WHITINGHAM- On Friday the Twin Valley boys’ varsity basketball team had a resounding win over the Poultney Blue Devils in their last game before the playoffs.
In the first quarter, the Blue Devils were the equal of the Wildcats, at least in scoring, and the quarter ended tied at 13. It was the only quarter in which the Poultney team could match Twin Valley. In the second quarter the Wildcats added 16 points to their score, and allowed the Blue Devils only half as many points. “They (Poultney) came in knowing they had to play their best, and they gave their all in the first half,” said Brown. “Our boys pushed them to it, played them hard and fast.”
At halftime the score was 29-21 and the Wildcats began to run away with the game. In one play, Logan Park saved a ball that was headed out of bounds by throwing it backward to Swanson, who calmly sank a three-pointer. In another play, Swanson drove toward the basket and lofted the ball for Boyd who dunked it in to the roar of the crowd. “Brett was going in, and Skyler called to him. That was good communication. We don’t work on that particular play in regular practice,” said Brown. “The boys practice that on their own.” By the end of the quarter, the Wildcats had racked up 19 points and held the Blue Devils to three, and the score was 48-24.
By the fourth quarter the Blue Devils were looking exhausted, and the Wildcats repeatedly stole the ball from them, with near impunity. “Their energy was run down, by that point,” said Brown. With about three minutes left in the game, Brown benched Park, Boyd, and Swanson. The Wildcats continued to sink baskets, including one by Paul Johnson.
This was the third consecutive game in which Swanson scored 25 points or more. “He actually had 31 points this game, which is a career high,” said Brown. Twenty-four of Swanson’s 31 points were from three-point shots. Swanson made nine steals and grabbed three rebounds. Boyd scored 11 points and nabbed seven rebounds, made five assists, and stole the ball twice. Fox had 12 rebounds, scored four points, and made two assists and one steal. Park scored six points, made three assists, pulled down three rebounds and made one steal. Cooper Pell scored three points, grabbed four rebounds,and made one steal and an assist. Jack McHale and Dylan Howe scored two points, and Howe pulled down seven rebounds.
Brown praised his team. “I am so pleased with the whole team and how cohesive they have become. We took ‘Ubuntu’ as our motto this year. It means ‘I am because we are,’ which is something Nelson Mandela believed in and spoke about. They have taken it and run with it. When the subs go in, the first team is rooting for them and vice versa. They all want each other to do well.”
There was a brief ceremony before the game to honor Boyd, Swanson, and Ethan Fox, the departing seniors on the team. According to Brown, Boyd and Swanson have been with the varsity team for the last three years, and Fox for the last two.
The Wildcats go into the tournament with a 14-6 record including a 7-0 record in the Marble Valley League C division, and have secured a third seed in the state tournament.
TV 47, Randolph 42
WHITINGHAM- The Twin Valley boys’ varsity basketball team got their first win of the 2017 state tournament, in a close game against the Randolph Ghosts, thanks in part to Brett Swanson’s clutch performance at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats ended the first quarter with a lead of 13-6, and though the Ghosts outscored them in the second quarter, the Wildcats still led 17-14 at halftime. The Wildcats outscored the Ghosts by five points in the third quarter, and went into the fourth quarter ahead 31-23. In the last quarter, the Ghosts came back, outscoring the Wildcats 19-16, but Swanson’s success at the free-throw line helped the Wildcats stay in the lead. “They made it close at the end after we were up 40-30,” said coach Chris Brown. “Brett was eight for 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the win.” Brown also gave credit to his players’ defensive game. “The boys played hard. We played a very solid defensive game and made enough plays down the stretch. (We had) awesome defense from Logan (Park) and Dylan (Howe).”
Swanson scored 20 points, Skyler Boyd 10, Howe seven, Ethan Fox six, and, Park four. Boyd grabbed 11 rebounds, Howe eight, Park, Fox and Swanson three each, and Cooper Pell snagged one. Swanson had four steals, Fox three, and Park, Boyd, and Howe each stole the ball once.
The varsity boys’ basketball team’s next tournament game will be at 2 pm at home on Saturday.
They will play 11th-seed Winooski, which upset sixth-seed Rivendell 54-42 on Wednesday.