BURLINGTON – Approaching a two-week holiday break, the Richmond-Burton girls basketball team still is searching for a complete performance.
R-B started strong against Burlington Central, the favorite to win the Big Northern Conference East Division title. Abby Straight knocked down three free throws after getting fouled attempting a 3-pointer seven seconds before halftime to pull R-B within four points of Central.
But defensive breakdowns foiled R-B early in the second half. Central opened the third on a 6-0 run and made four 3-pointers in the quarter to help them cruise to a 52-30 BNC East win over R-B.
“The talk at halftime was to come out as strong as we did in the first and second quarters because in previous games we hadn’t come out strong,” senior guard Alex Callanan said. “We needed to come out strong in order to stay with them, and obviously in this game it didn’t really work out.”
R-B’s 2-3 matchup zone helped contain Central’s talented forwards, limiting freshman Samantha Pryor and sophomore Alison Colby to eight combined points in the first half. However, Central (11-2, 4-0 BNC East) capitalized on its chances on the perimeter. Two players made three 3-pointers each and the team finished with seven.
Central’s uncontested 3s – three in the final 1:40 of the third quarter – doomed R-B, which trailed by 15 heading into the fourth.
“The thing that’s frustrating is that they were wide-open 3s,” R-B coach Courtney LuDois said. “All the credit to Burlington Central, they executed their game plan, that’s for sure. We left them wide open, and it was players that we knew were shooters that were left wide open.”
R-B (6-7, 3-1) had its opportunities to take advantage of a solid defensive effort in the first half. Collectively, R-B struggled to convert open shots in the paint, which easily could have given it an early lead. R-B has struggled to put together a quality, 32-minute game. Although turnovers weren’t an issue, finishing with only 12 while forcing 17 from Central, failing to build on momentum frustrated R-B.
R-B closed the second on a 7-2 run but was held scoreless out of the break until senior forward Andrea Fox’s layup with 5:57 left in the third. Fox finished with a team-high 10 points while Callanan and Straight scored six points apiece.
“I think with our team, when we get down, it takes a little bit more for us to get back up,” Fox said. “But when we start getting back up, we can get on a roll, and that didn’t really happen tonight.”