Nighthawks Fight From Behind in 54-51 Win vs. Southern Vt.

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

BROOKLINE, Mass. - Trailing by 12 late in the third quarter, the Nighthawks needed a 28-13 scoring run in the final 12:23 to pull off a three-point, come from behind victory, as the Nighthawks defeated the Southern Vermont Mountaineers 54-51 on Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference play.

Nighthawks senior Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Sophomore Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Conn.) added 12 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Precious Montgomery (Bridgeport, Conn.) has seven points off the bench.

Mountaineers senior Maddy Main (Bennington, Vt.) scored 17 points to go with a game-high 18 rebounds. Freshman Julia Ryan (Clifton Park, N.Y.) scored 13 points while senior Taylor Mallett (Berwick, Maine) added 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Southern Vermont looked in control in the second half, holding the Nighthawks to just two points through 7:37 in the third quarter. Between the second and third quarters, the Mountaineers produced a 10-2 run to take their largest lead of the game, a 38-26 advantage.

It was the Nighthawks who were able to chip away at that 12-point lead, finishing the third quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the Mountaineers edge to 40-35.

Southern Vermont held their own late in the game, leading by four with 3:16 remaining.  

The Nighthawks turned up the defensive intensity and finished the game on 7-0 run, taking their first lead of the game with 2:22 remaining. Olsen shot 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 2:22.

The Mountaineers had one final possession with 10 seconds remaining, but the Nighthawks defense didn't allow the Mountaineers to get a shot up, running out the clock for the 54-51 win.

"We're very lucky to have two gifted post players like Jaymesha and Savannah and the ball has to go through them," said Nighthawks Head Coach Marc Taney. "I told the team we would chip away but it takes stops. The biggest stop was by Meechie Manuel and her forcing a backcourt violation because of her defense that started at the top of the key."

Olsen's 26 points and 14 rebounds are both season-highs.

"Couldn't have gotten this win without everyone else," said Olsen. "The people producing off the bench on defense helped flip the game around."

The Nighthawks struggled in the early going, shooting 11-for-34 in the opening half and scoring just 24 points.

"We are just starting out flat. Teams are coming in here looking to knock us off," said Taney. "We did a good job last season as establishing ourselves as one of the top teams in the conference and teams get up for us. We need to adapt and we will but the team needs to start the games better."

Olsen echoed the thoughts of her coach following the game.

"We needed to get in the locker room at the half," said Olsen. "We expressed that we were just playing flat and this isn't us and we needed to pick it up."

The win is Newbury's third straight and moves the Nighthawks to 5-2 (3-1 NECC). The loss drops the Mountaineers to 3-5 (1-3 NECC). 

The Nighthawks look for their fourth straight win on Wednesday as they travel to Mitchell for a 7:00 match in the NECC. Southern Vermont travels to Fitchburg State next Saturday for a noon tip.