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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Brattleboro defenseman Mason Powers scored his team’s only goal in a 5-1 loss to Hartford at Withington Rink on Dec. 23.


Wildcats struggle at GM Holiday Tournament

The annual Green Mountain Holiday Tournament in Chester usually serves an early-season shakedown cruise for the Twin Valley boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.

The results were mixed for the Wildcats, which took on the hosts in the opening night of play on Dec. 20 in Nason Gymnasium.

Twin Valley committed oodles of turnovers and allowed the Chieftains to roll to a 55-26 win in the girls’ game, while the Twin Valley boys controlled the flow of play and had a relatively stress-free 57-42 win over Green Mountain.

• Green Mountain used a pressure defense in the first quarter to disrupt the offensive flow of the Wildcat girls, but the Chieftains pulled away when settled back into a zone defense in the second half.

“Terry [Farrell, the GM coach] must have been in the holiday spirit, because his team didn’t press us as much as they could have,” said Twin Valley girls’ coach Buddy Hayford. “We had 12 turnovers in the first half, but we were only down by six.”

Twin Valley, which trailed throughout the game, took advantage of early foul trouble by Chieftain defenders Paige Karl and Hanna Veysey to cut GM’s lead to 22-16 at the half.

The Chieftains then took control in the third quarter and outscored the Wildcats, 16-2. Twin Valley would finish with 27 turnovers, and they were out-rebounded, 30-22.

“We took a step backward tonight,” said Hayford.

Kendall Howe finished with 10 points to lead the Wildcats. Tayler Courchesne chipped in with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.

Sarah Rogers was GM’s top scorer with 10 points. Veysey added 9, and Karl and Anne Lamson each had 8 points.

• In the boys’ game, the Wildcats took charge early with a 13-5 burst in the opening quarter. Twin Valley pushed the lead to 30-18 at halftime and 42-24 at the end of the third.

Brett Swanson and Skylar Boyd had huge games for Twin Valley. Swanson sank 5 three-pointers and finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Boyd scored 15 and pulled down 12 rebounds.

“Overall, we played well,” said Wildcats coach Chris Brown. “And everybody got some playing time and picked up some game experience that we’re going to need later on.”

James Anderson led the Chieftains with 12 points, and Brooks Ordway-Smith added 9.

• On the second night of the tourney on Dec. 22, the Twin Valley girls lost the consolation game to the Springfield Cosmos, 51-38. Aunna Parker scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and Madee Stagner went 4-for-4 at the foul line as the Cosmos got their first win of the season.

Like the GM game two nights earlier, the Wildcats kept it close in the first half. The Cosmos led 16-10 after one quarter and 26-22 at the half. But, unlike the GM game, Twin Valley rallied back from a big deficit in the third quarter and closed to within 42-38 before the big finish by the Cosmos in the fourth quarter.

Springfield’s Hannah Crosby led all scorers with 16 points, while Stagner added 11. Howe led 1-4 Twin Valley with 11 points and Courchesne added 10.

• The Twin Valley boys faced Mt. St. Joseph in the championship game and lost, 59-48. That dropped the Wildcats’ record to 2-3 heading into the holiday break.

Girls’ basketball

• Leland & Gray had no problems with South Royalton, cruising to a 40-7 win in Townshend on Dec. 21. The Rebels got 12 points from Sierra Fillion. Hannah Buffum added 8 points and Rachel Borgesen had 6.

The win improved the Rebels’ record to 2-2 and was a nice bounceback after going 1-2 in the Zero Gravity Holiday Basketball Tournament at Keene State College.

Leland & Gray’s only win in the tournament came against the Mascenic Vikings of New Ipswich, N.H., a 60-25 rout on Dec. 19. Borgesen was the high scorer in that game with 15 points.

On Dec. 23 in Windsor, the Rebels lost to the Windsor Yellow Jackets, 65-57. Olivia Rockwood scored 23 points, 15 of them in the second quarter, as the Yellow Jackets improved to 4-0. The Rebels trailed 41-33 at the half and got no closer after that.

• Bellows Falls opened their season with a 63-43 loss to Windsor on Dec. 20 at Holland Gymnasium. Windsor jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back.

By halftime, Windsor had a 30-19 lead, then put the Terriers away by outscoring BF, 26-15, in the third quarter to build up a 56-34 lead heading into the final quarter.

Olivia Rockwood led Windsor with 23 points and Ashleay Wilcox added 19 points, including 3 three-pointers. BF was led by Molly Kelly, who had 16 points to lead the Terriers. Abbe Cravinho chipped in 7 points. After the holiday break, the 0-1 Terriers’ next game will be on Friday, Dec. 30, at Poultney.

• Four-time defending Division I state champion Champlain Valley opened its season with a 64-36 win over Brattleboro in Hinesburg on Dec. 22.

Abby Thut and Shannon Loiseau led the Redhawks with 11 points apiece as CVU had a 32-20 lead at halftime. Gabrielle Carpenter led 2-1 Brattleboro with 13 points.


• Senior defenseman Jordy Allard scored three goals in the first period as the Hartford Hurricanes blew away the Brattleboro boys, 5-1, on Dec. 23 at Withington Rink.

The Colonels found themselves in a hole early as Allard scored twice in a 22 second span to give Hartford a 2-0 lead. After a timeout and a vigorous talking-to by coach Eric Libardoni, the Colonels responded with a goal from Nathan Powers off a pass from Jacob Bailey with 11:52 left in the first.

But Hartford came right back as Allard got his third goal with 8:40 remaining. Jordan McReynolds added a fourth from Cody Chapman with 53.1 seconds left in the first.

