Tiger senior tops ‘Independent’ team
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.