Ring a new year of Rutland-area sports

Coach Mike Wood returned to the Convent Avenue gym last Friday night for the first time since he resigned as the MSJs boys varsity coach, a position he held for seven years. He brought with him ex-Mountie player Mark Comstock. And it is fair to sat that, despite a pesky MSJ squad that wouldnt go away, they enjoyed their brief visit back to their old stomping grounds. Comstock pounded in a game high twenty-two points while leading his new Rutland Raider teammates to a 50 - 38 win over his old squad. Rutland put together three runs and led by as much as twenty-three points 48 - 25 with just five minutes left. But just like they had done all night MSJ fought back, and cut that deficit in half before time ran out. Brandon Mercado led the Mounties with thirteen points. Ryan Carter contributed twelve more and eight rebounds. Rutland improved to 6 - 4 with the while MSJ fell to 3 - 6 on the year with the loss. The Mounties host Mount Anthony tonight at the Convent Avenue gym. The Otter Valley Otters were in action last Friday night too, hosting the Burr and Burton Bulldogs. The Otters came out hot, scoring the first ten points of the game, and never looked back en-route to a 48 - 35 win. Senior forward Tom Markowski scored sixteen points and hauled in a dozen rebounds to lead the Otters to their seventh win of the year. Grant Jakubowski added ten more points for the 7 - 2 Otters. Burr and Burton fell to 2 - 5 with the loss. The Fair Haven Slaters, Mill River Minutemen and Poultney Blue Devils werent so fortunate last Friday, with all three suffering losses in boys basketball action. Fair Haven fell on the road to the Springfield Cosmos 58 - 50. The 6 - 4 Slaters got behind early in this one, trailing by as much as fifteen points in the second quarter, and they battled back. At the start of the fourth they trailed by just four, and look ready to pull out a win. But they wouldnt pull any closer than two points the entire fourth quarter as Springfield held on to claim the win and elevate their record to 3 - 5 on the year. Sophomore Christian Doran led the Slaters with twenty points. In Poultney the Green Mountain Chieftains outscored their hosts 37 - 16 in the final two quarters, transforming a 12 - 11 halftime lead into a 49 - 27 blowout. The 2 - 7 Blue Devils were led by Derek Kerber with fourteen points. Derek Adams had thirteen for Green Mountain. In Windsor the Windsor Yellow Jackets, behind their signature run-and-jump press easily took care of the Mill River Minutemen 62 - 29. Allan White had eight points to lead Mill River, while Jeff Danyew paced the 6 - 2 Yellow Jackets with a game high seventeen points. In high school boys hockey action last Friday night the Rutland Raiders found themselves trailing the Colchester Lakers 2 - 1 with time running out in the final period. But with just five minutes left Raider Shayne Barrett snuck one past a stingy Critter Furlani, to tie the game at 2 - 2. Rutland dominated the overtime period, out shooting Colchester seven to two, but couldnt beat Furlani again, who wound up with an impressive thirty-four saves. Connor Beerworth scored the Raiders other goal. Goalie Ian Veilleux made twenty-three saves to preserve the tie for the 7 - 3 - 2 Raiders. Colchester stands at 7 - 1 - 3 following the tie. The week after Christmas was a traditional one for high schools around the state to hold four team mini-tournaments in basketball and hockey, and 2007 was no different. Many Rutland County teams participated in these tournaments this past week, with varying degrees of success. Read below to find out who did what, along with non-tournament game results. Rutland Raiders Win RHS Holiday Classic Tournament. Four Rutland County teams participated in The boys division of the Rutland Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament, with one of them, tournament hosts the Rutland Raiders capturing the Championship. The Mill River Minutemen captured third place and the Mount Saint Joseph Mounties dropping two close ones to finish 4th. In the semifinals played last Thursday in Rutland the Raiders opened up a close game with a 13 - 0 run in the third quarter to defeat the Mill River Minutemen 71 - 48. Brendon LaFaso, behind three three-pointers led all scorers with twenty-one points. Mark Comstock and Robbie Dorion contributed double-digit scoring to the victory, pounding in fifteen and thirteen points respectively. Mill Rivers valiant effort was paced by Austin Bicskei and senior captain Pat Benini. Bicskei scored fifteen and Beninr contributed an additional ten points to the Mill River loss. In the second semifinal Middleburys Travis Betourney blocked away a game tying attempt by MSJs Ryan Carter with just six seconds left, and the Tigers held on to defeat the Mounties 66 - 63. The Mounties, who were trailing the entire game wouldnt quit, and then finally with twenty-eight seconds left Chris Reedy hit a shot, tying the game at 63 - 63. But Betourney would make certain that the Tigers wouldnt let this one slip away. Agian the games final twenty-eight seconds he would hit the go ahead field goal, block Carters shot and add a crucial free throw, leading Middlebury into the championship against Rutland. Betourney led Middleburys offense with twenty-one points. Tucker Burns added sixteen more and Bill Audet contributed an additional ten points to the Tigers win. MSJs Brandon Mercado led all scorers with twenty-two points. Jarid Margolin (sixteen points) and Carter (eleven points) also registered double-digit scoring for the Mounties. In the Championship game played last Saturday the Raiders put together a 14 - 0 run in the third quarter to pull away from and defeat the