MIDDLEBURY — A senior who helped the Middlebury Union High School boys earn the best record among local squads is the IndependentPlayer of the Year and headlines the 2011 Addison IndependentBoys’ Basketball All-Star Team.
Center Carl Leduc’s emergence this winter played a big role as Coach Chris Altemose’s 10-12 Tigers finished strong, including a first-round road win in the Division II playoff and a near second-round upset of the defending champion. Two more Tigers are honored here.
Coach Peter Quinn’s young Vergennes squad finished a misleading 7-14, with one loss in overtime and another seven by six points or fewer — including a one-point setback to eventual champion Missisquoi, and a five-point playoff loss to finalist Fair Haven. Two sparkplug underclassmen guards received Independentrecognition.
Coach Nathan Bellomo also fielded a young squad at Otter Valley that went 3-17, including one overtime win and two marathon road losses, one in double overtime and one after five extra sessions. A steady sophomore scorer made the Independentteam.
After graduating at least four starters for the second straight season, Coach Bill Leggett’s Mount Abraham team managed a pair of wins against a challenging schedule. Bright spots included the work of two guards who are honored here, one senior two-year starter and a junior who came on strong as the season progressed.
Selections were made based on observation, consultation with coaches and statistics. Congratulations to the following:
CARL LEDUC, MUHS SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Expected to be a role player, Leduc instead worked his way into a starting job and led the Tigers with 13.2 points and 9.2 rebounds and added 1.8 steals per game ... At six-foot-four became one of the most respected post players in D-II ... Came on strong in the final 12 games, averaging 15.6 points and 11 boards ... Had a 20-point, 20-board game vs. D-II champ Missisquoi ... Shot 58 percent from the floor on a variety of post moves and offensive putbacks ... Was second on the Tigers in the “hustle points” tracked by the team, in part because he deflected five passes a game.
Altemose’s Quotes: “It just kind of came together for him ... He came into the season as a bench player, and he just kept working harder and harder and harder ... Every day it was just a complete effort from him ... Carl was one of our leaders, for sure ... He really didn’t care about points. They just came ... I was just so pleased with his season.”
COLLIN CURLER, VUHS JUNIOR.Notes: Intense competitor whose effort raised his teammates level of play ... Helped across the board with averages of 11.4 points, 2.9 assists, and 2.8 steals ... Excellent ballhandler who was effective spotting up for a jumper, attacking the basket, or dishing off to teammates ... Strong on-ball defender with good hands who also read passing lanes well.
Quinn’s Quotes: “Collin was our captain and unquestioned leader on the court ... Collin plays at one speed. He plays as hard as he can all the time ... He’s a great ballhandler, and he plays ferocious defense ... He’s always, always in on the play ... He’s a team-first guy, for sure. He takes responsibility for mistakes, and he shares credit for success.”
CAM SKERRITT-PERTA, MOUNT ABE SENIOR.Notes: Scored 14.5 points per game despite being the focus of opponents’ defenses all season ... Excellent shooter with three-point range ... Shot 85 percent from the line, and has twice hit more than 100 consecutive free throws in offseason camps, with a personal best of 146 ... Also possesses the ability to finish on the break and set up teammates’ shots ... Hard worker on defense.
Leggett’s Quotes: “It was pretty incredible considering that all the other teams planned to stop him that he still managed to come up with 14-and-a-half points a game ... He helped us hand the ball against heavy pressure ... He was pretty consistent ... If he’s given room, he can be deadly ... He’s a very good kid. He has obviously our best offensive option, but we went about his business like everybody else ... He wanted to compete and he wanted to win.”
BRENDAN BURRELL, MUHS SENIOR.Notes: Sparked the young Tigers with hard work and hustle during games and practice ... Well-rounded, unselfish player who could shoot, pass, defend and handle the ball ... Helped in all statistical categories with averages of 10.9 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 3.8 rebounds ... Capable of scoring explosively, and erupted for a career-high 31 points in a critical win over Mount Abe.
Altemose’s Quotes: “He had a solid season, and he was consistent ... He had a good year. He worked hard. He brought it every day in practice ... He kind of solidified us out there ... His work ethic as the captain, for sure, set the tone ... He keeps coming. He’s a competitor.”
RYAN KELLEY, OV SOPHOMORE. Notes: Smooth-shooting forward who made an immediate impact at the varsity level by averaging 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds ... Shot 50 percent from two-percent range and 69 percent from the line ... Hit double figures in points and rebounds six times, including a 24-point, 18-rebound effort in the overtime loss to Springfield and a 16-14 game vs. Windsor.
Bellomo’s Quotes: “First, Ryan is a great kid and very coachable ... He has a nice approach mentally and physically to the game ... Ryan has the natural ability to play multiple positions on the basketball court ... We look for great things over the next two years.”
SHEP CARTER, VUHS SOPHOMORE.Notes: Skilled guard who helped VUHS on both ends of the floor ... Tireless defender who helped key VUHS in half-court defensive sets and in presses ... Showed three-point shooting range and finishing ability on the break ... Averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals.
Quinn’s Quotes: “As the smallest person on the court, on more than one occasion he was our second-leading rebounder ... He’s a good shooter ... He really got comfortable playing varsity basketball. He got comfortable with the ball. He’s really hard to stay in front of ... He’s an excellent defender. He’s a great on-the-ball defender and frustrated more than one dribbler.”
TYLER PROVENCHER, MUHS SOPHOMORE.Notes: Lanky forward who improved his play as the season progressed ... Expanded his shooting range, making him a difficult challenge to guard given his ability to attack the basket ... Used his wingspan and quickness to defend the paint ... Averaged 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals.
Altemose’s Quotes: “Tyler came on strong ... He’s a solid player. He’s got the inside game to go with the outside game ... For a sophomore to have that versatility, it really helped us out ... He got some key boards for us ... He’s solid with the ball. He doesn’t turn it over.”
MITCHELL CLARKE, MUHS SOPHOMORE.Notes: Showed poise, skill and good decision-making as a sophomore asked to assume point guard duties ... Used his quickness, athleticism and solid basketball IQ to good advantage on defense and on the boards ... Averaged 6.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals.
Altemose’s Quotes: “He was one of our defensive leaders ... He has a great understanding for the game ... To be a sophomore point guard and just play so smart and under control, he’s got a solid start ... He’s a very good athlete, and he’s smart and he’s got a great attitude ... He’s very coachable, and he’s a good leader.”
IAN SHAW, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR.Notes: Another player who took a step forward in the course of the season, became a consistent offensive threat later and finished with an average of 7.6 points ... Versatile offensive player who was also often asked to guard one of opponents’ top threats ... Contributed on the boards with an average of 3.5 rebounds.
Leggett’s Quotes: “The last half of the season he began to be a little more assertive and helped us out more on the offensive end ... He could hit the three, and he could hit the intermediate shot, and he was deceptively good at getting to the basket ... He was one of the better defensive players we had ... He just seemed to have a knack for coming up with the ball.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.