VPA Season Wrap-Up
Rice Memorial High School won their third straight Vermont state championship this season, setting a new record for a program that was already among the state’s most prestigious.
The junior tandem of Ben Shungu and Kendrick Gray, arguably the top two players in the state overall, led Rice from start to finish.
The final game, played out in front of a sold out Patrick Gymnasium on the University of Vermont campus, was a battle between them and longtime rival, Burlington, who they had already knocked off twice during the season.
Appropriately, it was free-throws from Shungu and then a dunk by Gray that finalized a 61-54 win and another championship for Rice. Gray had 19 points and 7 rebounds in the finals while Shungu had 16 and 8. Asko Mostarlic and Josh Hale had 16 and 14 respectively for Burlington while freshman Kevin Garrison chipped in with 10 and 8.
Rice (23-1) and Burlington (21-3) finished one and two in the final Burlington Free Press Power Rankings followed by Rutland (19-4) and Burr & Burton (19-4).
The fifth ranked team in the state, Woodstock, took the state’s division II title, capping a perfect 23-0 season. They left little doubt when it was all said and done, knocking off the second and third seeds in the tournament before beating Enosburg 65-56 in the final. Connor Fegard scored 24 points in the championship game, 15 of which came in the first half, while Kurt Ryder scored all 25 of his points after the first quarter. Calvin Carter scored 34 points for Enosburg.
The division III champs, Williamstown (20-4), earned the 8th overall spot in the Burlington Free Press Power Rankings after winning their fourth consecutive state championship. Hunter McLaughlin scored a team high 27 points while Garret Poulin had 18. Rivendell was led by Shamus Peyton’s 18 and Zack Grey’s 12.
The division IV final was probably the most dramatic as Proctor closed the game with a 9-0 run in the final 35 seconds of overtime to overcome a late 5 point deficit. Nick Swane scored 22 of his team high 27 points in the second half while Curtis Tomlinson had 19. Andy Bando-Hess had 20 points for Sharon.
Following the season the Vermont Basketball Coaches’ Association (VBCA) held their annual All-Star Classic with the North taking both the D3/4 game as well as the D1/2 contest. Carter Breeman and Cam Place had 17 and 15 for the D3/4 North while Sam Molner and Russell Simonds had 15 and 13 for the South.
Tristan Ross had 22 points and five second half threes to lead the North to a 141-97 win in the D1/D2 game while Jay Cobb was equally impressive with 24 points. John Winslow and Taylor Muench had 16 and 15 respectively for the South.
Kendrick Gray was named the VBCA Player of the Year during the festivities.
Complete all-star rosters are below:
D1/2 North: Champlain Valley, Chris Reiss; Enosburg, Cam Caforia; Lamoille, Riley Fitzgerald, Eric Hoadley; Lyndon, Jay Cobb; Mill River, Ben Smith; Mount Mansfield, Kyle Adam, Alec Eschholz; Rice, Ferran Lopez, Arnold Vainqueur; Spaulding, Troy Evans; St. Johnsbury, Josiah Kimball, Tristen Ross.
D1/2 South: Brattleboro, Tanner Freeman; Burr and Burton, Conor Harrington, Taylor Muench, Joey Shehadi; Hartford, Connor Brooks; Mount Anthony, Marques Vaval-Paris; Mount St. Joseph, Henry Kantorski; Otter Valley, Connor Gallipo, John Winslow; Rutland, Omari Brown, Bailey Plante; Springfield, Josh Rivers; Woodstock, Connor Fegard, Kurt Ryder, Chris Townley.
D3/4 North: BFA-Fairfax, Cam Place, Luke Rebeor; Craftsbury, Chris DeLaBruere; Hazen, Alex Vetere; Oxbow, Matthew Thomson; Peoples, Carter Beeman, Kiley Moody; Randolph, Nick Jickling; Rivendell, Kolin Huntington, Shamus Peyton, Tim Stimson; Thetford, Matt Sonnhalter.
D3/4 South: Chelsea, Cody Hosmer, Wyatt Ray; Green Mountain, Kyle Kemp; Leland & Gray, Corey Nystrom; Poultney, Sam White; Sharon, Andy Bando-Hess; Tanner James; Brandon Tracy; South Royalton, Keenan Thompson; Twin Valley, Sam Molner; West Rutland, Jeremy Avoli; Williamstown, Hunter McLaughlin, Garret Poulin; Windsor, Russell Simonds.