EAST MONTPELIER — Payton Gariboldi scored 15 points and Mikayla Farnum contributed 14 as U-32 avenged an early-season loss by downing Harwood, 48-42, in overtime during Monday’s girls basketball game.
Cameron Ravelin had nine points and Mia Cooper scored eight for the Highlanders.
Early on the Raiders had things under control, but a late fourth-quarter run from the Highlanders surprised U-32. Ashley Proteau (seven points) and freshman Tanum Nelson (seven points) helped the Highlanders tie the game at 38 and force overtime.
“It was stressful,” Gariboldi said. “We thought we had it when we were up by 10, but things got pretty difficult as they put a run on us and tied the game.”
The Raiders led at the half 23-15 and at the end of the third quarter 30-22, as their pressure defense led to numerous deflections and turnovers.
But the Highlanders managed to hang around.
“Harwood is a much improved team,” U-32 coach Travis Paquet said. “They beat us by 14 points in their place and have gotten much better than in previous years. I thought the key for us tonight was switching the way we presented the full court pressure and got them bunched up a bit.”
In the fourth, the Raiders tried taking the air out of the ball a bit and using up the clock, passing the ball around as the seconds ticked away. It was designed to shorten the game and prevent Harwood from having too much time to come back — and it almost worked.
A Gariboldi drive made it 33-24, but Cooper answered with an easy bucket on the other end. With free throws flowing, the Highlanders scratched back into the game and pulled to within 34-32 as Proteau stepped in a nailed a jumper from the elbow. Gariboldi followed with a drive and lefty finish off the glass to make it 38-33 but Proteau dropped in a three-pointer on the other end to make it 38-36. A steal and runout from Nelson capped the Harwood run and tied the game to send it to overtime.
“U-32 is going to give you their best every night, they’re certainly going to be playoff ready, and I think they proved that tonight,” Harwood coach Tom Young said. “I think we have to own our free throws and certainly U-32 did that tonight.”
In overtime, the Raiders squeezed the clock once more as the teams wore a groove to the foul line and Farnum made the most of her chances to ice the game.
U-32 is 6-8 and will travel to Lake Region on Thursday. Harwood (10-5) will face off with Lamoille the same day.