The BFA-St. Albans girls basketball team came out firing on all cylinders during its game against St. Johnsbury on Monday night during its home opener.
The Comets built a 16-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Hilltoppers started making a comeback with back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to make it a 20-15 game.
BFA coach Paul LaFountain quickly took a timeout to settle the team down and they finished the second quarter on a 14-0 run, which gave them all the room they needed on their way to a 49-32 win.
“I can’t even remember what I said during the timeout, but it must have been genius,” joked LaFountain after the game. “But really, we have been preaching consistency. It’s no secret that CVU is the model program, because they are always consistent. And that’s where we have come up short at times, and that’s where myself and assistant Dylan (Baker) have been preaching in that we have to be consistent in everything we do. We have to box out every time, we have to close out every time, and just reiterating that stuff, take a breath, work the ball around and focus on our shot selection and I thought we took really good shots for most of the game.”
The Comets’ offense was efficient, as they shot 51 percent from the floor through the first three quarters and were able to rotate all their players in during the fourth quarter to get everyone solid minutes on the floor.
The Comets’ defense was stingy all game long, as they only allowed St. Johnsbury to score single digits in each of the first three quarters and they only allowed 10 in the fourth with the game all but put away.
Caitlyn Dasaro was all over the place on the floor, as she finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds on the game. Maren McGinn had 15 points and MacKenzie Moore had seven, including going 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Loghan Hughes, Cadence Moore and Iris Burns each added three points for the Comets.
“We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different players out there today,” said LaFountain. “We wanted to focus getting Caitlyn and Maren the ball early to stretch out the defense, so Mac might be open for her 3s and Iris would have some open looks and everyone played great.
“Caitlyn really made a few nice baskets down low,” he added. “That hasn’t really been her role in her career here, but she has made the adjustment well. We want to feature her at the basket without her having to do it all herself to drive in there, so those two things went really well.”
Dasaro led the charge in the first quarter, as she scored 10 of the team’s 16 points in the first eight minutes.
BFA built the lead up to 20-9 before St. Johnsbury’s Adrianna Lemieux and Hayden Wilkins hit back to back 3’s to make it a 20-15 game prompting LaFountain to call a timeout.
The Comets were on fire out of the timeout, hitting six of their final seven shots in the final three minutes, including 3s from McGinn and Burns to take the 34-15 lead into halftime.
“I thought we played ok for most of the first half, but then those last three minutes were just incredible,” said LaFountain. “Really the game could have gone one or two ways at the end of the second quarter, but then the ball started flying around, we started making great shots, great passes and steals and before you know it we ended the half on a 14-0 run and not only was it great for us, but also a little demoralizing for them to end the half that way.”
From there, the Comets were able to rotate all their players in and out the rest of the game to come away with the big victory.
It was a big win for the Comets coming off their first loss of the season on Thursday at CVU. In such a shortened season, LaFountain said it was important to come in and grab a big win in their first game on their home floor. Things don’t get easier for the Comets going forward, as they travel to Essex (Thursday) and North Country (March 2) for their next two games.
“We found out last year that things can snowball after a loss if you allow it to,” said LaFountain. “That was the No. 1 focus coming into this game, because we weren’t looking past St. Johnsbury, because they are a good team and no slouch by any means, but we also know that we have Essex next, which will be a tough matchup. It was important to come in tonight, play well, play together and keep the confidence up going forward and we are ready for another tough test on Thursday.”