GM girls power past Division 2 Cosmos

Kim Cummings leads the break in GM’s winning game against the Cosmos of Springfield. All photos by Evan Chadwick.

No. 11 Kim Cummings, left, and No. 4 Kyra Burbela head down the court. The GM girls were all hustle all the time.

By Evan Chadwick
©2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC


On paper, the GM girls basketball matchup with Division 2 Springfield Saturday afternoon looked like it was going to be a difficult climb for Coach Jeffrey Buffum’s squad.

Despite the monumental task of beating a team that is considered to be in the mix for a state crown, the Chieftains, using a tough zone defense, and creating enough offensive opportunities were able to shock the hometown Cosmos, leading wire-to-wire in their 29-23 victory.

“We would take our chances with perimeter shots, but not 8 to 10 foot bunnies or layups in the paint,” said GM head coach Buffum.

As has been her theme all year, Kim Cummings started the contest off on the right foot, stealing a Cosmos pass and streaking down the left side to finish a contested layup to give the visitors the lead.

The Cosmos would immediately come back down the floor and tie the contest at 2, but Grace Tyrrell had an answer, hitting an elbow 3 pointer that again had the Chieftains on top 5-2 midway through the first quarter.

Ainsley Merrill would extend the lead for GM, slashing into the paint and floating a shot high off the rim that found its way home and the Chieftains were able to close the first quarter leading 8-5.

The second quarter was sloppy. Neither team was able to find any offensive rhythm as both teams turned the ball over and missed several point-blank opportunities. Cummings grabbed two steals off of Cosmos passes and Tyrrell was able to break up what looked like an easy layup for Springfield. The teams went into the break with GM clinging to a 2 point lead.

Coach Buffum created an effective 3-2 zone for his GM girls.

The message for the Chieftains at half time must have resonated, as they came out in the third and immediately toOK control of the contest. After Springfield started off with a corner jumper to tie the contest, Green Mountain erupted for a 13-1 run.

Luna Burkland, who had battled the taller Cosmos inside all night scored on a putback, Cummings took a steal to the house and Tyrrell hit another pullup in transition that had Springfield Coach Pete Peck calling a timeout and imploring his girls to find the energy to withstand the GM charge.

“Our defensive plan was working. We had the low scoring game we needed,” said Buffum. “We just needed to maintain the defensive intensity.”

No. 15 Luna Burkland finishes an inside move.

With the 12-point lead, GM looked to control the ball as opposed to finding ways to score points in the final frame. The strategy worked, as the Chieftains were able to take large chunks of clock each offensive possession, which forced the Cosmos to try and speed things up, resulting in several more turnovers.

“In the 4th, we weren’t focused on scoring. Our focus was on patience,” said Buffum. “We had the lead and didn’t need to rush, hurry or force anything. We wanted Springfield to be in a hurry, not us.”

Click image to enlarge

The sealing possession occurred with under 2 minutes remaining as the Cosmos had pulled to within 7 and looked to be finding some success on the offensive end. The Chieftains called an inbounds play and executed it perfectly.

Eighth grader Colie Roby cut to the hoop off a double screen and finished inside to extend the GM lead to 9 points, and not relinquish it for the rest of the game.

“The big bucket by Roby came when we needed it most,” said Buffum. “They were starting to get some momentum and that was the final nail. It gave us a 3 possession lead again and 1 minute to go.”

“Being in a game like this as an 8th grader, performing great and being unfazed by the pressure and intensity says a lot about what the future holds,” the coach said.

Cummings and Tyrrell both scored 10 points to lead the Chieftains.

The win brings the GM girls to 4-10 on the season and one win away from the elusive 5th victory that will earn GM a spot in the upcoming playoffs.

Green Mountain continues its road trip as they travel to West Rutland on Tuesday, Feb. 8, to face off with the Golden Horde.

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Filed Under: BasketballEducation NewsFeaturedSports 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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