Sports

Wildcats Hang Tough through Capital City Road Trip

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MONTPELIER – The Hazen Union boys’ basketball team earned a tough road split with Division II Capital League opponents U-32 and Montpelier last week, staying near the top of the Division III standings at 12-3.

Brendan Moodie filled it up last Wednesday, knocking down six threes in a 23-point effort to lead Hazen to a 79-42 win over the Raiders.

Xavier Hill backed Moodie draining 19 points with a game-high nine assists, fueling a second quarter run to give Hazen an 18-point advantage into the break.

Sully Laflam added 11 points and eight rebounds while senior Fenton Meyer chipped in eight points, capping the win.

Eddie Sayers led U-32 with 15, as they fell to 5-8 and down to the twelfth spot in the Division II rankings.

“We played one of our best games of the season against U-32. Games in the Capital League are going to be tough night in and night out and that kind of competition is why we are here,” said head coach Aaron Hill.

Carter Bruzzese scored 17, including five three-pointers to lead Montpelier to an impressive 68-46 home win over Hazen on Saturday.

Carson Cody nearly matched his teammate with four more threes and a 16-point performance as the Solons erased an early deficit to take a 28-26 lead into the break.

Xavier Hill continued his strong senior campaign, knocking down a pair from long range en route to a career-high 26-point performance.

Hayden Lilly and Atif Milak combined for 20 more for Montpelier, who pulled away with a 24-12 run to start the second half.

The home team connected on 15 three-point field goals on the afternoon. No other Wildcat reached double figures against a stout Solon defense that has led them to 12 straight wins.

“I thought we played a really strong first half against Montpelier, unfortunately fatigue set in for us after halftime and they caught fire from beyond the arc. We may lose a game here and there playing in this league, but playing (at) this level of competition against all of these strong D2 programs will more than get us ready for the postseason,” said Hill.

Hill’s Wildcats maintained second position in the Division III standings, holding off a White River Valley team in the three spot that has ripped off 13 straight wins. Richford has been a surprise at 12-3 and is on a 10-game win streak of their own and defending champion Winooski has found their footing after a slow start, winning eight straight. Thetford remains atop the standings at 13-1 and handed the Wildcats their only division loss with a 56-54 home win last month. In a few weeks the Panthers and Wildcats square off in both teams’ regular season finale. That match-up may very well determine the No. 1 seed.

The Wildcats traveled to Stowe on Monday for a tune up before clashing with another Division II power in 11-4 North Country on Wednesday night. They wrap up a busy week at home on Friday against Lake Region.

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