In girls hockey: Lakers come out on top in defensive duel

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NCGHQrtr Morley

North Country Falcon Taylor Morley (left) comes in against Colchester Laker goalie Erica Hoffmann during Wednesday Metro Division quarterfinal game at Jay. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 2-27-2014

JAY — Last season the North Country Falcons girls hockey team (12-8-1) was rewarded for their Lake Division runner-up finish with a promotion to the Metro Division.  The 2013 Lake Division champion Harwood Highlanders also moved up a division but had quite a different experience with a 3-13-4 record.

How well the girls responded to the challenge is how Coach Claude Paul will remember his 2014 squad, not their 1-0 quarterfinal loss to the Colchester Lakers on Wednesday night, February 26, at the Ice Haus in Jay.

“We didn’t really know what to expect except that it was going to be tough,” Coach Paul said after the game.  “In Metro teams run out two or three solid lines every night, for every game.  There is no tail-off in talent.” Continue reading

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In girls basketball: CA Chargers run ends against Phantom menace

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CA semi Bohannon web

Craftsbury’s Janet Bohannon (foreground left) goes in for the basket during Monday night’s DIV semi-final against the top seeded Proctor Phantoms at the Barre Auditorium. Bohannon keyed the Charger attack that gave Craftsbury a 15-10 first quarter lead. Also in on the play, from left to right, are Phantom Abby McKearin, Charger Lynn Brown and Phantom Alyssa Valerio. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 2-26-2014

BARRE — The Craftsbury Academy Chargers accomplished something this season that hasn’t been done since 1990 — they earned a berth in the semi-finals in Barre. A sterling 18-1 record earned the Chargers the right to play in Barre, but they had the misfortune to draw the 20-2 Proctor Phantoms as their opponent. Proctor is playing for its third straight DIV title.

CA semi Pennock web

Craftsbury’s Meghan Pennock (foreground left) finds herself in an all-too familiar place as she shoots from within a stockade of Proctor Phantoms. Pennock would lead Craftsbury with 10 points on the night. Surrounding her on the play are Phantoms Brodie Langlois (far left), Riley Coombs (obscured center), Mackenzie Hickey (foreground right) and Abby McKearin (obscured right).
Photo by Richard Creaser

CA semi MBrown web

Craftsbury’s Meghan Brown defends against Proctor Phantom Megan Elrick during Monday night’s DIV semi-final game at the Barre Auditorium. Proctor would go on to win 60-36 as the Phantoms attempt to win their third consecutive DIV state title.
Photo by Richard Creaser

“You see why they’re the two-time state champions,” Craftsbury Coach Rick Thomas said after the game. “They’ve got a team around them that is absolutely relentless. We’ve never played a team like this that is just always in your face.”
Despite the seemingly lopsided score, 60-36, Craftsbury actually played a fairly good game. Indeed, Craftsbury managed to stake and hold a lead through the first quarter 15-10. Janet Bohannon landed two three-pointers in helping to create a lead that was 11-1 at one point.
But as defending state champs are capable of doing, the Phantoms steadily chipped away at Craftsbury’s lead. Craftsbury’s one bad quarter, the second, enabled Proctor to establish a lead and maintain it through the rest of the game. Jordan Mitchell was scorching hot nailing four three-pointers in the second quarter alone en route to leading her team with a game high 18 points.
“We had done well in our zone,” Coach Thomas said. “Once they started hitting perimeter threes, there wasn’t much we could do.”
Proctor’s smothering coverage and aggressive attack forced the Chargers into a position they are not especially familiar with — drawing fouls. It was a losing proposition as the Phantoms thrived from the foul line shooting 14 for 23 on the night, a 61 percent conversion rate. By comparison the Chargers shot only 4 for 11 or 36 percent. Adding to the struggle was losing Bohannon in the final half of the fourth quarter due to personal fouls.
“Losing Janet was a big blow to our offense,” Coach Thomas said. “Nobody else could get loose.”
Turnovers were a major factor working against Craftsbury, Coach Thomas said. The Phantoms excelled at stealing, blocking and running the ball up-court. Losing possession against a team as strong as Proctor was essentially conceding a basket, he said.
Despite seeing his team’s drive for the title halted, Coach Thomas remains optimistic about the future of Craftsbury’s basketball program. The loss of seniors Bohannon, Meghan Pennock, Thalia Thomas and Emma Spiese will hurt, but a strong foundation remains, he said.
“Here we are in Barre and I had complete confidence in the two eighth graders I had out there,” Coach Thomas said. “Lynn [Brown] and Mackenzie [Blaney] are two very talented players. You see what we are losing in our seniors but you also see what we are gaining.”
Coach Thomas also praised his team for how they handled themselves in a very tough match. No matter proctor’s reputation or the score, the Chargers went out and gave everything they had, he said.
“That speaks volumes to the intensity that they believe in themselves,” Coach Thomas said. “There’s no doubt that they came in here believing they could win. It didn’t turn out that way but it wasn’t for lack of effort.”

