The season ended on Friday for the South Burlington boys basketball team, but not before they took one big step forward for the program.
The Wolves fell to Rutland 55-35 in the Division I quarterfinals on Friday, a disappointment for the No. 11 seed.
“We certainly thought we were going to give them a better game,” said South Burlington coach Sol Bayer-Pracht. “There’s a reason (Rutland) has won back-to-back championships. We certainly couldn’t afford to have an off night shooting.”
Brendan Bridge was the top scorer for the Wolves (11-11) with 12 points, while Evan Parker added seven points and Cam Yee turned in a strong defensive effort.
“We did a nice job defensively in the half court…,” Bayer-Pracht said. “Cam Yee did a lot defensively. He did all the things that in a big basketball game someone has to do.”
While the defense was there for South Burlington on Friday night, the offense struggled, leading to the double-digit loss.
It was the opposite of the team’s performance on Tuesday night in the D-I playdowns. South Burlington knocked off No. 6 Champlain Valley 54-46 in thrilling fashion.
“It was the first playoff win since 2010,” Bayer-Pracht said. “When this group of seniors were freshmen, we went 4-16 and failed to make the playoffs. The next step was winning that playoff game.”
In Tuesday’s win, Parker paced the team with 20 points and Tyler Gammon added 18 points. South Burlington outscored the higher-seeded Redhawks 23-7 in the fourth quarter to come back and earn the win.
“We lost to CVU by 24 points and then two months later we earn the win,” Bayer-Pracht said. “This team just kept improving.”
While the season may have ended on a loss, Bayer-Pracht and the South Burlington team will look back on a season that saw them establish themselves as a program to watch in a competitive Division I.
“Everyone knew we were dangerous,” Bayer-Pracht said. “It was a great season in terms of the monumental wins for the program, to win at Rice, at St. Jay, at CVU.
“That was a big step for the program to take.”
South Burlington lost to Rice in a 3-1 decision in the Division I high school girls hockey quarterfinals at Cairns Arena on March 6.
The Wolves struck first on a goal from Sophia Richland. But it wasn’t long before Rice’s Lisa McNamara scored twice within one minute in the second period and erased the 1-0 deficit. Rice’s Tatum Shappy scored once and Abby McKeown had two assists for Rice. Emily McDonald posted 11 saves to pick up the win.
South Burlington’s Lyssa Tan turned back 25 shots.
South Burlington forward Kate Hall was named to the Vermont Coaches Association All-Star team.
The senior earned first team honors for the Wolves, after a standout offensive season.
Myah Dougherty, Molly Gaboriault, Emma Havers, Hanako Memon, Elise Norotsky and Hall were all named to the Academic All-Star for South Burlington.