They had to come back from a 10-point deficit, but the Woodstock High School boys' hoop team recently defeated Bellows Falls in a close one, defeating the Terriers, 43-40, at Holland Gym in Westminster. Bellows Falls had a shot to tie it at the buzzer, but a 3-pointer hit the front of the rim, allowing the Wasps to sneak out of town with the win.
The Terriers jumped out to an early first quarter lead on baskets from seniors Luke Brophy and Peter Falzo, freshman Kendrick Mills and junior Michael Hall, before the Wasps bounced back on two baskets in the paint from senior J. T. Tolar and a jumper and 3-pointer from senior guard Jason Lapan to keep it close at 11-9 after one quarter.
Bellows Falls would then go on a 11-5 run halfway through the second quarter to build a 24-15 lead , keyed by jumpers from senior Drew Guild, Falzo and junior Jeremy Kilburn, before Woodstock came back with a six point run of their own to cut the lead back to three points with just under two minutes left in the second quarter.
After a couple of Terrier turnovers to end the quarter, however, the Wasps got a basket from freshman Zach Cole and a free throw from Lapan to take a one-point lead into the half. Lapan led all scorers at the break with 10 points, while Tolar added eight. For the Terriers, Falzo led the way with eight points while Hall added six.
At the start of the second half, the two teams would go back and forth with neither team taking more than a three-point lead, as both squads playing well defensively but struggling offensively. In fact Woodstock would only score seven points in the quarter while the Terriers were held to just three, as the Wasps held a slim, 33-29 lead heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth, the Wasps suddenly found their offense and after three consecutive baskets including another 3-pointer from Lapan, Woodstock had their biggest lead of the game 39-29 before a Guild floater in the lane broke the string. But the Bellows Falls came right back, causing Woodstock to turn the ball over on four consecutive possessions and after BF's Falzo blocked a shot which turned into a Will Bourne lay up, and then a Kilburn steal and lay up halfway through the quarter, the Terriers cut the lead back to two.
After BF's Bourne hit one-of-two free throws to give the Terriers a one-point lead, Lapan hit two clutch free throws at the other end to give the Wasps a one-point lead with under two minutes to go. Coming out of a time out BF turned the ball over , then had to foul to stop the clock with 36 seconds on the clock.
After Lapan missed the front end of a one-and-one at the foul line the Terriers had another chance to take the lead, but after a Guild floater in the lane rimmed out, Lapan got fouled again bit this time, hit both free throws to extend the lead to three. Bellows Falls had one last shot to tie the game on a 3-pointer, but Kilburn's final shot hit the front of the rim at the buzzer, giving Woodstock the 43-40 win.
"It was another tough loss for the kids tonight but once again, they worked hard and they never give up," Bellows Falls coach Evan Chadwick said after the game. "We didn't shoot very well and we must have missed at least a half dozen lay ups, that certainly didn't help. Despite that, we are showing more poise at the end of games and we just have to shake it off and get ready for the next one."
Jason Lapan led the way for Woodstock with 23 points, while J. T. Tolar pitched in with 13 points and 10 rebounds. For Bellows Falls, Peter Falzo was the only Terrier in double-figures with 10, while Michael Hall scored seven and Jeremy Kilburn pitched in with six.
Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls. Visit Joe at www.jemsportsimages.com and www.jemwriting.com