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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In girls basketball: CA Chargers head to semi-finals

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by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 2-23-2014

Craftsbury's Meghan Pennock (left) uses some fancy footwork to cut past Whitcomb/Rochester's Lindsey LaPerle during Saturday's DIV quarterfinal in Craftsbury.  A late run enabled the Chargers to finally break through the Hornets' defense and grant the Chargers a 43-35 win to advance to Monday night's semi-finals in Barre. Photo by Richard Creaser

Craftsbury’s Meghan Pennock (left) uses some fancy footwork to cut past Whitcomb/Rochester’s Lindsey LaPerle during Saturday’s DIV quarterfinal in Craftsbury. A late run enabled the Chargers to finally break through the Hornets’ defense and grant the Chargers a 43-35 win to advance to Monday night’s semi-finals in Barre.
Photo by Richard Creaser

CRAFTSBURY COMMON — Thalia Thomas’ last-second three-pointer in the final moments of the third quarter proved to be a decisive basket as the fourth-seeded Craftsbury Chargers defeated the visiting fifth-seeded Whitcomb/Rochester Hornets 43-35 on Saturday.  The win propels the Chargers into Monday night’s DIV semi-final against top-ranked Proctor at the Barre Auditorium.

It was a tight game throughout with the two teams deadlocked at 7-all after the first quarter and Craftsbury leading by a single point headed into the half.  When the Hornets tied up the game at 26-26 with less than 30 seconds left in the third it truly seemed anyone’s game.  And then Thomas landed Craftsbury’s lone three-pointer of the day to give the Chargers the edge they needed to put the game away once and for all.

“I think everyone had a lot of nerves going into this game,” Thalia Thomas said after the game.  “It was something we had to work through, to get back into our game.  It took a little while but we did it.”

Coach Rick Thomas was pleased with the effort his team put up against a tough Whitcomb squad.

CAGBvWhit shoot

Craftsbury Charger Lynn Brown, an eighth grader, shows excellent form against Whitcomb/Rochester Hornet Savannah Shepard during Saturday’s DIV 43-35 win. The Chargers win propels them into a tough DIV semi-final against league-leader and number one seed Proctor in Barre on Monday night. Photo by Richard Creaser

“To face a team like Whitcomb/Rochester three times and come away with wins each time is a testament to this team and how focused they are,” Coach Thomas said of his Chargers squad.  “This is what they’ve played for all season.  They know that they are one win away from playing for the state title.”

All three of the Chargers wins versus the Hornets have been decided by fewer than ten points.  Whitcomb’s deadly sophomore duo of Lindsey LaPerle and Phoebe Parrish combined for 29 of the Hornets’ 35 points on the night including two three-pointers apiece.  That level of outside threat proved a great challenge for the Charger defenders.

“They’ve got some great shooters,” Thalia Thomas said of her Hornet opponents.  “They were killing us on back-cuts.”

The game was also an unusually foul-filled affair for both squads.  By the time the final buzzer sounded one Hornet was bounced from the game and both Craftsbury and Whitcomb each had two players on the verge of elimination.

“Yeah, there were a lot of fouls,” Thomas said.  “I don’t know if it was from playing with more intensity because it was a playoff or that the refs were just making more calls.  It’s something we need to watch out for.”

Coach Thomas also praised the athleticism of the Hornets and the challenge the team has presented in each and every meeting.

“I knew this game was going to be like this,” Coach Thomas said.  “They are amazing athletes and they knew how to put pressure on us.  The way they managed Janet  showed a respect for her abilities,” he said about Janet Bohannon.

While Bohannon struggled in the early goings with stifling coverage that limited her to only seven points through the first half, her offensive potential was simply too great to hold permanently in check.  Bohannon would explode for seven points in the final quarter alone and contributed 11 total points in the second half keying the Chargers win.  She finished with a game high 18 points while teammate Meghan Pennock would record nine points on the day.

How well the Chargers fare against Proctor will be largely dependent on ball control.  In Saturday’s game ball control was often an issue especially when the Hornets got the ball to Parrish and LaPerle.  Turnovers are deadly against skilled teams and Proctor has been one of the most skilled teams in the division.  Proctor has recorded wins against upper-division teams in 13 of its 18 wins on the year.  In fact, of its two losses one was against DIV second seeded Mount St. Joseph and the other against DII Fairhaven.  Proctor dismantled DI Burr and Burton 66-33 in only the team’s third game of the season.

“There are definitely some nerves going up against Proctor,” Thalia Thomas said.  “We’ve never played them but we know they’re a good team.  We don’t know anything about them but they don’t know anything about us either.”

