After two tough road defeats to the top two teams in Division I — a 58-49 loss to Burlington on Jan. 11, and a 82-62 loss to St. Johnsbury on Jan. 14 — the Brattleboro Colonels boys’ basketball team needed some home cooking to get back on track.
In their first home game of the new year, the Colonels rolled to a 58-40 win over the Essex Hornets last Friday.
The Colonels took a 23-13 lead after one period as Chris McAuliffe scored 10 of his game-high 18 points. Issac Roach — who scored 22 in the St. Johnsbury game — had the hot hand in the second quarter with seven points as the Colonels outscored the Hornets 20-6 and took a 43-19 lead at the half.
“We’ve been focusing on the offense over the last couple of weeks, and it’s starting to pay off,” said Brattleboro coach Joe Rivers. “They’re making good decisions and getting to the right spots on the floor.”
The scoring pace slacked in the second half for the Colonels, but Essex could not take advantage. Brad Snow scored 15 points, and Eniz Camdzic added 12 for the Hornets. Roach and Bobby Righi were the other Colonels in double figures, with 11 and 10 respectively.
The Colonels are still in the middle of the Division I standings at 5-3, but if they play the rest of the way as they did against Essex in the first half, they’ll be in good shape for the playoffs.
• A good night on defense was key to a 48-38 win for Twin Valley over Mt. Everett in Wilmington on Jan. 13.
The Wildcats held their Massachusetts rivals scoreless for more than 13 minutes. Sammy Cunningham-Darrah had 13 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, and five assists to lead Twin Valley. Colton Butler and Savannah Nesbitt added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The next night, Twin Valley traveled to Rutland and lost to Mount St. Joseph, 36-16.
• Brattleboro got by St. Johnsbury, 38-27, on Jan. 13, following that up with a 47-31 win over Wahconah last Saturday at the BUHS gym. Maddie Derosia scored 16 points and had six rebounds and three assists to lead the Colonels. Kayla Savage added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Arianna Harrison had seven points and 13 rebounds. Brattleboro finished the week at 7-4.
• Leland & Gray continues to struggle. They lost 43-37 to Springfield on Jan. 14 in Townshend.
• Life is good for the Twin Valley Wildcats. With much of the roster composed of the same athletes who led the soccer team to an undefeated state championship season, the Wildcats are undefeated in basketball, too.
Twin Valley won its eighth straight game and set a new school record for consecutive wins on Jan. 13 with a 75-56 victory at Leland & Gray. Dal Nesbitt led the Wildcats with 25 points, while Colin Lozito had 18 points and 10 assists. Cory Nystrom led the Rebels with 21 points.
The Wildcats then upped the winning streak to 10 with wins over West Rutland (63-49) and Otter Valley (59-51). Lozito led the way against West Rutland with 18 points and seven assists, Sam Molner had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and DJ Lazelle had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Dal Nesbitt led the Wildcats with 22 points against Otter Valley as Molner (11), Lazelle (10), and Lozito (10) also scored. Cade Nesbitt had eight assists, seven rebounds, and blocked four shots, while Lazelle pulled down 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats have used all 12 players on the roster, and are playing with the same intensity that we saw in the fall during soccer season. That earned them a visit with Gov. Peter Shumlin on Tuesday, as the soccer team was honored for its state title. At the pace the basketball team is playing, the governor may want to pencil the Twin Valley boys in for a springtime visit.
• Bellows Falls’ losing streak stands at four after home losses last week to Windsor (72-53) and Fall Mountain (59-49). At 2-6, they’re near the bottom of the Division II standings.
• Brattleboro’s Oliver Pomazi and Nevada Powers have emerged as the stalwarts of their Nordic teams this season.
Pomazi finished ninth in 17 minutes, 52 seconds to lead the Colonel boys at a recent meet at Woodstock. Spencer Loggia finished 20th, followed by Colby McGinn (23rd), Phelan Muller (33rd), and Declan King (37th).
Powers, who led the Colonel girls’ cross country team last fall, is taking that same leadership role for the girls’ Nordic team. She was 17th in the girls’ race in 21:03. Eve Pomazi was 25th, followed by Catey Yost (32nd), and Katie Reynolds (41st).
• The Brattleboro boys suffered their worst loss of the season, an 8-0 defeat at the hands of Northfield at Withington Rink last Saturday. Jackson Tucker had two goals and an assist to lead Northfield. It was the fourth loss in a row for the 3-8 Colonels.
• After their 12-1 loss to Cathedral, the Brattleboro girls were more competitive in their next two games, but still came short with losses to Northfield (7-4) on Jan. 11 and Hartford (3-1) on Jan. 18. The Colonels are now 1-9.
From Vermont to Sochi
• The 2014 Winter Olympics start in weeks in Sochi, Russia, and two West Dover alumni of the Mount Snow Academy — Kelly Clark and Devin Logan — will be going for the gold.
For Clark, 30, this is her fourth trip the Olympics. She won the gold in the women’s halfpipe in 2002, finished fourth in 2006, and won a bronze medal in 2010.
She has established a towering reputation as one of the most dominant and innovative riders in snowboarding. And she just keeps getting better. Clark has 60 career wins, the most of any snowboarder, male or female, in history.
In 2012, Clark won 16 events in a row and every major title on the pro circuit. Last year she won two X Games gold medals, the Burton U.S. Open, and a victory at the Olympic venue in Sochi.
It will be the first trip to the Olympics for Logan, who turns 21 next month. She was a quick study in the world of freeskiing. At 15, she took second in the women’s halfpipe at the U.S. Championships. Two years later, in 2011, she started competing full-time and earned her U.S. halfpipe skiing and AFP overall titles.
In 2012, she made the podium in 12 events, including two X Games medals and her second straight AFP overall title, but her Olympic dreams were dealt a huge setback when she suffered a knee injury requiring major surgery and a long rehabilitation. She went to college and even put in some time as an event judge while rehabbing her knee.
When she returned to competition this season, Logan regained her form, qualifying for both halfpipe and slopestyle events at the Sochi games by winning the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Park City, Utah.
• Stratton Mountain School also has two alumni on this year’s women’s snowboarding team. Its most famous rider, Lindsey Jacobellis, 28, is making her third trip to the Olympics in snowboard cross. She finished with a silver in 2006 and fifth place in 2010.
She’s a 36-time World Cup medalist and winner of the world championship in 2005, 2007, and 2011. After getting off to a fast start in 2012, Jacobellis blew out her knee — and is only now regaining the form that established her as the most dominant rider in women’s snowboard cross.
Ellery Hollingworth, 22, of Darien, Conn., has been on the pro circuit for several years, and took third at the Burton U.S. Open in 2009.
• While the snowboarders get all the attention, there’s also a women’s biathlon competitor with local ties going to Sochi.
Susan Dunklee, 27, of Craftsbury, is the daughter of Nordic skiing legend Stan Dunklee of Brattleboro, who competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics and, along with Bill Koch, was one of the top U.S. ski racers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Susan learned to ski at age 2, and took up shooting at 22 when she joined the U.S. Biathlon Team’s development program. She placed fifth in the 2012 World Championships in her first season, and recently finished fourth in the 7.5-kilometer sprint event in Antholz, Italy. That was the best World Cup finish ever for a U.S. woman in biathlon.