Brattleboro was held scoreless in the second and third periods, while Hartford got its fifth goal from Ben Roullard on a third-period power play. Goalie Richie Morrill made 20 saves to get the win for 2-1 Hartford.

It was a frustrating loss for Libardoni. Two days earlier, they beat Lyndon Institute, 9-2. Against Hartford, Libardoni said he felt his team lacked aggressiveness.

“We didn’t play hard at the start of this game,” he said. “We’ve got some growing up to do.”

• Junior forward Axis Balsley scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of play as the Brattleboro girls fell to Woodstock, 3-2, on Dec. 21 at Withington Rink.

The Colonels fell behind 3-0 before Balsley’s third period heroics. Anna Hepler, Holly Weglarz, and Sadie Kuhn all scored a goal for Woodstock.

Woodstock goalie Bridgit Black made 24 saves, while Brattleboro goalie Keegan Jameson stopped 16 shots.

The next night, the Colonel girls beat North Country, 9-4, at Withington Rink to improve to 2-3 on the season going into the holiday break.

Boys’ basketball

• Bellows Falls is off to a rough start, as they opened their season last week by losing three games by five points or less. After losing to Arlington, 47-45, on Dec. 19, and West Rutland, 55-50, on Dec. 22, the week of hard luck culminated on Dec. 23 with BF losing 43-41 at Fall Mountain on a late three-pointer by Jacob Bardis.

As is usually the case in this game of cross-river rivals, it was close throughout, with seven ties and seven lead changes before Bardis’ game-winning three-pointer.

BF had the early lead on three-pointers by Jon Skrocki and Cam Joy. FM rallied with three-pointers from Bardis and Ranger Wilson, and the Terriers escaped the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.

A Michael Murdoch three tied the game in the second quarter and FM ended up with a 22-19 lead at the half. The teams traded baskets throughout the second half, and neither could build up a big lead.

Bardis led all scorers with 12. Anthony Mueller led BF with 11 points, while Joy and Skrocki had 9 and 7 points, respectively.

BUHS players lead basketball clinic

• Every year, members of the Brattleboro girls’ varsity basketball team and their coach, Paul Freed, lead a skills clinic for aspiring players at the Gibson-Aiken Center.

This year’s basketball clinic takes place on Friday, Dec. 30. Children in grades K-2 will meet from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., while children in grades 3-6 will meet from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The cost for this one-day clinic is $5 for Brattleboro Recreation & Parks players and $10 for all others. The clinic is co-ed and for all ages and abilities. Call to pre-register at the Recreation & Parks Office at 802-254-5808.

Take a hike on New Year’s Day

• The Vermont State Parks want Vermonters to start the New Year on the right foot and get outside for a “First Day Hike” on Jan. 1. Individuals and groups are invited to join one of several free, family-friendly hiking events taking place throughout Vermont at the state parks and forests.

Locally, Jamaica State Park will host a hike led by Lowell Lake Park Ranger Scott Renker. Meet at 10 a.m. by the park office at the entrance to the park at 48 Salmon Hole Lane. The hike will take about an hour on a relatively flat stretch of the West River Trail. Participants will have the option of a longer hike along the same trail.

Pre-registration is not required; simply show up ready to enjoy the outdoors and the company of other participants. Dress for the weather and bring beverages and snacks. If there’s lots of snow on the ground, consider bringing snowshoes. Dogs are welcome on a leash unless otherwise noted.

For hike updates on Jan. 1, call 802-249-1230.

Entry to state parks in the winter is free, and Jamaica State Park is a particularly great spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Check out a trail map at www.vtstateparks.com/pdfs/jamaica_trails.pdf.

Registration, fundraising begins for annual 24 Hours of Stratton

• Lights will illuminate the Stratton Mountain Resort trails on Jan. 7-8 for its annual epic carnival of round-the-clock skiing, riding, and music fun to benefit the Stratton Foundation.

The fifth annual 24 Hours of Stratton features teams of skiers and riders of all ages and ability levels competing to raise the most money for the Stratton Foundation. This year’s fundraising goal is $375,000, and more than 40 teams have registered so far.

In four seasons, the event has collectively raised $800,000, which largely supports local school lunch programs, food pantries, dental services for children and their families, youth success programs, winter clothing and more for underprivileged children in Vermont.

It all happens from noon on Saturday, Jan. 7 to noon on Sunday, Jan. 8, with a fireworks show and live music kicking off Saturday night. Awards for most vertical feet skied for individuals and teams during the 24 Hours will be announced on Sunday. To donate, register, or learn more, visit strattonfoundation.org.

Senior bowling roundup

• With one week to go in the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League, Team 5 (55-30) is still in first place, but Team 4 (52-33) picked up ground and is only three games out of first. Team 1 (49-36) moved up to third and Team 3 (48-37) slid to fourth, followed by Team 6 (47-38), Team 7 (44-41), Team 9 (41-44), Team 10 (35-50), Team 8 (30-55), and Team 2 (24-61).

Team 1 had the team high handicap game (897) and series (2,547). Pamela Greenblot had the women’s high handicap game (241) and series (655), while Al Dascomb had the men’s high handicap game (249) and Dick Cooke had the high handicap series (688).

Tom Johnson (204) and Jerry Dunham (223) had 220-plus games. Four bowlers had 500-plus series — Dunham (587), Johnson (562), Marty Adams (517), and Warren Corriveau Sr. (530).

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Originally published in The Commons issue #389 (Wednesday, December 28, 2016). This story appeared on page C4.

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