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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

John Hollar, part of the coaching team that brought boys’ and girls’ state basketball championships to Bellows Falls in the 1990s and early 2000s, returned this season to coach the varsity boys’ team.

Sports

BF boys: hard-nosed defense, patient offense

After three decades here in Windham County, there are times for me when high school games are a trip down memory lane. A trip to Townshend on Jan. 25 to see a boys’ basketball game between Leland & Gray and Bellows Falls was one of those times.

I hadn’t seen Bellows Falls varsity coach John Hollar in about 20 years, and it took a few moments for us to recognize each other, but we quickly stirred up memories of the glory years of BF basketball.

Hollar had some stints as a head coach at Newport, N.H., and Woodstock, but he’s best known on this side of the river as an assistant coach to both the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Working with BF basketball coaching legends Jayne Barber and Bill Murphy, Hollar contributed to championship seasons for both teams. Defense was Hollar’s specialty, and the Terriers teams he helped coach were adept at it.

Hollar returned to BF this season to take the reins as the varsity boys coach, and he has two of his former players from the successful Terriers teams from his first stint as Murphy’s assistant — Jarrod James and Nate Haskell — as his assistant coaches.

“They make my job a lot easier,” said Hollar. “At 61, there’s no way I could do this without them.”

Not that Hollar is lacking in energy. He is as intense as he ever was on the sideline, living and dying with every possession. And the style of play is a lot like those vintage Terriers teams — ferociousness on defense and patience and ball movement on offense.

“Nothing really has changed,” Hollar said. “It’s pretty much the same style as in the 1990s.”

Since then, the game has gotten tilted toward the three-point shooter, and while Hollar doesn’t mind long-range shooting, he said that “I only have one rule about three-pointers, if you shoot it, it has to go in.”

Against the Rebels, the Terriers rolled to a 63-42 win that showed all the hallmarks of classic BF basketball. They took a 22-10 lead after one quarter as senior forwards Dylan Clark and Issac Wilkinson dominated inside to score eight and six points, respectively. A pair of three-pointers by junior guard Matt Emerson help keep the Rebels hanging around.

BF struggled on offense in the second quarter, but the Rebels could not take advantage. They were held to just four points as the Terriers led 28-14 at the half.

Both teams got their offenses going in the third quarter, but BF had just a little more production. Senior guard Ryan Kelly had seven points, including a three, and senior forward Griffin Waryas added five more as BF pushed the lead to 51-29 heading into the final quarter. Liam Towle had the hot hand for the Rebels, scoring eight points.

The Rebels did outscore the Terriers, 13-10, in the fourth quarter, but BF was firmly in control and let the reserves finish up. Clark and Kelly finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Waryas added nine and Wilkinson had eight. Towle led the Rebels with 12 points, all of them in the second half. Emerson added eight.

Earlier in the week, the Terriers rallied from an early deficit to beat Windsor, 46-40, at Holland Gymnasium on Jan. 21. Ryan Kelly led BF with 17 points, while Griffin Waryas added nine points.

BF finished the week at 7-4 and is ranked third in Division III. Leland & Gray fell to 1-9.

Boys’ basketball

• Brattleboro had a 1-1 week against Division I opponents. The Colonels traveled to St. Johnsbury on Jan. 21, and lost to the Hilltoppers, 63-62. The defeat came despite the Colonels making 13 three-point baskets.

Greg Fitzgerald had six three-pointers and finished with 22 points, while Keegan Givens scored 17 points. Logan Wendell scored a game-high 30 points for St. Johnsbury as the Hilltoppers completed a sweep of the season series.

On Jan. 24 in Manchester, the Colonels rolled to a 59-32 win over Burr & Burton. Brattleboro took control early, leading 15-7 after the first quarter and 33-16 at the half. Fitzgerald led the Colonels with 14 points. Charlie Galanes added 11. Tommy Barker was Burr & Burton’s high scorer with 12 points.

Aside from the win over the Bulldogs and a 90-87 win on Dec. 27 at home against South Burlington, the 7-5 Colonels have gone 2-5 against Division I schools.

• Twin Valley had their first defeat of the season on Jan. 21 with a 45-29 road loss to Rivendell, but rebounded three nights later with a 55-31 win against Springfield. The 10-1 Wildcats are ranked second in Division IV, behind undefeated Rivendell.

Girls’ basketball

• Bellows Falls kept up its winning ways with a 52-27 win over Mount St. Joseph on Jan. 20 at Holland Gymnasium.

The Terriers controlled this game from the start as they led by 12 points after one quarter and 19 by halftime. BF’s zone press defense forced numerous turnovers and kept MSJ from getting any traction on offense. Kate Goodell led BF with 17 points, while Tiana Gallipo had 15 points for the Mounties.

BF then made it six wins in a row with a 68-15 demolition of Green Mountain on Jan. 25. The Terriers ended the week at 6-4 and are steadily moving up the Division III standings.

• Brattleboro had another rough night against St. Johnsbury as the Hilltoppers cruised to a 51-30 win on Jan. 20.

Josie Choiniere scored 22 points to lead the hosts to victory. Alyssa Scherlin was the Colonels’ top scorer with eight points.

• Arin Bates scored 14 points as Leland & Gray defeated Twin Valley, 43-30, on Jan. 20 in Townshend. Jayden Crawford and Kate Longe scored seven points each for the Wildcats.

Three nights later, in Poultney, the Rebels outlasted the Blue Devils, 27-17, to even their record at 5-5.

