Boys’ hoop: Commodores win playoffs; OV out
ADDISON COUNTY — In first-round boys’ basketball playoff action on Tuesday, No. 4 Vergennes advanced at the expense of visiting No. 13 Thetford in Division III, while No. 13 Otter Valley fell to No. 4 Fair Haven in D-II.
Mount Abraham, No. 7 in D-II, also hosted No. 10 Milton; see story on Page 1B.
Middlebury (4-16), the No. 14 seed in D-II, was set to visit No. 3 Spaulding (18-2) on Wednesday after the deadline for this edition of the Independent. The Tigers were looking to avenge a 30-point regular-season setback to The Tide. If the Tigers turned the Tide this time, No. 5 Hartford (14-5) would probably be next.
The 13-7 Vergennes boys on Monday earned the highest seed among local teams, their No. 4 nod in D-III. But No. 14 Thetford gave the Commodores a run for three quarters and trailed by 34-33 entering the fourth.
But the Commodores caught fire in the final period and put their visitors away by outscoring them, 26-10, over the final eight minutes. Elijah Duprey broke loose for 22 points to pace VUHS, and Tyler Bergmans finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Commodores on Saturday at 2 p.m. will host No. 5 Bellows Falls (15-5). VUHS did not play Bellows Falls this winter.
The host No. 4 Slaters on Tuesday went on a second-quarter run to lead by 43-23 at the half and cruised to a 78-44 victory over No. 13 OV in D-II.
The 16-5 Slaters got 31 points from Sawyer Ramey, 25 in the first half, and Brandon Eastman added 16. They will host No. 5 Mount St. Joseph, also 16-5, in the next round.
Sophomore Owen Thomas’s 12 points led the 4-17 Otters. Seniors Elijah Tucker-Bryant, Evan Thomas, Hayden Bernhardt and Dylan Stevens-Clark played their last hoop game for OV.
On Feb. 23 host North Country, D-II’s first-place team, snapped the Eagles’ 12-game winning streak, 73-52. Cooper Brueck’s 22 points led four Falcons in double figures as their team improved to 17-1. Henry Cogswell scored 19 for Mount Abe.
The Eagles bounced back the next evening to defeat host MUHS, 55-44, in the regular-season finale for both teams. Mount Abe limited Middlebury to four points in the third period and led by as many as 17 points, with Noah Gargano scoring nine of his 11 points in the second half.
Cogswell, who finished with 19 points, hit six fourth-quarter free throws to help hold off the Tigers. Penn Riney led MUHS with 15 points.
On Feb. 23 VUHS defeated host Twinfield, 73-54. Tim Ashley hit seven three-pointers and scored 23 points. Bergmans contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Duprey chipped in 11 points.
On Feb. 24 the Commodores dropped a home game, 49-41, to Milton (8-9). VUHS was unable to recover from a slow start. Ashley’s 15 points led the Commodores.
On Saturday the Commodores bounced back to derail D-III’s first-place team, visiting Winooski, 67-64, to clinch the No. 4 seed. Abram Francis scored 17 points and added five rebounds; Bergmans helped across the board with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists; Ashley scored 13; and Ian Henderson hit a key late bucket as VUHS wrapped up at 13-7.
On Feb. 24 the Otters wrapped up their regular season by defeating visiting Springfield, 85-62. OV stretched its lead in the fourth quarter by hitting 20 of 24 free throws in the final eight minutes.
Tucker-Bryant poured in 32 points for OV (4-16), Bernhardt scored 20, and Stevens-Clark and Owen Thomas added 13 apiece.
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