Big Second Half Lifts Panthers Past Johnson State in Home Opener

Alex Huffman had an all-around game of eight points, 10 rebounds and four steals in Tuesday's win.
Alex Huffman had an all-around game of eight points, 10 rebounds and four steals in Tuesday's win.

Middlebury opened the second half with a 13-0 run, outscoring visiting Johnson State by a 44-22 count in the final two quarters, en route to a 62-34 victory in its home-opening contest Tuesday evening in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (3-0) have a break from action for the Thanksgiving holiday before returning to the court on Thursday, December 1 with a 6:00 p.m. contest at Rensselaer, while the Badgers travel to New England College on December 3.

Middlebury jumped out to an 11-5 lead after the opening quarter in the defensive battle. Colleen Caveney scored the first five points for the hosts on a three-point field goal and a layup, while Kaitlyn Brouard banked in a deep three-point shot from the right wing as the horn sounded for the Badgers.

In the second quarter, Johnson State cut the Panther advantage to just a pair (13-11) on a layup from Sarah Voorhis with 3:56 remaining. Middlebury closed the opening half scoring five of the final six points, capped off on a free throw by Lily Kuntz, and took an 18-12 edge into the locker room.

Out of the break, the hosts rattled off the first 13 points of the third quarter, including four points each from Catherine Harrison and Caveney, for a 31-12 edge with 7:16 left. The Middlebury lead grew to as many as 20 (40-20) on a pair of free throws from Kuntz with 1:51 remaining in the stanza.

Ahead by 17 (45-28) entering the final quarter, the Panthers gained their largest lead of the game at 30 (60-30) on a pair of charity tosses from Alex Huffman with 3:12 on the clock as the Panthers cruised to the 28-point victory.

Caveney paced a balanced Middlebury attack with 15 points on 6-11 shooting, while Sarah Kaufman chipped in with nine. Harrison just missed a double-double with eight points and tied for game-high honors with 11 rebounds, while Huffman had a nice all-around effort of eight points and season-best totals of 10 rebounds and four steals. Kuntz added eight points off the bench in 16 minutes of play.

Domonique Carter-Stanley led the Badgers with 11 points, while Kasey DeGreenia pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out a team-best four assists.