By BEN KAUFMANN
Messenger Sports

MILTON (Dec. 28, 2018) — Cassidy Button’s monstrous 30-point night was more than enough to propel Milton to a 38-20 victory over visiting Missisquoi on Thursday night.

Button’s 12-point third quarter was just what the Yellowjackets (3-1) needed after going into halftime down two points. Milton’s stingy defense did the rest, holding MVU (0-4) to just four points in the second half.

“She is very skilled in the low post as you can see,” Milton coach Alissa Giroux said of Button, who grabbed six rebounds and four steals. “She takes her time, uses good footwork, and our girls really look to her as a captain for that leadership.”

Milton came out of halftime with a clear plan and a devastating play that it repeated to run away from the Thunderbirds in the third quarter. Center Madison North would receive the ball at the elbow, drawing defenders up and making for an easy lob to Button in the post. The play worked twice just in one 8-0 run from Button, with the senior captain hitting a three in the middle to show off a multitude of skills.

“Button is amazing in the post and she can clearly shoot from outside,” Missisquoi coach Taylor Coppenrath said. “So we need to do a better job of maintaining that and knowing where she is, and maybe doubling her in the future.

“One of their keys is getting that pass into the high post. And when we denied that and pressured that and picked up the intensity, it was a lot more difficult to get the ball in. And when we kind of sat back and sagged off a little bit, they were able to make those passes around and execute really well.”

The high-low play that boosted Button’s scoring also paid off for North, who finished with five assists and nine rebounds.

The first half stood in stark contrast to the second, with the teams battling evenly. Milton led 11-10 after the first quarter and the teams stayed within a few points through the second.

“The first half started off a little slower than we had hoped but they definitely picked it up after halftime,” Giroux said. “They settled down and took care of the ball.”

Coppenrath said he was pleased with the way his girls played the first two quarters and that he saw a lot of good even in the second half. Milton just proved too much over the final 16 minutes.

“I thought we did a good job of executing in the first half. A few jitters and some bad passes. But I don’t know if it was just the pressure as the game went on. They were starting to get the lead and we were feeling a little anxious to get things going and we weren’t making those good decisions and we weren’t executing quite as well on offense.”

Missisquoi’s highlight — and soon-forgotten sign for optimism for the second half — came in the final seconds of the first. Set to inbound near midcourt with three seconds on the clock, Coppenrath called a timeout and the play MVU ran out of that break worked beautifully. The inbound went to Abigail Paquette at the elbow, drawing in the Yellowjacket defense. Paquette kicked it down to the corner, where an open Brooke Lamothe buried the three to give MVU a 16-14 halftime lead.

“Well we actually set up like they were going to be in a zone but we still executed the same with them in man-to-man,” Coppenrath said. “We had an opportunity to get it in and into the corner for a good-looking shot and knocked it down.”

The game went downhill for Missisquoi from that point, but Coppenrath said his team is on the right track and just needs to build on what it’s doing well.

“Sometimes we got our hands on a couple passes; we’re pretty athletic. Just being aware of where the pass is going, you get a hand on it and deflect it and you give time for somebody else to help out. That’s the biggest thing for us. We just need to maintain that activity offensively and defensively. We need to be strong with our hands, moving our feet, and then the same thing on offense because as the defense shifts sometimes we have a tendency to watch. We get complacent, we’re watching what’s happening, and we’re not involved in the play or making a hard cut. It’s always those cuts when you don’t have the ball.”

Lamothe and Macayla Langlois each scored six points for MVU on Thursday. Emily Graham and Alexandra Brouillette scored two apiece and Katie Pease notched a point for a Thunderbird team that faces tough Lake Region (4-0) in its next game.

For Giroux’s Yellowjackets, Thursday was the continuation of what has been a solid run. Button’s scoreline will rightfully draw the attention, but Milton used strong defense and ball movement to turn the game around in what was far from a one-woman show.

“I told them that the way we played in the second half was the way we should have played the whole game, but it’s our third win in a row so we’re feeling pretty good,” Giroux said.

In addition to Button’s 30, Milton received two points apiece from North, Begona Diaz, Bailey Reilly, and Lauren Gidney. The Yellowjackets are back in action against Middlebury on Saturday.

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MILTON (Jan. 2. 2019) — Cassidy Button led the offense again and Madison North dominated at the other end Wednesday night as the Yellowjackets held on to beat visiting Colchester 41-38 in girls basketball.

North scored just two points for Milton, but led the hosts with five deflections, eight rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Button knocked down two field goals in each of the first three periods and hit three in the fourth to help hold off the Lakers, finishing with a game-high 20 points. Bailey Reilly reached double figures with 10 points and Madison Chalmers added nine, including a pair of second-half 3-point shots.

Jess Laquerre led Colchester with 14 points, with two of the Lakers’ six threes. Christina Miller had the remainder of the long-range hits for CHS, knocking down one in the first quarter, one in the third, and two in the fourth for a dozen points.

Reilly matched North’s four assists and also had three steals and a rebound. Morgan Bushey finished with four rebounds, two deflections, and an assist; Begona Diaz had three assists, two steals, a deflection and a rebound; Lauren Gidney a rebound; Button three rebounds and a steal; and Chalmers three rebounds with two steals, two deflections, and two assists.

Ashley Emmons and Maelyn Sartwell picked up four each for Colchester, while Adriana Jacobs and Olivia Moore scored two each.

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MILTON (Jan. 4, 2019) — Lamoille rallied in the second quarter for a 1-point halftime lead and held off Milton on Friday night for a 44-42 Division II girls basketball victory.

Isabelle Sullivan scored 13 points to lead the Lancers, who erased a 14-10 first-quarter deficit to head into the third quarter up 23-22.

Cassidy Button led Milton with 25 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Madison Chalmers added seven points, with one three, while Madison North scored six and Megan Bushey and Begona Diaz netted two each.

North pulled down 10 rebounds for the Yellowjackets, along with a pair of steals. Button had three steals and three assists, Bushey three steals and two rebounds, and Diaz three rebounds with a steal and an assist.