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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Brattleboro’s Eli Lombardi (33) leans back as he tries to shoot over Mount Antony’s Tyler Champagne (10) during second-half action on Feb. 12 in the BUHS gym.


Colonels, Terriers, Rebels open boys’ playoffs

With additional reporting by nordic ski correspondent Lissa Weinmann.

The regular season for boys’ basketball in Vermont wrapped up over the weekend. Now, it’s playoff time.

• Brattleboro hoped to get a home game in the first round of the Division I playoffs. Losing the season finale to Mount Anthony, 59-48, at the BUHS gym last Friday meant the Colonels finished with a 11-9 record and got the No. 9 seed. They are scheduled to travel to Manchester on Feb. 16 face No. 8 Burr & Burton (11-9).

The Colonels’ game against Mount Anthony was the usual typically intense contest that these two bitter rivals play, no matter what sport it is. The Patriots had a slim 17-16 lead after the first quarter, and led 30-25 at the half.

That was as close as the Colonels got for the rest of the game. MAU outscored Brattleboro 17-8 in the third quarter to take a 47-33 lead, and were never seriously challenged in the fourth.

“We had an offensive lull in the third quarter and that killed us,” said BUHS coach Joe Rivers. “At halftime, we talked about offensive structure and attacking their defense from a different angle. We did it once just fine, and then didn’t do anything the next five times. You can’t have lapses like that against good teams.”

Despite the emotional nature of the game, the Colonels never got to the free throw line, while MAU was 9-for-12 from the line. Jonas Parker led the Patriots with 24 points, while Damon Burgess added 18. Dylan DeJordy and Eli Lombardi each scored 10 for the Colonels.

• Bellows Falls capped off a late-season surge with a 51-46 win over Leland & Gray in Townshend last Saturday. The victory gave the 10-10 Terriers the No. 12 seed in Division II and a scheduled first-round game on Feb. 16 at Woodstock to face the fifth-seeded Wasps (13-7).

The Rebels were in front for all of the first half and led 25-21 at intermission. BF took the lead in the third quarter, and led by as many as five until the Rebels tied the game late in the third. With the game knotted at 34-all to start the fourth, BF got out to a four-point lead, then the Rebels tied it.

BF trailed by as many as five with 3:30 left in the game, then rallied back to take a 45-44 lead with 1:39 remaining. The teams traded baskets, and then the Terriers sealed the win with a basket by Seth Clark, a pair of free throws from Cameron Joy, and another free throw from Zach Streeter in the final 45 seconds of regulation.

Clark led all scorers with 17. Joy scored 13 and Anthony Mueller added 10 for BF. Bryce Karg and Caleb Thibault each scored 12 for the Rebels, Nick Morrow added 11.

BF coach Ryan Stoodley said it was the fifth win in a row for his team. “We had a lot of opportunities to score in the first half, but it was like there was a lid on the basket. Nothing was falling. We settled down in the second half and starting making our shots. The rebounding and defense did the rest.”

• Had Leland & Gray beaten the Terriers, they would have clinched the No. 9 seed in Division III and gotten a first-round game in Chester against Green Mountain.

Instead, the loss dropped the Rebels to the No. 10 seed, and now they will travel to Randolph to face the No. 7 Galloping Ghosts (9-11) in a scheduled first-round game on Feb. 17.

The Rebels lost four of their last five games. Their only win came on Feb. 9 at Poultney, a 63-44 victory.

• Twin Valley is the only local team to get a first-round home game. The No. 5 Wildcats (15-5) are scheduled to host No. 12 Peoples Academy (5-15) on Feb. 17.

The Wildcats clinched home court with wins over Arlington (55-47 on Feb. 9) and Poultney (109-46 on Feb. 13).

Girls’ basketball

• Brattleboro shored up its playoff position heading into the final week of the regular season with a pair of wins.

On Feb, 9, Gabby Carpenter had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks to lead the Colonels to a 53-36 win over Leland & Gray in Townshend.

