WILLIAMSTOWN — Polar vortex? Don’t try explaining that to the Williamstown Blue Devils, who were hot from the perimeter and dropped 10 first-half three-pointers on the way to a 62-52 victory over the visiting Lamoille Lancers in boys high school basketball action Friday evening.
Tyler Orton scored a game-high 21 points, dropped five 3s and went 6 of 7 from the free throw line. Joining him in double figures were teammates Jacob Tassie, who had 12, and Colby Gingras and Ryan O’Neill, who each scored 11. Kolby Picard, who had 18 points and was the only Lamoille player in double figures, led the Lancers.
“They did the same thing to us tonight that we did to them when they came up and played us,” Lamoille coach Todd Fitzgerald said. “They’re well-coached and came out firing in the first half. I’m proud of my guys though. We could have come out in the second half and it could have gotten ugly fast.”
After already draining a pair of 3s in the first, Orton and his teammates really put on a show from the perimeter in the pivotal second quarter. Deep shots from Orton, Gingras, Cole Banks and O’Neill helped the Blue Devils open up a 36-23 halftime lead. The zone defense instituted by coach Jack Carrier helped keep the Lancers honest from the perimeter as Devil defenders were able to extend pressure above the three-point line, leading to numerous deflections and steals for the home team.
“In that second quarter we really lit it up from the three-point line and that got us some separation,” Carrier said. “We’ve definitely been working on our zone and can go man to man when we need to but we’ve been playing a lot of zone. Tyler (Orton) has been our guy in many of the games this year and he’s been playing well and knocking down shots.”
The Lancers are a solid basketball team, and as such came out in the third putting a run on the home team that surprised no one. An easy bucket on the baseline from Jake Benoit followed by three-pointers from Shane Royer and freshman Jackson Stanton tied the game at 43 midway through the quarter. A late bucket from Tassie saved the Blue Devils and made it 45-43 as the teams headed to the final stanza.
“We came out guns blazing and hitting our shots,” Orton said. “The ball movement was key and we managed to knock some shots down. My teammates were looking for me early and I was able to hit a few. After that run we knew we had to slow it down a bit and not get into an up-and-down game with them. It all starts on defense and just calming it down. We had some speed on them but we had to be sure to box out. When they (Lamoille) went to man to man, we knew we’d have to take it to the rim.”
The Blue Devils managed to regain balance in the fourth as they slowed things down and allowed the Lancers to foul and send them to the line. A few extremely deep shots proved fruitless on the offensive end and Williamstown chewed their way through the clock and at the line to rebuild a double-digit lead to the final buzzer.
Williamstown (11-2) welcomes Randolph on Wednesday.