• Arlington rallied to beat visiting Twin Valley, 36-33, on Jan. 23. Ninth-grader Schuylar Nolan sank a pair of free throws with 18.6 seconds left in the game to seal the victory.

Nolan finished with 14 points to lead the Eagles, while Twin Valley’s Sadie Boyd was the top scorer for the game with 15 points and Longe had six points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks.

Nordic skiing

• It has been a roller coaster of a winter in terms of conditions for nordic skiing, but a couple of small, well-timed storms laid down enough snow to allow Brattleboro a chance to host a race on their home course at the Brattleboro Country Club on Jan. 20.

The girls’ race featured another battle between Mount Anthony, Burr & Burton, and Brattleboro. Burr & Burton’s Leah Mowry won with a time of 22 minutes, 43 seconds, and MAU’s Sarah Umphlett was second in 23:36.

Bella Takacs led the Colonels with a third place finish in 23:49, with teammates Sylvie Normandeau (sixth), Hazel Wagner (eighth), Ava Whitney (ninth), and Lily Tessitore (10th) rounding out the top 10. Alexandra Miskovich (15th), Alina Secrest (19th), and Lizzy Wright (21st) also turned in strong performances.

Mount Anthony won the team event with 23 points, with Brattleboro close behind with 26 points and Burr & Burton with 32.

The boys’ race was dominated by the Colonels as team captains Declyn Tourville (19:01) and Henry Thurber (19:10) finished first and second. MAU’s Jack Drew was third in 19:45. Also in the top 10 for Brattleboro were Nathan Holmes (fourth) and Sam Freitas-Eagan (ninth).

Magnus von Krusenstiern (14th) and Tenzin Mathes (15th) also helped the Colonel boys win the team event with 15 points. MAU was second with 23 and Rutland came in third with 44.

Girls’ hockey

• For the second time this season, it was Liv Romo to the rescue as she scored an overtime goal to give Brattleboro a 6-5 win over Harwood at Withington Rink on Jan. 20.

Romo, who got the winning goal in OT against Hartford a few days earlier, was again the heroine as she scored with 2:54 left in overtime against Harwood. It was her second goal of the game.

Juliana Miskovich also had two goals and Edie Cay and Katie Inman also scored. Sophia Mikijaniec, Abbey Squiers, Grace Szpila, Rosie Carignan, and Cay were all credited with an assist.

Colonels goalie Eliya Petrie had a busy night, as she made 35 saves. Brattleboro is now 6-6.

Boys’ hockey

• Goalie Conlon St. James stopped a third-period penalty shot and Daniel Lanoue scored the winning goal 36 seconds into overtime as the Lyndon Vikings got by visiting Brattleboro, 3-2.

Ryan Gerard and Anthony Palomba were the Colonels’ goal scorers as Brattleboro rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Goalie Austin Wood made 21 saves for the Colonels, while St. James made 30 saves. The 7-4-1 Colonels are currently ranked fifth in Division II.

Towle retires as men’s softball president

• Brownie Towle has been president of the Brattleboro Area Softball Association (BASA) for many years. At the BASA Board of Director’s meeting on Jan. 16, Towle announced his retirement from the league presidency as well as from the board.

Towle was one of the founders of the men’s slow-pitch softball league in Brattleboro and worked hard over the years to make the league enjoyable for everyone.

The torch is now passed to Ryan Squires, who was elected as the new league president. Continuing in their current posts are vice president Jeff Meyer, treasurer Travis Lawyer, and secretary Robert Tortolani.

To find out more about the league, visit www.facebook.com/brattleboroareasoftball or www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=brattleboroareasoftball.

Ski Hill needs snowmaking help

• It may be a weird winter for snow, but the folks at the Brattleboro Ski Hill at Living Memorial Park report that they’re seeing a record number of skiers and riders since the hill opened for the 2019-20 season on Dec. 26. Daily lift tickets are still only $5, the greatest bargain in Vermont skiing.

On Jan. 19, they say they issued 189 lift tickets from noon to 4 p.m., the most they’ve seen on a normal operating day since Living Memorial Park Snow Sports took over operation of the hill in 1997.

The nonprofit group relies on volunteers to keep the hill running. President Zach Rounds says there’s a critical need for snowmaking volunteers, since snowmaking has made a huge difference in keeping the hill open through this season. If interested, sign up at vtsnowsports.org.

Senior bowling roundup

• Stayin’ Alive (17-3) held onto first place after Week 4 of the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. 4 D’s (14-6) took sole possession of second place, followed by Trash-O-Matic (12-8), Bowling Stones (11-9), Ageless Wonders and Pin Droppers (both 10-10), Keglers (9-11), Pin Strikers (7-13), Magic in Motion (6-14), and No Names (4-16).

Beverly Mittelstadt again had the women’s high handicap game (249), while Josie Rigby had the high handicap series (673). Gary Montgomery had the men’s high handicap game (265), while Ken Flagg had the high handicap series (707). Keglers had the high team handicap game (937), and series (2,633).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby rolled games of 236, 233, and 193 on the way to a 662 series to lead the men. Montgomery had games of 236 and 212 in his 618 series, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 238 games as part of his 552 series.

Also in the 500-plus series club were Peter Cross (541), Mark Rivers (533), Jerry Dunham (517), and Les Wigdor (506), High games for the men included Dunham (194) and Cross (193).

Josie Rigby led the women with the high scratch games (196 and 181) and series (535). Nancy Dalzell had a 182 game.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #546 (Wednesday, January 29, 2020). This story appeared on page C4.

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