Springfield guard Lexi Bills (1) tries to get around Brattleboro defenders Alexx LaBounty, center, and Caden Russell during second-half Unified basketball playoff action on May 17 at the BUHS gym. Brattleboro went on to win, 47-40.
Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Springfield guard Lexi Bills (1) tries to get around Brattleboro defenders Alexx LaBounty, center, and Caden Russell during second-half Unified basketball playoff action on May 17 at the BUHS gym. Brattleboro went on to win, 47-40.

Brattleboro, Twin Valley begin Unified playoffs

-The Unified Basketball playoffs have begun in Vermont, and the undefeated and top-seeded Brattleboro Bears took their first step in the tournament with a 47-40 win over the eighth-seeded Springfield Cosmos on May 17 in the BUHS gym, while the seventh-seeded Twin Valley Wildcats lost their first-round game, 54-47, to the 10th-seeded Mount Anthony Patriots in Bennington on May 14.

• Brattleboro faced Springfield for the second straight year in their playoff opener. Last year, Brattleboro needed a buzzer-beating basket to defeat the Cosmos and, this year, the Cosmos again made it tough on the Bears.

The Bears opened with a 12-2 run in the first three minutes of the game as Austin Pinnette, Jeffrey White, and Josh Starkey each had a pair of baskets. The Cosmos hung around and cut the Bears' lead to 20-12 at the midpoint of the second quarter. After a timeout, Tyler Bolduc sank a three-pointer and Ashley Cleveland scored a pair of baskets to give the Bears a 27-12 lead at the half.

Brattleboro entered the third quarter with a 37-28 lead, but the Bears' offense went cold and the Cosmos went on a 12-2 run and, suddenly, the Bears' lead was down to 43-40 with 35 seconds to play. Pinnette, who led the Bears with 14 points, saved the day with a pair of baskets in the final 25 seconds to seal the victory.

Starkey added 10 points for the Bears, Cleveland, Bobby Petrie, and Alexx LaBounty all chipped in four points each, and Shaeleigh Willard and Jeff White each had a basket. Lexi Bills scored 10 points and had several steals, and Lucas Orchitt scored eight points to lead the Cosmos.

Bears coach Tyler Boone said that the key to the win was that the team stayed together and didn't get down when things weren't going their way.

"That's our theme for the playoffs, staying together," Boone said. "We knew Springfield would give us their very best. They are a good, well-coached team and their defense was amazing. But a win doesn't mean anything unless it's done together and Austin did a good job getting everyone involved on offense throughout the game."

At press time, the Bears beat Middlebury, 43-38, in the South semifinal on May 20 and defeated Burr & Burton, 41-30, for the South championship on May 21. The Bears will now play for a state title on May 23. We'll have all the details in next week's paper.

• Twin Valley hosted its first-ever playoff game and built up a 47-40 lead over Mount Anthony before the Patriots went on a 14-0 run in the final 2:45 of the game to win. Jacob Burch keyed the MAU rally with eight points and several rebounds. Thomas Richard was the top scorer for Twin Valley.

The Wildcats' only win of the season came against MAU on May 6, a 56-50 victory, and it was not a surprise that the rematch would close.

Twin Valley has improved with each game in their first season of Unified basketball. This year's roster was filled with eighth- and ninth-graders, so coaches Alison Kelly and Chris Brown will have a strong foundation to build upon for next season.


• Sam Bogart's squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning drove in the winning run as Brattleboro defeated Otter Valley, 3-2, on May 18 at Tenney Field.

The dramatic victory helped the Bears improve to 4-7. Earlier in the week, they lost at Hartford, 14-4, on May 14, and lost 3-2 at St. Johnsbury on May 16.

• Bellows Falls split a pair of games last week. The 6-5 Terriers beat Woodstock, 14-11, on May 14, and lost to Hartford, 6-5, on May 16.

• Twin Valley lost to Proctor, 12-2, on May 13 in a five-inning game cut short by the mercy rule. The Wildcats then played one of their best games of the season in a 9-6 loss to West Rutland in eight innings on May 18 at Baker Field in Wilmington. With the game tied 6-6 going into the top of the eighth inning, Grady Johnson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Jesse Flood hit an RBI single, and a third run scored on a passed ball.

• Leland & Gray had last week off. The 5-6 Rebels will close out the season with five games in nine days, starting on May 21 in Townshend against Woodstock.


• Bellows Falls rolled to a 17-0 win over Springfield on May 13. Emma Thompson went 4-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Terriers' offense and winning pitcher Izzy Stoodley held the Cosmos to just three hits.

The rest of the week did not go as well for the Terriers as they were edged at Hartford, 10-9, on May 16, and got walloped by the defending Division III champions, Oxbow, 26-0, on May 17 in Westminster. BF is now 8-4 and is ranked second in Division III behind undefeated Oxbow.

