Jacks Get Last Laugh Again
Woodstock’s Dougie Avellino passes to the outside after driving between Windsor’s Shawn Pinsonault and Luke TanCreti last night in Woodstock. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Windsor’s Shawn Pinsonault makes a break from the backcourt during Windsor’s win over Woodstock last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodstock — After winning of five of its last six game, plus the Marble Valley League-C Division title, it appeared the Woodstock Union High boys basketball team would be riding into next week’s Vermont Division II state tournament with plenty of momentum.
Unfortunately for the Wasps, old nemesis Windsor got in the way on senior night.
Overcoming an 11-point, second-half deficit, the Yellowjackets stormed back in the fourth quarter for a 57-47 win in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Jacks improved to 7-13 while the Wasps finished 11-9, with last night’s loss potentially sending them on the road for the first-round of the playoffs.
The Wasps led 36-25 with five minutes to play in the second half, but went cold from there, hitting just 7-of-29 field goals in the second half and 2-of-16 in the fourth quarter.
The Jacks sank 15-of-27 in the second half and 8-of-11 during a fourth quarter in which they outscored the hosts 22-7.
Windsor has now won six straight games against the Wasps.
“We played much better defense in the second half,” Windsor coach Harry Ladue said. “We gave them way too many good looks early on. We also started running the floor better and coming out on the fast break, which is what we always try to do.”
Six-foot-4 Tanner Tibbits scored 13 of his team-high 15 points and pulled down seven of his eight rebounds in the second half, helping the Jacks ignite for a 23-9 run to grab their first lead of the game with just 2:30 to play. Luke TanCreti scored 13 points and Tyson Boudro contributed 11 for Windsor, while junior Ethan Hill scored seven and was a pest all night defensively guarding Woodstock’s Connor Fegard, who entered the game with a team-leading 16.4 points per game, but was held to five last night.
Woodstock’s Reid Langona had 10 of his game-high 17 in the first half, when the Wasps were decent from the field (13-of-33) and disruptive on defense. Junior Bradley Lewis finished with a career-high 14 points for the Wasps.
Five different players — Langona, Dougie Avellino (seven points), Lewis, Chris Townley and Fegard — scored for the Wasps during an 11-4 run to start the game before 3s from Boudro, TanCreti and Shawn Pinsonault (six points) helped Windsor tie it 17-17 early in the second quarter.
Langona hit his stride from there, sinking a pair from downtown and another long range jumper to help the Wasps close the second quarter on a 12-2 run.
“It was a great first half for us,” Langona said. “We used our speed and didn’t get tired, we just kept going with it.”
Langona’s 3 in the third quarter gave the Wasps their largest lead of the night, 36-25, but Windsor’s Tibbits and Hill combined for 10 of the game’s next 14 points to pull the Jacks within 40-35 heading into the fourth.
The final period was all Jacks as they started connecting on the run. TanCreti had a pair of coast-to-coast fast-break layups, then had a steal and dish-off to Hill to give the Jacks a 48-45 lead with 2:03 to play. Boudro and Russell Simonds added layups, and Boudro and Hill were both 2-for-2 from the line in the final minute to ice it.
Despite the loss, Woodstock feels it has a strong chance to earn the program’s first playoff win in 10 years next week, when it will likely face Fair Haven as the No. 8 or 9 seed. The Wasps are 0-8 in the postseason since reaching the semifinals in 2003 to cap a strong of three straight seasons in the final four.
Woodstock’s 11 wins this year are its most in three seasons, as the Wasps clinched the MVL-C title during Tuesday’s 61-46 win over Leland & Gray on Tuesday.
“We definitely want to be the first (Woodstock) team in a decade to win a playoff game. We want to do it for our seniors because they deserve it,” said Avellino, a junior who’s scoring 13.9 ppg. “Tonight was definitely a heartbreaker, but this team has a lot of fight and a lot of good chemistry.”
With three players averaging double figures in Fegard, Langona and Avellino, the Wasps also have a strong rebounder in Nehemiah Wood (seven last night) an exceptional defender in senior James Morgan and a speedy presence in Lewis.
“We have a lot of all-purpose players,” Woodstock coach Jeff Thomas said. “We have good balance, and nobody really cares who’s scoring and who’s shooting.”
Free Throws: The Wasps recognized seniors Morgan and Langona prior to the game, along with girls’ senior Emma Blaiklock. The Wasps fielded only a jayvee team this winter. ... Woodstock held a 33-31 rebounding edge. ... Pinsonault fouled out with 2:41 to play. ... The teams combined for just three turnovers in the third quarter.
Jared Pendak can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3306.