The Rebels took a 13-12 lead after one quarter, but Brattleboro took over the game after that. Freshman Hailey Derosia finished with 14 points, four assists, and four rebounds, while Megyn Ayotte scored four points off the bench, and starting guard Devin Millerick chipped in with six steals.

Jessie Stockwell and Caroline Tietz each had nine points for the Rebels.

The Colonels then played shutdown defense in the second half in beating Burr & Burton, 56-37. The Bulldogs were held to just four field goals in the second half, while Brattleboro exploded for 20 points in the third quarter to break open what had been a close game in the first half.

Millerick had 15 points and six rebounds to lead the starters, while reserves Meghan Sargent (seven points, six rebounds), Dani Wood (eight rebounds, two blocks), and Shenise Taliaferro (six points, six rebounds, two blocks) provided added energy for the 7-11 Colonels.

• Leland & Gray bounced back from the Brattleboro loss to beat Woodstock, 39-30, on Feb. 11 and claim the Marble Valley League’s C Division championship.

The Rebels used a 15-6 surge in the final quarter to get the win. Tietz (12 points), Borgesen (11) and Hannah Buffum (10) were the top scorers for Leland & Gray, which ended the week ranked seventh in Division III with a 10-9 record.

• Tayler Courchesne scored 15 points as Twin Valley crushed Black River, 53-16, in Ludlow last Friday.

Kirra Courchesne (11 points, eight rebounds), Kendell Howe (11 points, six rebounds) and Brianna Rafus (eight points, 10 rebounds and seven steals) led the 9-8 Wildcats, wh0 jumped out to a 27-10 lead at the half and led 44-14 after three quarters.

Nordic skiing

• Near zero temperatures and brutal winds did not stop Brattleboro’s varsity boys and girls from placing first and second, respectively, at the Marble Valley League Freestyle Nordic Championship held Feb. 11 at the Brattleboro Outing Club.

The BUHS boys scored 24 points to take gold, followed by Woodstock (29), Burr & Burton (33) and Mount Anthony (70).

Sophomore rising star Isaac Freitas-Eagan placed second for the Colonels in 16 minutes, 24 seconds— just 20 seconds behind winner Scott Mooney of Burr & Burton. Junior Spencer Loggia placed sixth, followed by seniors Declan King (seventh), Jonah Koch (ninth) and Daniel Burdo (12th) rounding out the Colonels top skiers.

“We have a veteran boys’ team with the top eight racers training and racing together for two years,” BUHS Nordic Coach Amanda Dixon said. “The results all season have reflected their depth of talent and encouraging looking ahead to the state championships in a couple of weeks."”

Woodstock dominated the girls meet, winning with 14 points. Brattleboro came in second with 39, and Burr & Burton and MAU tied for third with 45. Abby and Lauren Kaija of Woodstock finished first and second, respectively, with Rutland’s Dani Laird taking third.

Leading the way for the Colonel girls were Bella Thurber in sixth, Sarah Gallagher in 10th, Liz Morse in 13th, Elery Loggia in 14th, and Angelika Toomey in 23rd.

“The girls’ team is young and very promising,” said Dixon. “We’ve benefited from the addition of five freshman girls who keep inching their way up the results, which translates to a strong team performance. The next two seasons should be really exciting.”

The MVL Classic Championship will be held on Feb. 18 at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, or Rikert Cross Country Ski Center in Middlebury, depending on snow conditions.

“Our team has a lot more skiers this year and we’ve been working really hard to make the most of a challenging winter season,” Dixon said. “Despite the meager snow pack, we’ve benefited from masterful grooming at the Brattleboro Outing Club and our spirits are high.”

Ice hockey

• The Brattleboro girls qualified for the Division II playoffs with a 5-2 win over Harwood on Feb. 10. Three nights later, they lost at Rice, 3-0. The Colonels’ record now stands at 4-14-2.

• The Brattleboro boys lost a close one at Lyndon on Feb. 10. The 5-4 defeat dropped the Colonels’ record to 5-13.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #344 (Wednesday, February 17, 2016). This story appeared on page D4.

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