Green Mountain Girls fall to Poultney 37-30

By Evan Chadwick
©2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Green Mountain Coach Jeff Buffum’s Chieftain squad has faced all sorts of adversity the first half of the season. But with four players short for his Saturday contest against Poultney, the Chieftains could not withstand the deliberate and physical attack of the Blue Devils, falling 37-30 on home turf in Chester.

The importance of game scenarios in practice cannot be overstated. However, the reality of this year’s Covid-riddled basketball season, in dressing 10 athletes to a practice, is a luxury most Division 3 schools simply can’t afford.

“Covid is a nightmare right now for us,” said Buffum, adding that two girls are in isolation after testing positive. Luckily, they have no symptoms.

Despite the fluid nature of Coach Buffum’s roster, the Chieftains are showing they are competitive with whoever they put on the floor, as they fought the taller, more physical Blue Devils with the one weapon they know best to us: an intense full court man-to-man defense.

The start of the game was promising as, after a Kim Cummings steal and finish, the Chieftains raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first minute of the contest.

Poultney would answer, feeding the ball into their center Molly Hier, who drew quick double teams from the Chieftains that left players open. After a couple of nifty inside dishes, Poultney would rattle off 10 straight points before a Kim Cummings three-pointer brought the Chieftains to 10-9 at the first quarter buzzer.

Poultney looked poised to gain some separation early in the second, scoring 6 straight points to take a 16-9 lead that had Coach Buffum take an early timeout. The Chieftains responded with a Kim Vargas pull-up and then a driving layup that brought Green Mountain within a point to 17-16 at the half.

Green Mountain would grab its last lead of the contest two minutes into the second half, when Cummings split two defenders to finish a drive. Unfortunately, the legs down the stretch simply weren’t there for the Chieftains, as Poultney’s size wore down the smaller Chieftain squad. Six-foot-1 Hier scored all 16 of her points in the second half. The size difference became even more apparent when Chieftain center Luna Burkland was strapped with foul trouble while battling Hier inside.

The Green Mountain faithful were left with hope in a last-minute charge when Burkland hit a free-throw to draw the Chieftains within 5 points with just over a minute remaining. However the Blue Devils had an answer — courtesy of two Hier free throws — that allowed Poultney to grab their second win of the season.

“We have to get some of the girls back because we are totally out of sync,” said Buffum, whose game roster included four 8th graders. “The 8th graders are helping us stay afloat, but we are so limited in numbers it’s a battle to prepare and work on game situations.”

Kim Cummings and Karen Vargas were both in double digits for the Chieftains with 15 and 10 points respectively.

With the loss, the Chieftains stand at 3-5 on the season and 1-1 in Southern Vermont League play. They are next in action on Wednesday, Jan. 19 as they travel to play Mid-Vermont Christian, with a tip-time slated for 6 p.m.

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Filed Under: BasketballEducation NewsSports News

About the Author: Originally from Rochester, Vermont, Evan Chadwick is a practicing attorney who lives in Brattleboro with his family. He is a 2007 graduate of Keene State College and currently coaches the boys' varsity basketball team at Bellows Falls Union High School.

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