Charger’s Pull Away Late, Defeat Crusaders 31-25

NEWPORT CITY – The United Christian Academy Crusader’s hosted the Craftsbury Academy Charger’s Saturday morning, but it was the Charger’s walking away with the victory 31-25.Craftsbury’s Thalia Thomas would get the scoring started with a teardrop from the foul line. The Charger’s would go on to hold UCA scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the quarter. They stymied the home teams’ offense with a tough man-to-man full court press. And when the Crusaders were finally able to break the press, their shots would not fall. After falling behind 4-0, UCA would finally get on the board when Christina Maxwell would connect on an elbow-jumper. They would in fact go on a 7-0 run to take the lead thanks to a long 3 pointer from Hannah Piette and a baseline runner from Nicole Roy. Craftsbury would stop the bleeding and knock down 2 free throws to end the 1st, with a score of 7-6 in favor of the Crusaders.The 2nd would start the same way the first did for Craftsbury, Two quick baskets from Emily Jones and Thomas would have them back in front 10-7. There would be just 4 minutes left in the half, before UCA would go on another run. A successful and-1 from Roy and a turn-around 3 from Whitney Carter would put them back on top and send the game to the half with the Crusaders leading 13-10.As was the theme for most of the day, the Chargers came out on fire once again in the 3rd quarter. Deirdre Martin-Baker would go on a personal 6-0 run, to steal the lead right back at 16-13, but the Crusaders would come storming back. Laura Libby tied the game with a 3-point from the left side and give her team the lead on the next possession with a foul-line 2. Craftsbury would tack on 2 at the buzzer, and the game would go to the 4th all squared at 18.Craftsbury continued their pattern of starting quarters well, as the fourth was no different than any of the other three. Thomas would connect on a 3 to put her team out front with 6 minutes remaining and Martin-Baker would push the lead to 5 after knocking down a difficult shot in traffic, to make it 25-20 with 4 minutes left. UCA closed the gap to 3 after Roy knocked down both ends of a 1-and but, it was too much Chargers late in the contest.Emma Spiese would pump in 3 crucial lay-ups off of offensive rebounds for Craftsbury to stretch the game to 31-24 with 1 minute left in the contest. When the final buzzer sounded UCA found themselves on the tough side of a close 31-25 game.After the contest, Craftsbury’s coach Rick Thomas was pleased with the victory, but not pleased with the way his team got the victory. “We like to play a very high tempo offense and when UCA slowed the game down on us, it took us a long time to adjust. Once we got our shooters open things began to open up and we pulled away.”Sarah Roy, coach of the Crusader’s said, “It was a good effort and I can see improvement every day with these girls. Last game we played a solid 2 quarters and this game we played solid for 3 quarters. We are still learning, but I am proud of the way these girls are starting to come around.”Laura Libby led the way for the Crusader’s with 10 points and Hannah Piette chipped in with 5. The Charger’s game-high scorer was Thalia Thomas with 11 and Deirdre Martin-Baker added 8.With the win Craftsbury moves to 1-1 on the season and they will look to pick up win #2 on Wednesday, December 21st, when they travel to Stowe; the game will start with a 5:30 tip.The loss drops United Christian to 0-3 on the season and they will continue to look for their 1st win when they travel to Canaan tomorrow night. That game is set to tip off at 5:30.On Thursday the girls made the trip over the mountain to face off against a very tough Rockets team and came away with a tough 56-23 loss. In an interview with the Express Coach Sarah Roy said, “That the team had a strong first half, but fell apart in the second. We are still working towards putting a total game together. Offensively we couldn’t get anything going.”Hannah Piette led the way with 7 points for the Crusaders. While Ellie Purrier poured in a game-high 13 for Richford