Everything seemed to be stacked against the Bellows Falls Terriers boys’ basketball team as they hosted the West Rutland Golden Horde in a Marble Valley League game at Holland Gymnasium on Jan. 25.
The Terriers had lost four games in a row. They were still in the process of shaking the rust off from a 12-day layoff. They were facing a scrappy West Rutland squad. And they were playing second-fiddle to the BF field hockey team, who were honored during a pre-game ceremony to unveil their 2018 Division I state championship banner.
But the BF boys put all that aside in an exciting 51-50 win over the Horde that gave the Terriers a shot of confidence when they really needed one.
This was a fairly even game throughout, as neither team could build up and hang on to a big lead. BF led 11-5 after the opening quarter, but the Horde came out strong in the second quarter and led 28-26 at the half.
BF had been using a pressure defense in the first half, but switched to man-to-man in the second half, and coach Ryan Stoodley said the change helped to spark the 12-2 run that the Terriers went on to start the second half.
“I think we were getting a little sloppy on defense and I made a decision. I said ‘we’re just going to play it a quarter-court from now on,’” said Stoodley. “It went well. We conserved our energy and wore them down a little bit.”
But West Rutland wasn’t done. Trailing 43-37 entering the fourth quarter, the Horde opened with an 11-3 run and had a 48-46 lead with 3:45 to play.
This was a grinding game, and that led to a grinding finish.
With two minutes to play, BF guard Issac Wilkinson reeled in an outlet pass from Griffin Waryas and was fouled as he drove through the lane and laid in the tying basket to make it 48-48.
Wilkinson missed the go-ahead free throw, and the Horde soon had its chance to take back the lead, but their top scorer, Kyle Laughlin, missed a pair of free throws.
BF got the ball back, and guard Joe Terry delivered a clutch three-pointer from the left corner off an offensive rebound to give the Terriers a 51-48 lead with a minute left.
But the Terriers could not get another basket, and West Rutland found themselves with the ball with about 30 seconds to play.
Laughlin put up a long three-pointer with about 5 seconds left. It was wide, but Liam Beaulieu got the rebound and put up a wild shot as time expired. It went in, and the Horde bench argued in vain for a foul and a chance to go to the free throw line to complete a three-point play to force overtime. The officials disagreed, the game was over, and BF escaped with a win.
“We had a lot of turnovers, but we regained our composure and finished it off,” said Stoodley. “That’s a big win. We’ve lost four in a row and it’s big to have a game like that when you’re going through a slump.”
Terry finished the game with 17 points to lead BF. Dylan Clark added 13, and Wilkinson and Ryan Kelly chipped in seven and six points, respectively. Laughlin led West Rutland with 23 points.
Unfortunately, the Terriers had little time to savor this win, for they were back in action the following afternoon for a Saturday home matinee against the always-tough Proctor Phantoms.
Brennon Crossmon hit seven three-pointers and finished with 31 points as the Phantoms beat BF, 70-58.
BF finished the week at 4-6 and still has lots of basketball to play this season. But if they continue to play as they did against West Rutland, the Terriers could be a factor in the Division II playoffs.
• After losing their first game of the season to Windsor on Jan. 19, Bellows Falls took it out on Woodstock as Taylor Goodell scored 17 points to lead the Terriers to a 53-21 beat down of the Wasps on Jan. 22.
While the Wasps were not much of a challenge, Green Mountain gave the visiting Terriers all they could handle and more on Jan. 26 as the Chiefains got by BF, 42-36.
Green Mountain, one of the top teams in Division III this season, pummeled the Terriers in the early going, controlling the boards and taking a 16-4 lead after one quarter and a 22-6 lead with about three minutes left in the first half.
But BF snapped out of its scoring slump with an 11-0 run to close out the half as Abbe Cravinho, Hallie Dickerson, and Taylor Goodell each sank a three-pointer to cut the lead to 22-17 at intermission.
An 8-2 run to start the third period gave BF a 25-24 lead, but the Chieftains rallied and took back control of the game.
Hannah Buffum led the 8-2 Chieftains with 16 points. BF ended its week at 9-2.
• Brattleboro traveled to North Adams, Mass., on Jan. 21 to face Drury, and ended up with a 61-33 loss.
The Colonels were as ice cold as the weather that night, as they struggled to get their offense going. Nicole Norcia scored nine points, including eight in the fourth quarter, for Brattleboro, while Lauryn Sargent added four points and seven rebounds.
Brattleboro had better luck on Jan. 16, as they defeated the Rutland Raiders, 38-29, at the BUHS gym.
Two of the Raiders’ key players, Rylee Burgess and Kendra Sabotka, were injured in the first half and didn’t return for the second half. That opened the door for the Colonels, who took control of the glass and the game as Lauren McKenney pulled down 12 rebounds and Sargent and Sarah Butterfield each had seven rebounds.
Alyssa Scherlin scored 10 points to lead the 6-7 Colonels. Rachael Rooney added with nine points and Hailey Derosia filled up the stat sheet with eight points, five assists, and eight steals. Makieya Hendrickson and Elise Magro scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Rutland.
• Leland & Gray has lost five of their last six games. The latest defeat came on Jan. 22, a 35-19 home loss to Mount St. Joseph. The Rebels are now 3-8.
• Burr & Burton tweaked its offense to get more inside scoring, and center Will Frank responded with a career-high 23 points as the Bulldogs beat visiting Brattleboro, 64-57, on Jan. 22.
Defensive pressure at the start of the game by the Bulldogs left the Colonels in an 8-0 hole as they went more than four minutes without a basket. Burr & Burton led 18-7 after one quarter, and maintained control of the game the rest of the way.
