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One Wing at a Time for Rebuilding MVCS Eagles

  • Captain Daniel Roberts of the Mid Vermont Christian School Eagles helps to block Trevor Page of the Northfield Marauders in Quechee, Vt. on Jan. 17, 2019. Northfield won, 67-60. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Captain Josh King of the Mid Vermont Christian School Eagles takes the ball down the court in the boys basketball game against the Northfield Marauders in Quechee, Vt. on Jan. 17, 2019. Northfield won, 67-60. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Head coach Micah Roberts cheers on the Mid Vermont Christian School Eagles in the boys basketball game against the Northfield Marauders in Quechee, Vt. on Jan. 17, 2019. Northfield won, 67-60. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Quechee — The result was all too familiar. The feeling of finally turning a corner was refreshingly new.

Mid Vermont Christian’s boys basketball team put together its most complete game of the season in a 67-60 loss to visiting Northfield on Thursday night, giving first-year head coach Micah Roberts a glimpse of progress and Mid Vermont’s athletes a sign that things are starting to come together.

“Our team chemistry was way better than normal,” Mid Vermont junior guard Cade Paquette said. “I was finding people, they were finding me, we spread out points. ... It was definitely better than usual. We just couldn’t pull it off.”

The Eagles (1-10) gave Northfield (5-6) everything it could handle, storming back from a 13-point deficit to tie the game with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and junior inside presence Dylan Patel stuck to the bench with five fouls. The Eagles’ Josh King and Daniel Roberts finished the game with a game-high 19 points each in Mid Vermont’s ninth consecutive loss.

But Micah Roberts, a soccer coach in his first season guiding the basketball team, was encouraged by his team’s resilience.

“I thought our guys playing one of the more complete games — maybe the most complete game that we’ve played all season,” the MVCS coach said. “We’ve had a good quarter here and there, but this is the first time (we put it all together). ... I’m proud of the effort of the guys.”

Mid Vermont took an early lead and held it until a 12-point run by Northfield gave the Marauders their first lead of the game with 2:57 left in the first half. The Eagles were outscored, 16-1, in the final four minutes before halftime; Northfield’s Trevor Page hit a basket with 17 seconds left and Carson Smit sank a jump shot at the buzzer for a 36-27 lead at the intermission.

Two more baskets by Northfield to start the third quarter stretched its lead to 13 before Mid Vermont finally founds its groove again. But Patel fouled out midway through the quarter on a technical, bouncing the ball high off the floor after he took a foul underneath Mid Vermont’s basket. He left the game with six points, seven blocks and eight rebounds.

The Eagles trailed, 49-42, heading into the fourth quarter with their toughest defender on the bench.

“They don’t quit,” Micah Roberts said. “They fought hard right to the end. Midway through the fourth quarter, I thought we had a good chance of winning this.”

Mid Vermont tied the game on a contested driving jump shot by King, took the lead 31 seconds later on shot underneath the basket by Roberts and built a 55-49 lead.

But Northfield’s aggressiveness paid off down the stretch, forcing Mid Vermont to take five fouls in the final 1:40. The Marauders sank 11 of 14 free throws in the final minutes to walk away with the win.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing,” Paquette said. “We have to go into the next games like we came in tonight.”

Caiden Crawford-Stempel led the Marauders with 16 points. Paquette added 10 points for Mid Vermont, which has suffered four losses by eight points or fewer this winter.

“I think being able to fight back from a double-digit deficit, to take a lead, that’s the first time we’ve done that in the second half of a game this season,” Micah Roberts said. “(It) definitely shows some resiliency, a growing trust and growing chemistry among the players.”

The Eagles travel to Vermont Commons today.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.