Patriots survive ugly test against Mill River

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BENNINGTON — Sometimes good teams play ugly games. That was the case for the Mount Anthony girls on Tuesday night against Mill River, where it seemed like every Patriot was having a bad shooting night.

But good teams also find ways to win the ugly ones and they did that too, topping the Minutemen 34-30 in overtime to improve to 8-0 on the season.

"Actually, that ugly game is good for us at this point, we have to win the games when we don't shoot well," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "We do have to be more efficient offensively, the longer the season goes, it becomes a half-court game and you have to be able to grind it out. But if our defense doesn't do the job, we're not even in that game."

The big shot of the night came from senior Jordyn Burke, who ventured out past the three-point line with 1:14 left in the extra session and drilled a triple to give the Patriots a 32-27 lead.

"I was worried about an air ball but I was focused on the comeback for our team," Burke said. "I thought it would bounce out like all my other shots tonight, for that one to go in it was momentum to keep pushing forward."

Neither team could do anything on offense throughout most of regulation, thanks to bad shooting and some good defense.

Starting the third quarter down 15-10, Mount Anthony slowly came back, eventually tying the game at 15 with 3:34 left in the third. Mill River only scored two points in the frame, a pair of free throws from Melissa Fay as the teams went to the fourth quarter with the Minutemen up 17-15.

Mill River took a three-point lead, but Madison Little tied it with a triple — her only three of the night — with 3:11 left in the fourth.

The Minutemen retook the lead on the next possession, but with 40 seconds left, Little hit a floater to tie it at 23.

Each team had a chance to win in regulation, but Mill River had a turnover on its next possession, while MAU turned it over after a travel with five seconds to go. A Mill River chance at the buzzer was short, sending the game to overtime.

In overtime, the offenses perked up, with MAU scored 11 points in the extra session. Grace Mahar had four of her game-high 11 in overtime, including a basket to give MAU a lead early in OT and then two free throws to start and salt the game away in the last seconds. Little was second best for the Patriots with nine points.

"My thing was to rebound, I was trying to get the offensive boards for my team so they could get their points," Burke said. "I wasn't focused on my points, just the points on the scoreboard."

Tessa Davenport had 10 to lead the Minutemen.

"Great teams find a way to win, they dug down deep," Sleeman said. "Now, we'll learn from it, accept it and forget it."


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