TV 55 Woodstock 41
Dal Nesbitt was on fire Saturday afternoon as he led his Wildcats to their third win by double digits on the year, scoring a whopping 30 points. While Nesbitt got the majority of the points, the entire team played good defense. Cade Nesbitt played lockdown defense on 6’ 4” Connor Fegard, who burned the Wildcats for 24 points last year, and Colin Lozito shut down point guard Dougie Avellino for much of the game.
Woodstock took away what little paint the Wildcats play in with an effective zone defense, but they had to pick their poison, and this time it was Dal Nesbitt, perhaps not a wise choice. Every time he got the ball Nesbitt seemed to be open and Nesbitt was ready to make them pay, knocking down six of his 15 three-point attempts. Nesbitt collected 10 rebounds, one of three Wildcats to collect double digit rebounds, along with Sam Molner and Eli Park. Molner would collect a double-double on the day, adding 10 points to his 10 boards.
But the game was not all Wildcats all the time. After going down 26-17 at the half, the Wasps began to buzz, roaring out of the locker room with a 17-point third quarter to take the lead going into the final eight minutes. But once again the Wildcats stayed calm, collected themselves, and got back to scoring. Park and Molner took over guarding Fegard inside, and the Wildcats took off with a 15-point run to open the fourth, ultimately outscoring the Wasps 23-7 in the finalquarter.
Twin Valley completely controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Wasps 45-26, and forcing the Wasps to take low percentage outside shots. Avellino scored a team-high 17 for the Wasps.
Twin Valley coach Chris Brown said the fourth quarter showed a resiliency in his players that was not always there in their younger years. “ The fourth (quarter) shows how we’ve matured as a team over the last season, and I think part of that has to do with their success in soccer. In the past, if we gave up nine points in a row and a three at the buzzer, we might have been complacent and watched it happen.”
Brown also said the high scoring from Nesbitt just happened out of the flow of the game. “He carried us offensively for sure and it’s not that we don’t have balance. Dal has been our sharpshooter, and we’re not forcing the ball to him, and it’s not him being selfish. It’s just the flow of the game.”
TV 63 Leland & Gray 45
It took nearly a month, but the Wildcats finally got the home game they were waiting for, and for point guard Colin Lozito, there was no place like home. Lozito scored 22 points and dished out seven dimes as his Wildcats thrashed the rival Leland & Gray Rebels. But it was a team effort all night as all 12 members of the team recorded at least two rebounds, and bench role players like Keegan Reed, Dylan Johnson, and Skyler Boyd got in the scoring column.
The first half was intense, as seven ties and lead changes kept the game interesting, and a 13-13 tie marked the end of the first quarter. A 21-point effort in the second quarter allowed the Wildcats to quietly pull away, and go into the half with an eight-point lead. Twin Valley picked up where they left off in the third quarter, starting the second half with an 11-2 run to rip the game away from the Rebels. Coach Chris Brown was able to get his entire team out on the court in the second half as his bench players got some much needed playtime to get their feet wet. “It was a breakout game for Colin, and it was also a fun game for everyone,” said Brown.
Cory Nystrom led the Rebels with 18 points, while Cade and Dal Nesbitt added 10 and 12 points respectively. Eli Park led the Wildcats with eight rebounds and three steals.
For Lozito, the team’s success so far in the 2013-2014 season can be attributed to its maturity and chemistry. “We’re one year older, and we’ve been together for four solid years so we know each other. We know what works and what doesn’t work,” said Lozito. “You try to emphasize what works and the team is working together so well.”
With the victory, Lozito now sits at number two all time on Twin Valley’s career assist leaderboard, just 35 shy of Scott Hayford. The night also saw Dal Nesbitt become second career leader of three-point field goals made with 124. That number is 49 behind all-time leader Dave Rosso who holds the school record with 173.
TV 75 Bellows Falls 45
On a night when the Twin Valley boys’ soccer team stood on the court to raise their championship banner, 12 of those undefeated Division IV state champions remained on the court to try their luck at remaining undefeated, seven games into their basketball season. Thirty-two minutes and a season-high 75 points later, the Wildcats tied the school record for most wins to open a season, a record set in 2008-2009.
It was an uneasy start for the Wildcats as the athletic Bellows Falls Terriers took it to them in the first quarter. The Wildcats could find no offense as the up-tempo Terriers hounded their shooters with zone defense. Bellows Falls would begin the game with a 7-2 lead, taking advantage of turnovers, offensive rebounds, and four fouls committed by the Wildcats in the first 2:09 of play.
But the tide turned early, as Colin Lozito and Dal Nesbitt hit consecutive threes to take the game back. DJ Lazelle entered the game for the foul-troubled Eli Park, and as Bellows Falls collapsed in to compensate for the big fellow in the middle, the Wildcats were able to kick the ball out and start knocking down three-pointers. Twin Valley also switched to a full-court zone defense, for which the Terriers could find no answer. Cade Nesbitt took control of the game late in the first quarter with the game tied at 11. With a huge hustle play down the court and two more baskets down the stretch, including a three, Nesbitt propelled the ‘Cats to an 11-2 run to end the first quarter.
Cade Nesbitt would add five more points in the second quarter, while Colin Lozito, Dal Nesbitt, and Sam Molner also began to light up the scoreboard. For the second game in a row, every player on the Twin Valley roster got on the stat sheet as the team pulled away by over 20 points in the third quarter. Lozito and Dal Nesbitt would score a combined 13 consecutive points in the quarter including a reverse layup and an alley-oop by Nesbitt, off a no-look pass provided by his brother Cade. Skyler Boyd would provide six points in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Coach Chris Brown had plenty of praise to pass around after the game and pointed to two early heroes of the game as the spark that got his team rolling. “Cade was the player of the match, he was spectacular,” said Brown. “When we needed plays he made plays. Obviously late in the game Dal and Colin picked up the scoring, but when we needed plays when it was close in the beginning, Cade was the guy that made the difference.”
The chemistry of this year’s basketball team is evident as the players learn how to adjust to each other, to opposing defenses, and to the flow of each individual game. When the Terriers came out fast-paced, it took a few buckets, but the ‘Cats knew how to respond. Having role players like Lazelle, Justin Hicks, and Dylan Johnson to put in when needed is a luxury Brown is pleased to have. “He (Lazelle) does a great job around the hoop and he’s shooting near 70% on the season. Just having someone with his size, as soon as he goes in, their defense began to collapse because of his size in the middle.”
Dal Nesbitt led the ‘Cats with 25 points and six steals, while Cade Nesbitt finished with 14 points. Lozito ended the game with a double double, scoring 14 and dishing out 10 assists. Lazelle had 10 rebounds and six points.
As for tying a school record, Brown says it’s “neat” but his boys are focused on finishing the way they began: raising a championship banner.