By Tris Wykes

Riding more than a combined four hours on a bus was well worth it for the Hartford High girls basketball team Friday. The Hurricanes rallied from several deficits to defeat Enosburg Falls High, 35-30, in the Vermont Division II quarterfinals. 

Hartford advances to play in Tuesday’s semifinals for the first time in eight years. It will face the winner of a Saturday quarterfinal between second-seeded North Country (7-2) and 10th-seeded Burr & Burton (4-5). 

A North Country victory would put the Hurricanes (7-4) back on the bus for another 4-hour round trip, this time to Newport, Vt. Should Burr & Burton win on Saturday, it would visit Hartford’s Hanley Gymnasium three days later.

Hartford High’s Elsie Davis, right, made a pair of key free throws against Enosburgh Falls. Copyright Octopus Athletics. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to ctwykes@aol.com.

Friday, the sixth-seeded Hurricanes and the third-seeded Hornets were tied, 24-24, after three quarters and Hartford held a 28-26 lead with 2 minutes, 53 seconds to play. 

Emily Wright scored inside to put the Hurricanes ahead, 30-26, with 2:45 remaining. Elsie Davis soon converted both ends of a 1-and-1 foul-shot opportunity to give Hartford a 32-29 lead with 2 minutes on the scoreboard. 

Enosburg Falls’ Emma Jarvis sank a 3-point shot. A Davis turnover gave the Hornet another long-distance chance with 55 seconds to play and her team trailing, 32-30. This time, however, Jarvis’ effort was off the mark.

Hartford’s Jasmine Jenkins missed the front end of a 1-and-1 three seconds later but responded by stealing the ball and racing away to lay it in during the Hornets’ next possession. The Hurricanes led, 34-30, with 37 seconds to go.

Enosburg Falls (6-3) missed two field-goal attempts before Hartford’s Maddie Withington inbounded to Sophie Howe, who was fouled with 11 seconds on the clock. Howe hit the first of her 1-and-1 chances to close out the scoring. 

Despite its height advantage, Hartford trailed, 10-4, early in the second quarter. The Hurricanes committed 12 turnovers during the first half and 22 during the game. The visitors made 5-of-17 field-goal attempts (29%) during the first half, but rode determined, 1-2-2 zone defense to trail only 14-13 at intermission. 

A turning point occurred midway through the third quarter when Davan Murphy dropped in 3-point shots on back-to-back possessions and the visitors leapfrogged to a 22-17 lead. The teams entered the fourth quarter deadlocked at 24 and the Hurricanes defense won them the game. 

Murphy led Hartford with 10 points, Jenkins had 6 and Dobrich added 5.

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