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With New Coach, Hartford Has High Hopes

Oxbow at Woodstock boys basketball in Woodstock, Vt., on December 20, 2012. Woodstock won, 47-40. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Oxbow at Woodstock boys basketball in Woodstock, Vt., on December 20, 2012. Woodstock won, 47-40. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

After a six-year stint as coach of the Hartford girls basketball team, which culminated with the program’s first state championship last winter, defensive specialist Steve Landon brings his skills and dedication to the Hurricane boys this season.

While Landon and his staff may not duplicate the girls’ 19-5 title run from a year ago, they should be able to help improve a team that was just 5-15 last season and allowed 58.0 points per game, the fourth-highest of 17 Upper Valley teams.

Rivendell hopes to keep pace in Vermont Division III after reaching the final for the first time last year, while South Royalton athletic director Jeff Moreno takes over the Royals for the first time since winning a D-III championship with them in 2007.

In New Hampshire Division II, both Hanover and Lebanon appear poised to contend, while Stevens hopes to take the next step in D-III after last year’s 13-7 run to the quarterfinals. Also in D-III, Newport appears much improved and Mascoma will be in the mix.

A look at the teams:


Coach: Tim Winslow (13).

League: New Hampshire Division II.

Last Year: 20-3, lost to Bedford in semifinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris (F), Ryan O’Rourke (G) Cole Harris (C) Liam Gantrish (G). Juniors — John Flory (G), Noah Huizenga (F), Evan Greenwald (G).

Who’s New: Juniors — Matt Robertson (G), Ben Herndon-Miller (G), Chris Washington (C), Rocco Linehan (G/F). Sophomores — Jack Cavallaro (F/C), Tim O’Rourke (G) Ben Lynch (C).

Who’s Gone: Daniel Gorman, Roland Herrmann-Stanzel, Chris Harwick, Kenyon Hunt, Alex Krass.

Strengths: Work ethic, program pride.

Weaknesses: The Marauders need to be wary of taking care of the ball and maintaining disciplined play.

Players to Watch: Rothwell-Ferraris, O’Rourke, Linehan

Toughest Opponents: Lebanon, Pembroke, Souhegan.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “This team is beginning to take on its own identity. While they will play hard defense and compete everyday, what will separate this Hanover team from other teams is their ability to rely on each other and be ‘all in.’ ”


Coach: Steve Landon (1).

League: Vermont Division II, Marble Valley League-B.

Last Year: 5-15, lost to Harwood in quarterfinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Justin Devoid (C), Kyle Ruffing (F), Chris Bateman (G), Zach Temple (F), Taylor Potter (G), Josh Claflin (G), Nolan Frechette (F), Nick Fucci (F).

Who’s New: Juniors — Cam Gaudette (G), Dylan Rice (G), Branson Landon (G), Kiefer Harrelson (F), Patrick McGrath (C), Kyle Perkins (C).

Who’s Gone: Steven Ladka, Logan Boudro, Connor White, Jon Alvin.

Strengths: Athleticism, dedication.

Weaknesses: Adjusting to new coach, new system. Lack of size and speed.

Players to Watch: Claflin, Gaudette, Fucci.

Toughest Opponents: Rutland, Brattleboro, Burr & Burton, Windsor.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: Work in progress. Like our team be playing better at the end of the year.”


Coach: Nate Camp (4).

League: New Hampshire Division III.

Last Year: 2-16 (D-II), missed playoffs.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Casey Laughinghouse (F), Ollie Gallo (G), Dan Orlando (F), Peter Allen (G), Sam Van Etten (F), Connor Stiles (G). Juniors — Carter Noordsij (G), Nick Bailey (G),

Who’s New: Seniors — Tim Berube (F), George Benoit (G). Junior — James Scherer (F). Sophomores — Zach Beltz (F), James Bromwell (F), Trent Noordsij (G).

Who’s Gone: Jake Broom, Dalton Courser.

Strengths: Athleticism, hustle, leadership.

Weaknesses: Lack of winning experience.

Players to Watch: “That’s to be determined right now,” Camp said.

Toughest Opponents: Hopkinton, Conant, Stevens, Newport, Mascoma.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We’ll depend on our athleticism and quickness on defense to provide energy on the offensive end. Strong chemistry and a team-centered philosophy will enable the Cougars to compete against a talented D-III schedule.


Coach: Kieth Matte (16).

League: New Hampshire Division II.

Last Year: 15-8, lost in quarterfinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — David Hampton (G), Mathew Cowles (F), Vinny Guerin (G), Dylan Cox (G/F). Juniors — Dom Morrill (G/F), Nic Shepherd (G/F) Kalin Sou (G) Austin Pelletier (F) Martin Gradijan (G).

