BARRE — Three players dished out at least five assists Wednesday for undefeated Spaulding, which tuned up for one of its biggest games of the season with a 78-34 victory over Lamoille.
The Lancers kept things close early and were down 18-9 after the first quarter. Lamoille scored the opening bucket of the second quarter before Spaulding clamped down defensively and established a 34-14 advantage heading into halftime. The game was officially a blowout before the start of the fourth, with Spaulding in front 60-22.
“A big thing that changed is we stopped gambling on passes,” Tide assistant coach Marcus Thornton said. “We were trying to get a bunch of steals and get fast breaks. And we were missing a lot of them and it was leading to 5-on-4 chances for them. Lamoille was doing a good job of finding the open shooter. So I told the guys to stop gambling and see what happens — and it worked out.”
Cooper Diego finished with a team-high 15 points for Spaulding and dished out six assists. Riley Severy (12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists), Tavarius Vance (10 points, five assists), Isaac Davis (10 points) and Zach Wilson (nine points) were also hot for the Granite City squad. Gabe Locke and Azariah Hungerford scored 10 points apiece for Lamoille.
Vance assisted Isaac Davis on the opening possession before Locke scored for the Lancers. The Tide responded with a 12-0 run to take control for good. A steal and layup by Cole McAllister was followed by an Isaac Davis putback and a reverse layup by Diego. Vance and Diego scored again and then Vance dropped in a runner in the lane, extending the lead to 14-2 with 3:00 left in the first quarter. Hungerford went 2 of 2 from the line for the Lancers and teammate Malcom Ernst added a jumper. Hungerford buried a 3-pointer following a Tide foul shot, but Spaulding’s Noah Ronson hit buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the right corner for an 11-point lead at the end of the quarter.
Locke made a shot off the glass early in the second quarter, keeping his team within striking distance. Diego grabbed an offensive rebound and set up Vance for the Tide’s first basket of the quarter with 5:20 on the clock. Another Hungerford 3-pointer gave the Lancers more momentum, but Severy rose to the occasion by scoring eight straight points for Spaulding.
“Riley is just the man,” Thornton said. “He’s 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, he’s super athletic and he just plays so hard around the rim. He does a little bit of everything and it was nice to see him taking command down low. He gets fast breaks and 3-pointers some games. So it was nice to see him get back to his roots and get some points inside.”
Cole McAllister made a basket in transition and then Diego assisted Vance for an 18-point lead. McAllister fed Isaac Davis in the paint for a 20-point cushion entering halftime.
“I didn’t think we played that well in the first half,” Thornton said. “I challenged the guys at halftime to have more solid, consistent energy throughout the second half. Lamoille played their game in the first half and they were disciplined. We turned it up in the second half, but tonight the first half was a little underwhelming compared to what we’re used to doing.”
Two Isaac Davis baskets and a pair of McAllister foul shots kept the Tide rolling early in the third quarter. Locke scored for the visitors, but Severy followed up his own miss for a putback and then knifed through a double team for another basket in the paint. A Diego putback in transition and a Ronson 3-pointer extended the lead to 46-16. Severy turned another offensive rebound into two easy points before Wilson made a pair of 3-pointers for a 56-20 lead. A Diego basket to close out the third quarter gave Spaulding plenty of confidence while leading by 38 points. Diego, Wilson and Matthew Redmond each scored four quick points in the fourth quarter and Ronson drained another long-distance shot to help seal the victory.
Lamoille (2-6) will travel to play Thetford at 7 p.m. Friday. Spaulding (7-0) will travel to play Montpelier the same evening in a rematch of last year’s Division II semifinal. The Tide defeated the two-time defending champs, 56-53, three weeks ago.
“It’s two good programs with really competitive kids,” Thornton said of Friday’s matchup. “We’re expecting their best. They’re a very athletic, very sound group and they’re going to be coming for a victory. We know we have to be ready 100%. I know we’ll bring our ‘A’ game and they’re going to bring it too. It’s going to be a really fun game.”
