Leland & Gray is not the best Unified basketball team in the state, but they are certainly the best team when it comes to bringing joy to the court.
On April 1, the Rebels took on the Brattleboro Colonels before another big crowd in the BUHS gym and lost, 60-49.
Rebels guard Samantha Pelton, as she usually does, stole the show with her sequin-covered sneakers, with her ballhanding, and with all the hugs she gave to teammates and opponents alike.
Leland & Gray coach Phoebe Connolly doesn’t care as much about wins and losses as she does making sure all her players meaningfully participate and have fun doing it.
“We have an approach to the game that, when the other teams see it, it’s contagious,” she said.
It’s about the little things, like giving an opponent who is struggling to make a basket an extra opportunity or three under the hoop.
“To see teenagers have such empathy is a hopeful thing,” Connolly said. “I’m the luckiest coach there is.”
Brattleboro jumped out to a 12-2 lead after one quarter, but the Rebels managed to close the gap to 26-16 at the half.
And the show was just getting started.
Both teams were taking wild shots in the second half that started falling in. Savannah Lawley, McKade Beattie, Michael Derosia, and Brandon Holcomb started to find the range for the Rebels, while Joanie Tuttle (12 points) and Rose Isham (10 points) were in double figures for the Colonels.
In the end, the Colonels had too much depth for the Rebels. They led 42-30 at the end of the third quarter and kept things under control in the final quarter.
Every member of the Colonels filled up the stat sheet as Kayli Nicholson scored eight points, Kyle Simuro and Zac Smith scored six points each, and Ashley Haskins, Robert Chafee, Justin Weigel, Sylvia Galdamez, Tyler Bolduc, and Adam “Homer” Shard each scored four points.
“We haven’t had many games where both teams together score 100 points,” said Colonels coach Todd Bell, whose team improved to 2-2 with the win.
Colonel laxmen open with tie
• The Brattleboro Colonels boys’ lacrosse team opened the season on April 4 with an 8-8 tie with Pittsfield, Mass., on the artificial turf at Landmark College in Putney.
Trailing 6-1 at the half, the Colonels rallied for seven goals in the second half to send the game into overtime. Since the Landmark field doesn’t have lights, the officials had to stop play due to darkness during the overtime period.
Gus Williams, who scored the tying goal with five minutes left in regulation, had three goals to lead the Colonels. Ryan Tyler and Aidan McMahon each had two goals and Tanner Edson also scored.
Dylan Carrisquillo made 21 saves in goal for the Colonels, who are scheduled to host McCann Tech on April 12 at 5 p.m. on Natowich Field.
Baseball, softball get outside this week
• The weeks of practicing inside gymnasiums are over, and our local baseball and softball teams will be outside on their respective diamonds this week. The tennis and track and field seasons are also underway. Here are a few things to watch for:
• On April 10, Brattleboro takes on Bellows Falls at Hadley Field in Brattleboro’s first game of the season.
The Colonels were Division I semifinalists last season, but lost their two best players from that team — pitcher/shortstop Leif Bigelow and catcher Dan Petrie — to graduation.
Speaking of Bigelow, he was to pitch this season for the University of Connecticut’s baseball team, but he had to have elbow surgery this past winter and will have to sit out his freshman season while he rehabs his pitching arm.
• BF had a difficult 5-12 season last year, but several of the players stuck around to play American Legion baseball for Post 37, and picked up some valuable experience. Two of Post 37’s standouts last year, juniors Griff Waryas and McGregor Vancor, will be leading the 2019 Terriers.
• Twin Valley won’t be fielding a baseball team this season, which is a shame because that means one of the best baseball fields in southern Vermont won’t see any varsity action.
Baker Field in Wilmington sits behind the old Wilmington/Twin Valley High School. Its short right field fence has tempted many a hitter in the nearly 80 years of its existence. After Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011 and left Baker Field a flooded mess, the field received new drainage, a new infield, and a leveled-off outfield courtesy of FEMA.
Twin Valley will still have a middle school baseball team, and perhaps enough of them will stick with the sport so the high school can have a varsity squad next season.
