SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – For two winters in a row, I have brought special attention to a series of round robin girls’ basketball games between Springfield, Green Mountain, and Bellows Falls. Each of those teams has played competitive games against each other for some time now. Readers who have gone out on a cold winter’s night have communicated with me that they enjoy the thoughts of this round robin.
The contests were close again this winter. This time around, Springfield completed the mythical event undefeated. They defeated Bellows Falls at the Terriers Holland Gym Monday evening 58-48 to complete the sweep. Springfield was 4-0 in the contests, Green Mountain is presently 1-2, and Bellows Falls is 0-3. Bellows Falls and Green Mountain still have one game to play at Bellows Falls Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m. to decide second place.
The Monday game between rivals with Green and White and Purple and White color schemes was one for the ages with a large crowd.
Cosmos coach Joe Costello told me before the game that “Home court can certainly make a difference in games like this,” and he looked like a genius in the middle of the second period.
His team quickly charged out to a 5-1 lead, but things were quickly knotted at 7-7. Just the type of game I expected. Then Costello looked like more of a genius by the minute.
Bellows Falls then ran off 19 straight points. It looked like it was all over. Somehow, Costello’s team developed a resolve and ran off a 12-2 string of their own to finish the half and could at least think of the possibility of coming all the way back, trailing only 28-19 at intermission.
Then came the third period when the Cosmos scrapped and clawed and eventually tied matters at 39, until Bellows Falls had a breakaway lay-up at the buzzer. Julianna Albero-Levings came out of nowhere with her dogged pursuit to make the defensive play of the night only to have the whistle blow on her clean block, placing Bellows Falls at the line. They were able to nudge ahead 40-39 with a free throw.
It was then nip and tuck for a while until halfway through the final stanza, the Cosmos pulled away. Although Bellows Falls rallied a couple of times to close the lead, the Cosmos would hold on. Hailey Perham led a balanced Springfield scoring attack with 13, aided by Gabby Wardwell’s 12, and 10 each from Hannah Crosby and Albero-Levings. Freshman Maya Waryas led her team in scoring on her birthday, playing limited minutes with 17.
Costello was ecstatic following the contest saying, “I have a lot of confidence in my kids. I felt that some of the Bellows Falls lead was self-inflicted by our play, but Bellows Falls’ defense is tenacious. First, we had to clean up our press break and get some good shots. We shot really well in the second half, and our defense was good enough to get us back in the game. We responded well to the tough call against Julianna. In past years, we would have let that affect us, now we move on and do the things we are expected to do. This is the high point of the program. We have learned to show maturity when it matters most.”