Who’s New: Senior — Dylan Drew (C). Junior — Gage Young (F). Freshmen — Austin Whaley (G/F), Greg Grant (C), Greg Roberge (G).

Who’s Gone: Deitric Grant, Mark Davidson, Tyler Silver.

Strengths: Veteran backcourt.

Weaknesses: Schedule difficulty, inexperienced forwards.

Players to Watch: Hampton, Cowles.

Toughest Opponents: Hanover, Souhegan, Pembroke, Goffstown.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “With a tough schedule, there won’t not be any nights off for us. If we can be mentally tough, this could be one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time.”


Coach: Jim Barry (4).

League: New Hampshire Division III.

Last Year: 13-7, lost to Berlin in quarterfinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Adam Dutille (G), Zack Warner (G), Cam Braley (F), Todd Buckwold (F). Junior — Kyle Kosiorek (G).

Who’s New: Juniors — Justin Marsh (G), Ethan Neily (F), Shane Pierce (G), Matt Quow (C). Sophomores — Andrew Cashe (G), Walter Hammond (C).

Who’s Gone: James and John Fitzgerald, Ethan Dickinson, Riley Green

Strengths: Tenacity, cohesiveness.

Weaknesses: Inexperience, 3-point shooting.

Players to Watch: Dutille, Braley.

Toughest Opponents: Stevens, Newport, Hopkinton.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “It’s been a fun team to coach thus far and our expectations are always high. Hopefully, this team can realize how much work is involved to reach those expectations.”

Mid Vermont Christian

Coach: Brian Sayers (4).

League: Vermont Division IV.

Last Year: 15-6, lost to South Royalton in first round

Who’s Back: Juniors — Joe Zhou (G), Anthony LaPlaca (G), Austin Sayers (F/G), Jonah McPherson (G/F). Sophomores — James King (F), James Horner (G), Panda Su (C).

Who’s New: Senior — Peter Li (F/C). Junior — Shane Li (F/G). Sophomores — Eric Lee (F/G), Liam Cusack (C), Ben Chen (G), Wyat Sherman (G).

Who’s Gone: Eli Seale, Mitch Cannistraci.

Strengths: Speed, athleticism.

Weaknesses: Lack of size.

Players to Watch: Sayers (17 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals per game last season), Zhou, Horner, Shane Li, LaPlaca.

Toughest Opponents: Websterville, Chelsea, West Rutland.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We have a lot of new kids, but also a solid corps of experienced players. We believe our speed and experience will help us put together a solid season and achieve one of our goals, which is to win our first VPA playoff game in school history.”


Coach: Steve Lavolpicelo (3).

League: New Hampshire Division III.

Last Year: 5-13, lost play-in game.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Aaron Cherry (G), Devin Wade (G), Peter Wacholtz (F); Sophomore — Spencer Coronis (G).

Who’s New: Juniors — Jeremy Farnham (G), Jason Teeter (G), Ricky Hammond (G). Sophomores — Andrew Houde (G), Josh Murphy (G), Tom Hogan (G). Freshmen — Noah Wade (G), Eric Bailey (C), CJ Lawrence (G).

Who’s Gone: Greg Beaulieu, Syd Lorandeau, Roger Freckleton.

Strength: Depth and ability at guard.

Weakness: Lack of size in front court.

Players to Watch: The seniors, Houde, Whalen, Pare, Coronis.

Toughest Opponents: Stevens, Hopkinton, Mascoma, Fall Mountain.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We have a chance to be very competitive in all our games, but our ultimate success will ultimately depend on the chemistry of the team. If we can pull together and believe in each other, we should have success.”


Coach: Rich Thornton (3; first year of second stint).

League: Vermont Division III, Capital League.

Last Year: 2-19, lost to Leland & Gray in first round.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Andrew Lyman (F), Jobin Messenger (G), Lucas Wheeler (F), Caleb Lafaille (G/F).

Who’s New: Sophomores — Zach Klarich (G), Anthony Giesing (F), Matthew Thomson (G), Jordan Fornwalt (F). Juniors — Jonny Ratel (G), Grady Johnson (G/F), Hunter Torrey (G).

Who’s Gone: Chris Grant (G).

Strengths: Quickness at every position.

Weaknesses: The Olympians’ guards tend to be overly aggressive at times.

Player to Watch: Lafaille. “He’s ready to have a breakout year,” Thornton said.

Toughest Opponents: “Everyone on our schedule,” said Thornton. “We’re a D-III team playing in a league with mostly D-II teams. There are no cupcakes.”

