brassard

Randolph point guard Rielle Brassard dribbles past the defense of Lamoille’s Isabelle Sullivan during a girls basketball game.

GIRLS BASKETBALL ALL-STARS

FIRST TEAM

Mikayla Farnum

U-32 Junior

The three-year varsity player wore many hats for the Raiders, excelling as a power forward and a guard. Farnum’s 5-foot-10 frame made her a perfect candidate to battle for tip-offs and crash the boards, but she was just as effective from around the perimeter. During a victory at Spaulding, she went 5 of 6 from the foul line, drained a 3-pointer and finished with a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. She recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds against Harwood before contributing 15 points and 10 rebounds against Lake Region. She also scored 15 points against Randolph and Oxbow.

“She’s a very tough kid, she’s very strong and she’s a great leader,” U-32 coach Travis Paquet said. “She’s a kid that any coach would want to coach because you tell her what to do and she’s going to go do it. She can definitely rebound for us and she plays really tough defense. She is the kid that we have that goes in and bangs with the other team’s big kids. She knows our defense well, whether it be zone or man, and she does a great job on our offensive end putting the ball in the basket. She is a fantastic floor general for us in the sense that she was making sure people were in their spots on defense. And on offense she was making sure everybody knew what our game plan was. She got all the kids pumped up before all the games and she was a peacekeeper really.

Rielle Brassard

Randolph Senior

The four-year varsity player served as the Galloping Ghosts’ starting point guard the last three seasons. She was a Times Argus soccer All-Star in the fall and entered basketball season in tip-top shape, helping her team kick off the winter with nine straight victories. She wound up averaging nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals per game, leading the Ghosts to a 16-6 campaign. She was at her best against the toughest competition, tallying 17 points, eight rebounds and seven steals in a 43-41 loss against D-III champ Thetford. She scored 11 points in a 42-40 overtime victory over Lamoille and opened the playoffs with a nine-point effort to help eliminate Vergennes.

“Rielle has had a very important role in our success, and at times she is willing to do whatever it takes to win the game,” Ghosts coach Scott Lafreniere said. “She does a lot of the dirty work as far as handling the ball during presses and distributing the ball. Her points per game aren’t as high as they could be because she is the main person to dish the ball to everybody else during the game. She is a good shooter when she actually looks for her shot. But there are so many times throughout the year where she is more into dribble-drive and kicking. She weaves, she has a great crossover and she just keeps people guessing. And she probably led our team in offensive rebounds. She had a great knack for following her own shot, and she scored many times off her misses from the outside.

Olivia Hogan

Twinfield Freshman

The left-handed post player capped one of the most dominant freshman seasons in Central Vermont history, averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals per game. She piled up 12 double-doubles and shot 66% from the foul line, guiding the Trojans to quality victories over Montpelier, Stowe, Rivendell and Twin Valley. When her older sister, Ashlyn, broke her arm midway through the season, Olivia Hogan inherited the task of guarding each opponent’s top player. She kept other teams honest by swatting away 23 shots, and she was especially dangerous in transition.

“Halfway through the season, she started really understanding her positioning better and was able to help more on defense,” Twinfield coach Danielle Laperle said. “But her rebounds just do everything for us. There was a moment almost every game where she would rebound the ball and go from end line to end line, in no time at all, dribbling between all kinds of people. And she’d bring it all the way for the layup. She is just fearless and driven. And she’s just a girl who eats, breathes and sleeps basketball. She does regular season, then she does AAU and then summer league and a couple of different basketball camps. She truly loves the sport. It’s nice having that old-school athletic mentality — you don’t find that with a lot of kids nowadays. It’s not like 10 or so years ago when everybody was a player and when everybody had that mentality that you’ve got to put in the work and the effort. So it’s refreshing seeing that and it paid off for her.

