MONTPELIER — The No. 2 Montpelier boys basketball team earned a 59-47 victory over No. 15 Vergennes in Tuesday’s Division II playdown.
Tyler Ricker led the way for the Solons, dropping in a game-high 18 points. He received solid help from Leo Riby-Williams and Jonah Cattaneo, who each added 12 points. The Commodores were led by Ezekiel Palmer (15 points) with Luke Bergmans (14 points).
The Solons started the game with an 11-0 run on their way to a 15-2 advantage entering the second quarter. Montpelier never looked back during the wire-to-wire victory.
“We just talked about how the first three or four minutes of any playoff game are so critical,” Montpelier coach Nick Foster said. “It’s important to come out and really do your best to overwhelm the other team with your energy and effort. I thought we did that defensively and on the glass.”
The Solons put forth a dominant effort on the offensive glass. David Ackerson (six points) and Isaak Donahue carved out space in the paint, leading to numerous second- and third-chance opportunities for the Solons.
“We’ve done a pretty good job of that all year,” Foster said. “We can almost win a game on the offensive glass. The first time we played these guys we had more offensive rebounds than they had total. Both David and Isaak have great bodies for that. And they both have great hands and really good instincts.”
Nathan LaRosa’s 3-pointer from the corner in the second quarter gave the Solons a 31-16 lead. As the first half closed, Will Bruzzese found LaRosa with a slick pass on a baseline cut that he missed. But Ackerson slipped in for the putback for a 37-18 halftime lead.
Cattaneo opened the second half by making a 3-pointer. That was followed with a putback from Riby-Williams, giving MHS a 42-18 lead. Another 3-pointer from Ricker pushed the lead to 45-19 and the rout was on as Montpelier cruised.
“It was a good team win,” Ricker said. “I thought we played well through the first three quarters but kinda lost our composure in the fourth. Coach always says that the team that starts the fastest and gets up quick can usually come out on top. A lot of people doubted us, saying that we were too young. It feels good to know that we’ll be hosting another playoff game next week with a chance to get to the Aud hopefully and continue to prove them wrong.”
Montpelier (16-5) will host No. 7 Milton at 7 p.m. Friday. Vergennes ends the season at 5-16.