County high school teams start winter sports season strong
ADDISON COUNTY — The first full weekend of the high school winter sports season was highlighted by a Friday win for the Vergennes girls’ basketball team over visiting rival Mount Abraham.
In a successful stretch, the Middlebury and Mount Abe boys’ basketball teams won their home openers, the Tiger dance team put in a strong performance in an earlier virtual competition, and the MUHS boys’ hockey team opened with a road win. The Tiger girls’ hockey squad also prevailed; see separate story here.
Vermont high school sports competitions at indoor venues have been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Scott recently lifted the ban on all but wrestling as of Friday, Feb. 12.
The host Commodore girls broke away from a 24-24 halftime tie to top the Eagles, 50-32, on Friday evening. VUHS Coach Billy Waller said his team’s depth — 11 Commodores played — and full-court player-to-player defense were factors against an Eagle team that was shorthanded.
The Eagles led, 24-18, late in the first half, before VUHS knotted the score. Waller said the Commodores clinched the victory with a 16-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
Pacing a balanced VUHS effort were Sydney Jewell (13 points, six rebounds), Kate Gosliga (12 points, seven boards) and Felicia Poirier (seven points, seven rebounds, six steals).
Cami Masse scored eight points to lead the Eagles, and Madi Gile, Abby Reen and Maia Jensen added six apiece.
Also on Friday, the Tiger girls came up short at Colchester, 40-32, in Coach Chris Altemose’s debut leading the squad. The loss came despite a game-high 16 points from MUHS sophomore forward Ele Sellers. Ryleigh Garrow scored 15 to lead the Lakers.
Also on Friday, host D-I Rutland took a big early lead and coasted to a 51-21 victory over the Otter Valley girls. Sophomore Emily Peduto debuted for the Otters with eight points.
The Tiger boys’ hockey team snapped a 2-2 second-period tie with three straight scores on the way to a 5-3 victory over host Mount Mansfield on Saturday. Five Tigers scored, and they took the lead on unassisted strikes in the middle period by Tucker Stearns and Abel Anderson. Andy Giorgio made it 5-2 early in the third period with another unassisted score.
The Tigers took a 2-0 first period lead on Iain Olsen’s unassisted shorthanded goal, the first of his high school career, and Owen Lawton’s power play goal, from Clyde Mulhotra and Cole Schnoor. Tiger goalie Giles Heilman made 19 saves, and MMU goalie Lucas Parisi made 30.
MUHS is scheduled to host MMU on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and Burlington at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Tiger boys got a big game from sophomore Max Alberts in outlasting visiting Missisquoi on Friday, 67-63. Alberts scored 27 points and grabbed 10 boards. Senior Karic Riche contributed 13 points and five steals. Patrick Walker scored 25 to pace the T-Birds.
The Mount Abe boys finished strong in a game of runs to get past visiting Enosburg, 50-43. The Hornets went on a 22-11 surge to take a 43-40 fourth-quarter lead, but the Eagles put the clamps on them and countered with the game’s final 10 points to prevail. Balanced scoring helped Mount Abe: Grayson Lyons (13 points) and Koby LaRose (seven) led the way.
Visiting North Country overwhelmed the Commodore boys on Saturday, 53-25. The Falcons bolted to a 10-0 lead and never looked back behind a balanced attack. Tyler Bergmans scored 10 of the VUHS points.
Back on Feb. 6 the Tiger dance team tied for first with Mount Mansfield in the Hip-Hop discipline in a 10-school virtual meet. Results weren’t available immediately: Videos of the teams’ performances were sent to judges and then tallied.
The Tigers were ranked first, second and third by three judges for six points, while the Cougars earned two firsts and a fourth, also for six points. Both teams earned many first-place rankings for components of their performances. Lamoille finished third with 10 points.
Meanwhile, Nordic ski teams have already been allowed to compete under special rules. Indoor track and field is not competing due to lack of facilities to host competitions. MUHS gymnastics is taking the season off.
The special virus-fighting rules that basketball and hockey competitions must follow include:
• Teams are limited to no more than two games in a seven-day period and must take three days off between games.
• No spectators are allowed: Only players, coaches, officials, time and scorekeepers, and media are permitted at indoor events.
• One volunteer at each indoor event is allowed to live-stream competitions, and schools will make arrangements for fans to watch games.
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