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Nathan Clausen (2) was one of six Leland & Gray seniors who finished up their high school basketball careers with a loss. The Rebels were defeated by Peoples Academy in the first round of the Division III playoffs.

Sports

Local teams knocked out early in boys’ tournament

It was one-and-done for three local high school boys’ basketball teams as the state tournament began last week.

• In the only one of three first-round games played in Windham County, No. 9 Oxbow needed overtime to beat No. 8 Twin Valley, 57-46, in a Division III contest in Whitingham on March 6.

After seeing a big second-half lead vanish, Twin Valley had a chance to win it in regulation time. With 44 seconds left, freshman Izaak Park sank a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats a 46-43 lead. But Oxbow responded with a three-pointer from Tegan McKnelly with 30 seconds to go to tie the game.

After that dagger shot from McKnelly, the Wildcats would not score another point the rest of the way. The Olympians outscored Twin Valley 11-0 in overtime to win the game.

It was the Wildcats’ first overtime game this season, and when their top scorer, Dylan Howe, fouled out with less than 90 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, their offense had no time to adjust.

Defense wasn’t a problem, however. Oxbow’s Ben Emerson, who has been averaging 25 points per game, got smothered by Wildcat defenders Park and Jack McHale and limited to just one shot in the game and zero points.

While Emerson was neutralized, Oxbow’s Lincoln Ilsley and McKnelly picked up the scoring slack. Still, Twin Valley led 24-23 at the half, and went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter to seemingly put the game out of reach.

But Oxbow rallied back and cut Twin Valley’s lead to 39-37 with eight minutes left. The final period saw Izaak Park and McKnelly trade baskets, with each of them scoring seven points.

It was all Oxbow in OT as Kyle Sweet started the scoring with a 3 from the left side. Center Orin Mahikoa scored four points, Sweet added a lay-up, and Ilsley made two free throws to punch the Olympians’ ticket to the quarterfinals.

McKnelly finished with 15 points to lead Oxbow, while Mahikoa and Sweet each added 13 points, and Ilsley chipped in with eight points.

Izaak Park scored 13 points to lead the Wildcats, while his big brother, senior Logan Park, added 12 points, Howe and McHale finished with eight and seven points, respectively.

• In another Division III first-round game, third-seeded Peoples Academy rolled over No. 14 Leland & Gray, 74-50, on March 6 in Morrisville.

Nicholas Holbrook scored in 17 points to lead Peoples. Kaie Quigley finished with 14 points to lead the Rebels, whose season ended with a 6-15 record. Lucas Newton added 10 points.

For Leland & Gray seniors Nathan Claussen, Adam Culver, Austin Morse, Dakota Fillion, Sean Griffin, and Karson Petty, it was their final high school basketball game.

• Senior forward Denis Palic came off the bench and ignited a sluggish Montpelier offense to help lead the fourth-seeded Solons to a 66-49 home win over No. 13 Bellows Falls in a Division II game on March 6.

Palic entered the game in the first quarter and accumulated two points, two assists, a steal, and a rebound during the ensuing three Solons possessions. That, and sloppy ballhanding by the Terriers (17 turnovers in the first half), opened the door for Montpelier.

While the BF defense played hard, forcing 11 Solon turnovers in the first half, that was negated by a 26-15 edge in rebounding by the Solons in the first two quarters.

As for the BF offense, it had two long stretches in the first half where the Terriers failed to score. The result was a 40-15 lead for the Solons at the half.

Danny Bruce had 20 points for the Solons, and Haris Dzonbic (13 points) and David Ackerson (10 points) also reached double-figures. Liam Mears (eight points, 10 rebounds) and Leo Riby-Williams (six points, 11 rebounds, three steals) provided plenty of rebounding muscle for Montpelier.

Shane Clark had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Terriers. Ryan Kelly added 19 points for Bellows Falls. The Terriers’ season ended with a 8-13 record.

Nothin’ But Net tourney set for March 17

• Our local teams may have had early tournament exits, but there is still basketball to be played in Brattleboro, and for a good cause, too.

The Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club’s 22nd annual “Nothin’ But Net” Tournament will be on Saturday, March 17, at Brattleboro Union High School. It is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for the entire community, with the net proceeds benefiting the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Scholarship Fund.

It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Sunrise Rotary, with more than $210,000 generated by the tourney over the past two decades for educational grants and scholarships to area residents for college or continuing education.

Teams compete in a double elimination format in divisions for adult men and women, middle school and high school boys and girls. Entry fees are $50 per adult team and $40 per student team. There will also be a 3-point contest for men and women and a free throw contest. Both are open to the public as well.

But hurry, because the registration deadline is Thursday, March 15. For more information or to request a registration form, contact Toni Ciampaglione at 802-338-6286. Players can also download a registration form at www.brattleborosunriserotary.org.

Seven Colonels will play in hockey all-star games

• Seven Brattleboro seniors will play in the Rotary All-Star Hockey Classic games on March 24 in Essex.

Vermont teams will play against each other, with the girls’ game at 4 p.m. and the boys’ game at 6 p.m.

After leading the Colonel girls to the No. 5 seed in the Vermont Division II playoffs, Axis Balsley-Petraska, Jamie Mahoney, Olivia Stent, Kharisma Boyd and Chulie Vinton will play for Team Harris in the Rotary Classic.

Brattleboro’s Kam Pelkey and Mason Powers will both be members of Team Austin in the boys’ Rotary Classic. Pelkey finished the season with six goals and 16 assists, while Powers filled up the stat sheet with eight goals and nine assists as they led the Colonels to a 7-12-1 record and the No. 8 seed in the Division I playoffs.

Snowshoes at the library? Check them out!

• You can check out all sorts of books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs from your local library. This winter, six libraries throughout Windham County added snowshoes to that list.

Public libraries in Dover, Guilford, Jamaica, Townshend, Westminster West, and Whitingham, have partnered with the Vermont Department of Health’s Brattleboro Office to promote physical activity by making snow shoes available for children and adults to borrow and enjoy.

The program is funded by the Health Department to encourage community members to be active outside during the winter months.

“All you need is a library card and the desire to enjoy the snow,” said Prudence MacKinney, director of the Brattleboro Local Health Office, in a news release. “The libraries have responded very positively to having this new equipment, and we have partnered with the Windham Regional Commission to create a map of places to snowshoe in each town. This just makes it so easy to get out in the fresh air and have fun.”

MacKinney says regular physical activity is a key factor in reducing chronic disease.

“There are three behaviors - lack of physical activity, poor diet, and tobacco use - that lead to four chronic diseases that are the cause of more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont each year,” she explained. “Physical activity is so important, we want to make it easier for people to get outside and play.”

To contact the Brattleboro Local Health Office, visit healthvermont.gov/local/brattleboro.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #450 (Wednesday, March 14, 2018). This story appeared on page D1.

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