Tiger, Eagle, Otter boys’ basketball teams bow out, Commodores head to semifinal

ADDISON COUNTY — In local boys’ basketball postseason play in the latter half of last week, Vergennes marched toward Barre in Division II, No. 4 Middlebury came up short in the first round of D-I play, No. 11 Otter Valley won one D-II game on the road before falling in a quarterfinal, and Mount Abraham could not pull off an upset in D-II.
On Friday, the 22-0 Commodores took care of business vs. No. 9 Fair Haven (11-11) in a 47-37 quarterfinal victory. VUHS will meet No. 4 U-32 (16-6) in a Monday semifinal at the Aud in Barre at 8:15 p.m. The Raiders knocked off No. 5 MSJ, the defending champion, 56-39, in another Friday quarterfinal. VUHS defeated U-32 in Barre earlier this season, 87-59.
As expected, the Slaters slowed the pace on Saturday, and VUHS led at the half by just 18-14. Charlie Stapleford’s third-period scoring then gave the Commodores a spark: He scored 10 of his team-high 12 in the quarter as VUHS extended its lead to 33-21. The Slaters narrowed that advantage in the fourth before the Commodores held on. Forward Dan McGrath chipped in 10 points and hit four of five shots to give VUHS a lift off the bench.
On Wednesday, the No. 11 OV boys stunned No. 6 Mill River, 77-72, in overtime, as Ryan Kelley scored 43 points and John Winslow hit a key late three-pointer. It was the first playoff win in six years for OV, which won for the ninth time since its 0-8 start and had lost twice to the 12-9 Minutemen, once by 25 points at home.
The Otters trailed by 13 early in the third quarter, but got back in the game with a 9-2 run over the end of the third and the start of the fourth. Winslow’s three gave OV a 67-64 lead late in regulation, but Minuteman Josh Stevens sank a game-tying three with 12 seconds to go that forced overtime. MRU’s Jay Carleton sank six three-pointers on the way to a 31-point night.
OV dominated OT, with Kelley scoring eight points as the Otters earned a 10-5 edge.
Kelley’s performance capped a February in which he was, according to unofficial stats compiled by varvee.com, the leading boys’ basketball scorer in Vermont in the month. The senior forward scored 277 points in nine games for an average of 30.77.
On Saturday, host No. 3 Lake Region improved to 20-2 with a 77-48 win over the Otters. LRU and Burr & Burton, also 20-2, will meet in the other D-II semifinal on Wednesday. Kelley (22) and Winslow (17) led the Otters, who finished at 9-13.
Visiting No. 13 Mount Anthony (7-14) upset the No. 4 Tigers on Wednesday, 51-45. The Patriots scored on their first four first-quarter possessions to take an 11-3 lead. The Tigers struggled offensively and committed eight of their 18 turnovers in the first period while falling behind, 18-10. Tyler Provencher’s early scoring kept MUHS in the game; he finished with a team-high 16.
The Tigers began to have better luck against the Patriots 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones in the second quarter, when James Hare scored eight of his 13 points as MUHS cut the MAU lead to two at the half, 27-25. By then, MAU’s Aaryngston Bibens had scored 12 of his 26 points and Sean Brundage had eight of his 15.
Brundage was a key for the Patriots, who had a misleading record — Brundage missed three-quarters of the MAU season, and many of the MAU losses were close.
The Tigers were still within two early in the third, 31-29, when Perry DeLorenzo sank a jumper two minutes in. But the Tigers cooled off, and Bibens scored nine points in the period as MAU stretched the lead to 39-33 after three quarters.
MAU slowed the pace in the fourth, and pushed its advantage to 45-38 with 2:30 left on the second of two straight Brundage drives.
A three by Hare and a steal and layup by Provencher cut it to 47-45 at 1:15. In the final minute, the Tigers saw a potential go-ahead three rim out, and MAU iced the game by hitting four of six free throws.  
The game was the last for Tiger seniors Provencher, Hare, Marrott Weekes, Connor Collins, Peter Lindholm,David Burt,James Pecsok, and injured three-year starterMitchell Clarke.
Also on Wednesday, host No. 2 Burr & Burton coasted past visiting No. 15 Mount Abe, 71-39. Middlebury College-bound football quarterback Jake Stalcup recorded 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Jona Scott led the 3-18 Eagles with nine points. He, Cody Alexander, Nick Driscoll, Justin Kimball, Ryan Barnes and Jacob Lathrop suited up for Mount Abe for the last time. 

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