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Colonel boys reach Division I semis after back-to-back home wins

As you almost had to figure, it took until the 29th day of February before southern Vermont got itself a big snowstorm.

And Feb. 29 also marked the start of the hockey and boys’ basketball playoffs, so the foot or so of snow we received last Wednesday and Thursday made hash of the schedule for some teams.

For the Brattleboro Colonels boys’ basketball team, it meant two days of waiting, followed by back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday at the BUHS gym.

Coach Joe Rivers wasn’t happy about the scheduling, but he is definitely pleased with the results as the Colonels beat No. 13 Mount Anthony and Champlain Valley to put the Colonels into the Division I semifinals.

Friday’s 68-51 victory over MAU was the third time this season that Brattleboro took on the Patriots. It didn’t look good for the Colonels as MAU got off to a fast start and got out to a 14-7 lead on three quick three-points by Sean Brundage. But the Colonels battled back to trail 20-18 at the end of the first quarter.

The game stayed close the rest of the first half as MAU took a 32-28 lead at the break. But the Colonels took control of the game with a 12-4 run to start the third quarter, keyed by three three-pointers by Tommy Heydinger and another three from Ethan Mitnik. Heydinger would clinch the win with an 8-for-8 performance at the free throw line in the final quarter.

Heydinger finished with 19 points. Travis Beeman-Nesbitt added 18, Soren Pelz-Walsh had 14 and Mitnik chipped in 11. Arryngston Bibens led the Patriots with 22, while Brundage added 12.

Twenty-three hours later, Brattleboro beat Champlain Valley, 51-40. This game was almost a duplicate of the previous night as balanced scoring and a strong defensive effort in the second half were again the keys to victory. Even after an emotional game the night before, the Colonels had enough in the tank to earn a trip to Burlington.

Jay Vinci, Heydinger and Beeman-Nesbitt each scored 12 points, while Pelz-Walsh added 10 for Brattleboro, which held CVU without a fourth-quarter field goal to clinch the victory. Tucker Kohlasch led CVU (12-10) with 15 points.

Now 15-7, the Colonels are scheduled to face top-seeded Mount Mansfield (21-1) in the semifinals at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium on Tuesday night. It will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. On Dec. 17, the Cougars pulled out a 33-26 win over the Colonels at the BUHS gym.

Boys’ basketball

• Leland & Gray was the only local team that got a game in as the playoffs began last Wednesday. The third-seeded Rebels took care of No. 14 Oxbow Olympians, 50-37, in a Division III first round game in Townshend.

Christopher Lasch was the top scorer with 15 points, Bobby Culver added 13 points, and Mike Bergeron and Billy Nupp chipped in 7 points each. Bergeron also had a big rebounding night with 15 boards.

On Saturday, the Rebels played host to the No. 11 Windsor Yellowjackets in a quarterfinal game and got knocked out by the Jacks, 44-38.

This was a gut-grinder of a game. The Rebels got a big lead early, but the Jacks settled down and played great defense in the second quarter. Leland & Gray managed to score only one basket in the second as Windsor tied the game at 20-20 at the half.

The second half saw Windsor build up a big lead, only to have the Rebels come back to tie the game in the final minute. In the end, Windsor’s defense made a couple of big stops and earned their ticket to the Barre Auditorium for the semifinals on Thursday.

Windsor’s Tanner Dana led all scorers with 19 points. Shawn Pinsonault and Tanner Tibbetts added 9 and 8 points, respectively for Windsor (9-13). Brandon Reilly led the Rebels with 15 points as Leland & Gray ended the season at 16-6.

• No. 9 Bellows Falls had to wait until Friday to travel to Fair Haven to face the eighth-seeded Slaters in a Division II first-round game. The Terriers came up short, 60-41. Mike Hall scored 13 to lead the Terriers, who finished the season at 11-10. Willie Moore added 8 points.

• No. 14 Twin Valley also got snowed out until Friday, when they took to the road to face No. 3 Danville. The Wildcats got hammered, 71-38. Colin Lozito led the 6-15 Wildcats with 16 points.

Hockey

• Both Bratttleboro teams opened the first round of the Lake Division playoffs at Withington Rink last Wednesday, and both games were easy wins for the Colonels.

The Colonel girls led off the night with a 7-1 win over 11th-seeded Mount Mansfield. It was a dominating performance from start to finish, including a four-goal game from junior center Emily Wilson.

Wilson scored twice in the first period, the first from Maddie Rollins, the second from Rebecca Potter and Kali Roberts. Wilson almost had her hat trick in the first period, but what looked like her third goal of the period was waved off.

Rollins took over the second period with a pair of goals, with assists from Miranda Moseley and Wilson. Brattleboro finished the scoring with three more goals in the third. Wilson potted her third goal of the night from Moseley, Doucette scored on a breakaway and then Wilson got No. 4 on another breakaway.

Goaltender Alex Fellows had her shutout bid spoiled with 2:58 left when Mount Mansfield’s Molly Burke scored. It was fitting she got the goal, considering Fellows robbed Burke three times with big saves in the opening period.

