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Mid Vermont’s D merits an A in quarterfinal win

  • Lydia Eastman

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 3/19/2021 9:40:04 PM
Modified: 3/19/2021 9:40:01 PM

QUECHEE — This is a D that deserves an A.

Habitually slow to start on offense, the Mid Vermont Christian School girls basketball team can usually rely on its defense until the shooters warm up. The formula worked again on Friday evening as the third-seeded Eagles rallied from a tepid beginning for a 48-31 win over No. 6 Twin Valley in a VPA Division IV quarterfinal.

Out of sorts playing man-to-man D, MVCS coach Chris Goodwin ordered his squad into a 3-2 zone before the end of a first quarter in which the Eagles (9-2) fell quickly behind. With the switch, Mid Vermont found itself in better position for steals and rebounds, turning that into a 44-16 tally over the game’s final 21 minutes to eliminate the Wildcats (6-4).

As they often do, sisters Hayley and Sydney Goodwin combined for 40 points to send MVCS to its second straight D-IV semifinal.

“Whatever it is, we struggle in our man-to-man defense,” Goodwin said. “We know we’re a slower team; we’re not as fast laterally as we are going north and south. When I saw enough of it, we go to back into our 3-2 zone, which we seem to play better and the kids get it better. They understand where they need to be.”

Twin Valley arrived with only seven players, down two due to injuries. To preserve energy, coach Buddy Hayford aligned the Wildcats in a 2-3 zone, putting 5-foot-9 junior Katelyn Longe in the high post to blanket whichever Goodwin happened to be there.

Staring down a 10-4 deficit with a minute and a half left in the opening quarter, Chris Goodwin shouted the change in plans — “We’re done with this!” — and Mid Vermont slowly responded.

Starting with a short Hayley Goodwin jumper midway through the second quarter, the Goodwins alternated nearly every score to the halftime buzzer as the Eagles turned a 15-4 hole early in the period to a 21-17 lead at the break. Hayley (game-high 23 points) hit an array of perimeter shots and under-the-basket bunnies, Sydney (17 points) canned two jump shots and two free throws, and Lydia Eastman (six points) broke in with a 14-foot jumper as well.

After a 2-for-13 first quarter from the floor, MVCS shot 50% (7-of-14) in the second.

“We usually play a variety of zones but, against this team, I felt that if we played solid 2-3 zone and we were active, we could be in the game, give them a game,” Hayford said. “We did that for the majority of the first half.”

Twin Valley stayed close, trailing 30-24 entering the fourth quarter, until fouls became a factor. Hayley Goodwin got the lead to double digits by hitting a transition layup and feeding Rachel Horner-Richardson on a fast-break give-and-go. The Goodwins then combined to convert 10 of 12 foul shots over the final 4:47 to complete the win.

Literally and metaphorically, the Eagles were already in the zone by then.

“I’ve been doing this for two years now, and whatever it is with the man-to-man, they just don’t understand it as well as they understand the zone,” Chris Goodwin said. “I want them to be able to play man-to-man, but I just have to swallow my pride and say we’re going to play zone, and we’re going to do a good job with it.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com.




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