Harwood 70, U-32 50
EAST MONTPELIER — The Highlanders easily shook off any bus legs or fatigue Wednesday while playing their second game in two days and cruising past the Raiders.
Harwood’s top contributors were Parker Davey (14 points), Tobey Bellows (13 points, three rebounds), Iyah Lavit (10 points), Cole Hill (nine points, six rebounds, two steals) and Joshua McHugh (eight points, three rebonds). Nathan Kudriaviez grabbed four boards for HU, which outrebounded U-32 24-17.
“We got to get everybody in, we moved the ball well and it was pretty impressive,” Harwood coach Jay Bellows said. “We’re not a selfish team, we distribute the ball around and the hot hand gets the shot. We still need to have a little bit more of that and I’d love to get a handful of guys in double figures. One thing we wanted to focus on in this game was just doing the right thing, especially with so many guys contributing minutes — things like boxing out, controlling the ball, reducing turnovers. And as a whole, we were able to do that. We have to work on boxing out more, and U-32 had a lot of second-chance points. We call them small things, but they’re really not. They have a big effect on the game.”
Lewis Clapp and Boone Maher scored five points apiece in the winning effort. Luke Page (13 points, five rebounds, two assists), Sawyer Mislak (eight points, three assists) and Michael Mallett (seven points) paced U-32. Teammate Ed Sayers finished with six points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Caelan Zeilenga added six points and four rebounds for U-32.
“Harwood has got a very experienced veteran group,” Raiders coach Dan Gauthier said. “Last year you could see that they were preparing to take the next step and I fully expected them to be a top-8 team this year and to host a playoff game. And they are certainly showing that they’re a top-8 team in the division. Coming into tonight I wondered if catching them on playing back-to-back (games) would play to our advantage. The other side of that is they’d have a recent game under their belts and have a better rhythm. I think fatigue in Vermont high school basketball is a bit overrated. And I think playing back-to-back actually played to their advantage tonight. They didn’t show any signs of fatigue right from the opening tip and they knocked down shots from the get-go. And 10 out of their 11 guys scored. With as many upperclassmen as they have, they’re able to spread the playing time around to give guys a breather here or there. And there’s not as much of a drop-off as you’d see with other teams.”
Both teams were tied at 5 before Harwood pieced together a 12-2 run to build a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. HU headed into halftime with a 39-18 cushion and led 58-35 after three quarters.
The Highlanders nabbed 11 steals as a team and went 3 of 8 from the foul line, compared to U-32’s 4-of-8 performance from the stripe. Harwood made 9 of 19 attempts from 3-point range, while U-32 connected on 6 of 24 shots from beyond the arc. Coach Bellows’ team wound up making 51% of its field goal attempts, holding a decisive advantage over a Raiders squad that shot 36% from the floor.
“Having back-to-back games and being able to distribute the minutes was really nice, especially going into a really tough Hazen game Friday,” coach Bellows said. “In the first quarter we were sloppy. But Tobey hit back-to-back 3’s to close out the first quarter, which settled us down a little. Those kids at U-32 play hard and they never quit. They were playing a box-and-one on Tobey in the third quarter, and the kid who was on him was great. They have nothing to hang their heads about and they’re only going to get better as the season goes on.”
U-32 (1-7) will host Lake Region at 7 p.m. Friday. Harwood (3-4) will travel to play defending Division III champ Hazen the same night. Wildcats big man Tyler Rivard recently broke the program record by scoring 50 points in a single game.
“We just have to be strong — that’s the biggest thing,” coach Bellows said. “(Rivard) is a really strong kid and he gets a lot of rebounds and putbacks. He plays with a ton of energy, so we have to do a good job boxing out. Lewis and Josh are both big, strong kids. And we have to do a good job of keeping (Rivard) off the glass and contesting his shots. Last year they just ran away from us. They’d have a guy come down with a defensive rebound and they’d already have two guys down the floor. We have to prevent those fast-break points and hopefully we’ll put up a pretty good fight.”
