After the first week of the boys’ basketball playoffs, only one local team is left standing. The Leland & Gray Rebels are headed to the Barre Auditorium, while the Brattleboro Colonels got knocked out by their arch-rivals, Mount Anthony, in the quarterfinals. Twin Valley never made it out of the first round.
In hockey, the Brattleboro girls made it to the semifinals before elimination in a sad end to a great season.
• By earning a No. 2 seed in the Division III playoffs, Leland & Gray got a bye into the quarterfinal round. They got down to business on Friday with a 66-41 rout of No. 7 Lake Region (9-12) in Townshend.
Great team defense and huge games by seniors Colin Nystrom and Matt Bizon gave the Rebels the victory. Nystrom hit 4 three-pointers on the way to scoring 23 on the night. Two of those threes came in the final seconds of the first quarter to put the Rebels ahead for good. Bizon did the dirty work inside on the way to scoring 18 points.
“Playoff basketball is all about defense,” said Bizon after the game. “We got a lot of our points in transition.”
The Rebels advance to the semifinals against No. 3 Winooski (16-5) at the Barre Auditorium on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“All of the credit goes to the kids,” said first year coach Phil Davis, whose team is now 17-4. “They have worked their entire lives to go play at the Aud.”
One of Davis’ three seniors won’t playing at the Aud. Guard Noah Chapin was kicked off the team last week for violating a team rule, and was in street clothes on Friday. Davis confirmed that Chapin is done for the season.
If the Rebels win Thursday, the state championship game will be played in Barre this Saturday at 7 p.m.
• Sixth-seeded Brattleboro opened its Division I playoff run with a 56-33 wipeout of the No. 11 Colchester Lakers in a first-round game last Wednesday at the BUHS gym.
The game was over for the Lakers early. They did not score their first basket until 11 minutes into the game and were completely dominated by the Colonels’ inside game. The halftime score was 32-6, and if there were a mercy rule in basketball, it would’ve been invoked.
Travis Beeman-Nesbitt scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in that first half. Nate Forrett and Soren Pelz-Walsh each added 10 points, and Tommy Heydinger had 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Brattleboro coach Joe Rivers said that controlling the boards “has certainly been a point of emphasis for us these last few weeks,” adding that his team carried out its assignments to near perfection. “The defensive structure that we tried to set in place was working and, offensively, we were getting the looks we were hoping to get.”
The Colonels (15-7) had their hands full on Saturday afternoon in Bennington in facing No. 3 Mount Anthony (20-2) in the quarterfinals. Brattleboro ended up losing, 61-50. Pelz-Walsh and Forrett scored 12 points each to lead the Colonels, and Beeman-Nesbitt had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
• Twin Valley was the first local team to be knocked out as the No. 11 Wildcats lost to No. 6 Rivendell in Orford, N.H., 72-51, in a first round game in Division IV on March 8.
Tony Bernard scored 18 points and Dal Nesbitt added 10 for the 9-12 Wildcats. Colin Lozito had 8 assists. Dan Gray scored 27 points, including 18 in the first half, for 15-6 Rivendell.
• Brattleboro’s playoff run ended in Barre on March 8 with a 6-0 loss to the U-32 Raiders in the Lake Division quarterfinals.
The No. 6 Colonels (12-8-2) were unable slow down the attack of the second-ranked Raiders (17-3-1), who now advance to the championship game at UVM on Monday.
It was a disappointing end to what had been a season full of accomplishments for the Colonels. Some statistics are worth noting.
The Colonels scored 68 goals in 19 regular season games for a 3.6 goals-per-game average. Sophomore captain Maddie Rollins led her squad with 27 goals (four of them game-winners) and 11 assists. Junior co-captain Emily Wilson scored 22 goals (six of them game-winners) and had seven assists. Junior Miranda Moseley had 10 goals and 11 assists, and senior Logan Robinson and junior Kali Roberts each had four goals. Robinson had 11 assists while Roberts had 3.
With a 1.89 goals-allowed average, Brattleboro allowed 36 goals. Starting goalie Brianna Snow had 5 shutouts.
It was the last high school game for Robinson and fellow seniors Jessie Woodcock and TyLynn Isaacsen. Coach Linda Burke and her assistants Linda Strom and Evan Robinson have a solid core of returning for next season, and there will be plenty for Colonels fans to forward to in the 2011-12 season.
