CASTLETON — Three-point shooting was a big part of Castleton University freshman Ryleigh Coloutti’s game as she became the all-time leading scorer in Fair Haven girls basketball history.
Sunday, she launched a 3-ball that might have been the biggest shot of the game in a 51-42 victory over Thomas College on the second day of the Spartan Classic.
The Spartans had been involved in a tight game with Thomas where there were nine lead changes and neither team was able to gain any separation.
Then, Coloutti nailed a 3-point field goal with three minutes remaining that padded Castleton’s lead to 45-38. Finally, some breathing room.
Coloutti was only two of nine behind the 3-point arc but shooting is science for her. She constantly makes adjustment and when the Spartans needed to extend a four-point lead, she made the big shot.
“I will adjust my angle of the shot and make sure that I am squaring my feet,” Coloutti said of her long-range shooting.
What coach CU coach Tim Barrett likes about Coloutti’s game is what she is able to contribute when the 3-point shots are not hitting their mark.
“Ryleigh played a well-rounded game,” Barrett said. “The thing that I like about her as a young player is that if the 3-point shot is not falling, she will put the ball on the floor and create things. She doesn’t just rely on the 3.”
Coloutti had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“In high school, rebounding was a big part of my game,” Coloutti said.
The Spartans were playing without their leading scorer and outstanding guard Elise Magro so Coloutti and her backcourt mate Kelly Vuz, the transfer from Lycoming College, took up the slack.
Vuz contributed a team-high 16 points and six rebounds.
“Kelly had a solid week,” Barrett said. “She hit a lot of big shots.”
Kaylee Ravagli nailed a 3-pointer to give the Terriers a 3-0 lead by Vuz tied it with her own trey.
That established the tenor of the game that was close throughout. The Spartans took a 23-21 lead into halftime and led by 32-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Olivia Perry also played a big part in the victory, particularly on the boards. She finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
“Olivia Perry was really good in the second half,” Barrett said.
“We are undersized but I think we have held our own on the glass through the first four games.”
Paige O’Brien was also a contributor in that area, snaring six rebounds.
This was a good bounce-back game for the Spartans who lost on Saturday to the University of Maine-Farmington 74-72.
Farmington left the Spartan Classic with a 2-0 record, edging New England College on Sunday, 58-57.
The Spartans shot poorly against Thomas, going just 17 of 70 (24.3%) from the floor.
But Barrett took a positive from that.
“The players were not happy with themselves but I told them that if the shots aren’t falling and you can still win, you are doing some things right,” Barrett said.
Sunday’s victory moves Castleton 2-2 as they prepare for the Granite City Shootout at the venerable Barre Auditorium on Friday night. The Spartans’ first-round opponent will be Northern Vermont University-Lyndon.
NVU-Lyndon brings a 3-0 mark to The Aud with all the victories double-digit wins.