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March 13, 2019     Journal Opinion
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March 13, 2019

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Local Sp Thetford beats Oxbow for state title BARRE—The last time Oxbow faCed Off against Thetford for the Vermont Division 3 girls’ championship it was 1983. Tootsie was the #1 movie in the country, “Billie Jean” sat at #1 on the Billboard chart, and Ronald Reagan was President. Oxbow was a powerhouse in the midst of winning five state championships in six years, and looking to repeat the championship they’d won the year before. it was only Thetford’s second appearance in the state championship game ever. The Olympians rolled over the Panthers that night 54-29, but in 2019 the roles were reversed. Oxbow’s only been in two of the last 22 championship games (winning one, losing one) while Thetford was appearing for a record- setting sixth consecutive year and looking more and more like a dynasty. Eighth-seeded Oxbow was playing the role of Cinderella as they finished the season with five straight losses and a 7— 13 record. They looked good in their three postseason wins, but 2"d ranked Thetford was a well-oiled machine, accustomed to the extra bounce Barre Auditorium puts in every player’s step. It was going to be a steep hill to climb for the Olympians. This played out according to script when things started out defensively and the two teams played tight. Oxbow managed just a single hoop over the first eight minutes as they had a tough time with Thetford’s famous pressing de- fense. But Oxbow’s defense was pretty tough too and they held the vaunted Panthers to just 8 points. The tough defense carried into the second stanza and the game settled into a quick pace. Thetford played close on defense but Oxbow worked the ball through the defense and got some looks at the hoop. It was back and forth with Thetford gaining an advantage and increasing their lead. When the halftime horn sounded, Thetford sat atop an 18- 9 lead. Oxbow wasn’t finished and they battled back in the third quarter. The back-and-forth action tired the Olympi- ans, but they hung tough to stay within striking distance. They didn’t gain any ground in the end, but they didn’t give up any either as the score was 32-23 in favor of the Panthers heading into the fourth quarter. The Olympians certainly made it interesting in the final frame. After some back-and-forth action and trailing by 9 points, Oxbow converted two steals into baskets, reducing the Thetford lead to just 5 points. But the Panthers’ experience inthese games showed'as they sank 7 of l 2 foul shots down the stretch to maintain the lead and wind up with a 42-36 win.- Casey MacVeagh led all scorers with 13 points for Thetford. Grace Davis and Kiana Johnson each chipped in with 8. Oxbow was led by Emma Parkin’s 8 points. Melanie Neil added. 7 and Kaysea Neil scored 5 to help the Olympians finish the season with a 10- 14 overall record. Thetford finished the year at 20-2. It was their second championship in the past three years and third in the last six. The Panthers may not be the powerhouse the mid-805 Oxbow teams were yet, but with a solid program coming up behind this year’s champions, they may be just a year or two away. *IIUF Semifinals March 7 No. 2 Thetford 55 No. 3 Windsor 48 BARRE—Thetford was on a roll on March 7 as they took their semifinal game with Windsor in the Vermont Division 3 tournament. The Panthers never trailed in this one as they combined their trademark defense with enough offense to keep the third seeded Yellow Jackets at bay. Thetford scored the first basket of the game and then worked a 15-13 first quarter lead. They spread the scoring around and kept the Jacks fi'om focusing on one ofi‘ensive set by mixing things up. The Panthers were able to add a point to their lead in the second frame to take a 26-23 halftime lead. Thetford’s press took its toll in the third stanza and they scored off some turnovers to increase their lead. With things going their way, the Panthers worked a 40-31 lead heading into the final quarter of play. Windsor came on strong in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers held on for the win. Emi Vaughan led Thethrd with l 5 points while Namya Benjamin scored 13 off the bench. This was the first tirnein a few years that the two teams met in the postseason in a game other than the championship game. Windsor beat Thetford in 2018 for the state title. The year before, the Panthers staged an epic rally in the state championship game to defeat the favored Yellow Jackets. 