Back-to-back scores by Eric Savoy highlighted a nine-point run for Enosburg to break open a tie game, and the Hornets pulled away for a 73-54 boys basketball victory at Milton on Thursday night.
Brandon Gleason racked up 29 points for the Hornets and Derryk O’Grady scored 27 for the Yellowjackets, but O’Grady’s output accounted for half the team’s points while Enosburg put together a more-balanced attack to take control of the contest.
“It was a good team effort,” first-year Enosburg coach Matt Luneau said. “Brandon was getting good looks. But they were getting him the ball in scoring position from transition. I thought they all played solidly.”
Savoy scored 16, Wyatt Larose 13 and Derek Blouin nine for Enosburg, while Eric Menard put up 13 and Travis Giard eight for the hosts.
Savoy’s inside score followed by a steal and fast break helped turn a 14-14 deadlock into a 23-14 advantage while Milton went more than four minutes without a point. Blouin did most of his damage early, scoring four of the Hornets’ first five baskets.
O’Grady — who had a pair of 3-pointers and was the only Yellowjacket to get to the foul line — and Larose were the only players to score in each quarter.
Milton dominated the boards most of the night, led by nine rebounds from O’Grady, eight from Menard, and five each from Giard and Cole Reilly (six assists). But the Yellowjackets couldn’t hit from outside (making just three of 19 attempts from beyond the arc), had trouble contending with Enosburg’s speed, and were often taken out of their offense by Enosburg’s variety of full-court pressure even without turning the ball over often in the backcourt.
“We panicked,” Milton coach Jim O’Grady said. “We’d break the press, but then instead of running our press we had two or three guys running around doing their own thing.”
For one quarter, it appeared the teams would battle back and forth all night.
Larose quickly answered Menard’s opening score, and after Blouin and O’Grady traded scores, Blouin drove to the hoop for consecutive scores and an 8-4 lead. Milton responded with Evan Giard’s inside score, and then capitalized on what could have been a pivotal technical foul for a scorebook omission that gave Milton two free throws and possession. O’Grady hit one of the foul shots, and Menard drove the baseline moments later to wrap up a five-point burst and give Milton a 9-8 lead.
It turned out to be the last time the ‘Jackets would be in front.
Blouin scored on a putback, Larose added a free throw and Zach Lundborg swished a three from the right corner off a quick feed from Blouin, making it 14-9.
Menard scored off a nice pass by the tightly double-teamed O’Grady, and O’Grady followed with a three to even the score at 14 apiece with 53 seconds left.
But Larose put Enosburg back in front — for good — with a baseline drive for a 16-14 edge after one period, and the Hornets notched three straight baskets and a foul shot to start the second. Gleason weaved through the lane to make it 18-14, Savoy scored twice in a row, and Nick Jette’s foul shot capped the run with a 23-14 advantage.
O’Grady ended the scoring drought on a free throw 4:41 before halftime, and two minutes later, Travis Giard brought Milton back within four when he hit a pull-up jumper in the lane and followed it with a fast-break score off a lead pass from Reilly.
Enosburg finished the half with a 7-4 edge, taking a 32-25 lead into the locker room, and quickly put the game away after the break with the help of a different full-court press and a half-court trap that produced frequent fast breaks.
“That’s what we wanted to do, get them running,” Luneau said. “Our team likes to run.”
Gleason put up the first three points of the third quarter with a driving basket and free throw off a steal. O’Grady countered with a 3-pointer from the top, but Larose drove in for a score, Gleason followed his own block with a pair of foul shots and two free throws to make it 41-28.
Milton never got closer than that 13-point deficit, with Enosburg building its lead to as much as 20.