WINDSOR — When a team has two players who earn a spot on the Vermont Basketball Coaches’ Association’s Dream Dozen, players recognized as the top returning underclassmen in basketball for the 2019-20 season, you can be pretty certain that team will be formidable.
The defending Division IV West Rutland girls basketball team has three. Elizabeth Bailey and Kiera Pipeling were honored as members of the Division III/IV Dream Dozen on Saturday at the VBCA’s day-long basketball event at Windsor High School.
Their teammate Jenee McGee, who also returns to the Golden Horde next year, earned a spot on the Dream Dozen last year.
“Another one could have made it for us, Kiana Grabowski,” West Rutland coach Carl Serrani said. “That says we have a pretty good future. It also puts a lot of pressure on us. If you have Dream Dozen players, you should have a Dream Dozen team.”
“I think we are going to be very strong again,” Pipeling said.
Bailey doesn’t see her team becoming complacent after winning the 2019 title and getting so much attention on the Dream Dozen.
“It will be no problem staying hungry,” Bailey said.
The Golden Horde will need that hunger because Hazen Union, the No. 1 seed in the Division III tournament, will be dropping down to Division IV.
The Proctor boys basketball team was the only one to place two on the Division III/IV boys Dream Dozen — Joe Valerio and Conner McKearin.
“I am looking forward to next year. I think it shows how well Conner and I work together,” Valerio said. “I thought (teammate) Brennon Crossmon could have made the Dream Dozen, too. And I liked what the guys did on our JV team. I am hoping they can step up and help us next year.”
Springfield’s Hannah Croby won the girls Division I-II 3-point shooting contest, sinking 17 in the allotted one minute. That tied the girls record set by Middlebury’s Payton Buxton set last year.
The boys Division III/IV 3-point shooting contest was won by Arlington’s Jack Lane with 15 made shots behind the arc.
Mount St. Joseph Academy’s Sophie Markowski canned 13 to win the girls Division III/IV 3-point contest.
The South won the Division III/IV girls game 53-50. Leading the South were Green Mountain’s Maya Lewis with 10 points and MSJ’s Julia Lee with nine. Lee also picked up one of the VBCA’s scholaships. She will play basketball at Keene State.
Leading the North were Thetford’s Kiana Johnson and BFA-Fairfax’s Emily Allard with seven points apiece.
The North won the Division III/IV boys game 94-76. Williamstown’s Garrett Metcalf had 19 points to headline the North’s performance with BFA-Fairfax’s Keegan Place following with 11. Black River’s Jon Mason had 13 to lead the South. Poultney’s Levi Haviland and Windsor’s Rob Slocum added 11 each.
The South prevailed in the Division I/II girls all-star game, 84-70. Leading 5the South was St. Johnsbury’s Sadie Stetson with 14 points. It is a geographical quirk that had a player from the Northeast Kingdom playing for the South. It is often done to equally distribute the players and get the best ones in the game. Rielle Brassard added 10.
The North was led by Lamoille’s Isabelle Sullivan’s 12 points with CVU’s Meghan Gilwee contributing 10.
The North won a shootout in the Division I/II boys game, 118-89. Leading the North was Mount Mansfield’s Harrison Leombruno-Nicholson with 20 points. St. Johnsbury’s Alex Carlisle followed with 17.
Leading the South were the VBCA player of the Year Jamison Evans from Rutland with 21 and MSJ’s Logan Montilla with 19.