Olympians upset Twin Valley in playdown

WHITINGHAM — Dick Vitale would only need about three words to describe Vermont's version of March Madness on Tuesday night along Route 100.

Flat. Out. Awesome.

There was a Diaper Dandy, a little kiss, a PTPer, and even an extra session as ninth-ranked Oxbow upset No. 8 Twin Valley 57-46, in overtime, in a Division 3 boys basketball playdown game.

"It was the perfect 8-9 game. It was a game of runs," said Twin Valley coach Chris Brown. "This was a tough loss."

With his team leading 44-43, Twin Valley freshman Izaak Park stepped to the line for a one-and-one with 44 seconds left in regulation. The Diaper Dandy calmly sank both shots to make it a three-point game.

But super sub Tegan McKnelly would drill a 3 from the right side with 30 seconds left to pull Oxbow even at 46-46. The Olympians would then outscore the hosts 11-0 in OT to advance.

"I think the overtime was just a new situation for us. It was our first time playing in an overtime game this season and we just weren't used to playing without Dylan Howe," said coach Brown, whose leading scorer had fouled out with 1:28 left in regulation.

Oxbow's Ben Emerson, who entered the postseason averaging 25 points per contest, was seen draining NBA treys during the pre-game warmups. Brown would use a box-and-one defense, which limited the star guard to just one shot in the game and zero points.

"Izaak Park and Jack McHale were in a good rhythm defensively," said Brown of the players he had take turns shadowing Emerson. "But other guys stepped up for them. In hindsight, we let Lincoln Ilsley and McKnelly get into the paint too much."

After a little kiss by Logan Park off of the opening tip, Hayden Reed, McHale and Howe all drained a shot from beyond the arc in the first half. Howe also made two huge defensive plays in the first 16 minutes, rejecting McKnelly and Ilsley on fast break chances.

Twin Valley had the lead for the majority of the first two quarters, aside from a couple of ties and a 23-22 deficit. A buzzer-beating layup by Reed would put the hosts ahead 24-23 at the intermission.

Sweet delivered from downtown to give the lead back to the Olympians, but the Wildcats followed with an 11-0 run. Howe's 3 from up top and McHale's rare four-point play were the highlights during that surge.

Oxbow fought back to within 39-37 with eight minutes left. The final period turned into a battle between Izaak Park and McKnelly, with each of them scoring seven points.

And the home fans were going bonkers. "Here we go Wildcats, here we go," they chanted.

McKnelly's game-tying triple with 30 seconds to go, which quieted the Twin Valley backers, would likely have been followed by an "onions" if college hoops announcer Bill Raftery had been in the gym.

Vitale could have only reacted with "Are you serious?"

Sweet started the extra session with a 3 from the left side. Center Orin Mahikoa then scored four consecutive points, Sweet added a layup, and Ilsley made two free throws.

"When they went up by three and then by five in OT, you could just feel it slipping away," noted Brown, whose Wildcats finished up with an 11-10 record.

The Scoring

Oxbow: Tegan McKnelly 15 points, Orin Mahikoa 13 points, Kyle Sweet 13 points, Lincoln Ilsley 8 points, Adam Maxwell 6 points, Bryce Ilsley 2 points.

Twin Valley: Izaak Park 13 points, Logan Park 12 points, Dylan Howe 8 points, Jack McHale 7 points, Hayden Reed 5 points, Cooper Pell 1 point.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions