by Ken Brown
PLAINFIELD – West Rutland used the experience and athleticism of their nine seniors last week to advance to the Division IV state title game with a road win over the Twinfield-Cabot boys’ basketball team in the semifinals.
Tyler Serrani scored a game-high 18 points to lead the seventh-seeded Golden Horde to an impressive 58-46 road win over the Trojans last Wednesday. Timothy Blanchard was also a handful, chipping in with 14 points in the win. West Rutland used a full court man-to-man press to take a 13-7 lead after one quarter and kept the Trojans off the boards in the first half to take a 28-17 lead into the break.
“To see them on video is one thing, but in person they were much bigger and faster and just impressive physically. Our advantage is our size and they neutralized that, punched us in the mouth, and took us out of our game plan,” said head coach Chris Hudson.
Serrani converted two steals into easy buckets and added a free throw to start the second half as the lead swelled to sixteen, increasing to 45-28 after three quarters. Brody Moran connected on a pair of three-pointers late to pull Twinfield-Cabot within nine, but they would get no closer. Cutler Gladding led the Trojans with 11 points, Henry LoRe added nine, and Kerrick Medose and Lucas Roberts combined for thirteen more in the loss. Senior Gavin Fowler was sidelined once again with a season-ending leg injury and the loss of his prolific production finally caught up to the Trojans.
“We’ve pieced it together and a lot of guys have stepped up since Gavin got hurt, but you just can’t replace what he gives us on the court in points, rebounds, and leadership. He is the best student athlete that I’ve had the privilege of coaching and he’s not just a great basketball player, he’s a great human being. He got a raw deal the way his high school career ended, but I have no doubt he will go on to do wonderful things in life. No one on this team likes to lose when you get this far, but I am so proud of these kids and the effort that they have put in all season” said Hudson.
Hudson will also lose Cutler and LoRe to graduation but will return a talented young core that now has varsity and playoff experience under its belt.
“Henry and Cutler gave this program everything they had the past two years. Henry is a great example of a kid putting in the extra work and being patient for his time to come. Cutler has improved so much since he got here and we only wish we had him longer. They are both great leaders along with Gavin and they all will be missed. We have a bunch of eighth graders and freshman who gained invaluable experience going up against a veteran team like West Rutland in a semifinal game. You can’t simulate that and, knowing this group, they will use that experience as fuel to drive them to get better this summer,” said Hudson.
Fifth-seeded Proctor ended the Golden Horde’s hopes of its first state title in eight years with a 58-57 win on Sunday at the Barre Auditorium.