The Leland & Gray Rebels and the Bellows Falls Terriers are both going through down seasons in high school girls’ basketball. But when these two schools play each other, the result is usually close, and the action usually intense.
And that’s how it was Feb. 6 in Townshend as the Rebels squandered a big second-half lead, getting it together at the end to hold off a scrappy, determined Terrier squad for a 46-43 win.
Bellows Falls was coming off their highest-scoring game of the season, a 68-23 rout of Poultney on Feb. 3. Chelsea Wilder (17 points), Stephanie Parsons (16), and Molly Dufault (10) all reached double figures for the Terriers, while Hannah Kelly and Emily Dufault chipped in nine apiece. It was the third consecutive victory for Bellows Falls.
Leland & Gray had snapped a five-game losing streak with a 44-42 win at Green Mountain on Feb. 1. Rachel Borgensen led the Rebels with 12 points, while Haley Buffum had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals. GM’s Maddie Huntley scored her 1,000th career point in the loss.
But the Rebels lost a close one, 40-31, to Arlington three nights later, and first-year coach Terry Merrow said he had no idea what to expect against the Terriers except that “it would be a physical game, as it always is against BF.”
Freshman guard Jessalyn Stockwell had the hot hand for the Rebels as she scored seven of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter as Leland & Gray took a 13-8 lead.
BF rallied back to cut the Rebels’ lead to 25-23 at the half as Parsons hit a pair of 3s and Wilder chipped in five points. Both would finish with a team-high 12 points.
The Rebels looked like they had put the game away when they went on a 10-0 run in the first 3:40 of the third quarter. But Leland & Gray only scored 11 points after that as the Terriers cracked down on defense.
“We knew how important it was to get off to a quick start in the second half,” said Merrow. “But you can never count out BF.”
“Our girls never give up; it’s not in their nature,” said BF coach Joe Goodhue. “Our problem was getting off to a slow start in the first and third quarters, and that’s been a problem all season.”
BF went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, and Wilder hit a key 3-pointer, but the Terriers ran of time to complete their comeback. Buffum converted on a 3-point play, and Borgenson sank a free-throw in the final minute to help the Rebels hang on. Leland & Gray improved to 5-12 with the win. BF fell to 5-11.
• The Twin Valley victory train kept rolling as this team got its 14th straight win with a 67-45 victory over Black River on Jan. 30. Colin Lozito led the Wildcats with 16 points. Dal Nesbitt scored 14, and Eli Park added 12.
But the Wildcats’ dream of an undefeated season died in Poultney on Feb. 3 with a 59-54 overtime loss to the Blue Devils. At 19 points, Nesbitt was the high scorer for Twin Valley.
• Mount Anthony tried to use a full-court press on defense to stop the Colonels, but the Colonels were unfazed in a raucous game, and held on to win 77-64 at the BUHS gym on Jan. 31.
The Colonels got balanced scoring from Chris McAuliffe (18 points), Sam Siegel (16 points), and Isaac Roach (13 points) as the three keyed a 21-8 run in the final minutes to clinch the victory.
• Mount Anthony needed overtime to beat Brattleboro, 68-61, on Feb. 4 at the BUHS gym to snap the Colonels’ winning streak. The Colonels played one of the best overall games of the season, but it was a 9-for-12 performance at the free-throw line in overtime by the Patriots that won the game.
Three-point shooting was another factor in the game. MAU made 10 of them, and built up a 13-point lead early in the third quarter. But Arianna Harrison, Kayla Savage, and Abbie Lesure responded with plenty of big plays to bring the Colonels back into contention and force overtime.
Harrison finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds. Savage had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and Lesure added 11 points.
The Colonels lost another close one, this time in Rutland, on Feb. 6. The Raiders rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to win, 45-41.
Harrison scored 16, the only Brattleboro player in double digits. But Megan Siggins, Maddy Derosia, and Devin Millerick each hit 3-pointers for the 13-5 Colonels.
• Twin Valley ran their winning streak to eight and their record to 14-4 with a 50-36 win over Green Mountain in Wilmington on Feb. 6.
Kirra Courchesne hit three 3-pointers to key a 25-6 burst in the third quarter by the Wildcats. She finished with 12 points, Colton Butler added 14, and Savannah Nesbitt chipped in with 10 points, nine steals, seven rebounds, and six assists.
• Too many turnovers killed the Brattleboro boys’ chances as St. Johnsbury broke open a close game with five goals in the final period for a 8-2 win at Withington Rink on Feb. 1.
The Colonels trailed 3-2 after the first two periods on goals from Braxton Lynn (assisted by Declan Lonergan, who leads the team with nine goals and seven assists on the season), and Jon Curtis (assisted by Philip Perkins).
• The Brattleboro girls’ went 0-for-5 on the power play and had no answers on defense as Rice cruised to an 8-0 win on Senior Night at Withington Rink on Feb. 1.
Honored before the game were seniors Alex Fellows (who faced 30 shots in goal against Rice), Madison Doucette, Meyru Bhanti, and Dorothy Kinney-Landis.
Rec. Dept. hosts Junior Olympics
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will host the Junior Olympics during Winter Carnival Week.
On Monday, Feb. 17, there will be downhill ski races at Living Memorial Park. Registration starts at 9 a.m., and races start at 9:30.
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, skating races will be held at the Nelson Withington Skating Facility at Living Memorial Park. Registration begins at 2 p.m., with races starting at 2:30.
Both events are open to all school-age children. Ribbons will be awarded to the first five finishers in each of several categories. For more information, call 802-254-5808 or visit Recreation & Parks at www.brattleboro.org.
Harris Hill tickets now on sale
• The annual Harris Hill ski jump competition is this weekend in Brattleboro. Saturday’s Pepsi Challenge and Sunday’s Fred Harris Memorial Tournament will be the only domestic stop in the nine-event International Skiing Federation FIS Cup Series. The event also serves as a stop on the USA Ski Jumping U.S. Cup series.
Competition each day starts at 11 a.m. and concludes by 4 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $20 for adults, $15 for kids 6-12; kids 5 and younger are free. Payment at the gate is cash or check only.
Tickets are also sold at www.BrattleboroTix.com (full rate applies) and can be purchased at a discounted rate ($15 adults, $12 youth) in advance through Feb. 14 at Galanes Vermont Shop, Zephyr Designs, Avenue Grocery, Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Brattleboro Savings and Loan, Burrows Specialized Sports, and Grafton Village Cheese in Brattleboro; and Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington.
For more information, visit www.HarrisHillSkiJump.com.