• Brattleboro lost three games last week to fall to 0-10. The Bears were beaten 20-3 at Hartford on May 13, lost 12-0 at St. Johnsbury on May 16, and fell to Otter Valley, 17-7, on May 18 at Sawyer Field.

• Leland & Gray had a mixed week, with a 14-13 loss to Long Trail on May 13 and a 12-0 loss to West Rutland on May 15 before beating Twin Valley, 12-0, on May 17. The Rebels are now 6-6 on the season.

• Twin Valley also lost to Proctor, 18-12, on May 13 in Jacksonville. The Wildcats now are 1-7.


• Six goals in the third quarter broke open a close game as Mount Anthony beat the Brattleboro boys, 9-3, on May 16 at Natowich Field. After a scoreless first quarter, Sam Madow scored for the Bears at the start of the second quarter. MAU tied the game about a minute later and got the go-ahead goal as time expired for a 2-1 halftime lead.

The Patriots padded their lead with a pair of quick goals five minutes into the third period. Alex Dick later scored for the Bears to cut the MAU lead to two goals with about five minutes left. MAU captain Tyler DeBoer then scored three straight goals in the space of three minutes, and Charlie Buckley added another to give the Patriots a 8-2 lead.

James Fagley scored a goal for the Bears at the end of the third quarter, but the damage had been done and Brattleboro never recovered. Together with a 14-6 loss to Woodstock on May 13 and a 11-8 win over St. Johnsbury on May 18, the Bears are now 2-8 on the season.

• The Brattleboro girls started last week with a 15-5 loss to Woodstock on May 15 and a 13-4 loss to Burr & Burton on May 17, but ended the week with a 14-13 win over St. Johnsbury to improve their record to 3-6.

Ultimate disc

• Leland & Gray topped Brattleboro, 12-10, on May 13 as Jackson Fillion had three goals and six assists to lead the Rebels. Trevor Hazelton also scored three goals and had six blocks on defense. Avery Hiner added three goals as the Rebels avenged a 12-7 win on May 3 in Townshend. The teams will meet once more in the season finale on May 31.

Flood-damaged West River Trail awaits repairs

• Last July's flooding did a number on the West River Trail in Jamaica State Park. The trail, which follows the roadbed of the former West River Railroad, saw landslides and washouts that closed more than half of the 3.1 mile section of the trail that is within the park.

As a result, more than half of the popular hiking, jogging, and biking path that meanders alongside the West River remains closed.

Assistant park manager Seb Ramey told VTDigger.org last week that debris from last summer's landslide still blocked the unusable section of the trail, including fallen trees, broken branches, soil from the hillside, and rocks big and small. Ramey said that during his weekly inspections of the damaged slope, he has seen signs that the soil has not completely settled.

The soil continues to shift because of water saturation not only from last summer's floods but also from this winter's snowmelt, according to State Geologist Ben DeJong. He said a geotechnical engineering firm, contracted by the state to make repairs along the trail, would have to wait until the soil dried up to begin repair work.

"Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to predict what kind of summer we will have. If it is another wet one like last year," DeJong told VTDigger, "then it may prove difficult to implement a remedy."

Vermont State Parks Director Nate McKeen told VTDigger that he is hopeful the trail repairs can be completed within the season. The next step, he said, is for their contracted engineering firm to finish making the repair designs.

The trail damage has had an effect on park usage. Ramey has seen several potential day users of the park turn around after being informed that much of the park's West River Trail was not accessible. And when the campgrounds at the park opened for the season on Mother's Day weekend, he said they were only about half-full. "That's unheard of," he said. "Usually it's fully booked months in advance."

Given how many people come to the park each year to camp and hike, losing the West River Trail for another season is an unwelcome hit to the West River Valley economy. Here's hoping the state gets the trail reopened sooner, rather than later.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 3 of the spring/summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on May 16 saw first place Half Normal (12-3) have a 2-3 week, but still remain in first place. Slo Movers (10-5) had a 4-1 week to move into second place. Three Musketeers (9-6) are now in third, followed by Spare Change (8-7), Hi Rollers, Stayin' Alive, and Split Happens (all 7-8), Fab Four (6-9), and Misguided (5-10).

Diane Cooke had the women's high handicap game (263), and she and Carol Gloski both had the high handicap series (643). Chuck Adams had the men's high handicap game (277) and Wayne Randall had the high handicap series (643). Three Musketeers had the high team handicap game (921) and series (2,501).

Chuck Adams had the men's high scratch series (615) with a 277 game, while John Walker had a 568 series with a 231 game, and Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 538 series with a 192 game. Marty Adams had a 527 series with a 191 game, while Milt Sherman had a 519 series with games of 193 and 192, Fred Ashworth had a 511 series with a 198 game, and Wayne Randall had a 510 series.

Nancy Dalzell had the women's high scratch series (468) and game (189). Pat Bentrup had a 170 game.

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected]. With additional reporting by Tiffany Tan of VTDigger.org.

This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.

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