Bucks Move on to Championship Saturday

BMU Knocks Off Previously Unbeaten Rivendell

BNN Staff

On Monday night the BMU Bucks earned a shot at the state title with a 43-42 win over the Rivendell Raptors.  This was no easy task as the Raptors outshot, outrebounded, and outplayed the Bucks for the entire first quarter.  Add to that a few tough calls and a bad bounce or two and it was a 14-1 advantage for Rivendell after just eight minutes of play.

In the 2nd quarter Freshman Kason Blood came off the bench and provided a spark to the Blue Mountain offense with a backdoor cut for two.  This was Blue Mountain’s first field goal of the night and it came nearly 10 minutes into the game. Blood would hit again for another bucket in the 2nd while Evan Dennis, John Dennis, and Jacob Dube would each find the bottom of the net as well.  While the Blue Mountain fans were happy to see some offense from their club, they were still down by as many as 16 during the second quarter.  To make matters worse, BMU starter Tanner Winchester was sitting on the bench with three fouls.  However, it was in the last few minutes of that second quarter when you could sense a change coming from the Bucks.  Several tough defensive stops allowed the Bucks to hang around with just an eleven-point deficit at the half.

Coming out of the break, the Bucks got it down to a 7 point deficit early in the 3rd and exchanged buckets with the Raptors for much of the quarter.  The Bucks really started to feel a momentum shift as they won the quarter and closed to within 3 points by the end of the frame.

The 4th quarter started with a Rivendell run including a Kyle Carter 3-pointer that put the Raptors up by 9.  Again, the Bucks looked to Freshman Kason Blood for a spark and he answered with a 3-ball of his own.  Not to be outdone by the underclassman, Senior Jacob Dube threw in his second 3-ball of the game as the Bucks simply would not go away.  The Raptors extended their lead to a 10 point advantage with just over 2 minutes left in the game.  The never-say-die Bucks came back with a run of their own and were facing just a 3 point deficit when John Dennis was hammered as he attempted a 3 pointer with 23 seconds on the clock.  The Blue Mountain senior stepped to the line and buried three shots in a row that hit nothing but net.  That tied the score at 41 apiece and set Rivendell up with possession and just over 20 seconds to get a good look at the basket.  Blue Mountain senior Jacob Dube attempted to steal the inbound pass but instead fouled the Raptors’ Jacoby Patterson.  As Rivendell was in the double bonus, Patterson walked the length of the floor to try to put his team ahead by way of the charity stripe.  He hit one of his two shots and his team was again on top 42-41.  With just 22 seconds left in the game, the Bucks patiently worked the ball around the outside until Evan Dennis was able to find John Dennis posting up underneath.  J. Dennis with great position pinned the Rivendell defender under the basket, ball faked, and finished strong giving the Bucks their first lead of the game with 2 ticks left on the clock.  The Raptors Kyle Carter had one more opportunity with a good look at the rim, but couldn’t get it to fall as time expired.

It’s not easy to overcome a slow start at the Barre Auditorium but the Bucks simply would not quit.  When asked for a reaction to what had occurred, John Dennis explained, “Crazy swing of emotions.  The win feels so surreal.  Glad we came out of halftime firing on all cylinders.  Super proud of the guys and the heart they showed on the floor.  Happy to see all of our hard work and dedication paying off and excited to have the chance to bring a championship back to Blue Mountain.”  Dennis and his BMU Bucks will face the winner of the #2 Long Trail vs #3 White River Valley semifinal.  The championship game will take place at high noon on Saturday, March 12th.

Blue Mountain 1-12-26-43

K. Blood 2 (1) 0-0 7,  E. Dennis 4 (0) 5-6 13,  J. Dennis 3 (0) 3-5 9,  E. Gilding 0 (0) 2-2 2,  R. Fennimore 3 (0) 0-0 6,  J. Dube 0 (2) 0-0 6

Rivendell Academy 14-23-29-42

C. Pierce 4 (0) 0-3 8,  J. Patterson 0 (0) 1-2 1,  J. Gilbert 0 (0) 2-2 2,  K. Carter 2 (4) 2-3 18, J. Welch 1 (0) 0-2 2,  G. Stever 1 (0) 2-3 4,  H. Molesworth 1 (0) 5-11 7