CAGBvWhit steal

Craftsbury Charger Sarah Dunbar (foreground right)snatches the steal and bolts down the court during Saturday’s DIV quarterfinal against the visiting Whitcomb/Rochester Hornets. Also in on the play are Hornets Casey Holtz (far left), Phoebe Parrish (second from right) and fellow Charger Thalia Thomas. Craftsbury Coach Rick Thomas (standing, center) observes the play. Photo by Richard Creaser

The game will truly hinge on which team is most readily able to adapt as the game wears on, Coach Thomas said.  Forcing Proctor to surrender turnovers while limiting their own turnovers will play a critical role in the contest, he said.

“We need to communicate better and make sure we secure the ball,” Coach Thomas said.  “A team like Proctor is going to make those conversions on our turnovers so we need to be very mindful of that.”

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

– Richard Creaser

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In boys basketball: Total team effort propels LR Rangers in win

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LR boys Harper web

Lake Region Ranger Logan Harper (center) works around Richford Falcons Bradley St. Pierre (left) and Brett McAllister during Wednesday night’s varsity match at Lake Region. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 2-13-2014

ORLEANS — The Lake Region Rangers boys varsity basketball (13-4) team kept their season longest seven-game winning streak alive with a 52-20 win over the visiting Richford Falcons (4-13) on Wednesday night, February 12.  The win was a near mirror image of the Rangers’ last win against the Falcons 58-24 back on January 9.

Wednesday’s contest enabled Lake Region Coach James Ingalls an opportunity to send out his underclassmen, giving his regular starters more rest time headed into the impending playoff season.  Coach Ingalls said he liked seeing the quality minutes his second string brought to the table.

“I think it speaks to how deep a rotation we have,” the coach said after the game.  “The boys put up some real quality minutes.  We had a total team effort and that earned us the W.”

Nine different players hit the score sheet for the Rangers with Alex Beauregard and Dennis Newland leading the attack with 11 points apiece.  Richford’s Jeremy Franklin led the Falcon attack with seven points on the night.

Sophomore Trent Bathalon was one of the Lake Region players who benefited from increased playing time in the game.  Bathalon finished the game with seven points including a three-pointer recorded in the final quarter of play.

LR boys Bathalon web

Lake Region’s Trent Bathalon (left) goes airborne on the shot against the visiting Richford Falcons on Wednesday night, February 12. Bathalon would record the basket on this shot as the Rangers downed Logan Hogaboom (center), Brett McAllister and the Falcons 52-20. Photo by Richard Creaser

The Rangers’ solid defensively play limited Richford’s scoring chances while enabling Lake Region to mount an offensive outpouring.  The Rangers were highly efficient in controlling the play in the paint both offensively and defensively.

“Defensively we played very, very well,” Coach Ingalls said.  “I thought our press was really good and we boxed them out really well.  I’m a bit of a defensively-minded coach so I was glad to see that tonight.”

Bathalon credits control around the basket and solid passing for the Rangers’ success.

“I feel like the cutting and movement was a really big thing for us,” Bathalon said.  “When we keep control and don’t rush we play better.”

Though the two squads were fairly evenly matched on height, the Rangers appeared to dominate offensive and defensive rebounds.  Limiting the number of repeated shots the Falcons could take on net was a critical component in the Rangers’ success.

LR boys Newland web

Lake Region’s Dennis Newland (center) and Ranger teammate Alex Beauregard (not shown) turned in a team best 11 points apiece as the Rangers downed Richford 52-20 on Wednesday night. Richford Falcon defenders Brett McAllister (left) and Kyle Doan (right) can only watch as Newland buries the basket. Photo by Richard Creaser

“They got a lot of big guys and play a tough, physical game,” Bathalon said of the Falcons.  “We had to work around them to get the chances we got.”

That physical play, while useful in keeping the Rangers away from easy baskets, did eventually take its toll.  The Falcons gave up 12 free throws in the last two quarters alone putting their struggling offense in an even deeper hole.  By comparison, Richford only surrendered a single free-throw to Lake Region in the entire first half.

“Things were definitely starting to get a little chippy out there,” Coach Ingalls said.  “I didn’t want to escalate things so I started using my bench more.  I can honestly say I’m happy with how they played this game.  There really wasn’t anything glaringly obvious that we need to address.”

The Lake Region Rangers hold their final regular season home game on Friday, February 21, as they take on visiting BFA-Fairfax.  The game has a scheduled 7 p.m. start.

