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Life and Work

Colonel girls show toughness with wins against Conant, Monument Mtn.

If you like your girls’ basketball with hard-nosed defense and plenty of intensity, you may want to check out the Brattleboro Colonels this season.

The Colonels have a young team that, at least in the early going, is not going to light up the scoreboard. What they do have is the ability to keep the other team from scoring, while generating just enough offense to win.

Brattleboro won its first game of the year with a 29-21 victory over the Conant Orioles in Jaffrey, N.H., last Monday. The Colonels overcame early foul trouble with strong defense that held the Orioles to just 10 points in the first half and 11 in the second half. Mary Richardson was high scorer with 12 points, she also had 4 steals. Arianna Harrison added 8 points and had 9 rebounds.

In their home opener last Wednesday, the Colonels ground out a 36-23 win over the Monument Mountain Spartans. Trailing 20-18 heading into the final quarter, freshman Abby Lesure drilled a crucial three-pointer in the first 30 seconds to give the Colonels a lead they never relinquished. The defense then took over, as Brattleboro held the Spartans to just 5 points in the fourth.

“To have the confidence to take that open shot in a critical time like that ... the future is obviously pretty bright,” Brattleboro coach Paul Freed said of Lesure. “I love watching her play defense, and that’s something that’s far ahead of her age. And I’m a big guy for defense. She really brings us a spark there.”

Freed was also proud of the composure his team showed in the second half, when the Spartans made some adjustments and took the lead in the third quarter.

“[Mounument Mountain] got some great looks and took the lead,” he said, “And for a young, inexperienced group like ours, there are two paths that they can take at that point. They pretty much could have said, ‘It’s over. We did our best.’ But this is a group that decided they were going to scrap and try to get back in it.”

Alyssa Bezanson led the Colonels with 14 points, most of the them coming in transition during the fourth quarter

It still early in the season, but this team might be fun to watch in the coming weeks.

Girls hockey

• You know you might be in for a tough night when you look over at the visiting team’s bench, and you see twice as many players as you have on your bench.

The Brattleboro Colonels are starting off the season shorthanded. With only three reserves available last Wednesday night against Burr & Burton, the Colonels were outnumbered and outgunned by the Burr & Burton Bulldogs, and the result was a 1-0 loss at Withington Rink.

Coach Linda Burke said she’s got four new players coming, but they have to get their required amount of team practice time before they are allowed to play on the varsity.

“We don’t have enough bodies right now, and we played tired as a result,” she said. “We have to work through it.”

Still, she was pleased that the Colonels lost by only a goal. “Last year when we played Burr & Burton, we got beat 5-0 and 3-1, so this was an improvement,” said Burke.

The game’s only goal came with 5:56 in the second period, when Burr & Burton’s Brooke Sabol scored. Despite having three power plays in the final period, the Colonels could not get the equalizer.

Girls’ basketball

• Twin Valley rallied to beat Mount St. Joseph, 42-38, in Rutland last Tuesday. Despite having three players over 6 feet tall, the Wildcats used their pressure defense to key a 8-0 run to win the game.

Savannah Nesbitt led the Wildcats with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Shannon Lozito added 11 points, 4 blocks, and 4 steals. Abbi Molner and Lexi Reinertson had 10 and 7 rebounds, respectively.

On Saturday, Twin Valley lost to Rivendell, 45-37. Molner had 8 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Wildcats. Hannah Swanson added 7 points and 9 rebounds.

• Bellows Falls lost its opener to the Springfield Cosmos, 40-21, last Thursday. What killed the Terriers was an inability to make free throws, they went 11-for-30 from the free throw line. BF also got off to a slow start on offense, and trailed 32-7 at the half.

• Leland & Gray opened its season on the road Saturday, and lost to Mill River, 59-22. Ashley Goddard posted team-highs of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Boys’ basketball

• The Brattleboro Colonels opened the season with a 50-43 win over Burr & Burton in Manchester last Monday. This game was close all the way, and it was decided when Jay Vinci and Tommy Heydinger shot a combined 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the last 2 minutes.

Vinci finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the 1-0 Colonels. Heydinger added 11 points and 8 rebounds.

In their home opener on Saturday afternoon, the Colonels struggled to score and dropped a 33-26 decision to the Mount Mansfield Cougars. Brattleboro fell behind early and trailed most of the game, but managed to pull nearly even in the final minutes before a final 6-0 surge by the Cougars sealed the deal.

Heydinger led all scorers with 17 points, Soren Pelz-Walsh added 7 for the 1-1 Colonels. Tom Lacy and Eric Suder had 10 and 11, respectively, for Mount Mansfield.

• Leland & Gray crushed the Black River Presidents, 88-14, in the Rebels’ opener last Monday in Ludlow. Michael Bergeron led the Rebels with 21 points and 9 rebounds, and Chris Lasch chipped in 13 points and 7 assists. The Rebels were equally dominant on defense. They outrebounded the Presidents, 50-22, and forced 18 turnovers.

In their first game in the Arlington Tip-Off Tournament, the Rebels lost 60-46 against Mount St. Joseph last Wednesday.

Brandon Reilly and Bergeron each had 13 points for the Rebels; Bergeron also had 10 rebounds. Lasch added 10 points and 8 assists.

• Opening night in Bellows Falls saw the Terriers pummel Black River, 90-23, on Friday night. BF put the game away early with a 15-0 run in the first quarter and a 23-0 surge in the second quarter for a 54-10 lead at the half. Coach Evan Chadwick gave his reserves plenty of playing time, but the points still kept piling up for BF.

Kendrick Mills led the Terriers with 17 points, followed by Logan Spaulding (15), Mike Hall (12), and Ian McKeen (11).

• Twin Valley dropped its home opener to Rivendell, 69-62, on Saturday, despite having three of its players score in double figures. Colin Lozito led the Wildcats with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, while Hunter Therrien and Dal Nesbitt added 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Boys’ hockey

• Brattleboro lost to U-32, 5-2, on Saturday. Jack LaPorte and Adam Griffin each scored for the Colonels.

Greg DiSilva made 33 saves in goal as Brattleboro fell to 0-2.

Rec. Dept. offers skating lessons, baton twirling

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will again offer ice skating lessons for adults.

Jude Rondeau will be the instructor, and lessons will take place at the Withington Rink at Living Memorial Park beginning Jan. 6, and will run through Feb. 3.

This class will be held on Friday mornings from 10:30-11 a.m. The cost is $40 for residents, $60 for non-residents.

The Rec. Department is also starting baton twirling classes at the Gibson-Aiken Center, beginning Dec. 29.

Classes are open to girls and boys ages 3 and up, and will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays for eight weeks. All students are invited to participate in performances such as local parades and shows.

Class instructors are Lynda Lawrence, director of the Brattleboro Area Baton Twirlers, and assistant instructor Alison Cornellier. The cost of the 8-week program is $55 for residents and $70 for non-residents.

Call 802-254-5808 to reserve a spot for either class.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #132 (Wednesday, December 21, 2011).

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