The Colonels did cut into the lead some in the third quarter and got as close as six at the midpoint, as Adam Newton started to get hot. Newton would finish the game with 20 points, but it was not enough to overcome the Bulldogs.
Keegan Givens added nine points and Charlie Galanes and Jack Price chipped in eight points each for the Colonels.
Brattleboro fared better against Fair Haven, outscoring the host Slaters 9-0 in the final 3:12 of the game to come away with a 47-39 victory on Jan. 26.
Newton led the 6-6 Colonels with 18 points in a game that the Slaters were in control of until the Colonels’ blitz at the end. Fair Haven led 17-7 after one quarter and 22-14 at the half.
Three-point shooting was responsible for the Slaters’ early success, but when the long-distance shots stopped falling in the second half, the Colonels were ready to take control. Newton scored 10 points in the second half, while Galanes scored all seven of his points and Price had nine of his 10 points in the second half.
• Twin Valley romped past Long Trail, 62-29, on Jan. 22 in Whitingham. Izaak Park led the Wildcats with 16 points. Owen Grinold added 11 points and Colin McHale chipped in 10 for the Wildcats.
In Arlington on Jan. 26, Twin Valley ripped the host Eagles, 70-37. Grinold scored a career-high 20 points, while Izaak Park scored 18 points, and Jack McHale added 14. The Wildcats ended the week at 6-4.
• Brattleboro had a rare opportunity to host a meet on its home course, the former Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center (VABEC) on Old Guilford Road.
The VABEC hillside loop gives fans a clear view of all of the racing action, and they came out in force on Jan. 22 for a four-team meet with Mount Anthony, Rutland, and Burr & Burton.
A foot of fresh snow from the big weekend storm meant the course was skiable, but even with cold temperatures, the tracks hadn’t enough time to set so the snow was still a bit soft for the scheduled classic-style races.
Just the same, the Brattleboro skiers did not disappoint the home crowd, sweeping both the girls’ and boys’ meets.
Henry Thurber led the Colonel boys, winning the 5-kilometer classic race in 19 minutes, 24 seconds, 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Jack Drew of Mount Anthony.
Evan Koch was third in 20:18, Galen Fletcher came in fifth in 21:30, and Nolan Holmes placed sixth in 21:50 as Brattleboro ended up with 15 points to win the meet, followed by Burr & Burton (47) and Rutland (59). Mount Anthony did not have enough finishers for a team score.
Sarah Gallagher led the Colonel girls with a dominating performance. She finished first in 21:18, more than two minutes faster than runner-up Leah Mowry of Burr & Burton.
Bella Takacs finished fourth in 23:49, Liz Morse was sixth in 24:30, and Ellery Loggia finished ninth in 24:52 as the Colonel girls scored 19 points to squeak by Burr & Burton (23 points) for the team victory.
The next time that the Colonels will ski for the home fans comes on Feb. 6, when the Marble Valley League’s classic championship races will be held at the Brattleboro Country Club.
• St. Johnsbury scored four unanswered goals to beat visiting Brattleboro, 4-1, in boys’ hockey action on Jan. 22.
Gavin Howard scored in the first period for the Colonels, assisted by Will Taggard. The Hilltoppers tied the game with a first period goal, then scored three tallies in the third period.
Colonel goalies Austin Wood and Forrest Wohnus split time between the pipes, making 19 and 12 saves respectively.
On Jan. 26, Howard scored two goals to help the visiting Colonels to a 4-2 win over Northfield. Jack Pattison and Ryan Gerard also scored as the Colonel boys improved to 4-4-3.
Taggard and Pattison each ended up with a pair of assists, while Derek Parsons, Joe Koes and Howard also had assists as Brattleboro skated out to a 3-0 first period lead.
Wood and Wohnus again did a time share in goal, and combined to make 16 saves for the Colonels.
• Carlisle Brush had a goal and a couple of assists as Middlebury topped visiting Brattleboro, 4-2, in girls’ hockey action on Jan. 26.
Tobin Lonergan and Lila Alexander scored the Colonels’ goals. Liv Romo and Juliana Miskovich each had an assist, and goalie Natalie Gadowski made 17 saves for the 3-8 Colonels.
Spaghetti dinner benefits BUHS boys’ hockey
• A spaghetti dinner to benefit the BUHS boys’ hockey team will be held at the Brattleboro Elks on Jan. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The servers will be the BUHS hockey players. The desserts will be provided by the hockey parents. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for ages 11 and under. Take-outs are available. There will also be a raffle drawn at the dinner.
Senior bowling roundup
• Team 7 (18-2) stayed in first place after Week 4 of the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. Team 4 (17-3) moved up to second place, and Team 11 (15-5) is now in third place. Team 2 (14-6) is in fourth place, followed by Team 10 (13-7), Team 5 (10-10), Team 3 (8-12), Team 6 (7-13), Team 9, Team 1, and Team 8 (all 5-15), and Team 12 (3-17).
Rosealie Howe had the women’s high handicap game (239), while Sally Perry had the high handicap series (635). Charlie Marchant had the men’s high handicap game (270) while Warren Corriveau Sr. had the high handicap series (736). Team 8 had the high team handicap game (873) and series (2,546).
In scratch scoring, Corriveau rolled a high game of 233 on the way to a 640 series. Four men rolled a 500-plus series: Wayne Randall (598), Duane Schillemat (543), Doug Switzer (515), and Marchant (512).
Marchant (223) and Randall (214) both rolled 200-plus games for the men, while the top women were led by Nancy Dalzell (188), Lorraine Taylor (182), and Howe (172).