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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Leland & Gray guard Alex Parker-Jennings (24) tries to drive through the Rivendell defense during second-half action in their Jan. 26 boys’ basketball game in Townshend.

Sports

Rebels play catch-up as pandemic wave scrambles the season

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.

With the calendar now showing the month of February, we’re into the final weeks of the winter high school sports season. For some schools, February is going to be a very busy month, thanks to the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leland & Gray’s situation is a good example. Their basketball teams lost large swaths of January with games postponed because of players who tested positive for the virus, or because of a shortage of bus transportation due to drivers who tested positive, or because of bad weather.

The Leland & Gray girls had it the worst, going from Dec. 28 to Jan. 19 without playing a game. As for the Rebel boys, they had only played six games between Dec. 11 and Jan. 10, and then dealt with another week of idleness before picking up their schedule again.

So, both teams are having to make up for lost time, all the while navigating all the issues that we’ve seen as Vermont’s schools struggle to stay open during a pandemic that hasn’t gone away.

• The Rebel girls hosted Mill River on Jan. 28, and came away with a 51-32 win over the Minutewomen. Both teams didn’t have enough players for a junior varsity squad this season, but the player shortage is even more dire for winless Mill River, which had two eight-graders and two ninth-graders in their starting rotation.

Both teams struggled to score in the first quarter, as the Rebels took a 7-5 lead. Leland & Gray started to pull away with a 13-2 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter.

The combination of an aggressive press defense and a decided height advantage under the basket gave the Rebels a 20-7 lead with 3:31 left in the first half. Mary Sanderson scored six points and Samantha Morse added five points in the quarter as the Rebels took a 24-13 lead into the intermission.

Maggie Parker had the hot hand in the third quarter as she scored 11 of her team-high 17 points as Leland & Gray built up a 44-20 lead heading into the final quarter and coasted home for the win.

Sanderson finished with 14 points for the 4-6 Rebels, while Morse finished with seven points. Karina Mozzer led 0-13 Mill River with 21 points.

The Rebel girls — who lost to West Rutland, 54-19, on Jan. 25 — have a busy February ahead of them, as they are scheduled to play eight games over 18 days to finish the regular season.

• Against the Rivendell Raptors on Jan. 26 in Townshend, the Rebel boys hung in there for the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Raptors ended up cruising to a 54-33 victory.

Leland & Gray led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, as forward Jeremy Graves scored eight points and Aden Bernard, Trevor Stillwagon, and Alex Parker-Jennings each added a field goal.

The Raptors then pulled away with about six minutes left in the second quarter when Chris Pierce drained three three-pointers and Kyle Carter and Harry Molesworth each added a three as part of a 19-4 surge that put Rivendell in the lead to stay, 33-19, at the half.

Pierce led all scorers with 19 points, while Carter finished with 11 points and Molesworth added seven points. Graves finished with eight points for the Rebels, Stillwagon added seven points, and Parker-Jennings scored six points.

The Rebel boys, who got crushed 81-31 by Long Trail on Jan. 28 to finish last week at 2-8, still have a lot of basketball left to play in February.

Boys’ basketball

• Brattleboro got off to a fast start against Burr & Burton as senior point guard Cam Frost scored a game-high 26 points in a 61-48 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 27 at the BUHS gym. Sam Mattocks chipped in 11 points, including three three-pointers, and Alex Carpenter and Tate Chamberlin each added nine points as the Colonels improved to 3-5.

• Bellows Falls is rolling along. On Jan. 24, they ripped Sharon Academy, 73-52. Owen LaRoss and Patrick Barbour led the way for BF with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Jamison Nystrom added nine and Jonathan Terry had six points, 12 rebounds, five steals, and six assists for the 7-2 Terriers.

• In a battle between two short-handed teams, Green Mountain’s happy few rolled over Twin Valley, 73-31, on Jan. 27. The game was tied 10-10 after the first quarter, but the visiting Chieftains outscored the Wildcats 19-2 in the second to take control for good. Austin Kubisek and Branden Rose had 21 points apiece and Elias Stowell-Aleman added 14 for the Chieftains. Aiden Joyce had nine points for Twin Valley.

Girls’ basketball

• Brattleboro dropped a pair of games last week. On Jan. 25, Rutland beat Brattleboro, 44-29, at the BUHS gym. Kathryn Moore led the Ravens with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Two nights later at Windsor, the Colonels were stung by the Yellowjackets, 51-26, to fall to 4-11 on the season.

• Bellows Falls lost to Rivendell, 48-27, at Holland Gymnasium on Jan. 25 to drop their record to 3-9.

Nordic skiing

• The Brattleboro girls finished second behind Woodstock in a five-team meet at Wild Wings in Peru on Jan. 27.

