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IMHO: It’s a Numbers Game

  • Thetford's Connor Brown is flanked by Rivendell's Owen Pelletier, Noah Martel and Chris Gendron during the last moments of their game in Thetford, Vt., on Jan. 21, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover Head Coach Dan O'Rourke has a word with Maddie McCorkle as Bella Bardales lines up a foul shot at left during the Wechsler Cup at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., Wednesday, December 21, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Windsor's Olivia Rockwood lays up a shot over the defense of Winooski's Lydia Nattress in the third quarter of their Division III semifinal game in Barre, Vt., on March 16, 2017. Windsor won, 61-47. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Zachary O'Brien, of Stevens, right, guards Garrett Olsen, of Woodsville, left, during the Connecticut River Shootout at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Stevens won 57 - 50. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Rebecca Wright leaps for an offensive rebound against Hollis Brookline's Haley Modelski (15) and Elizabeth Bonnette (11) in the NHIAA Division II state championship game in Manchester, N.H., on March 10, 2017. Lebanon won, 44-35. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford's Ben Rouillard, skates off in celebration after breaking away from Woodstock's Jack Kamb, right, to score on goalie Jason Drebber, left, to win the game 1 - 0 in overtime during the Bouthillier Holiday Classic at Barwood Arena in White River Junction,Vt., Tuesday, December 27, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Sports Editor
Monday, March 20, 2017

Eighth-grade algebra fried my brain. Trigonometry left me befuddled. Calculus holds no space in my gray matter.

Simple math? That I can do.

It’s fun to sit down with all of the numbers we accumulate during the course of a high school season. The coaches of the basketball and hockey teams the Valley News covers do a superb job of keeping us statistically up-to-date on their athletes. We take those figures and turn them into a list of Upper Valley leaders roughly every week.

It’s easy to find who’s leading the pack, especially when you have a computer program doing the calculations for you. (Oh, to have had that with word problems.) Given time to pore over the spreadsheets, some other fun facts emerge from the recently completed winter high school campaign:

Thetford’s Izzy Wilmott finished with 37 field goals during the Panthers’ recent run to the VPA Division III championship. Of those hoops, 26 were 3-pointers. Until she scored a conventional basket in Saturday’s state final against Windsor, her last nine field goals and 11 of her last 13 had been 3-balls. She had nothing but 3-pointers in seven games, twice netting three and once four without a free throw or 2-point hoop.

Mascoma’s Alex Schwarz and Lebanon’s Ryan Milliken were the only basketball players in the Upper Valley to score in double digits in every game this year. Schwarz’s whopper, of course, was the area-best 52 points he netted on Jan. 17 against Newfound to top the 1,000-point mark for his career. Milliken’s scoring came in a narrow range, never fewer than 13 points, never more than 26.

Three of the top 12 scorers in Upper Valley girls basketball — Windsor’s Olivia Rockwood at No. 1, Lebanon’s Rebecca Wright at No. 6 and Hanover’s Maddie McCorkle at No. 12 — were freshmen.

Speaking of impressive freshmen, Hanover’s Charlie Adams — who showed himself to be one of the area’s top soccer players last fall — can apparently play basketball, too. After averaging a shade more than 8 ppg over his first 11 games, Adams produced at a 12.6 ppg clip over his last 11 for the Marauders.

A reader email inspired this research: As good as Lebanon girls basketball was in winning an NHIAA Division II state championship this season, the Raiders were at their best against the best. Lebanon allowed 44.0 points per game in 25 games, but that number dropped to 35.6 ppg against teams that finished in the top 10 of the D-II regular-season standings (nine games total). The Raiders gave up just 31.6 ppg in their three tournament victories.

This will go down well in the Matte household: Sophomore sister Alexis’ top game for the Mount Royal girls (26 points vs. Farmington on Feb. 17) surpassed that of her senior brother, K.J., for the Lebanon boys (25 points vs. Coe-Brown on Feb. 27). Anybody for a game of H-O-R-S-E?

The top two girls hockey goal-scorers in the Upper Valley this winter, Hanover’s Briland Laycock and Lebanon-Stevens’ Grace Lindsay, both posted four hat tricks. Lindsay particularly enjoyed meeting Keene, scoring 11 of her 31 goals and 18 of her 47 points against the Blackbirds, with three hat tricks. Laycock had at least a point in all but one of the Marauders’ games and at least one goal in all but two contests.

Hartford boys hockey reached the VPA Division II semifinals with what was essentially a one-line offense. The trio of Ben Rouillard (26-29-55), Jordy Allard (26-18-44) and Tyler Hamilton (19-13-32) accounted for 81.3 percent of the Hurricanes’ team points (131 of 161) and a whopping 92.2 percent of their goals (71 of 77).

Four different players shared top scoring honors for Woodsville boys basketball during its run to the NHIAA Division IV semifinals: Garrett Olsen (12 times), Sam Pushee (five), Eric Thornton (two) and Cooper Davidson (one). Teammates tied for top scorer three times, with each of the quartet factoring at least once in those cases.

Stevens High twins Zachary and Nick O’Brien had identical lines of 5-2-12 in the Cardinals’ 58-50 win over Gilford on Dec. 16. They nearly repeated the feat in the NHIAA Division III semifinals on March 8: Zachary was 7-2-17 and Nick went 7-3-17 in that 61-45 defeat of Hopkinton that sent Stevens to its first state boys basketball final since 1939.

Saving the best for last: Windsor’s Rockwood (30 points), Whitcomb’s Marcus Sheldon (20), Lebanon’s Christopher Nulty (14), Sunapee’s Hank Vincent (28), Thetford’s Lawson Ouellette (16), South Royalton’s Iris Hudson (10) and Thetford’s Regan Covey (23) all had their most prolific games in their final games of the season (minimum 10 points). Covey and Rockwood had their biggest games against each other in Saturday’s VPA Division III girls hoop final. Ouellette’s season best came one game after setting his previous season best.

Guys named Nate — Gariepy (19-32-51), Chickering (18-19-37) and Damren (12-12-24) — were responsible for 58.3 percent of the Lebanon-Stevens boys hockey team’s goals this year (49 of 84) and 58.0 percent of all Raider points (112 of 193).

Among boys hockey players in the Upper Valley with at least 20 points, Lebanon-Stevens’ Ian Garland had the most radical difference in goals (21) to assists (six). (Before you get up in arms over this, remember that Alex Ovechkin has made a pretty good NHL career out of such a ratio.) Gariepy (32 assists to 19 goals) and Woodstock’s Luc Issa (20 helpers to nine scores) went the other direction.

In racing to the top spot in Upper Valley boys basketball scoring, South Royalton’s Nicholas Howe (27.05 ppg) scored at least 30 points in seven games and at least 40 on three other occasions. He hit for 42 twice, against Mid Vermont Christian on Dec. 19 and Blue Mountain on Jan. 31.

Hanover girls hockey goaltenders Cici Barton and Claire Yegian combined on nine shutouts during the Marauders’ NHIAA Division I state championship run, one more clean sheet than the Upper Valley’s remaining girls teams combined.

For a last little bit of color, consider this: Hartford’s Morgan White (10 points vs. Harwood, Jan. 10), Windsor’s Yvette Gray (11 points vs. Springfield, Feb. 15) and Erica Gray (11 points vs. Hartford, Feb. 20), Woodsville’s Billy Green (14 vs. Profile, Feb. 20) and Thetford’s Connor Brown (four times, topped by 18 vs. Windsor, Jan. 4) all had double-digit games this year. Lebanon’s Josie Brown (nine vs. Goffstown, Feb. 11) nearly joined them.

The numbers tell the story.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.