Brattleboro Colonels boys’ basketball coach Jason Coplan knew that the start of this season was going to be rough. He had a team that was short on varsity experience that would be tested early against five powerhouse teams in their first five games.
So, the Colonels starting the season at 0-5 is distressing, but not surprising. There is still time to regroup, but it won’t be easy.
After starting the season with a 21-point loss to Amherst, Mass., a 55-point loss to South Burlington, and a 39-point loss to St. Johnsbury, the Colonels had a nine-day break before getting back into action on Dec. 28 against the Monument Mountain Spartans at the BUHS gym.
The Colonels had a 17-16 lead on the Spartans after the first quarter, but the Spartans outscored Brattleboro, 15-5, in the second quarter to lead 31-22 at the half.
Monument stayed in front the rest of the way. The Colonels cut the lead down to one, 42-41, with 2:34 left in the third, but the Spartans closed out the quarter with a 10-2 run and the Colonels could not come back from that surge.
Noah Helmke led the Spartans with a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds, while Graham Herrick had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Adam Newton had 22, including five three-pointers, for Brattleboro in the loss. Kyle Derosia and Tyler Millerick connected on two three-pointers each, and finished with 13 and eight points, respectively.
On Dec. 30 in Rutland, the Colonels had their best chance of breaking into the win column as they faced a shorthanded Mount St. Joseph squad. But MSJ’s assortment of underclassmen sank 10 three-pointers and outlasted Brattleboro, 47-41.
Four different MSJ players — Logan Starling, Maddox Traynor, Del Norwood and Brennon Crossman — connected from beyond the three-point line, making it difficult for the Colonels to focus defensively on any single shooter.
MSJ led 22-17 at the half, but the Colonels rallied with an 8-0 run in the third period as Millerick and Derosia hit threes to cut the Mounties’ lead to 27-26.
However, as was the case in the Monument game, the Colonels couldn’t finish strong as MSJ hung on for the win. Traynor led all scorers with 15, and Starling added 14 for MSJ. Millerick finished with 13, while Newton chipped in 11 for the winless Colonels.
• Rachel Rooney connected on five three-pointers on the way to scoring 25 points to lead Brattleboro to a 54-46 win over visiting Mount Greylock on Dec. 20.
Mount Greylock kept it close, until a pair of key fourth-quarter baskets by Nicole Norcia and Julie Hendricks gave the Colonels some breathing room.
Hailey Derosia had eight points, 11 rebounds, and five steals for the Colonels, while Lauren McKenney chipped in with seven points and five rebounds.
With a 3-1 record going into the holiday break, the Colonels were feeling good about themselves. Then came the reality check of facing two of the best teams in Vermont.
On Dec. 27 at the BUHS gym, Shanon Loiseau had 14 points and five rebounds, Lindsey Albertelli added 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and Kaylee Beyor chipped in 11 points and six rebounds as the visiting Champlain Valley Redhawks rolled to a 62-26 win.
Brattleboro’s Hailey Derosia scored eight points.
The Colonels were held scoreless for the first 7:50 of the game. By the time that Rooney connected on a three-pointer, CVU had a 14-3 lead.
The lead grew to 31-6 at the half, and the best that Brattleboro could hope for was to keep from being totally embarrassed by the undefeated Redhawks in the second half. They managed to do that with a competitive third quarter, but that only cut the lead to 46-20 and CVU made sure there would not be a big rally in the fourth.
“We played much better in the second half,” said Colonels coach Paul Freed. “But, without a doubt, this is the best team we’ll face all year.”
That’s why, as far as Freed was concerned, this game was a learning opportunity for a team that has five of its nine players new to the varsity-level,
“Now they know what it is like to go up against a deep, disciplined, and experienced team,” Freed said.
On Dec. 30, the Colonels traveled to South Burlington and lost to the Wolves, 44-37. Emma MacDonough led all scorers with 19 points, and teammate Grace Hoehl added 15.
• Twin Valley came up short in the annual Green Mountain Tip-Off Tournament in Chester.
In the tourney opener against Green Mountain on Dec. 19, the Wildcats lost, 36-9. Paige Karl led the Chieftains with 13 points. Tayler Courchesne finished with four points and eight rebounds to lead Twin Valley.
