The high school basketball season in Vermont is long. The pre-season starts in November and the first games are played in early December. Teams slog their way through January and by early February, they have a good idea about whether they will have a long playoff run that stretches into March, or a quick exit in the first round.
The Bellows Falls Terriers girls’ basketball team started their season with four straight losses. Illness and injuries slowed their progress. But once they got back to full strength, they have been one of the hottest teams in Division III with nine straight wins.
Last week was a big test for the Terrier girls. It began with a 54-23 win over Rivendell at Holland Gymnasium on Feb. 3. Taylor Goodell led the Terriers with 17 points. Maya Waryas and Molly Potter added 12 and nine points, respectively.
Two nights later, they were in the BUHS gym to face a Brattleboro team that is playing much better than their record would indicate, and it took every bit of mettle the Terriers possessed to hold off the Colonels, 57-50.
Coming off wins against Monument Mountain and Springfield, the Colonels played with confidence but fell behind early. Flashing their speed and their ability to move the ball around the court to find the open shooter, BF built up a 36-25 lead at the half and an 18-point lead, 47-29, by late in the third quarter.
Then the Colonels’ top scorer, senior guard Rachel Rooney, took over the fourth quarter and scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the final eight minutes. The BF lead dwindled to 52-50 with about two minutes to play, but the Terriers kept their cool. Emily Bazin and Goodell hit their free throws in the final two minutes to win it for BF.
While BF’s outside shooting disappeared in the fourth quarter, the shots were definitely falling for the Terriers in the first half and in the third quarter. Goodell had the hot hand and led the Terriers with 17 points.
Halle Dickerson added 15 points, but her biggest contribution was on defense. She was assigned to guard Rooney in the final minutes of the game as BF switched their defensive alignment.
“You’ve got to stop a shooter like that at some point,” said BF coach Todd Wells. “We put our best defender on [Rooney] and she shut her down.”
Potter and Waryas added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Terriers. Alyssa Scherlin scored eight points and Madison Johnson added seven as the Colonels fell to 4-10.
Colonels coach Chris Worden praised his team for not giving up when BF opened up its big lead in the third quarter. “I’ve been telling them all season long to just hang in there and not give up,” he said. “That was a great fourth quarter we played, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Next up for BF was a road game on Feb. 8 against undefeated West Rutland, and the Golden Horde took care of the Terriers, 68-51, to end the Terriers’ winning streak. West Rutland used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take control.
West Rutland has a pair of 6-footers — Elizabeth Bailey and Isabell Lanfear — and they used their size to out-rebound the Terriers. Bailey finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots, while Lanfear scored 11 points.
The Horde can also beat you with outside shooting, as demonstrated by Jenee McGee’s 20 points, 13 of which came in the first quarter.
Goodell led the Terriers with 13 points, while Waryas added 12. West Rutland is ranked No. 1 in Division IV at 14-0, while BF is sixth in Division III at 9-5.
• Kate Longe scored 15 points as she led Twin Valley to a 40-32 win over the Black River Presidents in Ludlow on Feb. 3.
Celia Betit and Kylie Reed each added eight points in the victory, which ended a three-game losing skid for the Wildcats.
Winless Black River had an 18-15 lead at the half, but the Presidents’ best player, Riley Paul, got into foul trouble in the second half and was held to 11 points.
Twin Valley then made it two wins in a row with a 58-29 victory over Green Mountain. The Wildcats stepped up their defense and got 18 points from Sadie Boyd. Longe added 16 points. Kim Cummings led the visiting Chieftains with 16 points.
• Leland & Gray ran into the West Rutland buzzsaw on Feb. 4 and came away with a 58-10 loss.
The visiting Rebels were held to six points in the first half, as they were smothered by the Golden Horde’s defense. Elizabeth Bailey led West Rutland with 14 points as the Rebels fell to 5-8.
• Charlie Galanes and Gabe Packard scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, as Brattleboro beat up on Burr & Burton, 69-43, at the BUHS gym on Feb. 4. Greg Fitzgerald and Trinley Warren each added seven points for the Colonels. Madox Mathews led the Bulldogs with 14 points.
The Monument Mountain Spartans came to the BUHS gym on Feb. 8 and delivered a 71-53 beating to the Colonels. Connor Hanavan and Dion Brown scored 26 and 23 points, respectively, to lead the 10-5 Spartans, who clinched a playoff spot in the Western Massachusetts Division III tourney with the win.
The Spartans also played great defense without giving the Colonels multiple trips to the free throw line. Tyler Millerick had the Colonels’ only point from the free throw in the game.
Fitzgerald scored 18 points on six three-pointers to lead the Colonels. Millerick scored 13 points and Packard added nine as the Colonels fell to 10-6. They ended the week in the fifth spot in the Division I standings.
