By Peter Fernandez
If it hadn’t been for the Montpelier Solons’ defensive legislation against predatory raptors’ migration south to steal golden trophies, maybe the North Country Falcons could have had a more pleasant flight to the hoop, but in the end, Montpelier won their third D2 championship, 63-36.
Ronnie Riby-Williams’ last game was a memorable send-off as he tallied 22 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and dished for three assists. Tall timber 6’6” Andrew Tringe also acted as a loudspeaker of the house by blocking 6 shots, grabbing 10 rebounds, and scoring 6 points.
A hard-scrabble and hustling Falcon team came into the final with a 21-2 record, but they couldn’t find answers for sophomore Carter Bruzzese’s dapper ball control and nifty passing, as he tallied 7 points and 6 assists. Carson Cody put up identical numbers after going for 30 against Spaulding in the semi-finals.
With the half-time score 33-17, North Country fans (and there were many) were hoping for a come-back, but it never materialized as their squad’s efforts were blocked again and again by the stifling Solon defense. With 2:24 left in the third quarter, Montpelier was leading 40-19. Both finalist teams upset undefeated teams in the semi-finals with the Solons taking Spaulding, 60-53, and North Country edging Fair Haven in OT, 67-66.
It appears that Montpelier could make it back for another championship next season with such talented sophomores as Cody, Foster, Bruzzese, and 6’4” Atif Milak. Milak barely missed a contested dunk in the first half, but you can bet he will be jamming those through next season. 6’3” Joseph Nyiringabo, yet another sophomore, also returns.
North Country was led by Cooper Brueck’s 12 points as well as Hayden Boivin and Wyatt Descheneau’s six, as Coach Dan Johnson returns ten players, including starters, Brady Pein, and sophomores, Haiden Chilafoux, as well as 6’3” Boivin. Another final rematch with Montpelier?
– If 6’6” Andrew Tringe loves the game and chooses to be a good D3 player, he seems to have the tools. One can see him developing into a fine Division 3 cager.
– Riby-Williams, who scored the winning score, a header, in the Montpelier-Harwood D2 soccer championship last season, tallied 27 goals. He could be playing collegiate basketball and/or soccer next season.
– Carter Bruzzese has two more seasons at MHS. The sky’s the limit for this dribbling-passing water bug equipped with darting, liquid-smooth moves. Possessing excellent court-vision antennae, he should be receiving countless collegiate offers in two years. And we will be talking about Division One.
What a pleasure to watch Montpelier coach Nick Foster’s lads develop and win, win, and win.