Hazen’s second-half surge denies Windsor girls in D-III final

Windsor's Sophia Rockwood puts a shot up with Hazen's Tessa Luther and Mya Lumsden on her during their VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Windsor's Sophia Rockwood puts a shot up with Hazen's Tessa Luther and Mya Lumsden on her during their VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — Jennifer Hauck

Windsor head coach Kabray Rockwood consoles senior Sydney Perry during the last few seconds of their game with Hazen for the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Windsor head coach Kabray Rockwood consoles senior Sydney Perry during the last few seconds of their game with Hazen for the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — Jennifer Hauck

Windsor's Audrey Rupp drives to the top of the key with Hazen's Tessa Luther on her during the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Windsor's Audrey Rupp drives to the top of the key with Hazen's Tessa Luther on her during the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Windsor fans watch Windsor's Brianna Barton and Hazen's Caitlyn Davison during the last few minutes of the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Windsor fans watch Windsor's Brianna Barton and Hazen's Caitlyn Davison during the last few minutes of the VPA D-III girls basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Hazen won, 66-56. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

By BEN HOOKE

For the Valley News

Published: 03-10-2024 7:50 PM

There was no three-peat for the Windsor High girls basketball team.

The second-seeded defending VPA Division III champions fought valiantly for a half but ultimately found themselves outmatched by a sizzling shooting performance by the top-seeded Hazen Wildcats, who prevailed, 66-56, on Saturday at Barre Auditorium.

Windsor started the game the better side, hammering the offensive glass to open an 11-7 first-quarter advantage as both teams struggled to maintain possession in the early going. The two squads combined for 14 turnovers in the first quarter.

The Windsor lead grew to as large as six points early in the second quarter as Sydney Perry finished the hoop-and-harm on a roll to the basket, but the Wildcats had an answer through the duo of Caitlyn Davison and Kelsie Rivard.

The pair combined for all of Hazen’s points in the second quarter as Hazen took their first lead of the day midway through the period.

Although Windsor got the final score of the half when Audrey Rupp sliced through two defenders to score in transition, momentum seemed to have shifted to Hazen, even with Windsor leading 20-19.

The momentum stayed with Hazen as the second half opened, with a 7-0 run in just 66 seconds to force a Windsor timeout as the defending champs looked shell-shocked.

The run surged to 11-0 before Windsor finally found its footing nearly halfway through the quarter.

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“They got a lead on us, got us a little on our heels and we just couldn’t recover,” said Windsor coach Kabray Rockwood of the third quarter.

While Windsor did well enough on offense, cutting the Hazen lead down to two scores on multiple occasions, Davison had all the answers for the Wildcats.

The senior scored 15 points in the quarter, including a trio of three-pointers as Hazen stretched their advantage to 12 points to end the period.

In the fourth quarter, Windsor cut the lead to single digits a few times, but the offense of Hazen proved too potent as the Wildcats capped a brilliant second half to reach the final ten-point margin of victory.

Davidson led all scorers with 34 points. Perry led Windsor with 23 points in her final high school game.

“I’m obviously sad. … I’ve been at Windsor since kindergarten and this is a goodbye, but I’m very proud of the way we played,” said Perry. “They got up on us and we never quit.”

Windsor graduates just two players, Perry and guard Amber Simonds, leaving the roster largely intact for a shot at a third title in four years next season.

“For the seniors, they had a great career, and I’m proud of all of them,” said Rockwood. “For those returning, we’ve got work to do, but we’ll be back.”