Chieftains shake off the rust with overtime win

By Evan Chadwick
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Struggling from a long layover with three games canceled, the Green Mountain boys basketball team were just happy to get back on the court the night of Wednesday, Jan. 12. What made them even happier – despite the nearly month-long gap since their last game –  was that the Chieftains were able to grind out a 50-47 overtime victory against 6-0 Long Trail School  in front of their hometown crowd.

Photo by Ziad Nr from Pexels

“With the layoff I didn’t know what to expect,” said head coach Brian Rapanotti. “I was pleased with our effort and our ability to hit shots. We made some mistakes, but overall it was a good win against a good team.”

The rust was certainly evident in the first four minutes of the first quarter, as turnovers and missed shots showed their ugly face for the Chieftains. Luckily, despite being shut out, Long Trail was only able to muster one field goal, thanks to solid Chieftain defense that forced three Mountain Lion turnovers.

The Chieftains’ defense turned to offense five minutes into the contest, courtesy of back-to-back 3-pointers by Kagan Hance and Everett Mosher that locked the game at 8 with just two minutes to go in the first quarter.

The skilled Long Trail squad, led by their point guard, Tomasz Koc would answer the Chieftain run with a 8-2 run of their own. Koc hit two 3- pointers in the stretch and also dished off an inside assist to Patryk Lukaszewski for a layup. The Mountain Lions began to press their size advantage during this run as Chieftain center Eben Mosher was strapped with two early fouls that forced him to the bench for the rest of the first half.

Green Mountain continued to rely on the three ball in the second. Reid Hryckiewicz and Hance would each connect from downtown to tie the game at 16 just two minutes in.

Green Mountain would then go on a 9-0 run to close the first half. Hance started the spurt with a corner three, Elias Stowell Aleman followed with a steal and transition lay-up and two consecutive mid-range jumpers by Branden Rose had the Chieftains enjoying their biggest lead of the contest at 26-20.

“We had to go small with Eben (Mosher) on the bench,” said Rapanotti. “We hit some big shots to close the half.”

Both teams came out a little sloppy in the third. Numerous missed shots and turnovers turned the quarter into more of a track meet with the teams combining to score a total of 13 points in the frame. Hance connected from the 3-point line late in the quarter, keeping the Green Mountain advantage at two 29-27, but a Long Trail bucket just before the buzzer saw the contest go into the fourth knotted at 29.

The Green Mountain fans got a thrilling finish in the fourth as the game stayed a one possession contest throughout. Eben Mosher hit a free throw to give Green Mountain a 3-point lead with 2:30 on the clock, but Koc would come right back down the floor to finish a layup and cut the lead back to one. Long Trail would force a turnover on the next Chieftain possession that led to a floater by Aidan Tarbell giving Long Trail a 1 point lead with 40 seconds remaining. Green Mountain turned the ball over again, but Rose stole the ball right back and was fouled on his drive to the hoop. Rose calmly sank both free-throws to give the Chieftains a one point lead.

An inbounds play drawn up by Mountain Lion Coach Mike Olson resulted in a baby hook finish in the post by Lukaszewski that reclaimed the Mountain Lion lead at 43-42, but a reach-in foul with eight seconds remaining put Everett Mosher to the line where he was able to hit one of two, earning the bonus time for both squads and the boisterous crowd.

An off-balance 3 by Rose was the big damage for Green Mountain in the bonus stanza, giving the Chieftains the final lead they would need and, with solid defense and a couple of free throws, Green Mountain took home a hard fought 50-47 victory to go to 3-2 on the season.

Kagan Hance led the Chieftains with 19 points including five treys. Everett Mosher followed with 14.

The 3-2 Chieftains play 3-1 White River Valley on Friday, Jan. 14, in South Royalton.

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Filed Under: BasketballEducation NewsFeaturedSports News

About the Author: Originally from Rochester, Vermont, Evan Chadwick is a practicing attorney who lives in Brattleboro with his family. He is a 2007 graduate of Keene State College and currently coaches the boys' varsity basketball team at Bellows Falls Union High School.

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