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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In girls basketball: Chargers reel off seventh straight win

CA basketball toss

Craftsbury’s Janet Bohannon (right) tosses in the first basket of her 15-point night. Concord’s Baylee Olden (center) attempts to block as Craftsbury’s Meghan Brown positions herself beneath the net. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-21-2014

CRAFTSBURY COMMON —  The Craftsbury Academy Chargers (7-1) galloped off to an early lead en route to their seventh straight win of the season against the visiting Concord Wildcats (2-7) 57-34 on Tuesday night.  The Chargers have been unbeatable since a season opening loss to Division III Richford, and Coach Rick Thomas envisions great things for this year’s squad.

“This team has an amazing opportunity in front of them,” the coach said after the game.  “What they do with it is entirely up to them.”

The Chargers surrendered the first basket of the game to the Wildcats before reeling off 14 points of their own to take control of the game.  Big first half performances from Janet Bohannon and Meghan Pennock helped Craftsbury establish a dominant 22-6 lead after the first quarter of play.  That’s where things started to unravel. Continue reading

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Chris Braithwaite will be in NENPA Hall of Fame

chris hall fame web

Chris Braithwaite, hard at work at the Chronicle office working on this week’s newspaper, in Barton Tuesday. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 1-15-2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

BARTON — Chronicle founder and publisher Chris Braithwaite will be inducted into the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) Hall of Fame in February.

Mr. Braithwaite and five other newspaper professionals will be honored at the NENPA winter convention and annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 7. Continue reading

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In boys hockey: Rebels repel Falcon comeback bid

NC boys hockey slide

North Country’s Ross DeLaBruere neatly side-steps South Burlington defender Adam Weinheimer during Wednesday night’s Metro division contest at the Jay Peak Ice Haus. DeLaBruere’s three-point night was eclipsed only by South Burlington’s Matt Baechle who recorded the hat trick and an assist in South Burlington’s 4-3 win. Falcon teammate Ryan Paul contributed two goals including a short-handed tally. Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-9-2014

by Richard Creaser

JAY — The South Burlington Rebels came out on top of a chippy match against the host North Country Falcons at the Ice Haus in Jay on Wednesday night, January 8, with a final score of 4-3.  Penalties played a key role in the South Burlington win with two of the four goals coming with the man advantage and a third on a penalty shot.

The Rebels’ lone non-special teams goal came at 3:09 of the first period when Matt Baechle buried Liam Nieber’s feed past Falcon goalie Dana Marsh to record his first goal of the night.  Baechle would go on to add two more goals including the penalty shot en route to a four-point performance for the South Burlington senior. Continue reading

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In girls basketball: Falcons defense key in win over Lyndon

NC girls block

Falcon Mariah LaDeau (right) forces Lyndon Institute’s Samantha Smith to the outside during Saturday’s girls varsity match at North Country. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-7-2014

NEWPORT — The North Country Falcons picked up their second win of the season against the visiting Lyndon Institute Vikings on Saturday afternoon 41-29.  It also marks the team’s second win against rival LI this season as North Country improves to 2-3 on the year.  Coach Christiane Brown credits a strong defensive presence for Saturday’s win.

“Everyone contributed in some way or another,” Coach Brown said after the game.  “My stats calculator can keep track of a lot of things but the intensity and drive of my girls isn’t something that shows up in the stat sheet.  That’s what really made the difference today.” Continue reading

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In boys basketball: Rangers edge out Vikings to remain undefeated

LR boys FG

Three-pointers accounted for 21 of the Rangers 64 points in Thursday night’s win over the visiting Lyndon Institute Vikings. Here, Ranger Matt Messier (right) fires the first of his two field goals as the Vikings Mason Lantz (center) and Harwant Sethi Jr. look on. Photos by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-23-2013

ORLEANS — The crowd’s reaction to every point scored in Thursday night’s game belied the fact that it was only the second game of the season for both Lake Region and Lyndon Institute.  There was a tension in the air that spoke of an intense rivalry or a high stakes playoff showdown.  Both teams played like it might be their last game of the season.  That makes for great basketball.

It’s entirely possible that the tone of the evening was set when the home team Rangers junior varsity squad edged the JV Vikings by a single point.  It could also be that neither team was willing to go home without putting on the best possible show for their fans.  Anyone who sat in the bleachers at the Don Harter Memorial Gymnasium certainly saw proof of that as the Rangers went on to win 64-54 to improve to 2-0 on the season. Continue reading

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Ice storm causes widespread power outages

A power line on Roaring Brook Road between West Glover and Barton.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

A power line on Roaring Brook Road between West Glover and Barton. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 12-23-2013

An ice storm has knocked out power in northern Vermont and beyond.  Monday morning David Hallquist of Vermont Electric Cooperative said the storm is unprecedented in the amount of damage it’s done because it’s so widespread geographically.  About two-thirds of the cooperative’s coverage area lost power.

Mr. Hallquist said crews are working hard to restore power to everyone.

“We’ve got all the king’s horses and all the king’s men trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again,” he said.  Continue reading

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