Trojans Capture Title at Season Opening Tournament
by Ken Brown
PROCTOR – The Twinfield boys’ basketball team kicked off the season in style over the weekend, outlasting Proctor and Poultney to capture the Bob Abrahamson Tip-off Classic at Proctor High School.
Freshman Tej Stewart exploded for a career-high 30 points in the tournament’s opening game to help the Trojans to a 61-56 comeback win over host Proctor on Friday night. Twinfield-Cabot started slow as the Phantoms took a 26-19 edge into halftime and built the lead to double digits early in the third quarter. It was too much Stewart down the stretch however as the Trojans dominated the final period for a huge road win to start the season. Meles Gouge chipped in with seven points for Twinfield-Cabot. Carter Crossman led Proctor with 29 and Joel Denton added 10 in the loss. Proctor defeated Twin Valley 56-39 on Saturday in the consolation game.
“We didn’t start out well, but the guys heard about it at halftime and we made some nice adjustments. We stopped taking so many threes in the second half and started to move the ball much better. Tej played under control for most of the game and had a very quiet and easy 30 points. He shot it, rebounded it, and handled the ball really well as just a freshman in some high pressure situations. As a team we executed down the stretch really well, capitalized on some of their mistakes, and it was great to get a win against a team that beat us twice last season,” said head coach Chris Hudson.
Sam Russell poured in 17 points to power the Trojans to a 43-32 win over Poultney in the championship game on Saturday. The Blue Devils took a 20-18 lead into the break, but it was all Trojans the rest of the way as they captured their first Bob Abrahamson Classic in three tries. Stewart added seven points in the win for Twinfield-Cabot and senior T.J. Bernatchy and Gouge chipped in with six apiece. Marcus Lewis led Poultney with 17 and Wyatt Gillett and Peyton Book scored seven apiece in the loss.
“They outhustled us to every loose ball in the first half and I didn’t have to tell the guys much at halftime. They knew they were getting outworked and they figured it out and fixed it. We tried to save our legs a little and went to a zone and it ended up bothering them quite a bit. Sam got hot and when they went to man to man, they struggled to stay in front of us. I’m proud of the guys for coming down here in their space and getting two big wins to start the season. We play southern teams early on to get us prepared for a tough schedule in the Mountain League and it was great to see the guys be able to play two very different styles in both games and still get the win. This should give us some confidence and we’ll keep working on our free throws and starting games a little quicker as we get ready for some tough matchups this week,” said Hudson.
Twinfield-Cabot hosted Mid-Vermont Christian on Tuesday and will welcome a tough Winooski team to town on Friday night in what will be league openers for both teams.