Letty Hill

Hazen Senior

The Wildcats’ season ended prematurely with an upset loss in the quarterfinals, but Hill was undeniably one of the area’s top talents while leading her team to a 19-2 record. The point guard’s composure and vision sparked a 14-game winning streak, allowing Hazen to lock up the No. 1 seed for playoffs. She scored 11 points against both Richford and Danville in addition to silencing Stowe with a 14-point, nine-assist effort. She dropped in a career-high 29 points against BFA-Fairfax and added 12 points against Lamoille. She tallied 13 points to fuel a 49-27 victory over Peoples Academy in the championship of the Lamoille Holiday Tournament. During a late-season rematch with the Wolves, she finished with 10 points and 11 assists.

“Basketball was everything to Letty,” Hazen coach Tanya MacAuley said. “In the offseason, she was often the only one in the gym, in the morning and at night, doing ball-handling routines. She just worked all the time. She is definitely one of the best point guards I have coached, and one of the best I have ever seen. She sees the floor better than anyone and she makes passes that you don’t even know they are going there until they are on their way. She was definitely our 3-point shooter, but she’s more our playmaker than anything. And Letty mentored a couple of kids during the season, which was phenomenal to watch. There were a couple of kids who came to the gym all the time who didn’t have a lot of guidance, and she was there and really helped them out. I know she is coaching AAU, she’s very organized and very much out there to help others.

Natalie Folland

Spaulding Sophomore

The inside-outside threat helped her team snap a multi-year losing skid, signaling that the future could be bright for the Crimson Tide. Folland averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game while playing as a forward, but she also paced her team with 3-pointers and free-throw attempts. She scored a season-high 17 points during a victory over South Burlington and piled up 15 first-half points against Colchester before getting into foul trouble. Folland paced the Tide in offensive and defensive rebounds, keeping Spaulding competitive throughout a tough Metro schedule. Even though the Tide didn’t win much, they established a lot of credibility during close battles with Mount Anthony, U-32, Mount Mansfield, Essex and Burlington.

“Last year, she was flattered to make the team as a freshman, but she wanted to make sure she would get playing time,” Spaulding coach James Carpenter said. “By the second or third game, she was starting, and she’s started every game since. This year, we were able to run an offense for her out on the perimeter when a bigger player was guarding her. And then she was also able to post up any smaller guard that they put on her trying to combat her ball-handling skills. Offensively, she is just a smooth, in-control player. She was often on the other team’s best forward or center, and we relied on her to play smart defense and not get into foul trouble. When we took her out on the defensive end, we really struggled to secure defensive rebounds. She gobbled a lot of boards and it made a big difference with her off the floor. She did it all for us.”

SECOND TEAM

Azwayla Taylor

Montpelier Junior

When Taylor was in the zone, some of the top teams in Division II and III struggled to keep pace with the Solons. Despite attracting lots of defensive attention, she had a breakout game with 13 points and eight rebounds in a victory over previously undefeated Randolph. She paced MHS with 11 points and 18 rebounds in a 48-42 win over Oxbow, helping the Solons erase a 15-point deficit. The 5-foot-11 forward swatted away six shots during a victory over Williamstown and was never reluctant to take a charge.

“Sometimes she gets totally rocked, but she’s always our protector and she always gets up and shakes it off,” MHS coach Kylie Blodgett said. “She has really long arms, she has really great timing and she is an incredible athlete. So her instincts on defense underneath are really good. She also has incredible ball-handling skills and she has a good touch in the paint, but she always has to work for her points down low. And she has a really beautiful mid-range jumper that she doesn’t always look for. The games where she’s really feeling it, she gets some good points around 10-15 feet. She’s a quiet kid, but when she steps on the floor she becomes the natural-born leader. In a pressure situation, people tend to follow her lead.”

Ciera Sweet

Williamstown Sophomore

The second-year varsity standout averaged eight points and eight rebounds for the Blue Devils. For the past two seasons, she has started every game as a point guard, flirting with a triple-double this year against Montpelier. She’s also been the soccer goalie the past two seasons, developing a multi-sport understanding that hard work can be an equalizing force against talented, bigger opponents. After BFA’s Ali Irish scored 20 points against Williamstown, Sweet clamped down in the rematch and held her to eight points.

