FAIRFAX - In a week of in-county matchups, the Bellows Free Academy Bullets hosted the Missisquoi Valley Union Thunderbirds earning a 56-49 win in a closely contested game.

MVU's first four points came on free throws from Ray Fournier in the first two minutes of the game. Caleb Surprise drained a three to extend the Thunderbirds lead. Riley Greene earned a cheer from the BFA Fairfax student section after stealing the ball from MVU and dishing to Jackson Wimette for a three in the final minute of the first.

MVU's Connor Nielsen answered, shooting a three in the final seconds; the Thunderbirds left the first with a 15-7 lead, seven of those points coming on Fournier's free throws.

Bryce Fontaine scored on a deep three for the Bullets late in the second to bring them within six points of the Thunderbirds, who, at one point, held a ten-point lead in the quarter. Fournier, Hayzen Luneau, and Ian Digby combined for seven points in the last two minutes of the first half, giving the T-birds a 28-17 lead at the break.

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Ray Fournier drives to the hoop as BFA Fairfax defenders swarm to contest the shot. 

Evan Fletcher's free throws started the Bullets' scoring in the second, and Greene's two late-quarter threes brought the Bullets within one point of MVU. Fletcher's free throws tied the game in the quarter's final minutes, but Luneau's bucket and Mason Noble's free throws returned the lead to MVU.

The Bullets continued to pressure MVU in the fourth, working hard on the boards and slowly cutting into the Thunderbirds' lead. Greene did his part to chip away at MVU'S lead, tallying six points on free throws in the final frame.

The student section went wild when Wimette tied the game on a deep three for the Bullets; Lane Stygles went 2 for 2 from the line to regain the lead. MVU trailer by four in the final minute; Luneau's free throws halved the deficit, but the T-birds were forced to put Greene and Fletcher on the line to gain possession in the last seconds, and BFA completed the comeback, earning the 56-49 victory.

BFA Fairfax players Riley Greene and Evan Fletcher spoke of the comeback.

"In the first half, shots weren't falling as much; when that came around, our confidence went up," said Greene. "It was a benefit to hit our free throws at the end of the game. I guess coach making us work on our foul shots all the time does work."

Fletcher agreed, "We put our shots together, worked as a team, and things started to go our way."

Bullets' coach Dave Demar spoke of the team's resiliency, "I liked our effort in the second half. We were flat in the first half, but Riley and Evan picked it up in the second half and led us in the comeback. It was fun when the momentum started picking up. The kids had fun, and the win was the icing on the cake."

MVU varsity coach Matt Walker, down a few starters, highlighted the efforts of several players who took key roles in the game.

"It was a great opportunity for kids who haven't been in this situation; this is what high school basketball is all about--a big student section cheering, families home for Christmas--none of those kids have played a varsity game with that intensity," said Walker. "We had career-high minutes played for most of those guys, and I was really happy for them."

Walker complimented Fournier's success in the game, "Ray came out to make a statement after a tough game last week against a D1 opponent, and he played hard."

BFA Fairfax scoring leaders: Riley Greene 18 and Evan Fletcher 12.

MVU scoring leaders: Ray Fournier 20 and Hayzen Luneau 12.

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