Local Roundup: Thetford Overturns Hazen, Heading to Aud

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hardwick, Vt. — The Thetford Academy boys basketball team likes to generate offense with its defense, so Monday night’s VPA Division III quarterfinal with fourth-seeded Hazen couldn’t have started in a more appropriate fashion.

The fifth-seeded Panthers drew a charging foul on the host Wildcats’ first possession for a leadoff turnover. Thetford used the momentum of that moment for a 20-10 first quarter, a 38-20 first half and ultimately a 63-44 victory to earn a spot in Thursday’s semifinals at the Barre Auditorium.

Dylan Thorburn netted 11 of his game-high 30 points in the opening period for TA (15-7), which will face top-seeded Windsor (17-5) in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. contest at the Aud.

“I went there four years in a row and didn’t get a championship,” Thetford coach Jason Gray noted with a laugh. “We set a goal at the beginning of this year that this was our year to make a statement and go to the Aud. We knew this would be a tough road, but by the end of the year we had five wins in our last six games, and most of them were Division II (foes).”

If the Panthers were concerned about visiting a Hazen team that took a 51-36 win at Vaughan Gym in late January, it didn’t show. The opening charge was “a big defensive moment right off the bat,” Gray said. “That set the pace for us, and we were off to the races.”

Owen Deffner recorded 11 points for Thetford, and Ethan Steingas contributed 10. Thorburn’s tally represented his second 30-point outing in four contests.

TA played Windsor well twice early in the season, dropping a 63-59 decision on the road on Dec. 21 and rebounding with a 67-66 victory nine days later in Thetford.

“At this point, whatever happens happens,” Gray said. “But I like our matchup with them better than with some of the others in the final four.”

Isaiah Baker led the Wildcats with 15 points.

Thursday’s victor advances to the title game on Saturday night in Barre. No. 2 Williamstown and No. 6 BFA-Fairfax will meet in Thursday’s other semifinal.

Indoor Track

Oxbow’s Giesing Competes at Nationals

New York — Oxbow High senior Izzy Giesing ran her third-best career time in the girls 800-meter run on Sunday at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory in New York.

Racing against some of the nation’s top athletes at the distance, Giesing finished in 2 minutes, 17.22 seconds, good for 20th place out of the 23 athletes who competed. Whether indoor or out, Giesing had run the distance faster only twice since emerging as one of Vermont’s best middle-distance runners: a 2:14.88 at last May’s Essex Invitational and a 2:10.59 at the New England outdoors, the time that ultimately qualified her for New Balance, according to coach Emily Willems.

Giesing is set to join the women’s track and field program at UMass-Lowell in the fall after her spring graduation from Oxbow.