BRATTLEBORO -- Savannah Nesbitt, a point guard known for breaking ankles on the court, will have to miss the entire 2012-13 girls basketball season because of an injury that she’s nursing (ACL).
"Our most pressing concern is the replacement of Savannah at the point," said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford, whose team went 11-12 last season with the star playmaker. "Early on, Colton Butler and Sammy Cunningham-Darrah have been learning the position."
Seniors Abbi Molner and Lexi Reinertson have been named co-captains for the Wildcats. Molner has excellent range and is a good rebounder, while Reinertson is also strong on the boards and will be counted on to defend down low.
"We have a nice compliment of players," noted Hayford. His team will open up at Mount Everett on Saturday at 6 p.m. and then host MSJ on Tuesday night at 6:30.
Junior Hannah Swanson will assist the senior captains inside. The menacing defender and excellent rebounder will need to score in the post in order for the Wildcats to succeed, according to her coach.
"This is a very hardworking group that with daily improvement has the potential for a solid season. Our hopes hinge on our point guard play and getting stops on the defensive end. As always, we will attempt to play exciting, up-tempo basketball on the offensive end and hard-nosed defense at the other end," added Hayford.
Sammy Cunningham-Darrah, Jordan Niles, Abby Putnam, Jessica Fox and Butler will take turns in the backcourt. Putnam, Fox and Butler all have sweet strokes, Niles is good in the open court and S-C-D is a defensive dandy.
"Fast, fast, with a shot that is coming along nicely," said Hayford of Cunningham-Darrah. "She will pressure the opposing team’s point guard."
Twin Valley roster: Coach -- Buddy Hayford. Seniors -- Abbi Molner, Lexi Reinerston. Juniors -- Sammy Cunningham-Darrah, Abby Putnam, Jordan Niles, Hannah Swanson. Sophomores -- Colton Butler, Jessica Fox, Christina Moore.
Leland & Gray boys
Under new head coach Andrew Nystrom, the Rebels will host Burr and Burton in Wednesday’s opener at 7:30 p.m.
"We are going to compete every night and play an aggressive style of basketball. We must commit to doing the little things in practice that will make us more complete basketball players. If we can achieve that, we will be very competitive in our league," stated Nystrom. "We can play many different styles of basketball and our game plan will be determined by our next opponent. We are looking forward to getting started with the season -- learning and getting better."
Nystrom said that his starting lineup is not yet determined. He takes over a team that went 15-5 last season, was seeded third in the state and lost in the quarterfinals.
Rebels roster: Coach -- Andrew Nystrom. Players -- Mike Bergeron, Drew Barnum, Riley Kenney, Andy Brown, Zach Wilkins, Billy Nupp, Kevin Ke, Jake Sherman, Nick Bills, Taylor Parker Jennings, Corey Nystrom, Ryan Borgesen.
Bellows Falls boys
Sophomores Brian MacAnuff and Jake Mead will anchor a Terriers’ defense that will try to create chaos and force up-tempo games.
"Our goal is and always will be the bright lights of Barre, and with a little hard work and dedication my team has the guns to do it," said Bellows Falls coach Evan Chadwick.
Led by senior captains Trevor Wilson and Michael LaBeau, the Terriers will open up at Poultney on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
"I also expect to get big contributions from my underclassmen. Kendrick Mills has shown great strides and looks to be a real force this year. Sophomore Willie Moore is also a player who I expect great things from, as he is one of the best pure shooters I have ever had," noted Chadwick.
The Terriers lost their leading scorer, Mike Hall, and emotional leader, Will Bourne, to graduation, along with the versatile Drew Guild.
"We have an exciting group of athletes this year," said the Bellows Falls coach. "But in turn, we have added several new athletes who have worked extremely hard this offseason."
Bellows Falls roster: Coach -- Evan Chadwick. Senior captains -- Mike LaBeau, Trevor Wilson. Juniors -- Ian McKeen, Kendrick Mills, Avery Perry, David Dunbar, Nate Milliken, Connor Neathawk, Joe White. Sophomores -- Willie Moore, Brian MacAnuff, Jake Mead.