NEWPORT–After a tight start, Craftsbury’s girl's basketball team opened up their play in the second quarter, and handed the UCA Crusaders a 44-20 loss to open up the season.
"The girl's effort was huge," said coach Rick Thomas. "We want to be a pressure-up team, work our defensive sets, and create offense off of our defense. That is our signature, that is how we want to play."
As mentioned, things were close early, as the score was at 3-2 UCA for a while before the girls stated to get into the flow of the game.
Janet Bohannon got the lead back for the Academy with a pair of baskets, and Thalia Thomas pushed the score to 8-3 on a nice play that started with a steal by Maleigna Perkins.
Perkins made the steal, then dished the ball to Meghan Brown, who found Thomas for the bucket.
Laura Libby had a deuce and Olivia Foster and Hannah Piette each hit for three for UCA in the first, but it would be a long time before they would score again.
As the opening quarter wound down, it was clear that the Chargers had all the momentum.
That carried over into the second, where they dropped in fourteen points, including eight from Bohannon, who led all scorers with 24 points.
Bohannon is new to the program, having transferred over from Peoples Academy looking to find a more personal teaching approach where students get more attention from their instructors.
"Honestly, I came from PA and I really didn't know what to expect, but my team led me through it," she said. "If we work like we did today, we have a good chance to be in the hunt."
On the other side of things, UCA went scoreless in the quarter, including one trip to the line where they failed to convert.
With the score standing at 24-8 to start the third, UCA got back into the game, but not before Bohannon dropped in pair of baskets.
Finally, with 4:50 left in the quarter, Piette broke the drought with her own pair of baskets, including another three.
She would lead the team with 10 points on the afternoon.
“I would say the first and the third quarters were where our effort was shown," said UCA’s rookie coach Molly Smith. "In the first they came out determined, confident, and that is what I think my team is going to be like for the rest of the season. We just have to get our nerves under control."
Also contributing points for the Crusaders in the quarter were Libby and Amy DeLaBruere.
DeLaBruere, the lone eighth-grader on the team, definitely looked nervous at times, but she hauled in over ten rebounds, and gave an effort that delighted her coach.
"For an eighth grader in her first varsity game she really impressed me," said Smith. "She banged around the boards and we are going to need that not just from her, but from everyone."
Said DeLaBruere, "I was really nervous, but my teammates gave me a lot of confidence out there."
And on the jump from playing with other 12 year-olds to competing with 16, 17 and 18 year-olds?
"It was crazy, I was so intimidated."
In the fourth Craftsbury out-scored UCA 10-4, cruising to the 44-20 win.
The Chargers get the start they were looking for, move to 1-0, and will open their new gym this afternoon at 5:30 against Richford.
The 0-1 Crusaders will travel to face Canaan today at 5:00.