MUHS pulls out two wins in local boys’ hoop action

ADDISON COUNTY — Two rivalry games spiced up local high school boys’ basketball play late last week as the four local teams jockeyed for playoff position in their final regular season action.
Middlebury won both of those games, at the expense of Mount Abraham and Vergennes, and sealed a first-round Division I home game by doing so.
In other action, Otter Valley split a pair of games. Despite a Friday setback at home, the Otters won on the road on Saturday to apparently locked down the highest seed among local squads, a No. 6 in D-II.
Mount Abe also dropped a Friday game and will open the D-II postseason on the road. Despite its loss on Friday, VUHS will host a first-round D-II game.
The Vermont Principals’ Association was set to make official the teams’ playoff pairings on Monday morning. Look for a report on playoff pairings online at addisonindependent.com.
On Friday, the Tigers avenged an earlier loss at VUHS with a solid, 65-40 win over the visiting Commodores. The Tigers took control in the first half and led at the break, 36-19, and stretched that advantage to 50-29 after three periods.
Bobby Ritter led MUHS with 22 points, and Cullen Hathaway added 10. Liam Hayes and Jarret LaFleche tossed in 10 apiece to lead VUHS.
That followed a Wednesday game in which the Tigers topped host Mount Abe, 65-50. Oakley Gordon broke loose for 22 points to top the Tigers, and Ritter chipped in 15. Sawyer Kamman tossed in 19 to lead Mount Abe, and Mark Jipner added 10 in what observers called a competitive, well-played contest.
The Tigers finished at 11-9 despite graduating their entire starting lineup from last season. They appear to have earned the No. 7 seed in D-I, and No. 10 Brattleboro (10-10) looms as a possible first-round foe on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The defending D-II champion Commodores (9-11) also graduated their entire starting lineup and earned either a No. 7 or 8 seed, depending on how the VPA breaks a tie with Fair Haven, which is also 9-11 and is tied with VUHS in quality points. Regardless, VUHS will host a game on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Eagles also played at BFA-St. Albans on Friday, falling, 53-36, to finish at 4-16. Travis Bachand led Mount Abe with 11 points in that contest. Mount Abe (4-16) appears to be either the No. 14 or 15 seed in D-II and to be looking at a first-round game at either No. 2 Lyndon or No. 3 Woodstock.  
On Friday, visiting Woodstock (14-6) avenged an earlier loss to OV with a 53-30 victory. Connor Fregard led the Wasps with 25 points, while Kai Norwood andJohn Winslow scored nine apiece for OV.
On Saturday, it was the Otters turn to avenge a setback, and they did so with a 67-62 win at Bellows Falls that Coach Greg Hughes called close throughout. Winslow racked up 33 points and 17 rebounds as OV apparently nailed down the No. 6 seed, and Norwood (13 points), Connor Gallipo (12 points) and Carson Leary (11 rebounds) also contributed.
Either Mount St. Joseph (6-14) or Bellows Falls (7-13) will be the No. 11 seed and visit the Otters on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

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