Otters heading to Barre to play in semi-finals

For the first time since 1985 the Otter Valley Union High School boys basketball team will playing in the Division II semifinals at the Barre Auditorium. The Otters were denied the trip last year by one point after suffering a quadruple overtime loss to the Montpelier Salons. They made it by the same margin this year by defeating the thirteenth seeded Randolph Ghosts 41 - 40 last Saturday at Otter Valley in this years quarterfinals contest. But the post season began on the Wednesday before when Otter Valley defeated Montpelier in the play downs 73 - 55. Justin Lertola and Tom Markowski led the way for the Otters with eighteen points apiece, followed closely by Justin Lertola who contributed an additional fourteen points. Montpeliers Tyler Everett had a monstrous night throwing down twenty-nine points, but it wouldnt be enough for the Salons, who finish their season at 8 - 13. Following the win the Otters got even more good news. Randolph upset the fourth seeded Union-32 Raiders. That meant that Otter Valley would not be on he road for the quarterfinals, but would host the game against Randolph instead, and what a game it was. Markowski opened the game up by hitting a lay up off the opening tip, but Randolph answered with seven unanswered points and led 7 - 2 early. That five point lead would be the biggest either team enjoyed all day long. From here on out their was an occasional three or four point lead, but the lead, which changed numerous times, was within two points for most of the game, including its exciting ending.. With Otter Valley trailing 40 - 38 with just twenty seconds left Markowski hit a lay up, was fouled and nailed the free throw to put Otter Valley up 41 - 40. After Randolph failed to score they fouled Grant Jakubowski with just eight seconds left. But Jakubowski missed the front end of the one-on-one Randolph got the rebound and not only did they get one good look at the game winner, but three. Senior center Thomas Jacobs took the first shot, and it hung on he rim before falling out, where it as grabbed by Montpeliers Nick Bent. He went up with the shot and was rejected by Sienkiewicz. Bent got the ball back again but there was Sienkiewicz to block it again as the clock ran out and the House of Noise exploded.. Markowski turned in a double-double for the victorious Otters with nineteen points and a dozen rebounds.Sienkiewicz contributed nine more for the fifth seeded Otters who enter the semifinals at 15 - 6. Grant White led the ghosts with nineteen, while Jacobs contributed an additional thirteen for Randolph, who wind up their season at 7 - 15. The Otters arent the only Rutland County team headed to Barre. The West Rutland Golden Horde and the Proctor Phantoms are also headed to the Aud to compete in Division IV version of the final four. West Rutland, seeded second, advanced by thumping the fifteenth seeded Richford Rockets in the play downs a week ago Wednesday 63 - 25. This game was never in jeopardy as the Horde opened the contest with a 16 - 0 run, and led 17 - 4 at the end of the first quarter West Rutlands offense spread the wealth in this one, and four Horde players, led by Randy Cameron with eighteen points, reached double digits in scoring. Greg Hughes and Paul Amelang followed Cameron with fifteen points apiece, while Brian Reynolds contributed an additional ten points to the lopsided post season win. Richford ends their season at 4 - 15. West Rutland then secured their fifth straight trip to Barre with a 59 44 quarterfinal win over the Black River Presidents on Saturday. West Rutland again got off to a good start, racing out to a 12 - 2 lead, which they maintained to lead by ten at the intermission 27 - 17. From there West Side held off a determined Black River team to pull out the fifteen point win. Hughes led West Rutland in this one with an impressive twenty-two point performance that included three, three pointers. Cameron and Brian Reynolds added fourteen and thirteen points respectively to the huge win. Junior scoring star Bobby Rohrig lead the Presidents with nineteen points. West Rutland heads into the Division IV semifinals with 1 20 - 2 record. The Proctor Phantoms advanced to the Division IV semifinals by thumping Chelsea 62 - 23 in the quarterfinals last Thursday in Proctor. The top seeded Phantoms had little trouble in this one, leading 18 - 1 after the first quarter, and by halftime were up 44 - 10. Jordan Snow led Proctor with seventeen points, while Kyle McQuarrie added a dozen more to the lopsided win. The eighth seeded Chelsea Devils finish their season at 12 - 9, while the defending three time state champion Proctor Phantoms head into the semifinals at 20 - 1. While these three Rutland County teams made it to the final four at Barre, many others did not. In Division I both Rutland and MSJ came up short. The fourth seeded Rutland Raiders were upset by the thirteenth seeded Brattleboro Colonels 68 - 64 in the play downs a week ago Tuesday. Ryan Boyle led the Colonels offense with an impressive twenty-five points. Ryan Cavanaugh added sixteen more and Joel Porter contributed twelve more for the 8 - 12 Colonels. Rutland ends there first year at 14 - 6. Meanwhile Rutlands other Division I team, the fourteenth seeded Mount Saint Joseph Mounties fell in the play downs to the Third seeded Essex Hornets 70 - 41. Essex jumped out to a 39 - 16 lead at the half and cruised from there to the twenty-nine point win. Rusmir and Gabe Nicasio had 15 points apiece to lead the Hornets and Alen Touran threw down 14 more for the victors. The Mounties, who finish there season at 6 - 15 were led by Ryan Carter with 17 points. The Mill River Minutemen, who after a slow start won nine of their last regular season games were hot heading into the post season, and they hoped to ride that hot streak to a playoff win, or two. But it wasnt meant to be. Mill River fell in the first round to the Vergennes Commodores 54 - 39. Jesse Lalumiere paced the victorious Commodores with fourteen points. Austin Bicskei paced Mill River with thirteen points. Mill River winds their season up at 9 - 12. The Fair Haven Slaters also suffered a one and done fate in the Division II tournament, falling in the first round to the Lyndon Vikings 62 - 38. Jimmy Lau behind five 3-pointers led the seventh seeded Vikings with eighteen points. Logan Macomber added fifteen more while Jake Garfield and Patrick Conly contributed fifteen and fourteen more respectively. The Slaters, who finish their season at 11 - 10, were lead by Keith Schneider with fifteen. The Poultney Blue Devils didnt fare much better in Division III, falling to the fifth seeded Thetford Academy Panthers 63 - 36 in first round action. Nick Hoffman and Jason Gray led the Panthers with eighteen and seventeen points respectively. Joey Simons and Curtis Petty each had seven points for Poultney who finish their season at 5 - 16. --- The Mount Saint Joseph boys ice hockey team will be competing in the Division II state championship for the first time in sixteen years. The Mounties put together three goals in the third period to upset the sixth Harwood Highlanders 5 - 3 in the Division II semifinals a week ago Wednesday. Joel Korvakangas paced the Mounties with a hat trick, while Janne Kelahaara and defenseman Miika Uotila added a goal apiece to the huge win. Harwoods season ends with a 14 - 8 - 1 record..

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