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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Bellows Falls forward Jackson Goodell (21) catches a pass in front of Randolph guard Ethan Davignon during first-half playoff action at Holland Gymnasium on March 2.

Sports

Bellows Falls boys lose in quarterfinals

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.

The postseason ride for the Bellows Falls Terriers boys’ basketball team was shorter than they had hoped, but it was nice while it lasted.

The fifth-seeded Terriers held on to beat the No. 13 Randolph Galloping Ghosts, 76-58, in a Division III first-round playoff on March 2 at Holland Gymnasium, but BF came up short in the quarterfinal round, losing to the fourth-seeded Vergennes Commodores, 63-52, on March 5.

However, the memory I hope that the Terriers will take with them as their season ends is the thrill of playing before a big crowd on their home court and delivering to their fans the kind of experience that we had lost during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are few things in Vermont sports as enjoyable as being inside a packed gym or auditorium for high school basketball, when the game is hot and the passion it generates is hotter. Holland Gymnasium, BF’s home court since the early 1970s, can hold a lot of people, but it has been quite a while since they’ve needed to pull out the bleachers on both sides of the gym.

On March 2, they needed to. Randolph fans started showing up an hour before game time, and by tip-off, the only empty section of the gym was the seats behind the BF players — held open as a reminder that there’s still a pandemic going on. The BF side was almost filled to capacity, with social distancing not in force.

Aside from fans and the support staff still being required to wear masks, it was the first time in two years that I was at a basketball gym that was filled with energy and passion, just like pre-pandemic times. And anyone who was there last week will tell you that they got their money’s worth.

This game was one of surges. Bellows Falls took a 22-14 lead after one period, and had a 17-point lead with just under two minutes to play in the second quarter before Randolph rallied with 10-0 run to cut the BF lead to 38-27 at halftime.

The Ghosts stayed hot to start the third period, with a 13-2 run in the first three minutes to cut the BF lead to 41-40. From there, the two teams took turns controlling the game until the Terriers pulled it together in the final six minutes of the game and outscored Randolph, 24-4, to nail down the victory.

Senior forward Jackson Goodell scored 16 points and played well defensively before fouling out in the fourth quarter to lead the Terriers. Junior guard Jamison Nystrom and senior center Owen LaRoss added 15 points, while senior guard Jonathan Terry chipped in 11 points and sophomore guard Walker James came off the bench to score six points after replacing Goodell in the final quarter.

Randolph was led by Chase Higgins, who scored 18 points, and Ethan Davignon and Levi West, who scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.

However, against Vergennes, the visiting Terriers had no fourth-quarter surge as well as no answer for Tim Ashley, who came off the bench to score 23 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the Commodores. Tyler Bergman had 13 points and nine rebounds and Hayden Bowen added six points and 10 rebounds for Vergennes.

Nystrom led the Terriers with 20 points, while Terry was the only other BF player in double-figures with 10 points.

Bellows Falls ended its season with a 16-6 record, and will lose Goodell, LaRoss, Terry, Patrick Barbour, and Jack Cravinho to graduation. Coach Evan Chadwick will have a strong nucleus in place to make another playoff run next season.

Boys’ basketball: Colonels, Rebels, Wildcats all lose playoff openers

While Bellows Falls made it out of the first round of the Division III playoffs, the other three Windham Country teams all lost in their first-round games in their respective tournaments.

• In Division I, Mount Mansfield outscored Brattleboro, 18-0, in the opening quarter as the ninth-seeded Cougars knocked off the eighth-seeded Colonels, 39-21, at the BUHS gym on March 1.

Brattleboro didn’t register their first points until Sam Mattocks scored off a steal with five minutes left in the second quarter. An effective man-to-man defense by Mount Mansfield slammed the door shut early, and the Colonels could not break through. The Cougars led 25-8 at the half and built up a 23-point lead by the midpoint of the third quarter.

Mount Mansfield was led by Owen Pinaud with 10 points. while Wyatt Leombruno-Nicholson and Sean Farrell scored nine and eight points, respectively. Mattocks was Brattleboro’s high scorer with six points.

Coach Dan Hamilton, a 1993 BUHS grad, has done quite a job with the Cougars. They entered the contest against Brattleboro having won eight of their last 10 regular season games, and they narrowly missed upsetting the top seed in Division I, St. Johnsbury, in a 42-41 loss to the Hilltoppers in the quarterfinals on March 4.

• The third-seeded Williamstown Blue Devils rolled to a 70-37 win over the No. 14 Leland & Gray Rebels in a Division III first-round game on March 2.

Thomas Parrott led the Blue Devils with 20 points, four assists, and three steals, while Brady Donahue had 14 points and three assists. Blake Clark added 12 points, three assists, and two steals, and Michael Murphy had nine steals and four assists.

