Basketball wrap-up: Otter boys nip Mount Abe

ADDISON COUNTY — The Otter Valley boys edged visiting Mount Abraham to highlight local high school basketball play in the past week.
In other action, the Middlebury girls picked up two victories, the Vergennes girls won on the road, the OV girls won at home on Saturday and also hosted unbeaten West Rutland (see story on Page 1B) on Monday, the OV boys lost at home to a top team, and the Tiger boys dropped a road contest.  
The OV boys nipped the Eagles on Tuesday, 58-55, in a game that saw several lead changes. Two free throws byDerek Aines with 35 seconds left gave the Otters some breathing room after a bucket inside by Tyler Peterson put OV ahead with 1:37 left in regulation. Unlike in their overtime loss at VUHS on the Friday before, the Eagles were unable to connect on a game-tying three pointer in the final seconds.
Josh Letourneau scored 13 to lead OV, and Aines chipped in 12 as the Otters moved to 6-3 with their second win of the winter over the Eagles, who led at the half, 23-19, but saw OV enter the fourth quarter ahead by four.
Mount Abe’s Jackson Counter led all scorers with 21 points, and Dustin Whitcomb added nine as the Eagles dropped to 4-5
On Dec. 13, visiting Mill River (8-1) defeated the OV boys, 45-35. MRU star Mike Morgan tossed in 23 points as the Minutemen picked up their second win of the season over OV. Aines scored 15 for the Otters.
On Dec. 13, the Tiger girls held on for a 54-42 victory over visiting Winooski. MUHS led at the half, 30-12, but the Spartans cut the lead to 37-35 before the Tigers pulled away again. Payton Buxton (17 points, nine rebounds, five steals), Keagan Dunbar (22 points, five steals), and Ally Larocque (eight points) paced the Tigers.
On Monday, the Tigers picked up arguably their biggest win over the year, defeating host Mill River, 40-32. The win avenged a 20-point home loss to MRU, a 5-2 team that had only lost otherwise by four points at 8-1 Mount Anthony. Dunbar led they way with 19 points, and Buxton added six. Rylee Nichols scored 13 for MRU.
The Tigers had been set to visit Milton on Tuesday, a game originally set for this coming Saturday, but that contest was moved again, this time to Friday at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the Commodore girls fell behind at Milton early, 10-3, but fought back to take a 45-29 victory and improve to 6-2. They led at the break, 20-16, and outscored Milton in the second half by 25-13.
Xzavia Berry led VUHS with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Shay Pouliot contributed 11 points, and Brianna Vanderway andCiara McClay chipped in eight points apiece. Coach Billy Waller also credited the defense of freshman Emily Rooney on Milton’s leading scorer.
On Saturday, host North Country rallied from five points down with two minutes left and from three down with 30 seconds to go to defeat the Eagle girls, 52-50. Kasey Champney’s three-pointer tied the game at 50-50 at 0:15, and after an Eagle miss Kylie Wright was fouled and hit the game-winning free throws at 0:02. Wright scored 26 for NCU (3-3).
Emma Carter scored 27 for Mount Abe, including a half-court halftime buzzer-beater and 10 points in the fourth quarter, and added 10 rebounds. Bridget Davis andJalen Cook added eight and seven points, respectively, for the 5-4 Eagles.
On Saturday, the OV girls got past visiting Springfield, 51-42, to improve to 2-3 heading into Monday’s home game vs. West Rutland (see story). Gabriela Poalino led the Otters with 22 points, and Sophia Bloomer (10 points) and Courtney Bushey (eight) also chipped into the OV attack.
On Dec. 13 host Rutland improved to 8-2 with a 78-31 victory over the Tiger boys. Raider senior Nathaniel Kingsley scored 25 points, including the 1,000th of his career.
Trey Kaufmann’s six points led the Tigers.
The Tigers’ Tuesday home game vs. Brattleboro was moved to Friday at 7 p.m.

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