“One of her biggest strengths is her heart and her physical strength and desire,” Blue Devils coach Sid Sweet said. “She will go up against anybody. The Irish girl was probably 4-5 inches taller than her, but she is never afraid of size and she does everything 100%. Offensively, she has a pretty good left hand and she has a couple of different moves. Getting to the rim, getting to the foul line and the 3-point shot are her best assets as a scorer. But her biggest thing is she sees the floor so well. Her head is always up and she can make the pass to her teammates really well in transition.”

Lizzie Brown

Hazen Senior

The former Craftsbury star played her final two seasons with the Wildcats, never suffering a losing season during the past four years. She finished her career with nearly 900 points, leading Hazen to an 18-4 record last year and a 19-2 campaign this winter. Brown scored 13 points in a close loss against Thetford before scoring 19 points in a victory over Danville. She chipped in with 14 points against Richford and added 11 against Williamstown.

“She’s pretty small but fierce,” MacAuley said. “On defense, she usually held the opponent’s top scorers very well. And she wasn’t afraid to get underneath there and bang around with the big girls. On offense she has a great outside shot. And even being a small guard, she is one of our best drivers out there. She was constantly taking the ball to the hoop and making things happen by drawing a foul or putting a bucket in. This year she was one of our top scorers, even though she dealt with an injury and missed three games toward the end of the season. She worked hard to come back and be there for the end of our season.”

Shea Fordham

Randolph Senior

The veteran forward led the Galloping Ghosts in blocks and was a big reason her team opened with nine straight victories. Fordham contributed nine points in victories over U-32 and Lyndon in addition to scoring 12 points in victories over Montpelier and Williamstown. The Ghosts swept Division III runner-up Oxbow and also beat solid opponents like Lamoille, Hartford, Mill River, Springfield and Vergennes. During the D-II quarterfinals Fordham paced Randolph with 14 points against Lake Region. The Ghosts finished at 16-6 to follow up last year’s 18-5 semifinal season.

“Shea is one of these kids that sneaks up on you, and the next thing you know she’s putting you in the stands,” Lafreniere said. “She just has a presence about her. She’s long-armed, she attacks people, gets rebounds. She’s just a complete player, offense to defense. Rielle (Brassard) and Shea both play during the summer — twice a week often — against U-32, White River Valley, Thetford. Whenever we can get gym time, they have always been there.

Payton Gariboldi

U-32 Sophomore

The gritty guard made her greatest contributions on the defensive side for the second straight year. She was one of her team’s most experienced players, leading the Raiders to a 11-11 record despite a massive loss to graduation. She scored a combined 17 points during a season sweep over Spaulding and paced U-32 with 15 points during an overtime victory over Harwood. Gariboldi also ignited a victory over defending state champ Mount Abraham, scoring the tying basket with five seconds left.

“She’s a kid who, on average, is probably scoring six to eight points per game,” U-32 coach Travis Paquet said. “She’s a very, very tough defender. She’s the kid that we put in the middle of our press, because she is versatile, she’s athletic and she’s quick. And she can get to where we need her to get to. She can actually play two positions at once when she’s on defense, which is a good thing.”

HONORABLE MENTION

Raven Premont, Spaulding

Samantha Owen, Spaulding

Bella Luhr, Montpelier

Casey Flye, U-32

Rachel Lawson, U-32

Ashley Proteau, Harwood

Cam Ravelin, Harwood

Fasika Parrot, Williamstown

Kasie Mills, Randolph

Mariah Shumway, Oxbow

Kaysea Neal, Oxbow

Lucy Kelley, Peoples

Paige Pierce, Peoples

Kiley Currier, Hazen

Alleigh Gabaree, Hazen

Ashlyn Hogan, Twinfield

Rachel Cunningham, Stowe

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