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Hartford Boys Hold Off Windsor

  • Windsor's Dakota Page, right, plucks a rebound away from Hartford's Triston Potter at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Friday, January 6, 2017. Hartford won the game 53 - 45. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Seth Balch, of Windsor, left, breaks for the basket past Hunter Gaudette, of Hartford, right, at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Friday, January 6, 2017. Balch led in scoring for the game. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford Head Coach Steve Landon writes play notes on the floor of the Hartford High School gym during a time out of the Hurricanes' game with Windsor in White River Junction, Vt., Friday, January 6, 2017. Hartford won the game 53 - 45. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford's Gavin Farnsworth, left, turns looking to pass while covered by Windsor's Seth Balch, middle, and Adam Stapleton, right, at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Friday, January 6, 2017. Hartford won 53 - 45. (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 Correspondent
Saturday, January 07, 2017

White River Junction — Considering high school basketball games are often won and lost at the free-throw line, Triston Potter can be a handy player to have around.

Potter went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe on Friday night in helping the Hartford High boys basketball team defeat visiting Windsor, 53-45.

Potter entered Friday’s game with a team-leading 84 percent success rate from the line. The senior guard proceeded to sink all eight of his free throws during the fourth quarter en route to finishing with 11 total points.

The Hurricanes, who got 16 points and 11 rebounds from Keith Illingworth and 11 points from Gavin Farnsworth, won their fourth consecutive game to improve to 4-2. As a team, Hartford made 18 of its 24 free-throw attempts.

“We’re shooting (foul shots) at better than 70 percent as a team,” Hartford coach Steve Landon said. “That’s pretty impressive for high school basketball.”

Windsor, which was led by Seth Balch’s 20 points, fell to 1-6 after its sixth straight loss. The guests were behind, 17-6, at intermission and spent the entire second half in catch-up mode.

The Jacks’ offense finally came to life as five players combined for nine 3-pointers in the second half. Windsor successfully whittled Hartford’s lead down to seven points with 1:50 remaining, but it was the closest the visitors would come to executing a comeback.

Farnsworth, who converted three times from behind the arc, praised his team for sharing the ball and not being selfish.

“If we could get everyone in double figures, that would be great,” he said. “We don’t have one main scorer on this team.”

Farnsworth, the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes’ Division I state championship football team this past fall, said the current hoop squad has meshed together well.

“The last few years, we haven’t been grouped as a team,” he said. “This year, we have great chemistry. … Things are looking great for us.”

Balch is a championship quarterback as well after leading the Yellowjackets to the Division III crown in November.

The Windsor standout seemed relatively positive Friday, despite the obvious disappointment that accompanies long losing streaks.

“It’s been a rough couple games,” Balch said. “But we keep finding ways to improve each week. There’s always stuff you can do — film you can watch and plays you can adjust.”

Balch indicated that he was pleased with his team’s defensive effort.

“Normally, when you hold a good offensive team to 52 points, you can come out with a win, but that wasn’t the case tonight.” Balch said. “I’m proud of the way we stepped it up from last game (a three-point loss at Thetford on Wednesday).”

Windsor got nine points from Ben Meagher and seven from Dakota Page on Friday.

The Yellowjackets’ lone victory was a 67-41 win over Newport to open the season. Since then, coach Harry Ladue’s crew has lost to Hazen, Mill River, Fair Haven, Otter Valley, Thetford and Hartford.

“We know we’re close,” Ladue said. “We haven’t played bad. The first half of our schedule is pretty tough.”

Windsor will host Mill River Tuesday and Mount Saint Joseph on Thursday. Hartford’s next matchup is a week from today against Rice.

Ladue and Landon share a strong basketball connection, as the latter played for the former at Windsor, graduating in 1987.

“Obviously, Harry is my mentor,” Landon said.

“He was my coach. … I know what to expect out of (Windsor teams) because they’re always going to play hard for (Ladue), which they should.”

Landon said he doesn’t relish facing off against Ladue.

“I’ve been doing it for quite a long time now, so there’s enough separation, I think,” Landon said. “But I can’t say that I enjoy it because I want (Windsor) to win every game except for two.”