Shorthanded Thunderbirds fall short in opener

The Missisquoi boys basketball team went into Friday’s season opener on the road at Middlebury shorthanded due to injury and illness, while bringing up three players from their JV squad.

After dominating the first half and leading by 13, the Tigers staged a comeback with some of the Missisquoi starters in foul trouble and not able to play their normal rotation, as the Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter taking down the Thunderbirds 67-63.

“We pounded the ball inside in the first half and then got caught up in Middlebury’s run-and-gun style in the second half,” said Missisquoi coach Matt Walker. “The guys were so excited to get on the court and they gave a tremendous effort in a tough situation. We will be in good shape as guys get healthy and return.”

Patrick Walker led the charge for Missisquoi with 25 points, as he went 6-of-6 on his 2-point shots, 7-of-7 from the free throw line and 2-for-5 from 3-point range. Gabe Unwin added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Hayden Luneau added 12 points, as he filled in the starting role for the injured Matt Curtis. Sean Power added seven points for MVU. Caleb Johnston added three points after not being able to practice all week because of quarantine.

“We turned the ball over 13 times in the second half and they pushed the tempo hard,” said Walker. “Foul trouble and mental mistakes hurt us. Caleb ended up being able to join us last minute, but being quarantined the last 10 days showed. Matt Curtis tried to play, but after going up and down about three times, he was done for the night.”

The Thunderbirds will look to get in the win column on Tuesday when they host Vergennes.

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