In the consolation game on Dec. 21, Twin Valley got its first win of the year, a 50-35 victory over Black River.
The Wildcats closed out the game with a 16-5 run led by Courchesne. She did it all with 20 points, 10 rebounds, nine steals, four assists and four blocks. Tatyanna Bowman and Jarrett Niles chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively.
• Bellows Falls headed into the new year with a 4-1 record.
Madison Streeter scored 12 points, all on three-pointers, to lead BF over visiting Proctor, 58-42, on Dec. 19. Abbe Cravinho contributed with seven steals and three assists for the Terriers, while Molly Potter came off the bench to pull down 12 rebounds.
On Dec. 27 at Arlington, Michelle Marchica finished with 10 points and six rebounds to lead the Terriers to a 40-24 over the Eagles.
Two nights later, BF faced Mount St. Joseph at home and Halle Dickerson led the Terriers with 17 points in a 46-38 win. Trailing 24-12 at the half, the Mounties closed to within one, 32-31, at the end of the third quarter, before the Terriers clamped down in the fourth. Julia Lee led MSJ with 21 points.
• In the fall, Ryan Stoodley is an assistant coach for the Bellows Falls varsity football team. In the winter, he coaches basketball, but his team plays defense as if they were still wearing helmets and pads.
Against Woodstock on Dec. 23 at Holland Gymnasium, the Terriers swarmed around the ball and kept the taller and faster Wasps from getting into any kind of groove on offense.
“We love playing physical basketball,” said Stoodley.
Unfortunately for BF, Woodstock was playing the same kind of hard-nosed defense and similarly disrupted the Terriers’ flow on offense.
So, the difference was clutch shooting at the end, as three-pointers by Caleb Webb and Charlie Aivato and another hoop by Gabe Mariscoriette keyed an 8-0 run in the final four minutes of the game which gave Woodstock a 47-40 victory.
Webb and Aivato scored 15 points each for the Wasps, while Mariscoriette added 10.
BF led the Wasps by five points in the second quarter, and by a similar margin in the third, but could not pull away.
“The defense played their best game so far this season,” said Stoodley, “but we still have to learn how to close out quarters and not let teams back into games.”
Ryan Kelly led BF with 15 points. Shane Clark added eight.
• A 4-for-14 night at the free throw line doomed Leland & Gray’s chances as the Rebels lost to visiting Long Trail, 39-32 on Dec, 18.
Lucas Newton and Dakota Fillion finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Rebels.
• After losing to Green Mountain in the opener of their Tip-Off Tourney, Twin Valley beat Springfield, 55-32, in the consolation game on Dec. 21.
Dylan Howe had 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, and Logan Park had 10 points and 12 rebounds to help the 1-3 Wildcats to their first victory of the season.
• Brattleboro coach Melinda Burke is trying to get her team to play a new offensive system this season, making the Colonels’ 6-3 victory over Harwood at Withington Rink on Dec. 20 a harbinger of things to come.
The Colonels showed great puck movement as they controlled the flow of play in the first two periods and took advantage of several Harwood mistakes to build up a 6-1 lead.
Emma Allen got the first goal for the Colonels and Axis Balsley-Petraska scored on the power play in the first period. Tobin Lonergan assisted on both goals.
In the second period. Oliva Stent blasted in a one-timer from the right circle, set up by Jamie Mahoney. Rosie Carignan followed with her first varsity goal, and Natalie Gadowski scored with Mahoney getting a second assist. Kharisma Boyd got the final goal, set up by Balsley-Petraska, early in the third period.
Brattleboro wasn’t quite as crisp in the final period and gave up two late goals, but by then, the outcome was not really in doubt.
Sophomore goaltender Eliya Petrie made four saves for the Colonels and Burke said Petrie looks more comfortable in the crease and bounced back from a 9-0 beating by Missisquoi in her previous start.
“She has been holding her own. She is willing, hardworking and coachable,” said Burke.
• If you are a fan of disciplined, fundamentally-sound defensive hockey, you would have loved Brattleboro’s 2-1 win over Hartford at Withington Rink on Dec. 20.
