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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006

Rebels win second straight BF Holiday Tournament

With additional reporting from Robert Litchfield in Townshend, Westminster, and Chester.

The Leland & Gray Rebels girls’ basketball team made it to the finals of the Bellows Falls Holiday Tournament on Saturday, and came away with their second straight championship.

In the tourney’s opening game on Friday night, the Rebels beat Sharon Academy, 57-31. Ashley Goddard led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Chelby Nystrom scored nine and had three steals.

The Rebels faced Bellows Falls in the championship game, and battled to a 33-24 win over the Terriers. BF had a 16-13 lead at the half, as both teams played with a physical tenacity that seems to have carried over from their battles during soccer season.

Leland & Gray clawed back to a 24-20 lead after three periods, and took control in the fourth as Goddard and senior captain Alex Morrow led the way. Goddard had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Morrow added nine points and five assists. Emily Dufault was the Terriers’ top scorer with 10 points.

The championship game was a rematch of a Dec. 17 game, a contest that saw the Rebels beat Bellows Falls, 42-29, at Holland Gymnasium. Goddard had 18 points and 15 rebounds to go with seven steals, three blocked shots, and four assists. Morrow added seven points and seven rebounds. Enny Mustapha scored 11 to lead the Terriers.

Girls’ basketball

• Twin Valley came up short to Green Mountain, 55-51, in the Green Mountain Holiday Tournament last Friday night. The Wildcats had their chances, but were undone by a 12-for-32 night at the free throw line and numerous turnovers. Abbi Molner led the Wildcats with 18 points, while Jordan Niles added 14. Madi Huntley scored 21 and Katie Haseltine added 20 to lead the Chieftains.

The Wildcats were to play Springfield on Saturday in the consolation game, but the game got snowed out. It will be replayed on Jan. 10 in Wilmington.

On Dec. 21, Windsor defeated Twin Valley in Wilmington, 45-39. This game was close for three quarters until the Yellowjackets put it away in the final minutes. Sammy Cunningham-Darrah scored 9 points and Molner had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Wildcats.

• Brattleboro traveled to St. Johnsbury last Friday, and fell to the Hilltoppers, 48-39. St. Johnsbury took control of the game with a 13-5 surge in the third quarter, but Brattleboro’s Ari Harrison kept the Colonels in it with a stellar performance — 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Boys’ basketball

• Leland & Gray is off to a good start. On Dec. 21, the Rebels crushed winless Black River, 78-12, in Townshend. The Rebels dominated from start to finish, making the majority of their shots and outrebounding the Presidents at both ends of the floor. A 29-0 Rebel run in the third period ended any doubt that this one would be close.

Much of the credit goes to senior co-captains Billy Nupp and Drew Barnum. Nupp led the team with three blocks and had a total of nine points. Barnum led the team in scoring with 17 points along with a pair of nice blocks.

Other players had an exceptional game as well. Senior Michael Bergeron led the team in defensive rebounds with seven, senior Zach Wilkins led the team in steals with five, and sophomore Corey Nystrom added 11 points as every Rebel player that went into game scored at least once. Junior Ben Veysey led the Presidents with six points.

The Rebels opened the Green Mountain Holiday Tournament in Chester last Friday afternoon with a 44-31 win over Springfield. Bergeron led the Rebels with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Barnum added 16, including three three-pointers. It was a sloppy game for the Rebels, with 30 turnovers. It was also their lowest point total of the season so far.

• In the GM Tourney’s late game on Friday, Twin Valley beat Green Mountain, 62-52. Colin Lozito led the Wildcats with 22 and Dal and Cade Nesbitt chipped in 19 and 11, respectively. Kyle Kemp led the Chieftains with 18.

That set up the boys’ championship game between Twin Valley and Leland & Gray on Saturday, but it got snowed out. The game will be played instead on Jan. 2 in Wilmington.

• In a rematch of last year’s Division I semifinal, Mount Mansfield came out on top again over Brattleboro, 44-36, in Jericho on Dec. 15. Jackson Batchelder was the Colonels’ top scorer with 11.

The Colonels fared no better when they played their next game at home on Dec. 21. St. Johnsbury used 10 three-pointers and a 1-3-1 full court press that forced numerous turnovers to clobber Brattleboro, 73-31. Chris McAuliffe scored a team-high eight points for Brattleboro, while Tyler Higley and Isaac Roach added six each.

The losing streak continued in the Fran Pinard tournament in Barre last week. Last Friday, the Colonels lost 49-41 to Spaulding, then they got whipped by Vergennes, 71-45, the following night to fall to 1-5.

Ice hockey

• The Brattleboro Colonels boys’ hockey team got their season off to a good start, winning their first four games on the way to a 5-1 record at week’s end.

Coach Eric Libardoni says his team has maintained its traditional physical style of play, but it has added better puck movement and tighter defense to the mix.

The Colonels beat Hartford, 5-2, in the home opener at Withington Rink on Dec. 19, and followed that up with a 6-1 win at Mount Mansfield on Dec. 22.

Last week, the Colonels played in the Middlebury Holiday Tournament and were beaten by Lake Placid, N.Y., 3-0, on Friday. The following night, Brattleboro bounced back to beat Middlebury, 2-1. The Colonels rallied to win with a pair of goals from Phil Perkins in the third period. Goalie Greg DiDiSilva made 26 saves to get the win.

• On Dec. 15, the Colonel girls lost to Hartford, 4-1. Maddie Rollins got an unassisted goal in the second period, and goalie Alex Fellows made 30 saves.

Four days later, the Colonels were in Manchester for a rematch with Burr & Burton, and lost 6-1. Madison Doucette got the only goal for Brattleboro in the second period, assisted by Rollins and Kellie Schiller on a power play.

“This was our fourth game and our third game against a Division I team,” said Colonels coach Melinda Burke. “It is a tough schedule to start our season with but I can’t — and won’t — make excuses for the team when I don’t see a sustained effort. My hope is that we learn from our mistakes and put those games behind us.”

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month begins

• Many people vow to get active in the New Year, and what could be more fun than playing in the snow and learning a new sport to get you moving in 2013.

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month and Ski Vermont offers $29 packages including professional lessons, equipment rentals and a beginner lift ticket. Sign up at http://www.skivermont.com/learn while supplies last.

Also, on Jan. 12, Vermont’s nordic skiing centers will offer a free day of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. If you’ve ever wanted to try either sport, here’s your chance. Go to http://www.wintertrails.org for more details.

BUHS winter sports passes now available

• Beginning Jan. 2, season passes for the remainder of the Brattleboro Colonels’ winter sports season will be available for public purchase. The passes cost $25 for students and $30 for adults, and allow admission to varsity basketball and ice hockey games for the remainder of the winter season.

The passes will only allow admission to home events, and will not be accepted by visiting schools. The passes also exclude all VPA-sponsored tournament contests. They may be purchased in the main office at Brattleboro Union High School when school is in session, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., or by appointment by calling 802-451-3437.

For more information, call Athletic Director Chris Sawyer at 802-451-3979.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #184 (Wednesday, January 2, 2013).

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