When you’ve only played one game in three weeks, it’s fair to expect a little rustiness.
That seemed to be the case for the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ basketball team. Between the schedule, school vacation, and weather cancellations, the Colonels played only one game between Dec. 13 and Jan. 4 — a 64-36 loss at Champlain Valley on Dec. 22.
The Colonels played their first home game of the season on Jan. 4 against St. Johnsbury, and the Hilltoppers looked a lot sharper in a 43-32 win. For St. Johnsbury, the victory was a bit of revenge for the Colonels upsetting the Hilltoppers in the 2016 Division I quarterfinals.
Rust was part of the problem, but Colonels coach Paul Freed said it compounded by St. Johnsbury’s style of play. “Of all the teams we will play this season, they are the hardest one to fall behind to,” he said. “They’re so disciplined and they can get you to play impatiently.”
The other problem was St. Johnsbury sophomore guard Sadie Stetson, who scored a game-high 19 points and played solid defense. Freed said Stetson is one of the top players in Vermont.
“I admire the heck out of Sadie. She is always under control,” said Freed. “In the beginning, we tried to deny her and minimize her touches, but she is so skilled and beat us, like, four times on backdoor cuts.”
Brattleboro didn’t score its first basket until there was 3:30 left in the opening quarter. The Colonels trailed 24-15 at the half, but senior forward Shenise Taliaferro scored nine points in the third quarter and brought the Colonels within six, 36-28, by the end of the quarter.
The Colonels could not get any closer, as Stetson closed out the game with a pair of easy hoops and free throw late in the fourth quarter.
Taliaferro finished with 13 points to lead the Colonels. Sophomore guard Hailey Derosia scored 8, and senior center Gabby Carpenter had 6 points and 10 rebounds.
Freed refused to blame the long layoff for the loss. “You can miss shots because you’re having an off night, but defense and rebounding should never take a night off,” he said.
Fortunately for the Colonels, they played host two days later to a perfect opponent to take out their frustrations upon, the winless Burlington Seahorses. The result was a 69-19 romp for Brattleboro on Jan. 7.
The defense showed up for this game, as the Colonels held Burlington to just 2 points in the second quarter, and 2 points in the third. Hailey Derosia scored 13 points to lead the Colonels, while Megyn Ayotte and Devin Millerick each added 12 points. With the win, Brattleboro improved to 3-2 on the season.
• Bellows Falls and Springfield are two teams loaded with ninth- and 10th-graders. When they faced each other on Jan. 6 at Holland Gymnasium, the result was a sloppy mess of a game until the final minutes, when the Terriers needed overtime to beat the Cosmos, 45-36.
“That was a great win,” said BF coach Joe Goodhue. “We played great defense and knew we had time to win this game.”
Despite numerous turnovers, the Terriers pulled it together in the closing minutes and really showed their mettle at the free throw line in overtime. While the Cosmos missed all four of their free throws in OT, the Terriers were 7-for-12 from the line.
Abbe Cravinho made all three of her attempts in OT. Murphy Hicks drained both her free throws and Hannah Kelly sank two of her shots.
Springfield led for most of the game, but could not build up a big lead. They led 10-7 after one quarter and 18-16 at the half. Their best chance at putting BF away came midway through the final quarter, when a Hannah Crosby steal and layup gave the Cosmos a 29-25 lead.
However, BF didn’t fold and gave themselves a chance to win the game in regulation time. Madison Streeter hit a pair of three-pointers, Michelle Marchica sank a free throw, and Streeter added two more free throws for a 36-32 lead with 33.9 seconds left.
The Cosmos battled back to tie the game at 36 as Cassidy Otis made two free throws and hit a jumper with 4.2 seconds left to force overtime, but BF’s free throw shooting and defense held Springfield scoreless in the extra frame.
Cravinho and Streeter scored 10 points apiece for the Terriers. Hannah Kelly added 9 as BF improved to 2-1 Otis led all scorers with 14 points as Springfield fell to 2-6. Crosby added 10 points.