The Colonels controlled the flow of play for most of the game with precise positioning and passing that left Hartford with few scoring chances. What chances they did have got thwarted by Colonels goaltender Sam Griffith, who made 29 saves and just missed out on earning a shutout victory.
“Sam has had a couple of tough nights, but he was awesome in goal tonight,” said Colonels coach Eric Libardoni.
After a scoreless opening period, the Colonels took control with a pair of second-period goals by Anthony Palomba and Gabe Heiden. Mason Powers, Nathan Powers and Kam Pelkey were credited with assists.
Hartford’s Korrigan Allen spoiled Griffith’s shutout bid with 1:09 left in the game. The goal came just after the Colonels successfully killed off a power play and the Hurricanes pulled their goalie for an extra skater. Allen’s 6-on-5 goal was the only blemish on what was one of the Colonels’ most complete efforts in some time.
“We played shorthanded for about half the period, but the defense held together and we didn’t have any dumb penalties,” said Libardoni.
The Colonels followed up that effort with a 6-1 win over Northfield on Dec. 27.
Palomba scored three goals, and Heiden, Pelkey, and Gavin Howard each added a goal. Assists were credited to Ryan Gerard, Mason Powers, Mason Foard, Pelkey, Howard, and Palomba. Brattleboro outshot Northfield, 37-17.
Brattleboro then traveled to Mount Mansfield on Dec. 30 and lost, 4-2. Kyle Wright had two goals and an assist, Jacobe Poirier-Putzier handed out three assists, and goalie Phoenix LaMonda made 22 saves to lead Mount Mansfield. Brattleboro enters the new year with a 2-2-1 record.
Senior bowling roundup
•The fall championship of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League came down to the final week of play. Team 5 went 0-5 and Team 1 was 5-0 in Week 16 to leave the two tied for first place at 45-35, with Team 8 close behind at 43-37. But in Week 17, Team 8 went 5-0, while Team 5 was 3-2, and Team 1 was 1-4, giving Team 8 the title with a 48-37 record.
Team 5 (46-39) finished second, and Team 6 and Team 1 tied for third at 45-40, and Team 3 (44-41) came in fourth place, followed by Team 9 (42.5-42.5), Team 2 (41-44), Team 4 (39.5-45.5), Team 10 (38-37) and Team 7 (36-49).
In Week 16, Arlene Blum had the women’s high handicap game (260) and series (678) for the second straight week, while Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (290) and Al Bascomb had the high handicap series (725). Team 1 had the high team handicap game (938) and series (2,712).
Dunham had a 600-plus series (665) with two 200-plus games (215, 267). Six men rolled 500-plus series: Dascomb (515), Warren Corriveau Sr. (575), Marty Adams (562), Fred Ashworth (542), Jon Peters (532), and Charles Marchant (538).
Week 17 saw Sandy Ladd with the women’s high handicap game (229), while Lorraine Taylor had the high handicap series (650). Richard Dowley had the men’s high handicap game (260) and Norm Corliss had the high handicap series (668). Team 6 had the high team handicap game (861) and series (2,526).
Peter Cross (521), Dowley (582), Adams (570), and Corriveau (527) all had 500-plus series. Adams and Dowley had the only 200-plus games, both rolled a 234.
The year ended with Josie Rigby (175), Bunny Fogg (155), and Pamela Greenblott (149) in the top three for high women’s average. The top three men’s high averages were Robert Rigby (200), Corriveau (192), and Adams (182).
Mount Snow to offer free ski, snowboard lessons
• Living Memorial Park Snow Sports and Mount Snow’s Ski School will offer free ski and snowboard lessons again this year. The lessons will be held at the Park Hill, which is maintained and operated by Living Memorial Park Snow Sports, a completely volunteer nonprofit organization.
The lessons will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and run for three consecutive Thursday evenings — Jan. 11, 18, and 25 — with a possible make up class on Feb. 1.
Participants must have their own equipment and a $5 lift ticket is required to use the T-bar. Register online at vtsnowsports.org by the Monday of that week’s lesson. There is a limit of 30 skiers and 20 snowboarders, so sign up early.