Buddy Hayford has been coaching high school teams for a long time. The many championship banners hanging in the Twin Valley gymnasium in Whitingham attest to his success.
However, he admits that he’s frustrated with the inconsistency of this season’s girls’ basketball team.
“At times, we’re capable of playing fairly well, and other times, we struggle,” said Hayford after the Wildcats lost to the visiting Woodstock Wasps, 43-38, on Feb. 2. “We’re offensively challenged. It’s just that simple.”
Hayford called the matinee loss “a microcosm” of Twin Valley’s season so far. They had a 9-1 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Wasps crept back into contention, thanks to the work of ninth-grader Jane Lackley.
The six-foot forward scored 14 of Woodstock’s 15 points in the second quarter as the Wasps turned a 11-5 deficit at the start of the quarter into a 20-15 lead at halftime.
“She’s got size and she’s got muscle,” said Hayford of Lackley. “We couldn’t contain her for long.” Despite being held to just three points in the second half, Lackley finished with a game-high 22 points and made an impact with her rebounding and shot blocking.
Still, the Wildcats battled back and trailed 26-25 at the end of the third quarter. Unfortunately, another talented ninth-grader, guard Lara Tarleton, scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Wasps went on a 14-3 run that put the game away.
Twin Valley had balanced scoring, but just not enough of it. Sadie Boyd led the Wildcats with 10 points, Kylie Reed added nine points, and Jarrett Niles chipped in seven.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 3-10. They have lost seven of their last eight games. Woodstock improved to 5-8.
• Leland & Gray is also struggling. They started the week with a 37-31 road loss to Woodstock on Jan. 28. Sierra Fillion led the Rebels with 10 points and Arin Bates and Sydney Hescock each scored five points in the loss.
On Feb. 2, they lost on the road to Proctor, 53-27. Bates scored eight points as the Rebels ended the week at 3-11. They have lost eight of their last nine games.
• Bellows Falls finished the week undefeated at home, but those 10 wins are balanced against three road losses again the toughest teams in the Marble Valley League.
After crushing Twin Valley, 70-35, at home on Jan. 28, the Terriers had a much rougher game on Jan. 31 with a 58-52 loss to Springfield at historic Dressel Gym on Jan. 31.
This was rock ’em, sock ’em game before a packed house. Hannah Crosby and Gabby Wardwell rose to the occasion for the Cosmos with some clutch play in the second half as they scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Crosby closed out the third quarter with a short jumper, a three-pointer, and a pair of free throws in the final 90 seconds to put the Cosmos ahead, 39-33, heading into the fourth. Wardwell dominated inside in the second half, which keyed the Cosmos’ transition game.
Taylor Goodell led the Terriers with 19 points. Halle Dickerson added 15 and Maddie Streeter had 11.
• Brattleboro evened its record at 7-7 with a 32-27 win over Otter Valley on Feb. 2 at the BUHS gym.
• Brattleboro got perhaps its biggest win of the season so far with a 37-34 win over Rutland at the BUHS gym on Feb. 1.
As has been the case in many of the Colonels’ recent games, Adam Newton was the hero. He scored 13 points, including a critical three-pointer in the final minutes, and Charlie Galanes added 10 in a hard-fought game.
The Colonels’ defense was outstanding, as they held Rutland to their lowest point total of the season. The victory improved the Colonels’ record to 7-6.
• Christian Thompson sank four three-pointers and scored 18 points, but it wasn’t enough as Leland & Gray lost at home to Rivendell, 48-40, on Jan. 28.
Kyle Carter had 19 points for the winners as Rivendell took advantage of a weary, shorthanded Rebels squad.
• The Brattleboro boys and girls finished second and third, respectively, to Mount Anthony in a multi-team meet at the Mountain Top resort in Chittenden on Jan. 29.
Henry Thurber led the Colonel boys with a third place finish in 16 minutes, 50 seconds. He was joined in the top 10 by Galen Fletcher (seventh, 17:49), Nolan Holmes (eighth, 18:00), and Evan Koch (10th, 18:05).
The Colonel girls had three top 10 finishers as Angelika Toomey was seventh in 22:14, Bella Takacs was eighth in 22:30, and Alexandra Miskovich was 10th in 23:13. Lily Tessitore finished 14th in 23:39.
• Goalie Austin Wood racked up 30 saves during Brattleboro’s 6-3 loss to Missisquoi on Jan. 30 at Withington Rink.
Mason Foard, Gavin Howard, and Jack Pattison scored goals for the Colonels, while Anthony Palomba and Pattison each had an assist. The Colonels dropped to 4-5-3 overall with the loss.
• The Colonel girls had pair of home games last week, losing 2-1 to Missisquoi on Jan. 30 and playing Woodstock to a 1-1 tie on Feb. 2 to end the week with a 3-9-1 record.
