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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Brattleboro forward Diamond Bedward (13) leads the chase for a loose ball during second-half action against Windsor on Jan. 6 at the BUHS gym. Joining in the pursuit are Brattleboro forward Chloe Givens (4) and Windsor guard Holly Putnam (4) and forward Skylar Thibodeau (42).

Sports

Colonel girls snap Windsor’s win streak

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column for more than a decade and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at news@commonsnews.org.

After four straight losses, including a 56-25 defeat on Jan. 4 against Northampton, Mass., the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ basketball team needed something good to happen.

Beating an undefeated team definitely qualifies as something good.

Despite coming to the BUHS gym on Jan. 6 with only six of their 13 players on the roster due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Windsor Yellowjackets gave the Colonels all they could handle. However, Brattleboro came away with a 41-35 victory in a bruising game that left several Colonels clutching ice packs when it was over.

Windsor has a long tradition of excellence in girls’ basketball typified by team depth and strong skills. Those with long memories may recall some of the teams coached by John Barth in the 1990s, when Windsor would have enough players on the bench to have the basketball equivalent of a hockey coach’s three lines.

Seeing the girls in green with just one player over the minimum was disconcerting, but Colonels coach Chris Worden knew his team was not going to have an easy night.

“This was a rough-and-tumble game, and that’s what a game against Windsor is like,” said Worden after the game. “Whether they have six players or 16, Windsor always plays the same.”

Brattleboro countered Windsor’s scrappiness with patience. The first quarter started out slow, but it ended with the Yellowjackets in front, 7-5. The pace picked up a bit in the second quarter, but Windsor ended up with a 21-18 lead at the half.

The Colonels trailed Windsor by as much as seven points in the third quarter, but the shorthanded Yellowjackets could not keep that up. Thanks to a Brattleboro surge in the last four minutes of the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, plus a strong effort on defense, the Colonels erased the deficit and had a 37-31 lead with 4:49 left in the game.

“We tried to be patient, move the ball around, and not force up shots,” said Worden. “We definitely played a better brand of basketball.”

Brattleboro’s top scorer, Chloe Givens, scored nine of her 13 points in the second half to key the Colonels’ comeback. She got help from Katelyn Longe, who got all six of her points in the second half. Mallory Newton added six points, and Kaitlyn Pattison and Kiki McNary added five points each.

Elliot Rupp led 7-1 Windsor with 19 points, 12 of them coming in the first half, before fouling out in the final minute of the game. Reese Perry scored 11 points, and Holly Putnam had 4 points.

Both teams had a lot of chances at the free throw line, but didn’t cash on many of them. Windsor was 10-for-22, while Brattleboro was 12-for-29.

The Colonels ended their week with a 2-6 record.

BF girls fall to Long Trail, while BF boys top Rebels

• The Bellows Falls girls’ basketball team lost to visiting Long Trail, 34-26, on Jan. 3. Long Trail led 20-10 at the half. The Terriers tried to rally in the second half, but fell short despite a strong defensive effort that led to 18 steals.

Sophomore Camilla Marcy led Long Trail with 15 points, while Olivia Cole-Bugay added 12 points. Julia Nystrom led the Terriers with 11 points, while Laura Kamel scored seven points.

• The Bellows Falls boys’ basketball team rolled to a 71-51 win over Leland & Gray in Townshend on Jan. 4. The Terriers were in control throughout, taking a 39-23 lead at the half, and turning back any attempts at a Rebel rally.

Jonathan Terry and Patrick Barbour led the 4-2 Terriers with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Owen LaRoss had 10 points and four blocked shots, and Colby Dearborn added eight points.

Alex Parker-Jennings led the 1-3 Rebels with a game-high 21 points, including four three-pointers. Matt Winkler added seven points off the bench, while Jeremy Graves and Aden Bernard had six points each.

Will COVID-19 disrupt winter season?

• Just before the start of the Windsor-Brattleboro girls’ basketball game on Jan. 6, BUHS Athletic Director Chris Sawyer said to me, “Hope you enjoy this game. It might be the last one you see for a while.”

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in Vermont, it has led to more than a few postponements of high school games. Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Leland & Gray, and Twin Valley all saw postponements of events last week and, at press time, things weren’t looking promising for this week.

