Two weeks ago the BFA-Fairfax girls basketball team had never won a game in the Division II state tournament.
Tuesday, the Bullets not only won their third D-II playoff game in a row, they punched a ticket to the state championship with a hardscrabble 39-33 win over U-32 at Barre Auditorium.
“The girls worked very hard for this,” said BFA-Fairfax coach Mike Wells. “We wanted to get (to Barre). And when we got here we said we wanted a little bit more than just being here. We came here to win and the girls did that.”
They did it thanks in no small part to senior forward Meghan Bochanski, who scored 15 points and hauled in nine rebounds in one of her best offensive performances — and certainly the most important — in her four-year varsity career.
Ironically, Bochanski said her main focus was at the other end of the court where she was tasked with stopping the Raiders’ main offensive threat, six-foot junior center Madison Bennett.
“Coach told us we had to hold her to 12 (points) and so my mindset the whole game was my job to hold her to that,” said Bochanski, who had plenty of help on most possessions from a teammate to deny Bennett any easy touches.
“We had a tremendous defensive effort, especially on the Bennett girl,” said Wells. “We doubled down on her a lot.”
Bennett still mustered a team-high 10 points and added six rebounds for the second-seeded Raiders, who finished the season with a school-record 21 wins against just two defeats.
“(Fairfax) played strong, they played hard and their shots fell,” said U-32 coach Travis Paquet. “We got outrebounded and our turnovers, in the end, rattled us.”
The first half was a defensive stalmate as neither team could find any offensive flow to their game and the third-seeded Bullets took a 14-10 lead into the locker room.
“All the girls contributed tonight, especially to the defensive effort,” said Wells. “I’m not sure what they scored in the first half, but it wasn’t many.”
Kayla Baczewski and Chace Carpenter each connected twice from the foul line and Mikayla Sullivan popped in a jumper from the wing to build a 20-12 lead with 3:48 left in the third quarter, but the Raiders rallied.
Kristen Keene (nine points) and Darcy Schmoll (sveen) keyed a 9-3 run that closed the gap to 25-24 with 7:05 left in the game.The Raiders had a one-and-one attempt to take the lead 13 seconds later, but missed and Bochanski had a three-point play at the other end to push the Bullets’ lead back to four.
The Raiders drew no closer the rest of the way.