Basketball wrap-up: Records set, playoffs loom

ADDISON COUNTY— In dramatic local high school basketball action late last week, an Otter Valley senior reached a milestone, the Vergennes boys completed their undefeated regular season, the Middlebury boys nailed down a top-four seed, the OV girls moved over .500, the Mount Abraham boys finished with a victory to clinch a playoff berth, the MUHS girls picked up a win, and the Vergennes girls were edged at home.
The Vermont Principals’ Association will release boys’ playoff pairings on Monday; girls’ teams have one more week of regular season play.
OV senior Ryan Kelley entered Friday night’s home game needing just three points to reach 1,000, and took care of business early in a packed House of Noise. Kelley took a feed from John Winslow, drove the right baseline and converted a reverse layup to raise the roof off the OV gym.
Principal Jim Avery said it was so loud no one at first could hear the buzzer being pressed to stop the game in order to honor the popular Kelley, OV’s first 1,000-point scorer since Pat Tulley in 1998.
The game vs. Division IV top seed Rochester (19-1) proved to be a gem, with Rochester narrowly winning, 59-57. OV (8-12 after an 0-8 start) trailed by 49-41 entering the fourth period, but went on a 9-2 run to get back in the game.
After Rochester all-star Pavin Parish (40 points) fouled out in the late going, Kelley, who finished with 30, had a chance to give OV at 59-58 lead, but missed from close range. A Winslow putback also missed, and Rochester added the game’s last point from the line.
OV will apparently go into the D-II playoffs with the No. 11 seed and face a familiar foe, No. 6 Mill River. The Minutemen swept OV this winter, 55-30 at OV and then 55-50 at MRU in the rematch.
Also on Friday the Commodores overcame an emotional host Missisquoi team to complete their 20-0 regular season with a 71-64 win. During the game, T-Bird senior standout Matt St. Amour became the sixth Vermont high school boys’ basketball player to score 2,000 points after entering the game needing to score 22. The points came on a third-period jumper that cut the VUHS lead to 40-35, after which St. Amour was honored. He finished with 33 on 12-of-29 shooting.
The 12-8 T-Birds later cut the VUHS lead to 60-59, but VUHS pulled away down the stretch behind three double-figure scorers: Stanley Salley (21), Zach Ouellette (14 points, nine assists) and Charlie Stapleford (14 points).
Two earlier Commodore teams had gone 19-1 in the regular season, including last year’s, but this was the first undefeated regular season in program history. VUHS will be seeded No. 1 in D-II and apparently draw Milton in the first round, and either Woodstock or Fair Haven in a quarterfinal.
The Tigers on Friday avenged an earlier loss at BFA-St. Albans during which they were shorthanded by pounding the visiting Bobwhites, 60-29. MUHS led at the break, 35-20, and then throttled BFA (12-8) in the second half, allowing only nine more points. The Tigers held 14 of their regular season foes to fewer than 50 points.
Tyler Provencher andPerry DeLorenzo tallied 11 points apiece to lead the attack as the Tigers improved to 15-5 and nailed down the No. 4 seed in D-I. They will apparently host No. 13 Mount Anthony (6-14), a team that has improved dramatically of late, on Wednesday. If they get past the Patriots the Tigers would most likely entertain No. 5 Mount Mansfield (14-6) in a weekend quarterfinal.
 On Thursday, the Otter girls led all the way in defeating visiting Mill River, 40-26. MRU, which had pinned a one-point loss on OV earlier this winter, dropped to 5-12, while OV improved to 9-8. The Otters are now No. 9 in the D-II standings and have a chance to move up, but have three tough games left: at 13-3 Hartford on Tuesday, home vs. Leland & Gray on Thursday, and at Springfield on Saturday.
On this past Thursday, Olivia Bloomer’s nine points led OV, Jessica Frazier andBrittany Bushey scored eight apiece, and Taylor Aines added six.
On Friday, the Eagles made the most of their last home game of the season, thumping visiting Milton, 73-46. Three seniors playing their final time before the home fans made the most of it: Ryan Barnes andJona Scott each scored 16 points to lead the attack, and classmate Jacob Lathrop added eight points.
Both teams finished at 3-17 as the Eagles swept the season series from the Yellowjackets. Mount Abe edged Milton by a single point in the D-II points standings and leap-frogged them for the No. 15 seed and removed any danger that Lamoille could catch them for the No. 16 seed.
They apparently will travel to either Lake Region or Burr & Burton for a first-round matchup. Those 18-2 teams are tied for second in the D-II standings, and the VPA will apply tie-breaking procedures on Monday morning.
The Tigers defeated visiting Mount Mansfield on Thursday, 37-25, as Tiffany Danyow (16) and Hannah Hobbs (12) combined for 28 points. MUHS (4-12) will look to finish strong this week at Missisquoi and Colchester on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, and at home vs. VUHS on Thursday. MUHS defeated Missisquoi and VUHS the first time around.
On Thursday, host Missisquoi avenged an earlier defeat to VUHS with a 34-30 victory. The 3-15 Commodores, who were shorthanded due to school trips, were led by Breanna Lapan’s 10 points and Cat Chaput’s five points and nine boards. They wrap up this week by hosting Milton on Monday and at visiting MUHS on Thursday. They are battling Missisquoi for the Nos. 15 and 16 seeds in D-II.

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