• Kendell Howe had a monster game, with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals to lead Twin Valley to a 49-30 win over Long Trail on Jan. 4.
Tayler Courchesne also filled up the stat sheet, finishing with 8 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and 5 steals. Courtney McGowan finished with 18 points to lead Long Trail, which trailed 18-13 at the half.
• Rachel Borgesen led all scorers with 16 points as Leland & Gray rolled past Proctor, 56-30, on Jan. 3.
Maris Linder and Hannah Buffum each added 10 points for the Rebels, while Jessie Stockwell chipped in with 9 points. Kelsi Bostrom pulled down 7 rebounds. The Rebels led 32-15 at the half.
• The unbeaten Burlington Seahorses defeated Brattleboro, 45-40, on Jan. 7 at the BUHS gym. It was the second straight loss for the 4-2 Colonels.
• After opening their season with three straight losses, Bellows Falls picked up two wins in the final week of 2016. The Terriers beat Black River, 54-21, in Ludlow on Dec. 28, and then beat Springfield, 87-54, in a home game on Dec. 30.
• Leland & Gray played in the Zero Gravity tourney at Keene State College during the holiday break, and finished with a 1-2 record. The Rebels lost to Newport, N.H., 40-27, on Dec. 26. On Dec. 27, Nute beat the Rebels, 57-39. In their final game in the tourney, the Rebels edged Sunapee, N.H., 43-41.
• After losing to Mount St. Joseph, 58-39, on Dec. 27 in Whitingham, Twin Valley won their next two home games. The Wildcats beat West Rutland, 52-24, on Dec. 30 and edged Long Trail, 39-31, to improve to 4-4 on the season.
• The Brattleboro boys finished 2016 with a pair of road losses. The Colonels lost 6-0 to Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 27, and 3-0 to Woodstock on Dec. 28.
As the calendar turned to 2017, the Colonels played St. Johnsbury to a 2-2 tie on Jan. 4 at Withington Rink, and lost 7-2 at North Country on Jan. 7. The Colonel boys are now 1-5-1 overall.
• The Brattleboro girls saw a better ending to 2016 at Withington Rink, with a 3-3 tie to Missisquoi on Dec. 28, and a 7-1 win over Keene, N.H., on Dec. 30.
However, 2017 has started out rough for the Colonels with a 6-1 loss at Rice on Jan. 4 and a 3-2 loss at Hartford on Jan. 7. .The Colonel girls are now 3-5-1.
Free ski, snowboard lessons offered
• 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 will take place Jan 19 and 26, with a possible make up date on Feb. 2. You must register online at vtsnowsports.org by Monday of that week’s lesson. This is the only way to register.
Registration requires a parent signed release for those under 18 years of age. A release form is available online. Bring it to the first lesson and present it to the volunteer doing the sign in. Sign in by 5:45 p.m. at the base station. Participants must have their own equipment. A $5 lift ticket is required if you will be riding the T-bar.
Senior bowling roundup
• After leading for most of the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling league, Team 5 fell into a tie for first place with Team 4 in the final week. Team 5 went 1-4, while Team 4 went 4-1 during Week 18, leaving both teams with a 56-34 record.
Team 1 and Team 6 tied for second as both finished with a record of 52-38. Team 3 (48-42) finished third, followed by Team 7 (46-44), Team 9 (42-48), Team 10 and Team 8 (35-55), and Team 2 (28-62).
Team 1 had the team high handicap game (898) and series (2,532). Pamela Greenblot had the women’s high handicap game (235), while Roberta Parsons had the high handicap series (670). Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (257) and Fred Ashworth had the high handicap series (678).
Marty Adams (201), Fred Ashworth (235, 209), and Dunham (237) all had 200-plus games. Six bowlers had 500-plus series — Greenblot (512), Dunham (575), Adams (501), Doug Switzer (511), Brian Born (514), and Warren Corriveau Sr. (519).