by Ken Brown
NORTHEAST KINGDOM – Twinfield-Cabot’s Tej Stewart and Hazen Union’s Xavier Hill and Brendan Moodie were selected to the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association (VBCA) Dream Dozen Team last week for their outstanding play on the hardwood this past season.
Stewart broke onto the varsity scene in a big way for head coach Chris Hudson in their season opener, dropping 30 points to beat Proctor on the road and leading their young team to the Bob Abrahamson Tip-off Classic title. The freshman two-way guard led the Trojans in scoring on the season as they navigated their way through the gauntlet of the Mountain League with double-digit wins. Hudson had six other freshmen on the roster this winter, but still won a playoff game before bowing out in the quarterfinal round. The future looks bright in Marshfield for several winters to come and Stewart is leading the way.
“Tej is just a freshman, but can already shoot, rebound, and handle the ball really well in high pressure situations. We asked a lot of these fourteen- and fifteen-year-old kids this season at the varsity level, but I’m proud of what they accomplished in an extremely tough league. If they continue to put the work in this summer, they are only going to come back next season more physical and complete basketball players,” said Hudson earlier this season.
Junior point guard Xavier Hill earned his second straight Dream Dozen selection and sophomore Brendan Moodie also made the roster as the backcourt mates helped lead the Wildcats to the
Division III state title game this season. Hill has not only orchestrated Hazen’s offense the last two years, but also is asked to rebound and defend with his size and wingspan. His career-high 24 points against White River Valley in the quarterfinal round, helped the Wildcats advance to the Barre Auditorium for the fifth time in six years. He also led the Wildcats with a game-high 19 points in the title game versus undefeated Winooski. Moodie transferred from Peoples Academy over the summer and was an instant install into head coach Aaron Hill’s starting lineup. His ability to shoot and handle the ball helped space the floor for senior big man Tyler Rivard. Moodie combined for 50 points and fourteen three-pointers in his first two playoff games in a Hazen Union uniform, including a sophomore record 33 against White River Valley. Hill is losing a lot of muscle next season with the graduation of Rivard, but is excited to watch what his talented backcourt develops into next season.
“Xavier and Brendan were just awesome for us throughout the playoffs this year. Brendan has been to most of our camps since he was a kid, so our guys know him and he fit in right away. He is smooth and spaces the defense with his shooting and we got a glimpse of what these two are capable of doing the past two weeks and I’m excited to watch them develop next season,” said Hill over the weekend.
Joining Stewart, Hill, and Moodie on the Division III and IV Dream Dozen roster as the twelve best underclassmen in the state were: Andrew Joncas (Danville), Carter Crossman (Proctor), Brayden Russ (WRV), Jack Dickerson (Long Trail), Abel Goodwin (MVCS), Colby Dearborn (Bellows Falls), Ethan Davignon (Randolph), Jerrick Jacobs (Richford), and Boone Fahey (Thetford Academy).
The VBCA will honor Dream Dozen selections along with several other achievements in high school basketball this Saturday at Senior All-Star Weekend at Champlain Valley Union High School.