The Colonels traveled to Stowe on Saturday and lost 3-1. The Haab sisters did all the damage as Kim Haab scored twice, and Sam Haab got the other goal. Sisters Katie and Emma Abrams provided the assists on the goals in a game that the 17-3-1 Raiders controlled all the way.

Moseley broke up goaltender Danielle Mayo’s shutout bid with Brattleboro’s only goal. Mayo stopped 12 shots to get the win. Brattleboro goaltender Lou Lou Terwilliger had 14 saves. The Colonels ended the season with a 11-8-3 record.

• The seventh-seeded Colonel boys also cruised, rolling over No. 10 Lyndon Institute, 9-1. It took time for the Brattleboro attack to get going, but once it did, Lyndon had no chance.

Senou Lynn scored first with five minutes left in the opening period, and Jimmy Podlaski later scored off a Romello Lindsey pass to give the Colonels a 2-0 lead. It was the first of Lindsey’s three assists in the game.

Brattleboro erupted for five goals in the second period and two more in third. Andy Harris scored twice in the second period, Lynn got his second goal in the second, and Podlaski finished his hat trick with two more goals. Nik Rancourt and Jack LaPorte also scored as the Colonels built an insurmountable 7-0 lead before Cameron Daley gave Lyndon its lone goal late in the second period,

The Colonels put 55 shots on Lyndon goalie Deryck Colburn, while Greg DiSilva and Hunter Neilsen divvied up the goaltending duties for Brattleboro and had 12 saves between them.

On Saturday, the Colonels went on the road to face second-seeded U-32 in the quarterfinals and lost 2-1. Shane O’Neill and Isaac Beaupre were the goalscorers for the Raiders (16-3-2) and Mike Bresett recorded 18 saves.

Jamie Martell got the only goal for the Colonels on assists from Lindsey and Phillip Perkins. Greg DeSilva made 26 saves as the Colonels finished their season with an 11-11 record.

Girls’ basketball

• It was Senior Night last Tuesday at the BUHS gym, so it was fitting that the quartet of 12th-graders playing in their final home game of their high school careers saved the day for the Colonels in a 44-36 win over Burr & Burton.

Mary Richardson led the way with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. McKenzie Bover added 9 points and 9 rebounds, while Becca Bird pitched in with 7 points, and Lindsay Johnson added 4 points.

The Colonels wrapped up the regular season in Bennington on Friday with a 49-46 loss to Mount Anthony. Brattleboro led 24-20 at the half, and 39-35 after three quarters, but couldn’t hang on. Richardson again had the hot hand with 17 points, while Abbie Lesure added 11 points.

Brattleboro ended the season at 6-14, and were seeded No. 14 in the Division I playoffs. They are on the road Wednesday night to face No. 3 Colchester in a first-round game.

• The Leland & Gray home crowd in Townshend also bid farewell to their seniors — Callie Ginter and Sam Russ — last Tuesday, but it was Ashley Goddard who helped send off her teammates with a victory. Goddard had 18 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists in leading the Rebels to a 40-24 win over Twin Valley. Haley Buffum added 10 points. Savannah Nesbit scored 10 to lead the Wildcats.

Leland & Gray finished the regular season at 9-11 and earned No. 11 seed in the Division III playoffs. They were scheduled to play a first-round game at sixth-seeded Rivendell on Tuesday.

• Bellows Falls lost its regular season finale to Green Mountain, 35-28, on Friday. The Terriers trailed 22-5 in the first half, but whittled the lead down to 6 points in the final two minutes before GM won the game at the free throw line. Emily Dufault led the Terriers with 12 points, while Chelsea Wilder added 9.

The Terriers finished the regular season at 6-14 and are the No. 14 seed in the Division II playoffs. They were scheduled to travel to No. 3 Fair Haven on Tuesday night.

• Twin Valley also dropped its last regular season game, a 45-38 home loss to Arlington. Savannah Nesbitt and Shannon Lozito scored 17 and 10 points, respectively to lead the 11-9 Wildcats. Abbi Molner pulled down 9 rebounds.

The Wildcats got the No. 9 seed in Division III, which means they were on the road Tuesday night for a first-round game at No. 8 Winooski.

Nordic skiing

• The Brattleboro girls could not repeat as champions, as the three powerhouse teams in Division I — Champlain Valley, Mount Anthony, and Mount Mansfield — finished 1-2-3 ahead of the Colonels as the state Nordic championships finished up last Tuesday at Grafton Ponds.

Brattleboro’s Halie Lange placed second in the individual classical race, covering the 5.9 kilometer course in 20 minutes, 26.39 seconds. She was just behind first-place winner Sienna Searles of CVU, who won in 20:18.58. Leah Silverman, Helen Man­ning and Emma Straus rounded out the Colonels’ top four. In the classical relay (4 X 2.5 kilometers), the Colonels came in third in 35:48.

• The Brattleboro boys also finished fourth overall, as Mount Mansfield came in first, followed by Mount Anthony and CVU.

The Colonels placed two skiers in the top 10 of the classical race, with Graham Glennon finishing fourth in 17:36.12 and Jacob Ellis finishing 10th in 17:55,40. Noah Borochoff-Porte came in 34th and Sam Green was 53rd. Brattleboro finished fourth in the relay in 30:56.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #142 (Wednesday, March 7, 2012).

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