• After dominating the state Division III meets, the Bellows Falls track & field teams will be competing in Division II this season. BF has won the boys’ state Division III title in each of the last six years, while the girls have won three straight state crowns.
The Terriers will also field one of their largest teams in school history, with a total of 75 boys and girls out for track this season.
• Brattleboro has a new boys’ tennis coach this season. Ben Brewer, who played for the Colonels on their 2006 and 2007 state Division I runner-up teams, is coaching this year’s Colonel boys’ squad. He succeeds longtime coach Phil Natowich.
Windham County’s Special Olympians do well at Vt. Winter Games
• From March 17 to 19, the Vermont Special Olympics Winter Games took place at Pico-Killington ski area. Among the many athletes from across Vermont participating in this event there were athletes from Windham County, competing in both cross country and downhill skiing.
The cross country team was coached by Linda Bailey of Brattleboro. Athletes Gage Lathe, Brian White and Evan Cross skied in the 50 meter, 100 meter and 500 meter races.
The Bluebirds alpine ski team from Mount Snow Adaptive Sports included a number of local skiers. Kayli Nicholson, Leah Blowers, Bobbie Petrie and Emma Davis took part in slalom, grand slalom and super G.
Skiers compete in novice, intermediate, and advanced divisions and are able to raise their level of ability through regular training.
“All of these local skiers won recognition through the awarding of medals and ribbons,” wrote Andy Davis, who is co-coordinator of Windham County’s Special Olympics program. “However, the main point of the Winter Games is to improve athletic skills, enjoy the fun of skiing, and encourage each other through good sportsmanship.”
Special Olympics of Windham County provides opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in athletic training and competition year round. Swimming, basketball, skiing, and bocce are their current sports.
If you know of a child, teen, or adult who would benefit from these opportunities, contact Andy and Robin Davis at 802-257-1819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trout season opens on Saturday
• The ice fishing shanties have been put away, and now it’s time to look ahead to the next big day on the wildlife calendar, the start of trout fishing season on Saturday, April 13.
If you need to brush up your fishing skills, or get a crash course in going after brookies and rainbows, visit vtfishandwildlife.com/fish/fishing-basics. You’ll find basic information on equipment, technique, and even some recipes.
If you haven’t gotten your fishing license yet, you can go to J & H Hardware in Bellows Falls, Canal Street Gulf and Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters in Brattleboro, Londonderry Hardware in Londonderry, Newfane Market in Newfane, the Circle K convenience store in Westminster Station, and C & S Beverage & Dairy in Wilmington.
You can also get a fishing license at the following local Town Clerk’s offices: Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Londonderry, Newfane, Putney, Readsboro, Townshend, and Westminster.
If you’re under 15, you don’t need to have a fishing license. Youth ages 15-17 can get an annual resident license for $8. For everyone over 18, an annual resident fishing license is $26, or $124 for five years.
Senior bowling roundup
• The gap between first and second place narrowed after Week 14 of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. Team 3 (49-21) is still in first place, but Team 9 (44-26) held on to second place, and is only five games out of first with three weeks to go in the season.
Team 4 (42-28) has sole possession of third place, followed by Team 7 (41-29), Team 10 (40-30), Team 2 (36-34), Team 8 (35-35), Team 5 (32-38), Team 12 (30-40), Team 11 (26-44), Team 1 (24-46), and Team 6 (22-48).
Doris Lake had the women’s high handicap game (237), while Pamela Greenblott had the women’s high handicap series (670). Peter Gilbert had the men’s high handicap game (266) and series (577). Team 3 had the high team handicap game (858), while Team 3 had the high handicap series (2,492).
In scratch scoring, it was once again another week dominated by Josie and Robert Rigby.
Robert Rigby led the men with a 599 series that included a 236 game. Gary Montgomery rolled a 221 game as part of a 560 series. Marty Adams didn’t have a 200-plus game, but still compiled a 533 series. Gilbert (211) was the only other male bowler to crack 200.
Josie Rigby led the women with games of 200 and 191 that were part of a 530 series. Greenblott had a 181 game.