by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – A challenging year in the highly competitive Mountain League came full circle for the Craftsbury Academy (CA) boys’ basketball team last week, as they knocked off Division III Stowe for their third win of the season.
Dylan Washer poured in a game-high 21 points to lead the Chargers to a 47-41 home win over the Raiders last Monday night. The two teams were tied after eight minutes of play, but the Chargers took an eight-point advantage into the break behind Washer’s offense. Stowe would make it a two-possession game after three quarters behind 11 points from Chase Brown, but the young Chargers showed composure down the stretch to pull the upset. Freshman Landon Miller added 10 points for CA and Sterling Blodgett did the dirty work inside and added nine. Greg Hildenberger chipped in with nine points for Stowe in the loss. They faced second-seeded Hazen Union on Tuesday in the opening round of the Division III playoffs.
“That was the best game I’ve had the privilege of coaching here at Craftsbury the past two seasons. The guys did a great job of taking care of the basketball, fighting for every single loose ball and rebound, and just playing smart basketball when the game was on the line. Stowe is young and inexperienced, but they are an athletic division III team and we played our best basketball of the season against them. We showed a different level of maturity in the fourth quarter playing with the lead and the guys confidently closed it out. It was our biggest win here in years and I’m happy and proud for these kids,” said head coach Sean Ryan.
The Chargers closed out the regular season with a 68-39 road loss to Division III BFA-Fairfax on Friday night as Bryce Fontaine led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points. Rowan Albee and Ryan Sheehan scored 11 apiece for the Bullets as they fought off an early 8-4 deficit to the upstart Chargers to take an eight-point advantage into the break. Playing without any substitutions caught up to CA in the second half as the Bullets broke the game open in the third quarter. Washer and Miller led the Chargers with 16 points apiece in the loss. BFA-Fairfax opened the Division III postseason with a trip to seventh-seeded White River Valley on Tuesday.
“They are a big and athletic team, but we did a great job of staying with them the first two and a half quarters with only five guys. We missed some shots early in the second half and they got hot. It was a week of some super solid basketball from our team and I’m proud of them. BFA-Fairfax’s crowd and team showed some of the classiest sportsmanship I’ve seen, cheering on the effort from our five guys throughout the game and I want to thank them for that. We have a tall task ahead of us traveling to one of the best teams in our division to open the tournament. We are just going to focus on continuing to improve and try to play the same type of basketball that we played this week,” said Ryan.
The Chargers will travel to play second-seeded Rivendell Academy on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Division IV tournament.