It has been a frustrating few weeks for the staffs of our local schools, but at least the operative word in regards to high school sports is “postpone” rather than “cancel.” Athletic directors and coaches say they hope many of the games that are being postponed now can be made up in February if things improve.

Now, please allow me to put my news editor’s hat on, for I’ll be working on that side of the street for the next stretch of this column.

While the number of Windham County residents between ages 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of vaccine stands at about 80 percent, just 50 percent of those between ages 5 and 11 have received one dose. And there still is about 16 percent of Windham County residents over the age of 5 who haven’t been vaccinated at all. That means there are lots of opportunities for the virus to spread.

In talking with coaches and staff from the area high schools, most have said that the students have been good about getting their shots and following the public health protocols. They remember the mess that COVID-19 made out of the last two school years, and don’t want another disrupted school year.

The generally-accepted standard for maximum protection for adults is both shots of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) plus a booster for those who got their first doses back in the spring. This level of protection is important, since the Omicron variant is proving to be a tough one to deal with. It’s much more contagious than previous variants and it is hitting us right at the moment when we are indoors most of the time.

If you take the optimistic view, at this time a year ago the Vermont high school winter sports season had yet to begin. The vaccines were just being introduced, and most people could not receive them. And students were stuck in a half-virtual, half-in person class schedule.

The situation, although not perfect, is a lot better now. Vermont leads the nation in vaccination. Fewer of our friends and neighbors have died compared to other states. With each passing month, we learn more about how to treat those who get the virus. And these facts are indisputable: if you are fully vaccinated, you are 22 times less likely to be hospitalized and 23 times less likely to die compared to those who are unvaccinated.

The best case scenario, according to state data, is that the combination of the expected post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases with the increased contagiousness of Omicron, means that the next four to six weeks will be very tough ones. The hope is, as more adults get booster shots and more kids get vaccinated, there will be fewer people for the virus to infect.

So, as I have said often in this space, follow the public health guidance, get your shots, and be considerate of those around you. Do it to protect yourselves, and the people you care about, and we’ll get through this surge.

Ice fishing clinic offered in February

• The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has scheduled a series of free ice fishing clinics this winter for anyone who would like to learn about the latest proven ice fishing techniques.

An “introduction to ice fishing” clinic is planned, weather-permitting, for Saturday, Feb. 26, at 9 a.m., at the Retreat Meadows fishing access area on Route 30 in Brattleboro.

“Everyone is welcome no matter their experience level,” said Fish & Wildlife education specialist Corey Hart in a news release. “We want this to be fun and helpful for all.”

The clinic will last about three hours, and topics to be covered include ice safety, hole drilling, equipment and techniques, regulations, and different techniques for different fish. All participants will have the opportunity to practice what they have learned near the end of the event. Everyone is urged to wear clothing suitable for the weather conditions.

Pre-registration is required and can be done at the Fish & Wildlife’s website, vtfishandwildlife.com, or contact Hart at LetsGoFishing@vermont.gov or 802-505-5562 if you have questions.

Senior bowling roundup

• The winter/spring 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl began on Jan. 6 with eight teams.

League secretary Nancy Dalzell says not all of the teams have adopted their names for the season, so Week 1 ended with Team 6 (5-0) in first place, followed by Bowling Stones, Trash-O-Matic, and Stayin’ Alive (all 4-1), the 844s, Good Times, and Team 3 (all 1-4), and Team 5 (0-5).

Pat Bentrup had the women’s high handicap game (237), while Sally Perry had the high handicap series (645). Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (248), and Fred Bump had the high handicap series (670). Trash-O-Matic had the high team handicap game (892), while Bowling Stones had the high handicap series (2,541).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby led the men with a 587 series that featured games of 225 and 192. Gary Montgomery had a 571 series with games of 236 and 181. Marty Adams had a 546 series, with a 185 game. Dunham and Fred Ashworth each rolled a 209 game, while Bump had a 181 game.

Carol Gloski had the women’s high scratch series (502) and game (182). Josie Rigby had a 173 game, Deb Kolpa rolled a 171, and Bentrup had a 170 game.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #646 (Wednesday, January 12, 2022). This story appeared on page B4.

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