BOCEF awards grants to skiers
• The Brattleboro Outing Club Educational Foundation (BOCEF) recently awarded four development grants to four area youths who are competing in regional and national Nordic and Nordic Combined skiing events.
Awards went to Halie Lange, a BUHS sophomore, and her teammate, senior Maddie Shaw.
Lange, who has grown up skiing on the Brattleboro Outing Club’s trails at the BOC Ski Hut, was the leading racer on the Brattleboro girls’ Nordic ski team, which won its first-ever state championship earlier this month. Both Shaw and Lange qualified to represent Vermont on the team that will be competing at the Eastern High School Championships at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine, later this month.
Lange is also competing as a member of the New England Team at the 2011 Junior Olympics in Minneapolis this month. The Junior Olympics is the designated national championship by the United States Ski Association for Nordic skiers 14-19 years of age.
Austin Lester, a freshman on the BUHS boys’ Nordic team, was another grant recipient. A recent convert to the sport, Lester met his goal of qualifying for the Vermont J2 Team as one of the top 14 and 15 year-old cross-country skiing competitors in the state. He raced in the TD Bank Eastern J2 Championships on March 11-13 at Gunstock Resort in New Hampshire.
Spencer Knickerbocker, a Brattleboro native who is presently a senior at the Norwood School and trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., was the final award winner. He specializes in Nordic Combined, a discipline which includes cross country ski racing and ski jumping. He has been accepted to the University of New Hampshire for his college studies, but he is planning on taking a year off to pursue Nordic Combined racing. He recently participated in the Harris Hill Ski Jump event in Brattleboro.
• West Dover’s Kelly Clark won the halfpipe title Saturday at the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships at Stratton Mountain resort. Clark posted a 94.95 to edge fellow Vermonter Hannah Teter (88.10) and Gretchen Bleier of Aspen, Colo.(86.30). It was Clark’s fifth U.S. Open title and her first Burton Global Open Series championship.
With her eighth straight win this season, Clark is at the pinnacle of her sport.
“It’s been an incredible season,” said Clark after the event. “Not only am I happy with the level of my riding, I’ve also had more fun than ever, and my results speak for that. The Open is one of my favorite events, and I feel privileged to have the most halfpipe wins on record. It’s also huge for me to win the Burton Global Open Series title because it’s the one award that’s been elusive for me, so I’m super happy to walk away with it.”
Kazuhiro Kokbuko of Japan won his second straight U.S. Open men’s halfpipe title.
Spring sports signups
• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks will host registration for its spring youth sports on March 22 at the Gibson-Aiken Center, 207 Main St. Call 802-254-5808 for more details, or if you have special needs that require accommodation.
T-Ball signups are from 3:30-6 p.m. The program is open to boys and girls who will be 6 by May 1, but have not turned 8. The fee is $20 for Brattleboro residents, and $35 for non-residents, and includes the cost of T-shirt.
Instructional girls’ softball signups are 1:30-6:30 p.m., for girls in grades 1-3 who want to learn the fundamentals of the game. The fee is $15 for Brattleboro residents, and $3o for non-residents, and includes the cost of T-shirt. Participants should bring their own softball glove.
Girls’ youth softball, for girls in grades 4-6, will also have signups from 1:30-6 p.m. The fee is $20 for Brattleboro residents, and $35 for non-residents, and includes the cost of T-shirt.
Youth lacrosse, open to boys and girls in grades 5-8, will have signups from 1:30-6 p.m. The cost is $50 for Brattleboro residents, and $65 for non-residents.
• Small Fry Baseball signups will be from 4-6 p.m. on March 22 at the American Legion home on Linden Street. All children who who will be 8, but have not turned 10 by May 1 are eligible. Children who are 10 as of May 1 should try out for Little League. The cost is $25 for Brattleboro residents, and $40 for non-residents, with a $5 late fee for those who register after March 22. Coaches are also needed. Call Ben Underhill at 802-257-5754 evenings for more information.
• Students from Rouleau-Holley’s Martial Arts will host a tournament on March 19 to benefit Bridget’s Kitchen. Action begins at 8:30 a.m. at the school, located at Cotton Mill Hill, North Entrance, Room 251. For more information, call 802-257-0720.
• The BUHS Booster Club will hold a membership meeting on Wednesday, March 23, at 6 p.m., in the Multi-Purpose Room at the high school. The club provides support for BUHS’ athletic teams, and is always looking for new volunteers. Contact Tamara at 802-384-5094 or email@example.com to RSVP.