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “I’m really excited about this group. We have to play a certain way to be successful and our guys have been very receptive so far. We have a good mix of veteran post players and youthful guards. If we can blend it all together come February, I like our chances to do something in the playoffs.”


Coach: Tim Dyke (3).

League: Vermont Division III, Central Vermont League.

Last Year: 21-3, lost to Williamstown in final.

Who’s Back: Senior — Jack Steketee (C), Logan Gardyne (F), Dalton Thayer (F). Juniors — Josh Marshall (F), Luke Bell (G), Nate Eastman (G), Cole Stever (G), Scott Calhoun (F).

Who’s New: Sophomores — Tim Stimson (G), Shamus Peyton (G), Jake Welch (G), Kolin Huntington (G).

Who’s Gone: Travis Streeter, Dylan Pelletier, Kyle Huntington, Daniel Gray.

Strengths: Balance, depth.

Weaknesses: The Raptors are developing new leadership roles.

Toughest Opponents: Blue Mountain, Oxbow, Thetford, Twinfield.

Players to Watch: “We’re going to have to gel as a team and have a lot of interchangeable parts,” said Dyke.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We hope to have fun this year and make a good run in the tournament. It would be great to get back to the final four again.”

Sharon Academy

Coach: Blake Fabrikant (4).

League: Vermont Division IV, Central Vermont League.

Last Year: 5-16, lost to Twinfield in first round.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Trenton Morrison (G). Juniors — Ben Gross

(G), Ben Hayslett (G), Cotey Anderegg (F). Sophomores — Tanner James (G), Brandon Tracy (F).

Who’s New: Juniors — Andy Ruddell (G). Sophomores — Andy Bando-Hess (G), Camden Morrison (F). Freshman — Jay Knoerlein.

Who’s Gone: Colin Young, Lucas Starr.

Strengths: Speed, athleticism.

Weaknesses: Inexperience, lack of size.

Players to Watch: Morrison, James, Tracy.

Toughest Opponents: Williamstown, Twinfield, Rivendell

Coach’s Final Thoughts: Our team is very young, but we also possess a higher basketball IQ than previous years, which allows us to focus more on execution than fundamentals. What we lack in physicality, we make up for in quickness and athleticism.”

South Royalton

Coach: Jeff Moreno (3rd overall; 1st year of second stint).

League: Vermont Division IV, Central Vermont League.

Last Year: 8-12, lost to Danville in quarterfinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Ian Kinnarney (F), Troy Tracy (G), Jesse James (F), Ben Vesper (F); Juniors — David Ballou (F), Alex Berk (G), Nate Moore (G), Hunter Brock (F), Matthew Fifield (F); Sophomore — Keanan Thompson (G).

Who’s New: Sophomore — Sam Berk (G).

Who’s Gone: Michael Murphy, Stu Walker.

Strengths: Defense, intensity, determination.

Weakness: Lack of natural scoring ability.

Players to Watch: “The five who are on the floor,” Moreno offered.

Toughest Opponents: “Every opponent we face is going to present a challenge,” he said.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “This is a resilient group. We will utilize all 11 players nearly equally and should be able to keep fresh legs on the floor, play pressure defense and look to attack the rim on offense.”


Coach: Scott MacNamee (3).

League: New Hampshire Division III.

Last Year: 13-7, lost in quarterfinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Billy Brooks (G), Trey Dansereau (F), Logan Batchelder (G), Nick McCall (F), Ankur Patel (G). Juniors — Ryan Tanguay (G), Jordan Haines (G), Donald Pellerin (G),

Who’s New: Seniors — Cullen Eaton (F). Juniors — Akeem Bailey (G). Sophomores — Dorion Bolden (C), Nate White (F)

Who’s Gone: Cam Blewitt (F), Joe Tarr (G), Nick Jensen (F), Greg Charest (C), Kyle Lizotte (F).

Strength: Perimeter play.

Weakness: Rebounding.

Players to Watch: Brooks, Tanguay, Haines, Batchelder.

Toughest Opponent: Conant.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “This is a group with a lot of new faces. We have a lot of good athletes but few pure basketball players. With some growth and improvement, this team could be tough matchup come playoff time.”


Coach: Justin Smith (4).

League: Vermont Division III, Capital League.

Last Year: 8-13, lost to eventual state champ Williamstown in first round.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Dominic Chatot (G), Ian Weider (G), Cole Eastman (G), Andrew Cawley (G), Aiden Cleaves (F); Sophomore — Brandon Gray (G).

Who’s New: Juniors — Erich Alberta (G), Jordan Eastman (G), Andy Sharp (F); Sophomore — Matt Perry (G).

