BFA St. Albans’ Case Ballard draws the flagrant foul Friday from a Colchester defender during the Bobwhites’ 65-58 loss. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By Donna Flanders
Special to the County Courier

ST. ALBANS: The Colchester Lakers showed up to fight Friday night as they took on the Bobwhites in both teams’ season opener. It would be a nail biter for most of the game, with the Lakers edging the Bobwhites 65-58. When the Bobwhites were on, they were on, but when they were not, they couldn’t seem to get anything to go for them.

Leading off early in the game, the Lakers took a 6-0 lead before BFA’s Case Ballard put in an offense board putting up the first pair of points for the Bobwhites. Colchester’s Jackson Miller and Carson Corrigan made it 11-2 before BFA senior Taylor Yates got hot from behind the arc. 

Almost halfway through the first quarter, Yates drained a three from the baseline, bringing the score to 11-5. Thirty-three seconds later Yates was fouled hard under the hoop and a flagrant foul was called against Colchester. Ballard stepped to the line making both shots for the Bobwhites, cutting the lead to four.

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Colchester responded with buckets from Miller and Corrigan, extending the lead to 15-7. 

This is when BFA’s Hunter Livingston put in a jumper for two and then Yates put on a three-point shooting clinic putting in three straight from behind the arc, giving BFA its first lead of the game 18-15. 

Colchester would answer with buckets from Jackson Valley and Mike Lopez de Arana, who put up a pair of unanswered baskets in the last minute of the first quarter, handing Colchester the one-point lead. 

Despite a ruckus hometown crowd, Arana kept things going for the Lakers as he scooped one up quickly in the second quarter. 

Bobwhite’s freshman, Noah Earl, made his varsity debut a good one and dropped in a three, tying the game at 21 apiece, with 6:58 on the board. Yates followed that up to put his squad in front as he grabbed a loose ball, drove to the basket for two, drawing the foul and the free throw, which he made, lifting the Bobwhite’s lead to 24-21.  His teammate, Peter Jolly squared up for a baseline jumper that was good moments later, extending the Bobwhites’ lead to five.

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The Lakers’ Carson Corrigan answered Jolley’s basket with one of his own, all the while teammate, Mitch Gadapee inched them back within one on an offensive board put back, clinging onto a one-point deficit, 26-25.

With about three and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Earl snatched a big steal, taking it end-to-end for an easy layup, extending the Bobwhites’ lead once again to 28-25. 

Laker’s Corrigan answered with a three, tying the game with nearly three minutes left in the half. 

The Bobwhites would have an answer for the tit for tat game with Charlie Yates, who came off the bench, from a short rest, tossing in a jumper, putting his team back in front 30-28 with two and a half minutes remaining. Jolley followed up in the final seconds of the half, banging a three, giving BFA a 33-28 lead heading to the locker room for halftime.

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Defense took priority for the Bobwhites in the third quarter as they held the Lakers to single digits. Nick Voyer controlled the boards, pulling down seven of his game-high 12 rebounds on the night. Noah Earl had two steals for the Bobwhites with Kameron Dunsmore tallying a third steal for BFA.

The Lakers tried to make a statement early in the third with a three from Corrigan, but it was quickly answered by Voyer. Dunsmore came up with his steal with a minute and a half in, returning it for a quick layup, building the Bobwhites lead to 39-32. 

Another momentum builder for the Lakers was quickly put to rest halfway through the third as Yates answered a Lakers’ bucket with a shot from beyond the arc, his fifth three of the game.

The Lakers’ Jackson Valley reentered the game just under three minutes to go, keeping Colchester in the game, but they would continue to struggle through the rest of the third quarter.

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Inching his team back in, with about a minute left, Yates caught Earl with a nice pass to score an easy layup for the Bobwhites. Jolley sunk a three with 41 seconds remaining in the quarter and gave BFA a 47-36 going into the fourth quarter.

After outscoring the Lakers 14-8 in the third, the game was looking good for the Bobwhites, however Colchester had other plans. The Lakers had grit and dug deep. Showing what they could do on offense, they held the Bobwhites to just nine points in the final eight minutes, knotting up the score with more than half the quarter to go, showing they had a firm grip on the momentum of the game.

The Bobwhites struggled to defend bucket after bucket early in the fourth quarter, allowing the Lakers to maintain control of the game.

The teams traded baskets back and fourth until  a technical foul was called against the Lakers with 27.3 seconds remaining on the clock and the game tied at 56. It looked like BFA would secure the win with Kameron Dunsmore having two chances at the line, and the Bobwhites would gain possession afterwards, but neither shot would fall, therefore forcing an overtime.

Colchester’s grit and determination carried into the extra frame, outscoring the Bobwhites 9-2 to win the game 65-58. Five of the Lakers’ nine overtime points came from free throws, as Colchester finished the game 14 for 24 at the line.

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The Bobwhites finished 3 for 9 from the free-throw line.

“I thought the guys’ attitudes and efforts were there tonight.” BFA Head Coach Matt Toof said after the game, “I just think some of our mental mistakes cost us. We rely heavily on the three-point shot, it felt good, for a little bit, when we were hitting them. I think we rushed a lot of possessions. Instead of trying to get in the flow of things, and giving multiple people touches, we just relied on ‘I am open so I am gonna shoot.’”

Toof said he thought a lot of the energy had to do with the crowd on Friday evening. “The crowd was awesome,” Toof said gleefully, “We were feeling that energy and I think we went a little far with it sometimes.”

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Toof credited Taylor Yates, with an impressive offensive night and Nick Voyer considerably helping the team.“We didn’t look to get Yates the ball a lot, so that’s something we will have to make an adjustment with. I thought there were some opportunities where we could have gotten him the ball and we didn’t. To his credit he kept a really good attitude and mindset,” Toof said.

Yates picked up a game-high 20 points for the Bobwhites, while Peter Jolley had eight, Noah Earl and Hunter Livingston each had seven. Ballard, Voyer, Dunsmore and Charlie Yates added four apiece. 

The Lakers were lead by Corrigan with 18, Arana (16), and Valley (15). 

“We’ve been working really hard behind the scenes and unfortunately the guys didn’t get the win, we deserved a little success tonight,” Toof said.

That success will have to wait until at least Tuesday when the Bobwhites travel to U-32 looking to improve their record to 500. 

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