Middlebury Tigers 60 - 43. Eerily similar to the way they defeated Mill River in the opening round. LaFaso and Comstock again led the way for the victorious Raiders with eighteen and fourteen points respectively. Akeem Evans contributed an additional dozen to the championship win. The Tigers, who fell to 6 - 4 with the loss, were led by Audet with seventeen points. Fifteen of them came on three pointers. After winning an exciting opening round game over Granville, Poultney fell to Hadley-Luzerne in the Championship round of the Granville Holiday Tournament. In the first round against tournament host Granville Bobby Scott hit two free throws in the waning seconds of the game to lift Poultney to a 41 - 39 win. Scott led the Blue Devils with fourteen points, followed by Kurtis Petty who contributed an additional ten. Granville was paced by Josh Lyons with twelve points. In the Championship game played last Friday Poultney was defeated by Hadley-Luzerne 63 - 38. Granville Tournament MVP Byron Emery led the Tournament champions with a nineteen point effort. Scott once again led the 2 - 6 Blue Devils with seventeen points, and was named, along with Perry, to the All-Tournament team. In non-tournament boys basketball action last Saturday in Barre Kyle McQuarrey and Curtis Robinson led the Proctor Phantoms to an easy 74 - 46 win over Websterville - Baptist. The dynamic duo accounted for sixty-three of Proctors seventy-three points. McQuarrey pumped in thirty-four and Robinson added another twenty-nine to the lopsided win. Websterville - Baptist fell to 7 - 2 with the loss. In Brandon last Friday evening senior point guard Justin Lertola pumped in sixteen points to lead his Otter Valley Otters past the Bellows Falls Terriers 60 - 51. Tom Markowski, in just his second game back from an ankle injury, contributed twelve more for the Otters who improved to 6 - 2 on the year with the home win. Bellows Falls Justin Spaulding led all scorers with an eighteen point performance. Also in action last Friday night in Chelsea the West Rutland Golden Horde continued their winning ways by defeating their hosts 69 - 35. Paul Amelang paced the Hordes offensive onslaught with twenty points, followed closely by Greg Hughes with eighteen points. West Rutland stands at an impressive 6 - 1 following the win. Rutland Girls Follow Boys and Take Rutland Holiday Classic. The Rutland Raiders girls basketball team made it a clean sweep for the hosts, when they captured the girls championship in the Rutland Holiday Classic, adding their trophy to the boys. In the first round the Raiders survived a scare from the MSJ Mounties. Trailing MSJ by ten points 32 - 22 early in the third quarter the Raiders went on a 15 - 2 run to take 37 - 34 lead, and went on to win by seven 56 - 49. Jen Bova led the Raiders with a double-double consisting of fourteen points and fourteen rebounds. Melanie O'Rourke scored thirteen points and Danielle Comstock contributed eleven more for the 1 - 2 Mounties. In the other first round game the Middlebury Tigers, behind a 12 - 2 second quarter easily defeated the Mill River Minutemen 33 - 14.Petra Szymkowicz led Middlebury with eight points, while Ashley Ross and Kayla Whittemore each contributed an additional six points. Rebecca Day led the 0-6 Minutemen with five points. Kelly Conway scored seventeen points in Saturdays Championship game to lead Rutland past Middlebury 50 - 45. Petra Szymkowitz led the 1 - 3 Tigers with sixteen points. Rutland rose above five hundred to 4 - 3 with the two tournament wins. The Otter Valley Otters girls basketball team got their second win of the year last Thursday with a 46 - 26 thumping of the Leyland and Grey Rebels. The Otters show cased a balance attack, where eleven of their twelve players scoring, led by Abbe Gage and Kelsey Knapp with nine points apiece. Raiders Win Barry Van Gerbig Holiday Hockey Tournament. The Raiders survived a first round scare given to them by the Burr and Burton Bulldogs. With the two teams tied at 1 - 1 late in the third, and the Raiders failing to even get a shot on goal the entire period, things looked bleak for the defending champions of the Barry Van Gerbig Holiday Hockey Tournament. But then fate stepped in. Junior Ethan Peterson flipped the puck out of the corner to avoided having it tied up. The puck deflected off the skate of a Bulldog and into the net, giving Rutland a 2 - 1 win. Raider freshman Eric Mack scored the Raiders only other goal of the contest. In the other opening round game Hartford scored four times and then held on to defeat MSJ 4 - 2. Shawn Miller and Steve Kalen scored for the Mounties. MSJ goalie Zach Richards who tended the net the last two periods keeping the Mounties in the contest by stopping all twenty-one shots blasted at him. In Fridays championship game Rutland and Hartford had skated nearly two full periods and were tied at 2 - 2. But late in the second Rutlands Alexander Porrier, with an assist from Connor Beerworth, scored the Raiders second short handed goal of the night, putting the Raiders ahead at the final break 3 -2. Joe Rodolfy then scored his second goal of the night early in the third period and that is all Rutland needed, as they held on to win 4 - 2, successfully defending their tournament title. Rutlands sophomore goalie Andrew Boyle stopped twenty-three shots, including twelve in the final period to secure the win. In the consolation game Burr and Burton scored three power play goals, with final one coming in overtime to defeat MSJ 5 - 4. Janne Kelahaara and Shawn Miller scored twice each for the Mounties who despite out shooting the Bulldogs 40 - 19 couldnt pull out the win.

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