Wildcats drop close season opener
WHITINGHAM — The high school basketball season started last week, and Twin Valley Middle High School’s all-boys varsity has already played three games in five days. On Friday and Saturday they played in the Bob Abrahamson tournament at Proctor High School and on Tuesday they played in the opening round of Green Mountain High School’s annual vacation tournament. Unfortunately, the Wildcats ended up losing all three games.
“We still have a long way to go,” said coach Chris Brown on Wednesday. He added that the first task will be to get the whole team healthy as injuries and illnesses limit player availability.
On Friday, the Wildcats lost a 39-38 heartbreaker to Poultney in the opening round of the Abrahamson tournament.
Twin Valley led for most of the first half but were four points behind late in the game. Junior Noah Dornburgh hit a three-point shot with five seconds remaining, but the Wildcats couldn’t get the ball back before the clock ran out.
“It started well,” Brown said. “We had the opportunity to win the game.”
Saturday’s consolation game with host Proctor was a different story as the Wildcats fell into an early hole and were unable to dig their way out. The Phantoms led 23-5 after the first quarter. Twin Valley was able to cut their lead slightly in the second but were still down 35-20 at halftime. The teams were even in the second half, but Proctor extended his early lead to a 56-39 win.
Seniors Liam Wendel and Caleb Dupuis led Twin Valley with 13 and 10 points. Freshman Brian Sullivan added eight points.
“We didn’t fight that much in the first half,” Brown said. “We played better as the game progressed but we got past the eight and caught up all night.”
Twinfield defeated Poultney 43-32 in the championship round on Saturday.
The Wildcats got excited in Chester on Tuesday night as D2 powerhouse Mount Saint Joseph Academy clinched a 79-21 win in the opening round of the Green Mountain tournament.
“We were completely overwhelmed,” Brown said. “Also, we only had seven suits last night. There wasn’t much togetherness. The guys weren’t ready to go up against a team like MSJ out there.”
Owen Traynor dropped 41 points to allow the Mounties to lead all scorers.
Despite the preseason losses, Brown said the team fought hard and didn’t give up.
The Wildcats are bringing back six players from last year, led by seniors Wendel, Dupuis, Joe Crafts, Luke Wrathall and Matt Hammond. Juniors Cody Magnant and Dornburgh are also back. However, Hammond and Magnant are absent with injuries.
New to the Wildcats this season are senior Cooper Adams and first-year players Steven Oyer, Carson McHale, Chris Eckert and Sullivan.
“Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later to get everyone back,” Brown said.
The Wildcats play Green Mountain in the consolation game today at 4:30 p.m. They travel to West Rutland for a game at 6pm on Tuesday December 20th. On January 6th they head to Long Trail School in Dorset. The Wildcats won’t play their first home game until Jan. 10 when they host Arlington at 7 p.m.