The West Rutland High School boys hoop team recently traveled to take on the Green Mountain Chieftains, losing a tough one in overtime, 46-40, at Nason Gym in Chester. The loss (at press time) put the Golden Horde at 4-5 on the season, while Green mountain improved to 3-8.
From the get-go, these two teams went back and fourth throughout the first quarter, with Green Mountain taking a five point lead out of the gate on the strength of lay ups from senior Henry Dent and junior Jacob Walker, and jump shots from senior-captains Jason Albert and Mike Cavacas for a 10-5 lead. However, the Golden Horde would come back to tie it on jumpers from seniors Adan Garcia and Greg DuPrey and a foul shot from Ryan Harvey, before Green Mountain came back to take a 14-8 lead at the end of the quarter on two free throws from junior Tyler Francouer and a buzzer-jumper from Cavacas.
The Horde would get hot in the second quarter, scoring on three straight possessions including a 3-pointer from DuPrey, to get within a point, before two Albert jumpers kept the Chiefs' lead at five halfway through the quarter. West Rutland kept fighting back, but after six straight points to end the quarter, Green mountain had a 26-22 lead at the half. The GM senior-captains Albert and Cavacas had eight points each at the break, while Harvey led West Rutland with eight points.
Green Mountain started to create a little breathing room for themselves early in the second half, getting back-to-back hoops inside from Cavacas and a jumper from Albert to increase the lead to 10.
But to West Rutland's credit, they bounced back again on baskets from DuPrey, senior Adan Garcia and freshman Joey Callahan, to cut the score back to one heading into the final stanza.
The two teams went back-and-fourth throughout the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs holding a five-point lead with two minutes left. But a late West Rutland surge, capped off by a steal and lay up from junior Emmitt Ackerman, would tie the score at 50 with just 30 seconds left. After the Chiefs called a time out, they ran the clock down for a last shot, but some good Horde defense deflected a pass away as time ran out and causing over time.
In the four-minute overtime period, Green Mountain's Walker hit four clutch free throws down the stretch and after an Albert steal in the final minute of play, the Chiefs were able to hold the West Rutland offense scoreless and effectively run out the clock for a 46-40 win in front of a cheering home crowd.
"We really needed this win tonight, and the guys really played hard and went after it," Green Mountain coach Robert "Stretch" Gillam said after the game. "We were really effective in the over time, which was great to see. Walker's free throws at the end were really big, and I think Mike (Cavacas) really stepped up and had a big game for us tonight."
For the game, Cavacas led the way for Green Mountain and led all scorers with 15 points, while Albert scored 13 and Walker pitched in with eight. For West Rutland, Harvey led the way with 13 points, while Garcia and Callahan pitched in with 11 and nine points respectively.
Bellows Falls Can't Run With Fall Mountain
The Bellows Falls Union High School boys' hoop team recently lost a tough, home match-up against Fall Mountain Regional High School, with the Terriers falling 52-27 to the Wildcats at Holland Gym in Westminster.
Despite the lop-sided score, Bellows Falls played some good, zone-defense early on, which forced the Wildcats into shooting long jumpers that weren't falling. In fact, when Bellows Falls senior Peter Falzo hit a 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining in the first quarter, the Terriers found themselves trailing just 9-7 after one quarter.
Unfortunately for the home team, however, this would be as close as Bellows Falls would get in this one, as Fall Mountain came out running in the second quarter and scored the next 14 straight points to take a 23-7 lead, before a baseline floater from junior Jeremy Kilburn broke the string at 23-9. The sudden run was spurred by two blocked shots from six-foot-ten big man Thomas Kreek, and a Wildcat fast break that the Terriers couldn't catch up to the rest of the night.
Outside shots from juniors Kaian Wilkes and Ryan Bentley, then a steal and lay up from St. Pierre in the final minute of the quarter, gave the Wildcats a comfortable, 28-9 halftime lead. St. Pierre led Fall Mountain with 12 points at the break, while Wilkins had five. For Bellows Falls, Falzo had three points and three others added two.
"We did a good job defensively in the first quarter and hung in there for a while," Bellows Falls coach Evan Chadwick said. "But after that, we seemed to become a little intimidated by their size and just couldn't recover."
In the beginning of the third quarter, Bellows Falls senior Luke Brophy scored consecutive baskets to help get the crowd back into it, but it was short-lived as Fall Mountain proceeded to go on a nine-point run to increase the lead to 37-13 before a Will Bourne lay up broke the string with two minutes left in the quarter. The Wildcats would score the last six points of the period on four foul shots and a St. Pierre jumper to take a 43-15 lead into the final stanza.
To Bellows Falls'' credit, however, they kept working hard, but Fall Mountain simply had too much size and speed and continued to run their offense effectively, pushing the lead to as much as 18 points mid-way through the quarter. Terrier junior Joe Aslin hit a couple shots (including a 3-pointer) and impressive freshman Kendrick Mills also scored late, but this one was long over as the Fall Mountain cruised to a 52-27 win.
"We came out a little slow tonight, settling for a lot of jump shots against their zone defense," Wildcat coach Jason Bardis said after the game. "But some of our shots finally started falling and we were able to run our plays and try some new combinations on the floor."
Fall Mountain's Jed St. Pierre led all scorers with 19 points, while while senior Mike Templeton scored 10 and Kaian Wilkes pitched in with seven. For Bellows Falls, Kendrick Mills led the way with nine points.
"Tonight was a tough match up for us," BF coach Chadwick concluded. "They are a lot bigger than us and have a deep bench, but I am proud of these kids because they come every day and give everything they have. Despite wins and losses, they continue to go as hard as they can until the final whistle."