Twin Valley began the game sluggishly, failing to score in the first two-and-a-half minutes while the Rebels used their size to work the ball inside. As the Wildcats got into a groove defensively they began to see more open transition opportunities, with guards Dal and Cade Nesbitt using their speed to get behind the Rebels’ delayed transition defense. But Twin Valley had too many miscues on these opportunities, with passes overthrown and layups missed. The Wildcats kept grinding, however. Down 6-11, Dal Nesbitt hit the first of his four three-pointers, while DJ Lazelle knocked down a tough shot as the first quarter expired, to put Twin Valley within one, 12-11.
Leland & Gray began the second quarter strong, but their focus escaped as they committed sloppy turnovers, their big men got out-rebounded, and traveling penalties plagued them. Twin Valley would go up 16-14 with 5:30 left in the second, but their shooting woes continued. On the night, the Wildcats shot only 36%, with only Cade Nesbitt and center Sam Molner reaching 50% shooting. For a team that plays from outside the paint, it can mean sink or swim, and Twin Valley couldn’t take advantage of enough of their chances.
Molner and Cade Nesbitt hit big three-pointers to keep Twin Valley on top going into the half, 22-20.
The Wildcats kept up the pressure in the third quarter with good rebounding and big blocks from Molner and forward Eli Park. Molner and Park combined for six blocked shots and 14 rebounds playing under the basket. Point guard Colin Lozito played hard, attempting 12 shots overall, and scored the first six points of the second half. Dal Nesbitt came up big in the third as well, hitting back- to-back threes with defenders in his face.
The Wildcats were in command going into the fourth quarter, up 35-30, but Leland & Gray began to intensify their approach and run plays more effectively, taking advantage of Wildcat miscues in transition.
Twin Valley lost the lead with 1:35 to play as the Rebels took advantage of foul shot opportunities and went up 47-45. Lozito would tie the game at 47, but the Rebels once again went up, never to lose the lead. An intense final minute saw Leland & Gray go up 51-47, only for Dal Nesbitt to hit a three and bring Twin Valley within one with 45 seconds on the clock. Both teams would trade free throws, and Leland & Gray iced it with 2.8 seconds left, putting the game out of reach 56-52.
Dal Nesbitt led Twin Valley with 20 points, three assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Lozito had 13 points, seven assists, and four rebounds, while Cade Nesbitt finished with eight points, and three rebounds. Lazelle scored two points and grabbed five rebounds.
Twin Valley falls to 2-3 on the year, while Leland & Gray improves to 4-1 overall.
Twin Valley plays at home Friday at 7:30 against Bellows Falls.
TV 62, GM 51
CHESTER- Colin Lozito, Dal Nesbitt, and Cade Nesbitt combined for 56 points Friday night, to fuel a 62-51 league-play victory for the Twin Valley boys’ varsity basketball team over Green Mountain, at the Green Mountain Holiday Tournament.
The Wildcats were able to play only one of their two scheduled tournament games due to bad weather, but made the trip worthwhile, using their shooting game and rebounding to dominate. The Chieftains kept the game within reach, hovering around a 10-point deficit for the majority of the game, pulling to within five at one point, but no closer.
Twin Valley jumped out to an early lead, outscoring Green Mountain 14-8 and establishing their shooting game early, a must for a team built on speed and not size, that has shown inconsistent scoring in the paint. Point guard Lozito led all scorers with 26 points on 60% shooting, adding eight assists and three rebounds.
After allowing only 18 points in the first half, Twin Valley’s defense gave up 20 in the third quarter. Coach Chris Brown says a lack of intensity allowed Green Mountain to stay in the game.
“They (Twin Valley) coasted and didn’t play with a sense of urgency,” said Brown. “We were too content and let them hang around. We didn’t have that killer instinct to really put them away, but in the end the guys made the plays they needed to win.”
The Wildcats were able to keep their scoring high, matching Green Mountain’s 20-point quarter with 20 of their own. Guard Dal Nesbitt had a big game as well, contributing 19 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Cade Nesbitt added 11 points, five rebounds, and three steals, while Wildcat big man Sam Molner blocked five shots and had eight rebounds.