could see West Rutland got uncomfortable,” Chris Goodwin said. “And we seemed to get comfortable.”

As the Horde accumulated fouls, the Eagles amassed free throws. Eighteen of Mid Vermont Christian’s final 20 points came from the line. TSA’s Emma Foster (eight points) provided the sole bucket.

Hayley Goodwin, Sydney Goodwin (nine points) and Eastman (nine points) converted eight of 12 opportunities to build a 49-42 lead with 4:59 left in the game. Four West Rutland players fouled out in the intervening minutes, unable to do anything to stem the avalanche of Hayley Goodwin foul shots.

Now a school with exactly 11 girls in grades 8-12, helped by four others without a program of their own, have a shot at bringing home a state championship.

“Well, we beat the No. 1 team in D-IV,” Hayley Goodwin deadpanned. “Another whole week of practice.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfen nell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.

Correction

Emma Foster is a member of the Mid Vermont Christian School girls basketball team. Foster was misidentified in an earlier photo caption.




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