Ava Whitney finished third in 19 minutes, 43 seconds, while Katherine Normandeau was fourth in 20:11 to lead the Colonels. Sylvie Normandeau was sixth in 20:50, while Priya Kitzmiller was 15th in 25:29. Woodstock’s Ada Mahood was the winner in 18:26, with Mount Anthony’s Eden White second in 19:33.

In the boys’ meet, Brattleboro finished fourth behind Mount Anthony, Woodstock, and Rutland. Woodstock’s James Underwood was the individual winner in 15:20, while Mount Anthony’s Riley Thurber was second in 15:40.

The Colonels were led by Tenzin Mathes (eighth in 17:05), Magnus vonKrusenstiern (11th in 17:39), Gabe Jeppesen-Belleci (17th in 19:05), and Ben Berkson-Harvey (23rd in 19:38).

The Colonel skiers are scheduled to be back in action on Feb. 9 at Wild Wings for the classical leg of the Southern Vermont League championship meet.

Ice hockey

• Some familiar faces on the Hartford girls’ ice hockey team came to Withington Rink on Jan. 24 to torment Brattleboro.

Grace Bazin, Emma Bazin, and Jules McDermid — who led the Bellows Falls field hockey team to the Division I championship game in November — traded the turf for the ice this winter and are co-op girls’ hockey players for the Hartford team. They all helped the Hurricanes shut out the Colonels, 8-0.

The Colonel girls were held to six shots in the game as Grace Bazin and McDermid led the Hartford defense, while Emma Bazin had two goals and an assist. McDermid also added a goal as Brattleboro fell to 2-5.

• The Brattleboro boys lost a pair of road games last week, a 4-1 defeat on Jan. 24 at Lyndon and a 5-3 loss at U-32 on Jan. 26, to drop their record to 3-7.

Put the Vermonters ahead….

• You can’t have a Winter Olympics without Vermonters, and the Green Mountain State will be well-represented when the 2022 games start this week in Beijing.

The list of athletes with Vermont ties on Team USA starts with alpine skier and two-time gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, a Burke Mountain Academy alumna along with teammate Nina O’Brien. UVM’s Paula Moltzan rounds out the Vermonters on the women’s alpine team.

Lindsay Jacobellis, a product of Stratton Mountain School who won a silver medal in 2006, is competing in her fifth Olympics in snowboard cross. A fellow SMS alum, Alex Diebold, is making his second Olympic appearance. He won a bronze in 2014.

In the freeski competition, West Dover’s Devin Logan — a silver medalist in 2014 — is on the U.S. women’s halfpipe team. This will be her third Olympics, while another SMS skier, Mac Forehand, will make his Olympic debut in the men’s slopestyle/big air discipline.

Fellow SMS freeskier Caroline Claire will be on the women’s slopestyle/big air team, making her second Olympic appearance. She joins Killington Mountain School’s Hannah Soar and Shelburne’s Megan Nick on the freestyle ski team.

Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Jake Brown, Leif Nordgren, Deedra Irwin, and Sean Doherty are all on the biathlon team, with Halle Grossman as an alternate.

Jessie Diggins of Stratton, who won Team USA its first-ever gold medal in cross country skiing in 2018, joins Julia Kern, Sophia Laukli, Ben Ogden, Caitlin Patterson, and Scott Patterson on the nordic ski team.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 4 of the winter/spring 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Jan. 27 saw Bowling Stones (17-2) having another 5-0 week to hang onto first place, with A Rose/Tulips (16-4) also going 5-0 to move into second place. There’s a three-way tie for third between Trash-O-Matic, Stayin’ Alive, and the 844s (all 13-7), followed by The Anythings (4-16), and Slow Movers (2-18).

Carol Gloski had the women’s high handicap game (249) and series (681). Doug Switzer had the men’s high handicap game (254), while Warren Corriveau Sr. had the high handicap series (705). Bowling Stones had the high team handicap game (902) and series (2,601).

In scratch scoring, Corriveau had the high men’s game (222), and his 636 series, which also featured games of 210 and 204, also led the men. Jerry Dunham had a 575 series with games of 212 and 199, while Duane Schillemat had a 536 series with a 191 game.

Doug Switzer had a 529 series with a 197 game, Chuck Adams had a 528 series with a 189 game, and Gary Montgomery had a 519 series with a 192 game. Fred Bump rolled a 188 game and Charlie Marchant had a 181 game.

Gloski had the high scratch game (210) and series (564) for the women; she also had games of 191 and 163. Nancy Dalzell had games of 175 and 162, while Pat Bentrup rolled a 165 and Pamela Greenblott had a 163.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #649 (Wednesday, February 2, 2022). This story appeared on page C4.

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