4‘ II! ’I‘ No. 8 Oxbow 40 No. 5 Green Mountain 33 BARRE—Alter Oxbow dropped their final five regular season games, it would have been easy to write them off. The Olympians weren’t quite ready to do that and after their third consecutive postseason win, they found themselves in familiar territory —the Vermont Division 3 championship game at the famed Barre Auditorium. The semifinal game started slow on the offensive side of things but it picked up midway through. Oxbow fell behind 1 1-7, but then they came right back to knot things up at 18 at the half. . The Olympians were buoyed by their second quarter success and they came back with another 1 l-point stanza, including a 9-0 run to close out the quarter. This time they held the Chieftains to just 5 points as they rode their defense to a 29—23 lead. The final frame saw Green Mountain try to get some traction against Oxbow, eventually fouling the underdogs. But the Olympians held strong and kept their lead with yet another 1 l-point quarter. Emma Parkin led Oxbow with 10 points. The Neil sisters combined for 15 with Kaysea scoring 8 and Melanie adding 7. The win sent Oxbow to their 23'‘1 championship game since the school opened in the fall of 1971. They’ve won 13 of the previous 22. VT Girls Division Tournament For second straight year, BMU falls short BARRE—All year long, BMU was known as a team you could never count out of a game, no matter how far behind they were. Time after time, the Bucks trailed late in a game, but a rally would put them on top. Saturday’ s Vermont Division 4 final against West Rutland followed that script right up until the last minute of play when BMU couldn’t come up with the big shot they needed to take the brass ring. BMU fell behind in this one early as their shots j ust didn’t drop. They hung in there even after the first quarter ended with the Bucks on the wrong end of a 13- 4 score. The second quarter saw the Bucks play even with the Golden Horde as the game took on the typical back- and-forth action championship games often do. Both crowds were vocal in their support and the old Aud was filled with enthusiasm. At halftime the lead remained at 9 points as West Rutland led 22-13. The Bucks started the third quarter with a 5-0 run and it looked like they were going to take control. But a West Rutland 8-0 run followed and suddenly the top-seeded Bucks found themselves trailing by 12 late in the frame. Then BMU came back again by closing out the quarter with a 4-0 run to narrow the gap to 8 points at 32-24. The fourth quarter started with the Bucks doing what they do best as they climbed back into the game again. The quarter started with a 7-0 run that brought BMU to within a point. After a West Rutland foul shot, the Bucks tied it with a Lauryn Alley basket. Momentum had shifted, but this was a game of momentum shifts. The next West Rutland hoop was a 3-pointer that effectively ended the game. The BUCks had opportunities after that, but they scored just 1 point on a foul shot the rest of the way. West Rutland, the 3rd seed, won 39- 3 3. . Alley led all scorers with 14 points. Mika White was next with 5 points with Annie Dennis and Kolby Nelson adding 4 each. Libby Bogie hit just one shot on the night, but it was abig one asthe senior guard hit a 3-pointer to start therun at the start of the third quarter. BMU finished the year with a 20-3 overall record. lit I" III Semifinals March 7 No. l BMU 47 No. 5 MSJ 28 BARRE—BMU came alive in the second half of their semifinal matchup against four-time defending champion Mount St. Joseph at Barre Auditorium. The Bucks trailed by 3 at the break after a low-scoring first half, but they ran away with it after that. The Bucks jumped out to an early lead but the Mounties dropped into a zone defense that stifled the Bucks’ offense after that. After a 10-0 MSJ run, BMU trailed l4-10 before getting a late bucket to make the score l4- 12 after a full period of play. Neither team could find the hoop in the second quarter as tough defenses and nerves gained control of the game. There were lots of missed opportunities on both ends of the court and that led to an 1 1- point quarter. The score stood at 20- l 7 at the halftime horn. . The Bucks came out on fire in the third quarter, going on a 9-0 run to grab a 26-20 lead. A tough full-court press