• Jack McHale scored 12 points to lead Twin Valley past Arlington, 46-24, on Feb. 4 in Arlington. The visiting Wildcats were streaky in the first half, but settled down in the second half. Kolby Wilkins had 16 points for the Eagles. Twin Valley remains the top team in Division IV with a 13-1 record.
• A big second half by Green Mountain gave the Chieftains a 60-40 win over Leland & Gray in Chester on Feb. 4. The Chieftains had a three-point lead at the half, but they pulled away from the Rebels when they turned up the defensive pressure.
Dylan McCarthy led Green Mountain with 27 points, including five three-pointers. Liam Towle led the Rebels with 11 points.
On Feb. 8, Mount St. Joseph had four players in double figures as they topped Leland & Gray, 68-45. Towle led the 2-12 Rebels with a game-high 19 points. Keagan Chadburn was the Mounties’ top scorer with 16.
• The Brattleboro boys won the freestyle portion of the Southern Vermont League cross-country ski championships on Feb. 4 at Prospect Mountain in Woodford. Mount Anthony was second, followed by Burr & Burton and Rutland.
Henry Thurber was second for the Colonels. He was joined by teammates Nolan Holmes in fifth, Sam Freitas-Eagan in sixth, and Declyn Tourville in eighth. Woodstock’s Justice Brissette was the individual winner in 18 minutes, 54.83 seconds.
The Brattleboro girls finished third, behind Mount Anthony and Burr & Burton.
Mount Anthony took four of the top 10 spots to win the girls’ event, with Sarah Umphlett the individual winner in 23 minutes, 37.82 seconds. Sylvie Normandeau was third for Brattleboro.
The SVL Championships continue this week with the classic race at Wild Wings in Londonderry.
• Will Taggard had one goal and two assists as Brattleboro defeated Milton, 3-2, in Highgate on Feb. 8.
Jack Pattison scored the game-winning goal with 14:27 remaining in the third period, set up by Gavin Howard and Taggard. Howard also scored as the Colonels improved to 9-6-1. Cam Fougere and Nick Desouza were the goalscorers for Milton.
SVTRC ice fishing derby was a success
• The Southern Vermont Therapeutic Riding Center (SVTRC) held their second annual Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, Jan. 25 on the Retreat Meadows in Brattleboro. More than 50 anglers participated in the derby, and raised more than $300 for their therapeutic riding program.
Wesley Dow won $100 for catching the longest panfish in the adult division, while Cody Hescock won $100 for the longest panfish in the junior division. Both prizes were donated by SVTRC.
Cody Koncal won for the longest “other” fish in the adult division, while Kyler Chouinard was the junior division winner. Both received an ice fishing prize pack, donated by Runnings.
Other sponsors who donated door raffle items included Sonny’s Cup n’ Saucer, WW Building Supply, Brown and Roberts, Whetstone Station Restaurant, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, Bittersweet Memories Bakery and Cafe, The Fitzpatrick Family, Walmart, and Earle’s Bait Shop. Dunkin’ of Canal Street donated coffee and doughnuts for breakfast.
SVTRC provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to children and adults with various physical, emotional, and cognitive needs who live in Windham County and the surrounding area. For more information, visit www.sovtrc.org.
Rec. Dept. offers youth indoor soccer
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will offer a five-week youth indoor soccer program beginning March 2 and running through April 1 at the Gibson-Aiken Center.
Children will be broken into small coed teams to play pick-up games from 5 to 6 p.m. Kindergarteners and first-graders will play on Mondays, while second- and third-graders play on Tuesdays, and kids in grades 4-6 play on Wednesdays.
Scores will not be kept, since the focus will be on having fun. Shin guards and sneakers are required. The fees are $15 for Brattleboro residents, $30 for non-residents. For more information, visit www.brattleboro.org, “Like” them on Facebook, call 802-254-5808, or stop by the Recreation & Parks Department office at 207 Main St.
Harris Hill addendum
• This weekend is the annual Harris Hill Ski Jump and 41 competitors — 35 from the United States, two from Austria, and four from Slovenia — are expected in Brattleboro.
I missed a couple of things in last week’s preview, and Harris Hill media coordinator Sally Seymour was kind enough to point them out for readers of The Commons.
First off, five people have retired the Winged Ski Trophy — Torger Tokle of Norway (1941), his brother, Arthur Tokle (1951), Art Devlin of Lake Placid, N.Y. (1957), Hugh Barber of Brattleboro (1974), and Vladimir Glyvka of Ukraine (2000).
And there are two jumpers who have a chance this weekend to pick up their third Fred Harris Memorial Tournament victory and retire the trophy, following in the footsteps of the five previous jumpers to do it.
Chris Lamb, a Marlboro College graduate, won the event in 2010 and 2013. Blaz Pavlic of Slovenia won in 2017 and 2019, and holds the record for the longest jump at Harris Hill.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and younger and can be purchased at the gate or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Advance discount admission of $15 for adults and $12 for students ages 6 to 12 are available at locations listed at www.harrishillskijump.com.