Twin Valley, Poultney to lock horns

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BRATTLEBORO — Twenty-seven years after Duke's Christian Laettner caught a long inbounds pass from Grant Hill and then knocked down a clutch 15-foot shot to beat Kentucky, the Blue Devils and Wildcats will lock horns in another March Madness showdown.

And a thrilling finish is expected when second-seeded Poultney (16-6) and No. 3 Twin Valley (16-6) square off in a Division 4 boys basketball semifinal on Wednesday at the Barre Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

"It should be a great game," stated Twin Valley's Chris Brown, who is the Coach K of Vermont.

The teams split their regular season meetings, with Poultney winning at home 61-41 on Jan. 10 and then losing 51-38 in Whitingham on Feb. 7.

"They are very big around the basket, complemented with some good guard play on the perimeter," Brown said of the opposition. "They are a great defensive team that's tough on the boards as well."

Levi Haviland (19 points), Jesse Coombs (15) and Heith Mason (12) did the offensive damage when the Blue Devils defeated West Rutland 61-58 in a quarterfinal on Saturday.

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The Wildcats are also coming off of a nail-biter, as PTPer Jack McHale pumped in a game-high 25 points and "Diaper Dandy" Izaak Park was a standout at the other end during a 48-46 win over Rivendell.

"Jack has endless energy and a nose for the ball," noted Brown. "Izaak gives us terrific hustle and pestering defense."

Also starting for Twin Valley will be athletic center Dylan Howe, scrappy floor general Colin McHale, and forward Owen Grinold.

"Owen is a good glue guy. He is solid all-around on both ends of the floor," Brown mentioned.

Park (12.4 ppg) and Jack McHale (12.2 ppg) are Twin Valley's leading scorers this season. The versatile Howe is averaging 7.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest.

The Twin Valley-Poultney winner will take on top-ranked Danville (17-6) in the state championship game on Saturday at noon at "the Aud."

Twin Valley roster: Coaches — Chris Brown, James Anderson, Josh Carpenter-O'Hearn. Managers — Tiffany Spegiel, Cassidy Deedman, Jacko. Players — Aaron Soskin, Colin McHale, Izaak Park, Eric Bolognani, Jack McHale, Dylan Howe, Dylan Dupuis, Owen Grinold, Finn Fisher.


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