No guts, no glory, goes the old saying.
Otter Valley had plenty of the former last Friday night and that lifted the Otters into this week’s top 10 in the Rutland Herald / Times Argus boys basketball power rankings.
That 10th spot has been making the rounds, primarily among Division II teams. This week, the Otters take over with the impetus of their stirring, 62-59 double overtime win over Fair Haven. The Otters rallied from a 35-24 fourth-quarter deficit after having been completely frustrated by Fair Haven’s defense for the first 20 minutes. But they never stopped playing hard and it paid off in a way that could carry them the rest of the season.
Welcome to the top 10, Otters. Now, can you stick?
The rankings’ top spot swapped hands for the second time in as many weeks, with deposed Rice regaining No. 1 with a victory over now-former No. 1 Mount Mansfield, which had won nine straight games.
(Note: rankings made before Tuesday night’s games)
1. Rice (2nd last week) 10-1. An 11-point win over the Cougars was just what the Green Knights needed.
2. Mount Mansfield (1) 10-2. An 11-point loss to Rice might be just what the Cougars needed.
3. St. Johnsbury (4) 9-5. With five straight wins, the Hilltoppers are looking like the team we thought they were in preseason.
4. Rutland (3). Ranking skewed by absence of Jamison Evans, who is a major asset for the Raiders. He could be back sometime this week.
5. Brattleboro (7) 7-6. The Colonels edged Rutland at home Friday to get over the .500 mark for the first time since December. If they can achieve consistency before the playoffs, they’ll be a legit D-I sleeper.
6. Burr and Burton (6) 10-3. The Bulldogs have not had a lot of success against good D-I teams but they have another opportunity when Rutland comes to town Friday.
7. Essex (9) 7-5. Essex’s last two losses were by two points at St. Jay and by seven at Rice. Don’t count out the Hornets.
8. CVU 7-5 (5). The Redhawks are listing to the port bow and need a victory over a winning team.
9. Burlington (8) 5-6. The Seahorses could use a win over anybody at this point.
10. Otter Valley (out) 9-5. OV at Mount St. Joseph on Friday is a huge game for both teams.
On the bubble: Middlebury, South Burlington, Lake Region.
Division II: 1. Otter Valley 2. Lake Region 3. MSJ 4. Mill River 5. U-32
Division III: 1. Hazen 2. Williamstown 3. Thetford 4. Windsor 5. Peoples
Division IV: 1. Poultney 2. Proctor 3. Danville 4. Twin Valley 5. Sharon