coach Hamilton

Mount Mansfield head coach Dan Hamilton leads his team to victory over the Colonels.

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BRATTLEBORO — Twenty-nine years after receiving his diploma, Dan Hamilton returned to Brattleboro Union High School with another piece of paper.

The plays he had written on it were brilliant.

The second-year head coach guided the No. 9 Mount Mansfield varsity boys’ basketball team to a 39-21 upset victory over the eighth-seeded Colonels in Tuesday night’s Division 1 Tournament game.

Brattleboro hosted Mt. Mansfield during a Division I boys’ basketball playoff game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Brattleboro would lose 39-21.

“It was kind of fun to play a game here. The gym has changed … it seems a lot smaller. It’s special to come back,” said the 1993 BUHS graduate, whose parents and one of his sisters sat behind his team’s bench during the contest.

The Cougars stole an 18-0 lead in the first 11 minutes. Owen Pinaud stole the ball twice in that span and Josh Syverson took a charge, while Jacob Leamon played tough defense against Brattleboro’s Cam Frost and also dove to the floor for a loose ball.

“We played some 3-2 zone, but mostly just played man. I was really happy with our defense,” Hamilton said.

A steal and layup by Sam Mattocks got the purple and white on the board with five minutes left in the second quarter. Mattocks would add two free throws, Paul McGillion scored on the post and Tate Chamberlin drilled a deep deuce before the Colonels went to the break trailing 25-8.

After a pretty reverse by Chamberlin, the visitors used a 6-0 run to go up by 23 points midway through the third.

“We thought they would zone us and they did, so we ran an overload. From what I saw on tape, they were soft in the middle of their zone,” Hamilton explained.

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The Cougars were able to drain four shots from downtown on the night. Pinaud hit two of them, while Wyatt Leombruno-Nicholson and Hamilton’s son (Dylan) also connected.

“UCLA” and “UVM” were a couple of plays that the Mount Mansfield coach called out after pulling the sheet from his back pocket.

Wearing white clothing, members of the BUHS student section finally had reason to cheer in the final quarter. Stephen Haskins started the 5-0 surge with a made free throw, McGillion added a putback, and Mattocks followed his own miss for two.

“Let’s go Colonels!” the students repeated.

Hamilton, who went to Academy School and was once a youth league basketball All-Star in town, was content with letting his players run out the clock down the stretch.

“I thought we shared the ball pretty well tonight,” the winning coach said after the final buzzer sounded.

His red-hot Cougars, who have won nine of their last 11, will play at top-seeded Saint Johnsbury in a quarterfinal on Friday at 7 p.m. The Colonels ended up with a 10-10 mark.

Mount Mansfield scoring: Owen Pinaud 10 points, Wyatt Leombruno-Nicholson 9 points, Sean Farrell 8 points, Dylan Hamilton 4 points, Charlie Clark 4 points, Jacob Leamon 3 points, Josh Syverson 1 point.

Brattleboro scoring: Sam Mattocks 6 points, Tate Chamberlin 5 points, Paul McGillion 4 points, Zinabu McNeice 3 points, Willem Thurber 2 points, Stephen Haskins 1 point.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or 802-254-2311 X163. On Twitter: @ShaneCovey.