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Windsor Plays Numbers, Nips Hartford

  • Pat Whalen, left, and Chris Halnon, both of Rutland, Vt., talk during a time out during the first half of the Windsor High School versus Hartford High School girls basketball game on Jan. 22, 2018, at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt. This week officials across Vermont are making donations from their game fees and wearing pink and black striped shirts to support the cure for cancer. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Head Coach Bruce Mackay of Windsor High School reacts to a play during the game against Hartford High School on Jan. 22, 2018, at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • From left to right, Hartford High School junior forward Corey Lieberman (22), Windsor High School sophomore guard Olivia Rockwood (31) and Hartford High School senior guard Michaela Ricker (20) attempts to shoot a basket during the game against Hartford High School on Jan, 22, 2018, at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

White River Junction — Most varsity basketball teams have 12 players on their roster, but Windsor High School girls coach Bruce Mackay only has a dozen participants in his entire program. Five of them were allocated for Monday’s junior varsity game at Hartford High, leaving seven Yellowjackets to play in the varsity contest.

Despite their small numbers, the Jacks defeated the Hurricanes, 63-58, behind 27 points from sophomore Olivia Rockwood.

Mackay acknowledged worrying about foul trouble from time to time, but the notion of his team growing tired apparently isn’t one that keeps him up at night.

“Fatigue, no,” Mackay said. “These kids, we work them too hard, they don’t get that tired. They really don’t.”

Both teams got off to a hot start on a Monday evening that saw most local contests postponed by inclement weather.

The Hurricanes went up, 7-3, early following an up-and-under move by Corey Lieberman (eight points), a three-Point play by Michaela Ricker (10 points) and a layup by freshmen Jasmine Jenkins, who led Hartford in scoring with 15 points.

Windsor (5-5) answered with a 3-pointer by Evelyn Page (14 points), a layup by Angelina Bigwood (seven points) and two free throws by Rockwood.

The local rivals proceeded to trade baskets throughout the first half with the visitors clinging to a 30-28 lead at halftime.

Morgan White was big for the Canes (3-6) in the first half, scoring 11 of her 13 total points.

Jenkins scored eight third-quarter points to help keep the Jacks within striking distance; the guests were up by six heading into the fourth quarter.

“We’ve got a freshman pretty much running point (guard),” Hartford coach Troy Guerin said of Jenkins. “And she’s doing a heck of a job.”

Hartford ended up outscoring the Jacks by one point in the fourth quarter thanks to five more points from Jenkins, field goals by Kennedy Mullin and White, and a 3-pointer by Megan Bushway, who finished with eight points. It wasn’t enough, however, as the visitors showed no signs of slowing down.

Windsor, last year’s VPA Division III runner-up, took its biggest lead of the night at 59-46 with seven minutes remaining in the game when Rockwood hit a 3 from the top of the key for her final bucket. Jenkins then hit a 3 and White drew a charge before making a steal to set up a coast-to-coast layup, but a crafty layup by Ashley Grela (eight points) extended Windsor’s lead back into double digits.

While Jenkins is the lone freshman on the Hurricanes, Windsor features four first-years, all of whom play significant minutes.

“Some of the younger kids are growing up right before your eyes,” Mackay said. “A lot of times we had four freshmen out there with a sophomore, so we’re growing.”

Rockwood, who led the Upper Valley in scoring as a freshman last winter, has become a mainstay on opponents’ scouting reports.

“Olivia’s tough,” Guerin said. “We didn’t think we were going to stop her. We just wanted to contain her and make somebody else beat us, and (Page) hit her shots. She’s got a quick release.”

Page, one of Mackay’s dynamic freshmen, hit two shots from downtown to go along with three by Rockwood.

Hartford got two 3-pointers from Bushway and one each from Ricker and Jenkins.

Guerin spoke to his team’s progress at the midpoint of the season.

“I thought we just made a lot of mental mistakes early,” Guerin said. “Coming into the season, I thought mental and physical toughness was our issue, and I still think the physical toughness is our issue. ... (Windsor’s) aggressive. They’ve been aggressive since they were young and they still are aggressive.”

Notes: Lieberman blocked three first-half shots for the Hurricanes. … Hartford features five seniors on its roster, and Windsor has none. … Hartford shot 10-for-15 from the free-throw line while Windsor was 4-for-5. … The two teams will meet again on Feb. 1 in Windsor. … Windsor hosts Mill River on Thursday and Hartford hosts Fair Haven on Monday. … The Hurricanes have lost five of their last six games. … Windsor’s 63 points were a season high.