ST. ALBANS: North Country’s tough defense held the Comets’ star senior, Kelly Laggis, scoreless for the first 35 minutes of  quarterfinal between BFA St. Albans and North Country.

That is, until, seven seconds left in a tied game, Laggis drove to the hoop for a clutch basket, putting the Comets back on top and an opportunity to pick up one more point from a free throw.

That free throw wasn’t successful, but it did open up the floodgates for Laggis’ stellar performance, leading the Comets to a 53-40 win over the Falcons.

Caitllyn Dasaro successfully driving to the basket during Friday night’s game against North country. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

A buzzer-beating basket for North Country would follow, leading to the 37 all overtime.

The Comets came out strong, striking when the iron was hot, with a 7-0 run. Much of that effort came from Laggis, who earned a game-high 13 points, eleven of which were in overtime.

The Comets also held the Falcons to just three points in the extra four minutes, all of which came at the free throw line.

Laggis also knocked in seven points at the free throw line in the overtime period, earning a 78% free throw percentage in the final four minutes of the game.

MacKenzie Moore drains a three in the second quarter, Friday evening, during the Comets’ quarterfinal win over North Country. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“I don’t know what it was, but she went into beast mode and took it over,” Head Coach Shawn Earl said of Laggis’ overtime effort, “It’s nice to see when your senior, arguably your best player, leads the charge- and that’s what she did.”

“I needed to step up my leadership on the floor or our season would be over,” Laggis said, “I trusted my coaches and my teammates and I knew we could deliver. The crowd was firing us up and I just felt really excited about the game, it was thrilling to win this for our school.”

The Comets were also propelled into the semifinal game with Leah Larivee’s dozen points.

Grace Giroux lead the Falcons with 11 points.

Earl was excited to see his team make it through and said he expects a solid game on Wednesday when they take on #2 St. Johnsbury at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium.

“We needed a close game like this, with the pressure, with the crowd. It will only get us ready for Patrick,” Earl said.

The Comets go over a play during a time out with four minutes left in regulation Friday night. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“The girls have a hard few days of work ahead of them preparing for the semifinals,” Earl said. He has plans to review video with them and break down the details where they could have done better.

“I thought there were times that we lacked communication,” Earl said, “It’s not major things, it’s the details. You miss too many details though and it becomes major, so we just have to tighten up the details.”

The Comets took a loss against St. Johnsbury both times they played the Hilltoppers this season. The first time, the Comets matched up against St. Johnsbury, it was in St. Albans when the Hilltoppers slipped by the Comets 44-39 and a slightly more uneven score of 67-54 during thei last regular season game.

Leah Larivee puts up a three point shot Friday during the Comets’ 53-40 overtime win against the North Country Falcons. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

Earl said he is confident his team can overcome St. Johnsbury, but it’s going to take believing in themselves to do so.

Tipoff for the Semifinal game between BFA St. Albans and St. Johnsbury will be at 6 pm on Wednesday at the UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium. Following that game, the winners of today’s quarterfinal D-I girls, #1 CVU and #8 Mt. Anthony will take on the winner of #4 Rice and #5 Rutland at 7:45 pm.