Thetford Rallies To Top Randolph
Thetford — Given what he has on his roster this winter, Thetford Academy boys basketball coach Justin Smith is going to require his Panthers to read and react to what an opposing defense allows to have success. Anybody could be the hero at any given time.
Brandon Gray wore the cape last night for TA, scoring seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers handed Randolph its first loss of the season, 51-47.
Calling the Galloping Ghosts (3-1) “one of the best defensive teams we saw (last year),” Smith’s charges needed most of the game to finally find a rhythm. Thetford (3-0) got better as the night continued, with improving point totals from one quarter to the next. Down 22-17 at the half, the Panthers outscored Randolph 15-13 in the third period and 19-12 in the fourth to finally prevail.
“I give credit to Randolph; they have a lot of kids who are on the varsity for their third and fourth years,” Smith said. “I told our kids in the pregame not to let (Randolph’s) defensive effort and size become a factor, don’t let them disrupt us on the tip, and I think it did. That’s hard for us to simulate in practice.”
One thing that works for Thetford is having Gray on the perimeter. When the Ghosts sagged to deny TA penetration into the lane, the Panthers kicked the ball out to Gray, who hit a 3-pointer and two other field goals to help the hosts pull away.
Ian Weider and Aiden Cleaves scored a game-high 12 points apiece for TA, while Gray and Eric Alberta netted nine each. Ben Jickling posted 10 points for Randolph, with Levi West adding eight.
Thetford visits Rivendell on Thursday. The Ghosts rest until hosting Vergennes on Saturday.
KUA 4, Westminster 2
Dedham, Mass. — A two-goal burst in a 30-second span of the third period propelled Kimball Union Academy to a win over Westminster on Sunday for the championship of the Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament at the Noble and Greenough School.
The Wildcats (8-1-0) made the final despite dropping their first game of the season over the weekend to tournament co-host Nobles. Kimball Union took an early lead in the first period of the title contest only to have Westminster strike twice late in the stanza for a 2-1 lead. KUA used a late insurance goal for a comfortable margin of victory.
Casey Miller and Nick Roberto led the way for the Wildcats with a goal and two assists each. J.D. Dudek scored and set up a goal, Jonathan Charbonneau provided a goal and Niko Rufo added an assist for KUA.
The Wildcats are off until playing in the Nichols School Tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., against the hosts on Dec. 28.