Kelly Clark announces her retirement
• One of the greatest snowboarders in the world has decided to retire.
West Dover’s Kelly Clark, a 2001 graduate of Mount Snow Academy, announced her retirement on Jan 25 from the sport she dominated for nearly two decades.
The 35-year-old Clark was honored the next day at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., as she dropped into the Aspen halfpipe for what was billed as her “retirement ride.”
It was a symbolic passing of the torch, for the winner of this year’s X Games halfpipe event was 18-year-old Chloe Kim, the current Olympic champion who counts Clark as one of her heroines growing up.
“The next generation will take halfpipe snowboarding further than I ever could,” Clark said in announcing her retirement. “Today, I step away from competitive riding knowing that women’s snowboarding is alive and well, and in good hands.”
Clark’s record of accomplishment will be tough to duplicate. In 2002, in her Olympic debut, she was the first U.S. snowboarder to win a gold medal. That was the first of Clark’s five Olympic appearances. She was fourth in 2006, won a bronze medal in 2010, won another bronze in 2014, and came in fourth in 2018.
As a professional rider for nearly 20 years, Clark has 78 victories with five Winter X Games titles, nine U.S. Open championships, and 14 World Cup wins. In 2011, she was the first woman to land a 1080 — three full revolutions above the halfpipe — in competition.
While she won’t be competing any longer, Clark plans to continue being a very big part of the sport. According to the Associated Press, she’ll be working with Burton, the Vermont-based snowboard maker that has been in Clark’s corner since the start of her career.
She also plans to continue her work growing the sport through the Kelly Clark Foundation, which she founded in 2010 and provides youth with the resources to achieve their highest potential through snowboarding. It has also helped support three current U.S. Snowboard Team members.
Kelly Clark’s legacy is secure as part of the pioneering generation that took snowboarding from the backwoods of Vermont to conquer the world.
And although she makes her home in California, she spent her formative years in the Deerfield Valley and she will forever be considered one of Vermont’s winter sports superstars. May the next stage of her life be as fruitful and rewarding as the past two decades as the best halfpipe rider of her era.
Fighting cancer on the court and the rink
• At my age, the list of friends, colleagues, and family members who have been struck down by cancer grows longer by the year. Add to that my own close call with the disease a couple of years ago, and I can say without equivocation that cancer sucks.
The good news is that screening and early detection saves lives, and the advances in cancer treatment have improved considerably over the past couple of decades. The bad news is cancer is still killing about 600,000 Americans a year, and the average person has nearly a 4 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime.
One of the great traditions among our local high school basketball and hockey teams is the annual cancer fundraising and awareness events they do each February.
The Brattleboro girls’ basketball team will play their annual “Coaches Vs. Cancer” game on Feb. 8 at the BUHS gym, when the Colonels host Mill River.
“Hoops for Hope” takes place on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 at Leland & Gray Union High School. Those games will benefit the Alexis Giallella Scholarship — named after a Brookline girl and LGUHS student who lost her courageous battle with cancer at the age of 15. Green Mountain will be the visiting team this year, with the boys’ game on Feb. 15 and the girls’ game on Feb. 16.
The Brattleboro varsity girls’ hockey team hosts Stowe on Feb. 16 for the annual “Pink the Rink” at 4:45 p.m. at Withington Rink, complete with a 50/50 raffle, bake sale, and a “chuck-a-puck” contest. All proceeds go to the Comprehensive Breast Care program at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital to supply gas cards and help purchase wigs for women battling breast cancer.
Come out to one, or all, of these events, have some fun, and give generously to a good cause.
Senior bowling roundup
• There’s a new leader after Week 5 of the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. Team 4 was undefeated and Team 7 was winless and, as a result, Team 4 (23-3) vaulted into first place while Team 7 (18-7) slid to second place.
Team 11 (16-9) remains in third place, followed by Team 5 (15-10), Team 2 (14-11), Team 10 and Team 3 (both 13-12), Team 9 (10-15), Team 8 (9-10), Team 12 (8-17), and Team 6 (7-18), and Team 1 (5-20).
Pat Bentrup had the women’s high handicap game (257), while Beth Armington had the high handicap series (651). Charlie Marchant again had the men’s high handicap game (270) while Jerry Dunham had the high handicap series (745). Team 5 had the high team handicap game (930) and series (2,574).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby rolled a 296 and a 206 on the way to a rare 700-plus series (727). Dunham had a 224 and a 208 as part his 600-plus series (616).
Josie Rigby had a 238 as the lone woman with a 500-plus series (597). Joining her in the 500 club was Warren Corriveau Sr. (592), Gary Montgomery (546) and Marty Adams (529).
Adams (211) also rolled a 200-plus game. The women were led by Rigby, Bentrup (192), and Debbie Kolpa (180).