Who’s Gone: Jared Sadoques, Gabe Freund, Zamir Paley.

Strengths: Speed, depth, attitude.

Weaknesses: Lack of height and overall size.

Players to Watch: Weider, Cleaves, Chatot.

Toughest Opponents: Union-32, Harwood, Montpelier (all D-II foes); Williamstown.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We have a group of seniors who want to end their careers on their own terms. They value the depth the underclassmen give them. Because of our lack of size, we have added a new system that opponents may have a hard time matching up with.


Coach: Rick Rhynhart (2).

League: Vermont Division IV, Central Vermont League.

Last Year: 6-14, lost to Websterville in first round.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Matt Kill (C), Caleb Chase (F), Matt Decoff (G); Junior — Stephen Davis (G).

Who’s New: Senior — Lyndon Flint (G). Juniors — Bradford Allen (G), Scott Nickerson (F). Sophomores — Chris Barnaby (F), Sam Ennis (F), Brian Schumann (F), Forrest Peront (F).

Who’s Gone: Brody McClure, Cornelius Timmerman, Levi West, Devin Paradis,Alex Messier, Colby Hodgon, Cody Quilla.

Strengths: Improved speed.

Weaknesses: The Hornets are still working to establish team chemistry.

Players to Watch: Kill, Chase, Davis, Allen

Toughest Opponents: Rochester, Williamstown, Rivendell.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “This team will develop with more playing time together in game situations. The guys have worked hard all summer and will reap the benefits later in the year.”


Coach: Harry Ladue (30).

League: Vermont Division III, Marble Valley League-B.

Last Year: 9-14, to Rivendell in semifinals.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Luke TanCreti (G), Shawn Pinsonault (G), Tanner Tibbits (C). Juniors — Ethan Hill (F), Tyson Boudro (G).

Who’s New: Juniors — Kyle Cardillo (G), Ezra Richardson (G). Sophomores — Russell Simonds (G). Freshmen — Mike Bradley (C), Nick Kapuscinski (F).

Who’s Gone: Tanner Dana, Kyle Cushing, Nate Marden, Win Townsend.

Strengths: Starting five all saw plenty of varsity minutes last year.

Weaknesses: Lack of experience among bench players.

Players to Watch: “We don’t have a dominant player this year,” said Ladue. “We’re hoping to have a strong group that plays together.”

Toughest Opponent: Hartford. “And the MVL as a whole is going to be strong,” said Ladue.”

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We should be in the middle of the pack (in the regular season), but we hope to make a long playoff run.”


Coach: Jeff Thomas (2).

League: Vermont Division II, Marble Valley League-C.

Last Year: 7-13, lost Mount St. Joseph in first round.

Who’s Back: Senior — Reid Langona (G), James Morgan (G), Ricky Beda (G). Junior — Dougie Avellino (G). Sophomore — Connor Fegard (F).

Who’s New: Junior — Bradley Lewis (F). Sophomores — Nehemiah Wood (F), Chris Townley (F). Freshmen — Dylan McDonough (G), Hunter McDonough (G).

Who’s Gone: Griffin Thomas.

Strengths: Chemistry, work ethic.

Weaknesses: Passing, court vision.

Players to Watch: Avellino, Langona, Fegard, Wood, Morgan.

Toughest Opponents: Windsor, Fair Haven, Mill River.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “I am very excited about the future of Woodstock Basketball. We have two junior varsity teams and a solid middle school program coming.”


Coach: Jamie Walker (14).

League: New Hampshire Division IV.

Last Year: 4-18, lost to Littleton in first round.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Kevin Briggs (G), Erva Barnes (G), Thomas Fiske (F). Juniors — Joe Abrahamson (F), Tom D’Angelo (F). Sophomores — Dan Abrahamson (G), Jamie LoCascio (G), Ryan Olsen (F), Michael Lloyd (F), Jake Pushee (F).

Who’s New: Senior — Nate Brusseau (F). Sophomore — Jason Fullerton (G). Freshman — Jaret Bemis (F), Derek Maccini (G).

Who’s Gone: Andrew Dockham, Heath Page, Austin Albro, Jordan Wilson.

Strengths: Speed, athleticism.

Weaknesses: Lack of scoring touch.

Players to Watch: Joe Abrahamson, D’Angelo, Briggs.

Etc.: Walker also coaches the Haverhill Grade 3-4 team that includes his son, Brendan.

Toughest Opponents: Lisbon, Littleton Colebrook in D-IV; Blue Mountain and Rivendell, nonleague.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “With this team, we’ve got to improve throughout the year. If we work together, we should be good enough to squeak into the playoffs again.”