BY GENE DELORENZO
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Otters ladies basketball team defeated the Oxbow Olympians, 69-37, on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at the House of Noise in the first round of the Vermont State Tournament. With the win, OVUHS moved on to play Lake Region High School of Orleans on Saturday afternoon, February 26.
Otter Valley came out firing on all cylinders against the Olympians. Senior Alice Keith scored 8 of her game total of 17 points in the first four minutes helping to stake the Otters to a quick 16-4 lead. That margin would hold to the end of the quarter with OV leading 23-11 at the break.
Emma Parkin, a silky-smooth senior point guard led the Olympians with 5 points in the first quarter. In the second stanza, a Parkin three-pointer would cut the lead to 26-20 with 2:43 remaining before the half, but that was as close as Oxbow would get the rest of the night. A hoop by Brittany Jackson (game-high of 20 points) and a trey by Ryleigh LaPorte pushed the lead to 11 at 31-20 entering halftime.
The second half would prove to be disastrous for the visitors as they would shoot a dismal 3 for 14 in the third quarter, along with six turnovers. Meanwhile, OV would shoot a blistering 8 for 14 in the period and expand the lead to 27 points, 53-26, after three quarters. Everyone contributed in the quarter led by Jackson’s 10 points, including a deep distance three-pointer at the end of the quarter that removed any doubt as to who would win the game.
“We can put points up on the board in a hurry,” said Coach Ray Counter after the game. “That’s the team I see every day at 3 o’clock.”
The fourth quarter was a great chance for the coach and the team to get everyone tournament playing time as the Otters maintained their firm lead on the game. Marissa Connor’s big three with less than two minutes to play sent the OV faithful home early with a satisfying victory. Next up would be the teams’ arch-nemesis from years past, Lake Region, on Saturday afternoon in Orleans.
For Otter Valley, Jackson led the team with 20 points, followed by Keith’s 17, Emily Peduto with 9, Ryleigh LaPorte 8, Anna Lee 5, Marissa Connors 3, Elena Politano 3, and JoAnna Ray 2. Parkin led Oxbow with 13 and Maggie Ellsworth chipped in with ten.
It was a great night to say goodbye to the OV seniors in their final game at the House of Noise.