rattled the Mounties and they managed just a single hoop over the eight-minute quarter. BMU dominated the boards and they dominated the game. The last quarter started with the Bucks sitting on a 31-22 lead. BMU coasted to an easy win after that as MSJ never recovered. The victory provided some solace to the Bucks who were defeated by the Mounties in the 201 8 state championship game. Lauryn Alley had a big game as she scored a game-high 18 and hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double. Libby Bogie hit for 7 points, including the first 5 of the Bucks’ 9-point run in the third frame that effectively broke the game open. Alivia Crum also scored 7 as BMU moved to 20-2 on the year. VT Boys Division 4 Tournament Playdowns March 5 No. 1 1 Rivendell 51 N o. 6 BMU 35 WELLS RIVER—Rivendell came out on fire and then used a dominating fourth quarter to take their opening round matchup with BMU as they began their Vermont Division 4 tournament quest. The Raptors scored early and often in a first quarter shootout before settling into a rhythm that put them into the quarter finals Both squads came out with running and gunning on theirminds and they filled the hoop with regularity. When the dust settled it was 1 8- l 6 in favor of Rivendell. OttS The Raptors extended their lead in the second quarter by playing tough defense and dominating under the hoop. Their lead at halftime was 31-25. The Bucks started to step up on defense in the third frame and it paid off. Rivendell’s offense slowed down and the Bucks shaved a point off the lead. With the score set at 38-33 the two teams headed into the final 8 minutes of play. Rivendell didn’t let up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and an early 3-pointer extended their lead. BMU never recovered to get themselves back in the game. Raptor Kyle Carter led Rivendell with 15 points. Zach Gould and Isaac Martel each scored 10 points, with Martel getting double digits in rebounds as well. Tyler Burroughs led all scorers with 18 points for the Bucks, with John Dennis chipping in with 14. BMU finished their season with an 1 l- l 0 record while Rivendell moved to 8-13 overall. * * * Quarterfinals March 8 No. 3 Twin Valley 48 No. 11 Rivendell 46 WILMINGTON—Rivendell gave it a good try, but in the end they didn’t have the firepower to overcome 3rd seeded ' Twin Valley in the .Vermont D4 quarterfinals. A break here or there would have made all the difference in the world as the Raptors overachieving play wasn’t quite enough. Rivendell looked good at the beginning as they stymied the 3rd seeded Wildcats. The Raptors worked the ball around and found open shooters as they built an early lead. Twin Valley seemed surprised at the Raptor intensity and it took a while for them to match it. Rivendell held a 20-1 1 lead in the low- scoring first half. The second half was another story as Twin Valley caught up and a close battle ensued. Things went back and forth right up to the closing horn. The Wildcats essentially won the game on the foul line as they made crucial shots from the charity stripe down the stretch, and it mattered because the Raptors continued to hang points on the board. Things eventually ended up with Rivendell pushing the ball up the court with just seconds left. A half court shot that would have won the game at the buzzer hit the rim but didn’t drop and Rivendell’s season was agonizingly over. The Raptors had a tough start to their year, losing their first seven games. But they came back strong, finishing the year at a 7-6 clip. After knocking BMU from the tourney it looked like Rivendell might just get themselves to Barre Auditorium, but they fell just short. Kyle Carter led the Raptors in the loss with l 8 points. Isaac Martel scored 12 and was, solidupder the hoop,.as he has been all season. Zach Gould, who missed the early part of the season with an injury. chipped in with 9 points as Rivendell finished their year with an 8-14 overall record. VT Boys Division 3 Want Playdowns ' March 6 No. 8 Green Mountain 59 No. 9 Oxbow 56 CHESTER—Oxbow took a tough loss in their opening game of the Vermont Division 3 tournament. The Olympians had a lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats came back to eliminate the 9‘“ seeded Oxbow squad. :1: * Quarterfinals March 8 N o. 3 Thetford 66 No. 6 BFA-Fairfax 51 THEFTORD HILL-After receiving a first round bye, 3rd ranked Thetford easily won their quarterfinal matchup against 6'h seeded BFA. The