Williamstown led 20-12 after one quarter, 40-17 at halftime, and 63-26 after three quarters as the Rebels struggled to contain the Blue Devils. Williamstown made eight 3-pointers and went 16-for-20 from the free throw line.

Aden Bernard and Trevor Stillwagon each scored eight points for the Rebels, who finished the season with a 6-15 record.

• Twin Valley’s season ended on March 1 with a 76-22 loss to third-seeded White River Valley in a Division IV first-round playoff game. The No. 14 Wildcats ended a difficult season with a 2-15 record.

Girls’ hockey: Wasps sting Colonels

• The top-seeded Woodstock Wasps broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of goals scored over a span of 76 seconds to defeat eighth-seeded Brattleboro, 4-2, in a Division II quarterfinal game on March 2.

Isabel Konijnenberg scored two goals for the Wasps, and Skylar Haley and Gracelyn Laperle each added a goal and Lily Gubbins had three assists. Woodstock goalie Merdian Bremel made five saves to earn the win.

Juliana Miskovich and Jenna Powers were the goal scorers for Brattleboro, with Willow Romo picking up an assist. Goalie Angela Jobin made 25 saves to keep the Colonels in the game. Brattleboro finished the season with a 4-16 record.

Nordic skiing: Colonel teams finish sixth

• The Division I high school Nordic skiing state championships wrapped up on Feb. 28 with the freestyle portion of the event at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton.

While the Brattleboro girls’ and boys’ nordic teams each finished in sixth place in Division I, the one-man team that is Twin Valley’s Luke Rizio came away with another individual title. Rizio won the boys’ race in 12 minutes, 2.9 seconds to add another gold medal to the Classic individual gold medal he had won a few days earlier.

Mount Anthony won the Division I state boys’ title with 70 points, with Champlain Valley finishing second with 131 points and Mount Mansfield taking third with 152 points. Burlington was the Division I state girls’ champion with 55 points, with Mount Mansfield in second with 129 points and Champlain Valley finishing third with 170 points.

In the boys’ individual race, Tenzin Mathes was Brattleboro’s top skier, finishing 18th in 14:23.6, followed by teammates Gabriele Jeppesen-Belleci (24th, 14:47.9), Magnus vonKrusenstiern (32nd, 15:21.7), Oliver Herrick (46th, 16:08.9), Desmond Longsmith (63rd, 18:00.3) and Eben Wagner (64th, 18:12.4). The Brattleboro relay team finished sixth in 27:14.8.

Brattleboro’s Ava Whitney was 10th in the girls’ individual race in 16:46.5, followed by teammates Katherine Normandeau (18th, 17:58.9), Sylvie Normandeau (21st, 18:10.7), Anna Cummings (56th, 23:04.1), Addison DeVault (57th, 23:35.1) and Elena Hannigan (64th, 31:40.7). The Brattleboro relay team finished sixth in 33:31.1.

Bowling: Colonels are runners-up in state finals

• Brattleboro acquitted itself well in the program’s first trip to the state bowling championship, finishing second to the Fair Haven Slaters on March 5 at Twin City Lanes in Barre. It was the second state title in the last three years for Fair Haven.

Seeded third in the four-team tournament, Brattleboro lost to Fair Haven, 4-2, in the championship match, with the Slaters winning the final two games to clinch the title. Fair Haven knocked off fourth-seeded South Burlington, 4-1, then upset top-seeded Randolph, 4-1, to set up the final match against the Colonels.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 9 of the winter/spring 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Feb. 14 saw Trash-O-Matic (31-14) have a 0-5 week but still hang on to first place. Bowling Stones (27-18) had a 5-0 week to move into second place. Stayin’ Alive (24-21) moved into sole possession of third place, followed by The Anythings (23-22), A Rose/Tulips (22-33), The 844s and Slow Movers (both 21-24), and Good Times (10-35).

Mary Parliman had the women’s high handicap game (249) and series (671), while Marty Adams had the men’s high handicap game (264) and series (729). The 844s had the high team handicap game (880) and series (2,592).

In scratch scoring, Chuck Adams led the men with a 643 series that featured games of 246, 203, and 194, while Marty Adams had a 618 series with games of 227 and 209. Gary Montgomery had a 592 series with games of 231 and 214, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 572 series with games of 224 and 192, and Charlie Marchant had a 526 series

Carole Gloski had the women’s high scratch series (460), while Josie Rigby had the high scratch game (172). Debbie Kolpa rolled a 169 game, Gloski had a 165 game, and Parliman had a 162 game.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #654 (Wednesday, March 9, 2022). This story appeared on page B4.

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