Arianna Bourdeau looks to get the ball inside during the second half of Missisquoi's 38-23 win at BFA-Fairfax (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)


By Ben Kaufmann

FAIRFAX – Seven players scored four or more points for Missisquoi on Monday night and a suffocating full-court press ensured BFA-Fairfax couldn’t respond in kind as the Thunderbirds picked up a 38-23 win.

Behind a game-high eight points from Abigail Paquette, Destinee Pigeon and Molly Medor scored six apiece, Sierra Reynolds and Alex Bourdeau scored five each and Alexandra Brouillette and McKenzie Vincent finished with four points each. MVU (7-3) scored eight or more points in each quarter and held Fairfax (3-5) to eight or fewer in each frame.

“We live off the full-court pressure because, as you can see, we have a hard time making baskets,” said MVU coach Jen Gagne. “If we can get the turnovers, if we can get our defense going good, then we can get offense flowing from that. We’ve just got to get that good defensive pressure first.”

Missisquoi closed the first quarter on a 7-2 run bookended by points from offensive rebounds by Reynolds. Up 9-6 after that frame, a basket at the buzzer from Paquette closed the first half with MVU up 19-12. Baskets from Bridgett Dunn and Hazel Albee, both assisted by Faith Benjamin, helped Fairfax cut the T-Bird lead to 21-16 midway through the third quarter before MVU scored six in a row. Gabby Jones and Anna Villeneuve hit jumpers in the final minute to get the Bullets back in it, down 27-20 entering the fourth.

MVU’s Destinee Pigeon goes up for a shot in Monday’s 38-23 win at BFA-Fairfax (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)

In the decisive first minute of the final quarter, Paquette and Pigeon scored to push MVU’s lead to 31-20 and effectively put the game out of reach considering BFA’s struggles against the Thunderbird press.

“The press definitely is something that we’ve got to get a little stronger with,” said Fairfax coach Lee Tourville. “We just struggle getting the ball up the floor, it’s no secret.”

Though the score didn’t end up in BFA’s favor Monday, Tourville said the night was a good response to a 25-point loss to this same T-Bird team in December.

“One thing I really loved is our defense,” he said. “We held Missisquoi to 19 points in the first half and last time we played them when we went up there, it was not even really a game. So it felt good to be able to actually compete with them tonight.”

BFA-Fairfax’s Bridgett Dunn lifts a shot in the first quarter of Monday’s loss to Missisquoi (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)

Albee and Jones finished with six points apiece for the Bullets. Dunn scored five, Villeneuve had four points and Benjamin finished with two. Fairfax is back in action Tuesday night at Richford.

For Gagne, seeing her team rewarded for expending the energy to run a nearly constant press is exciting.

“They just keep working so hard, I’m so proud of them,” Gagne said. “I’m so proud of their hustle and their heart to just stay in these games and keep working through it. They’re putting the pressure on and it’s finally paying off for them, all their hard work.”

MVU faces a tough task in its next game, when they host 10-0 Enosburg.