Heading into the final month of the high school basketball season, the Leland & Gray girls look like they are a team that could contend for a state championship.
Leland & Gray finished last week with a 9-1 record, the most wins that the Rebels have had in five years. They are tied with Enosburg Falls for the top spot in Division III.
On Jan. 24, the Rebels crushed Black River, 55-23. Aly Marcucci led the Rebels on offense with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals, while Callie Ginter added 10 points and Ashley Goddard pulled down 11 rebounds. The Rebels defense was equally dominating, as Black River could get nothing going on offense for most of the game.
Last Thursday, the Rebels rolled to a 44-25 win over West Rutland. Marcucci wound up with 16 points and eight steals for the Rebels, while Ginter had 11 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Leland & Gray again ruled the glass, as Bethany Robinson and Goddard each had 10 rebounds, Kate McAllister had 8 rebounds and Alex Morrow had 12 rebounds.
On Saturday, the Rebels completed their sweep of the week with a 52-35 win over Mount St. Joseph in Rutland. Marcucci had another big game with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks and 5 steals. Morrow, Goddard, and Robinson again controlled the boards, combining for 25 rebounds.
• The Brattleboro Colonels are having an equally good season. They stand at 9-1 after a 57-48 win over Mount St. Joseph last Friday. Travis Elliott-Knaggs was Brattleboro’s top scorer with 16 points. Travis Beeman-Nesbitt and Soren Pelz-Walsh each added 12 points, and Tommy Heydinger scored 10.
• Twin Valley needed overtime to beat the Arlington Eagles, 54-51, on Jan. 25. Ian Murdock led the Wildcats with 14 points and 8 rebounds. More importantly, he combined with Colin Lozito to convert 6 of 8 free throws in the overtime period. Tony Bernard had 13 points and 5 rebounds as Twin Valley won its second game of the season.
The Wildcats kept up the momentum last Thursday with a 43-33 win in Ludlow over Black River. Murdock had 17 points and 17 rebounds, while Bernard had 17 points and 14 rebounds as Twin Valley improved to 3-7.
• Bellows Falls had a tough week. On Jan. 25, they traveled to Manchester and got hammered by Burr & Burton, 73-34. The Terriers hosted their cross-river rivals Fall Mountain on Jan. 27, and lost big again, 52-27, although freshman Kendrick Mills had a good game with 9 points. BF is now 3-8.
• The fast start by the Leland & Gray girls has overshadowed what is looking like a fairly good season for the Rebel boys. They traveled to West Rutland last Friday and pounded the Golden Horde, 65-25. The Rebels led 39-9 at the half, and coasted from there. Drew Barnum had a team-high 17 points for the 6-3 Rebels. Matt Bizon and Josh Fontaine chipped in 15 and 10, respectively.
• The Brattleboro Colonels did their best last week to regain their focus, but the intense grief that comes from dealing with the sudden death of a teammate doesn’t easily go away.
After attending the funeral for sophomore guard Leah Short on Jan. 22, the Colonels had less than two days to get ready for Burr & Burton. Brattleboro put up a good fight, but lost to the Bulldogs, 43-35, in Manchester on Jan. 24. Erin LeBlanc finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Mariah Lesure added 8 points, and Taylor Kerylow had 9 steals.
Their first home game after Short’s death came last Thursday against Mount Anthony. The BUHS gym was packed as the Colonel fans tried to will the girls to a win over their archrivals. Despite a comeback in the second half, the Colonels came up short, 53-45. The week concluded with a 51-28 loss to Monument Mountain on Saturday, and a 2-10 record overall.
• Mill River clobbered the Bellows Falls Terriers, 52-19, on Jan. 24 in Clarendon. The road woes continued last Thursday in a 61-25 loss in Langdon, N.H., to Fall Mountain. Emily Dufault led the 1-11 Terriers with 7 points in that game.
• Twin Valley got shut down in the second half and lost to Poultney, 30-22, last Wednesday. Sam Bernard was the Wildcats’ standout with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. The Wildcats bounced back on Saturday with a 37-25 win over Proctor. Kylie-blu Crawford and Abbi Molner had 12 and 7, points respectively. Molner also had 10 rebounds as Twin Valley improved to 6-7.
• Brattleboro’s Halle Lange is still skiing great, finishing second to Mary Kate Cirelli from Rutland in a 5K classic race at Mountain Top resort in Chittenden on Jan. 25.
The Colonel girls finished second behind defending state champion Mount Anthony in the team competition, thanks to strong performances by Maddi Shaw (10th overall) and Linnea Jahn and Emma Straus (tied for 12th).
The Colonel boys were fourth behind Mount Anthony, Otter Valley and Middlebury. Jacob Ellis was the top BUHS racer, finishing in a tie for 12th, with Anthony Burdo and Noah Borochoff-Porte finishing 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Brattleboro then had a rare night meet last Friday at the Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry. Once again, the Colonel girls came in second behind Mount Anthony, but the boys also came in second behind MAU for their best finish of the season.
Three Colonel girls placed in the top 10, with Halie Lange in second, Emma Straus in seventh and Linnea Jahn in 10th. Maddi Shaw and Leah Silverman were 11th and 13th, respectively, and Helen Manning was just one second away from being in the Top 15.
Jacob Ellis, Graham Glennon and Anthony Burdo were the top three finishers for the Colonel boys, while two ninth-graders from the junior varsity, Austin Lester and Oliver Pomazi, moved up to the varsity and placed fourth and fifth to give Brattleboro the boost it needed in the team standings.
• Pink was the dominant color at Nelson Whitington Rink last Wednesday as the Brattleboro Colonels played their annual “Pink in the Rink” game to promote breast cancer awareness.
It was certainly a winning color for the normally purple and white-clad squad, as Emily Watson scored two goals and Kali Roberts added two more in the Colonels’ 5-1 win over North Country. All proceeds from last Wednesday’s game went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The Colonels traveled to Rutland on Saturday and lost to the Raiders, 5-2. Maddie Rollins and Miranda Moseley were the Brattleboro scorers as the Colonels finished the week with a 6-5 record.
• Adam Griffin and Nik Rancourt have started to develop the scoring touch that the Brattleboro Colonels have been looking for, but last Wednesday, it was Romello Lindsey that got the game winner in a dramatic 4-3 victory over Burr & Burton. With 45 seconds left in the game, Lindsey scored on a breakaway. Griffin had two goals and Jamie Martell added another.
Unfortunately, there was no last minute magic for the Colonels on Saturday night, as they lost at home to St. Johnsbury, 4-3, in overtime. Martell, Rancourt, and Logan George were the goal scorers and Colonel goalie Greg DiSilva faced 41 shots from the Hilltoppers. The Colonels are now 4-8 and still trying to get it together for a playoff run.
Clark takes home the gold
• West Dover’s Kelly Clark is having a great season on the professional snowboarding circuit.
The two-time Olympic medalist has won her last four Superpipe competitions, including a victory at Killington in a Winter Dew Tour competition on Jan. 22, and a gold medal last weekend in the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.
Clark, 27, also became the first female snowboarder to do a 1080 — three complete revolutions in mid-air — in competition on Saturday.
The Superpipe win in Aspen was Clark’s second gold in X Games competition and her first since 2006. She was a silver medalist in 2004, 2009, and 2010, and a bronze medalist in 2008.