Bullets kept trying to rally, but Thetford was up to the task. The Panthers came out strong, scoring 19 points in the first flame. It was a physical contest and Thetford played tough defense. After working their way to a 19-13 lead, the Panthers’ pace slowed a bit in the second stanza. Thetford’ 5 half court game worked well and they were able to extend their lead to " 33-24 at halftime. BFA battled back in the third quarter and things tightened up. The Panthers kept pounding away and were able to keep a 48-43 lead heading into the last frame. It started out tight but Thetford was able to open up a good lead and coast to the win. Jake Colby led Thetford with 21 points, includingthreetreys. Caiter Blain had a solid effort and scored 20 points. Eli Dunnet added 13 points with Alex Emerson chipping in with 8. The Panthers improve to 15-5» overall as they head to Barre Auditorium for a semifinal game. They will take on 2"“ seeded Hazen on March 14. The winner moves onto the championship game on March 1 6. NH Boys Division 4 ‘ Tournament Semifinals March 4 No. 1 Epping 50 No. 4 Woodsville 45 HOLDERNESS—Woodsville saw their season come to a halt in their semifinal matchup with top-seeded Epping on March 4. The Engineers had a lead in the first halfbut Epping came on strong after the break to take the win. Woodsville jumped to a 15-10 lead in a fast-paced tgame. Things were playing right into eir hands as the Blue Devils struggled to keep up. The Engineers didn’t let up in the second quarter and they continued to run and gun. This led to a 31-25 halftime lead for the underdogs. Woodsville lost momentum in the third quarter and managed just 5 points. This let Epping back in the game and the score was 3 7-36 Blue Devils heading into the final quarter ofplay. There were several lead changes in the final eight minutes. Woodsville’ 5 biggest lead was 45-41 with just over three minutes remaining. But the Blue Devils went on a 9-point run to close out the game and that was the end ofWoodsville’s season. Billy Green led Woodsville with 18 points, including four3-pointers. Patrick Reardon—Estes added 8 points, with a pair oftreys. Conner Maccini added 7 points for the Engineers, who finished with an overall record of 18-7. S ryn Alley( an“ #1) had another big playoff game for BMU on Saturday In Barre against West Rutland but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Horde swarmed the Bucks, 39-33, to win the D4 state championship. Alley had a game-high 14 points. JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON Alivia rum #44 of BM 5 up for a shot during the Vermont D4 championship game on Saturday afternoon in Barre. Despite a dominant season, the Bucks were unable to defeat West Rutland in the final, losing 39-33. JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON STEVE HARMON ' 6:00am-10:OOam Puffer Broadcasting Inc. fans in the Barre Auditorium. March 13, 2019—JOURNAL OPINION—Page 9 BMU's Libby Bogie (le) tmesnto te flooimdfirlng the game a ainst West Rutland on Saturday during the state championsh mounted a fourth quarter rally to tie the game up, but the The ucks lden Horde '51; killed off the contest with a 3-pointer enroute to a 39-33 win. V JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON use" BMU’s Libby Bogie and Annabelle Dennis react as West Rutland players celebrate m the background at the conclusion of Saturday’s D4 championship game. The Golden Horde won 39-33. Bo is and Dennis , are two of four seniors who played their final basketba l game before V . ~ Oxbow’gfi a Berlin (leftfin Thetford’s Casey MacVea h tussle for the ball during the 3 state championship game. The two players led their respective teams in points scored with the latter picking up a game-high 13 points for the champions and the former pacing the runners-up with 8 points. JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON PENNY MITCHELL 10:00am-3:00pm WYKR COUNTRY JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON past Thetford Academy‘s Grace Davis (#13) during Saturday’s championship game in Barre. Davis finished with 8 points as the Panthers won 42-36 over their rivals. JO PHOTO BY RICHARD SWENSON TAD SVENDSON 3:00pm-8:00pm 101.3 'PM WYKR 101.3 FM / WTWN AM. 1100 P. O. Box 675 1047 US Route 302 Wells River, VT. 05081-0675 . (802) 757-2773 (603) 747-2770 Fax: (802) 757-2774 HiAB NEW HAMPSHiRE ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS vwvw.wykr.com Vermont Association of Broadcasters