BRATTLEBORO -- It’s March. The tournament brackets are waiting. It’s time to break out your No. 2 pencil and get to work.
Are you going to predict that CVU and Rice will meet in the Division 1 girls basketball final for the third year in a row? Do you think U-32 will get its first playoff win since 2006 in Division 2? How far will 1,000-point scorer Lacey Stever take Rivendell in D-3? And why not roll the dice with sixth-seeded Arlington -- a program that has an impressive 61-20 tourney record -- on your Division 4 sheet?
There are 13 playdowns scheduled for tonight at 7, including No. 10 Brattleboro (8-12) at seventh-seeded Rutland (12-8) in D-1. And three other local teams will play their opener on Wednesday night: No. 15 Bellows Falls (4-16) will visit second-ranked U-32 (19-1) at 7 p.m. in D-2, while No. 8 Leland & Gray (9-11) will host No. 9 Richford (9-11) at 6 p.m. and No. 12 Twin Valley (7-13) will play at No. 5 Winooski (14-6) at 7 p.m. in D-3 action.
One year after Winooski eliminated Twin Valley in the opening round, 52-38, the Spartans will likely rely on Brianna Robare for some deja vu. Robare has been on fire this season, scoring 23 points against Northfield and 24 versus Stowe.
Don’t count out these Wildcats, however, as Buddy Hayford’s squad has been mastering Princeton’s backdoor cuts lately and only really needs a breakout game from Abbi Molner to turn the town of Winooski into
And then there’s Leland & Gray sophomore Haley Buffum, who Dicky V would surely refer to as a Diaper Dandy. With opposing teams paying special attention to post stars Alex Morrow and Ashley Goddard, don’t be surprised if Buffum makes them pay from downtown.
The Division 3 action should be awesome, baby!
Bellows Falls will attempt to keep U-32’s playoff drought going via the deadly outside shooting of guard Chelsea Wilder. And Rutland is looking to beat Brattleboro for a third time this season, following a 37-21 rout on Feb. 12 and a 33-25 decision on Feb. 21.
But can you really pick against a tourney team that has a starter named Bird (see photo above)?
Let’s face it, all of the talk surrounding the D-1 bracket involves the highly anticipated finale between No. 1 CVU and No. 2 Rice. The 20-0 Redhawks just celebrated their first perfect regular season, but turning the tables on the Green Knights -- a team they lost to in the 2011 and 2012 finals -- is all they really care about.
And there are plenty of PTPers to keep an eye on as these four tournaments unfold:
D-1)CVU junior guard Emily Kinneston is a triple-double waiting to happen, as she scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and finished with seven steals versus an Essex team that’s seeded third.
D-2)BFA-Fairfax has double trouble in Meghan Bochanski and Kayla Baczewski. The former recently went off for 16 points and 11 boards versus Peoples, while the latter put up 21 points against Lake Region.
D-3)Aside from our area standouts and Winooski’s Robare, look out for Rivendell’s Lacey Stever who recently reached the 1,000-point milestone for her career.
D-4)West Rutland junior Makayla Dambrackas could be the MVP in this bracket after going off for 23 points against Cabot.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.