The Wildcats began the season with a tough game against the Rivendell Raptors, falling behind by 11 at the end of the first half. Twin Valley had trouble playing catch-up and the wind left their sails in the third quarter when Rivendell put up 18 points to their six.
Shooting guard Dal Nesbitt shot the ball 22 times for the Wildcats, scoring nearly half the team’s points with a team-high 23. Nesbitt also had four rebounds and two steals, while Twin Valley’s big man, Sam Molner, chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds. Molner, along with forward Eli Park, collected 15 of Twin Valley’s 23 rebounds.
Nate Eastman scored 20 for the Raptors, with teammate Jack Steketee adding 14 en route to the 66-48 victory. Shooting was a matter of concern for the Wildcats, who converted on only 36% of their shots, and 38% of their foul shots.
Twin Valley Coach Chris Brown says the team’s lack of size creates too few inside opportunities, and his team is often forced to shoot where they don’t want to. “We take a lot of outside jump shots,” said Brown. “It’s by design some of the time, and we’d like to attack, but we still end up getting jump shots out of it sometimes. When you shoot jump shots it’s great when they go in but they’re not high percentage shots.”
TV 56, Proctor 42
The Twin Valley Wildcats were the last team to defeat the Proctor Phantoms; that was two and a half seasons ago. Since then the Phantoms have rattled off 49 straight victories, but Twin Valley was looking to make a statement. Backed by an impressive scoring show of force by guards Colin Lozito and Dal Nesbitt, and a fantastic rebounding performance by Eli Park and Sam Molner, the Wildcats forced Proctor to begin a new streak, another day.
Nesbitt posted 20 points, on eight-of-20 shooting, and nine rebounds, while Lozito scored 14 on six of 10 shooting and dished out eight assists. The Wildcats improved their shooting from their opening loss to Rivendell by six percentage points to 42%, as well as hitting seven of 11 from the line.
While they have had inconsistencies in their scoring, Park and Molner have had a strong showing on the boards, once combining for more than half the team’s rebounds, with 25 of 44. Cade Nesbitt had a good all-around showing as well, recording nine points, three rebounds, and two steals.
While the Wildcats starting five lack size, they have the potential to be explosive, with a focus on containing defense with quick feet, taking care of the ball in transition, and developing a good passing game. Coach Brown says taking down Proctor was a fine example of this. “At times we’re stagnant, and when we get open shots, we go through stretches where we don’t get any points. Against Proctor, who is fairly equal to us in caliber, we were able to withstand that and hit our stride.”
Ryan Petrini had a team-high 15 points for Proctor in his first game back from an ACL injury.
Rochester 66, TV 38
The Wildcats took a tough loss to a Rochester Rockets team that, according to Coach Chris Brown, may be the best division IV team in the state.
The Rockets started hot, going up 16-7 in the first quarter until Dal Nesbitt hit a three-ball that pulled the Wildcats back into it. From that point on, however, Rochester dominated behind the leadership and athleticism of junior point guard Pavin Parrish and his 17-point showing.
Dal Nesbitt led the Wildcats with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five steals, while Lozito scored 12 points. Senior Hunter Therrien pitched in two points and four rebounds, and freshman center DJ Lazelle grabbed four rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Dylan Johnson, Jason Moore, and Jared Lambert each had a rebound as well.
The Wildcats would lose 66-38 and fall to 1-2 on the season. Brown knows his team needs to work on their chemistry on both sides of the ball, especially this early in the season. “I think as the season goes along and they all become more comfortable in their roles, they will start to hit on all cylinders. We have to limit the penetration. Normally we’re good at that, we’re good at defense, but we’re still figuring things out because it’s basically the same team as we had last year with a few new pieces.” The Wildcats visit Green Mountain on December 27.