Williamstown 35, Danville 27
DANVILLE — Neither team could build a double-digit advantage during Wednesday’s contest, but the Blue Devils showed their true colors down the stretch to defeat the Bears.
“We stretched out a lead of nine points and Danville hit some tough shots to tie it up,” Williamstown coach Sid Sweet said. “Then we closed the game on an 8-0 run during the last 2:30.”
Destiny Campbell paced Williamstown with nine points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. She was supported by teammates Courtney Townsend (eight points, six rebonds) and Cadence Tenney (seven points).
“Cadence just celebrated a birthday this week and she came out with a bunch of confidence,” Sweet said. “She hitt a couple buckets in the first quarter and then drained a 3 to bring it back to 20-20 in the third.”
Danville’s Laci Potter scored 15 points. The Bears trailed 6-5 after one quarter, 11-9 after two and 22-20 after three.
“’I challenged the team at the first half on who could guard Laci,” Sweet said. “Cadence took the challenge and really made her earn everything she got, which freed up Destiny to jump in passing lanes. We are starting to share the ball better and assert ourselves offensively. We must have had 8-12 shots go in and out, but that didn’t deter us. We continued to attack.”
Williamstown (5-4) will host Northfield at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Danville (3-7) will host Blue Mountain at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
St. Johnsbury 2
BARRE — Evan Peloquin scored with 3:20 left in overtime Wednesday, propelling the Crimson Tide to their first victory of the season.
The Hilltoppers built a 2-0 lead in the first period before Spaulding’s Garrett Cameron and Trevor Arsenualt scored in the second period. Both goalies stepped up to keep things scoreless in the third, resulting in overtime.
St. Johnsbury (1-9) will travel to play Burlington at noon Saturday. Spaulding (1-6-2) will travel to play Rice the same day at 6:25 p.m.
U-32 6, Milton 2
HIGHGATE — Wednesday’s five-point performance by Max Scribner helped the Raiders maintain their spot near the top of the Division II standings.
Scribner finished with one goal and four assists for U-32, which buried four third-period goals to open the floodgates. Goalie Duncan Mathies made 16 saves in the victory, while Milton netminder Christian Gaudio stopped 37 shots.
U-32 pulled ahead with 6:00 left in the first period when Hazen Stoufer scored on assists by Camden Tatro and Scribner. Tae Rossmassler doubled the lead 92 seconds later, thanks to assists by Brenden Tedeschi and Scribner.
Milton scored with 8:18 remaining in the second period, with Jack Devlin capitalizing on assists by Noah Keeler and Kenyon Burke. Keeler set up a goal by Jacob Deuso with 52 seconds left in the period to tie the game.
It was all U-32 in the final period, as Maddox Heise scored what proved to be the game-winner with 13:22 on the clock. Colton Warren and Scribner registered assists.
Scribner found the back of the net two minutes later on assists by Tedeschi, Lance Starr. Grady Smith and Rossmassler assisted Tedeschi with 8:33 remaining and then Warren capped the scoring on another pass from Scribner with 3:30 left to play.
U-32 (7-1) will host Hartford at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Milton (4-5-1) will host Burr & Burton the same day at 5:30 p.m.
Burr & Burton 3, U-32 0
MANCHESTER — Kelin Dowey notched one goal and two assists Wednesday, helping the Bulldogs snap a three-game winless skid with a shutout victory over the Raiders.
Abby Kopeck scored at 10:56 of the first period with a shot past U-32 goalie Adelaide Croteau. Downey doubled the lead midway through the second period after following up her own shot and firing home a second-chance opportunity. Mia Paligo capped the scoring in the third period and her team wound up with a 26-11 advantage in shots on goal.
“Overall, the girls played well,” U-32 coach Larry Smith said. “We had some opportunities — we just need to capitalize on them better. We committed five penalties and they got two goals on them. So as a team we need to get better about this.”
U-32 (3-8) will travel to play Rice at 1 p.m. Saturday. Burr & Burton (7-1-2) will host the Kingdom Blades the same day at 5 p.m.