After the girls of St. Johnsbury won the state high school basketball title over the weekend, the boy's team may be primed to follow suit following their thrilling upset of top-seeded Rice Memorial in the boy's division one semi-finals last night.
The Hilltoppers got the game winning shot when Alex Carlisle pulled up for a jumper with six seconds left on the clock, sending it through for the winning margin in a 55-54 win at Patrick Gymnasium. It was the biggest two points of Carlisle's 13-point night and teammate Logan Wendell added 16 to lead the Hilltoppers, who will play for the state title Sunday against the third-seeded Rutland Raiders, after their 61-52 victory over Mount Mansfield.
The Hilltoppers will again be underdogs facing a Rutland team that won the title last year and the year before that, and have a bevy of offensive weapons as evidenced by Jamison Evans, who finished with a game high 22 points to go with ten rebounds last night, and Eric Coughlin's 14-point, 12-rebound double double. Should be a great game.
Also of local note, I should have mentioned earlier this week a remarkable achievement in alpine skiing by Lyndon Institute's Lena Sauter. The junior racer finished an entire season without losing a race in slalom or giant slalom competition. She became the state champ in both and over the weekend she competed in the Eastern high school championships at Attatash in New Hampshire, tied for first place in the slalom, fairly amazing in a sport that times racers down to the hundredth of a second, and then won the giant slalom on day two, so belated congratulations to Lyndon Institute's Lena Sauter, who has been crowned the New England high school alpine champ, and thanks to coach Chris Manges for clueing me in to her amazing accomplishment.
On to the pros, and the Boston Celtics couldn't pull off a four-game sweep of their west coast road swing. After winning three in a row against Golden State, Sacramento, and the LA Lakers, the bid for a California coup fell way short in a 140-115 blow-out loss against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center last night.
The Clippers were led by a bench player who entered his name into the record books in torching Boston for 34 points in his reserve role. Those 34 point moved 13-year NBA veteran Lou Williams past Dell Curry on the NBA's list of most career points scored by a non-starting player, a stat the Elias Sports Bureau says began being tracked in 1970.
Williams needed 28 points to pass Curry, whose son Stephen has made something of a career for himself with the Golden State Warriors.
Williams swept past that 28-point plateau in the third quarter of a game the Celtics will need to forget in a hurry, devoid as it was of any real defensive effort.
In the NHL the Tampa Bay Lightning served notice to the Toronto Maple Leafs that they're still the team to beat in the eastern conference, the best record in the league Lightning lighting up the Leafs in a 6-2 win in front a of a disappointed crowd in Ontario last night.
Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette each had two goals for Tampa in the rout.
And here's a lesson for all of us who have them: don't yell at your dogs. Nicolas Petit found this out the hard way, losing his five hour lead in the Iditarod yesterday when he yelled at Joey, one of his sled dogs that had gotten into a spat with another dog on the team.
The 32-year old native of Normandy, France, told a web site tracking the 1,000-mile Alaskan race that after all the other dogs heard the yelling they just refused to run, and Petit was forced to camp where he was, short of the Bering Sea Koyuk checkpoint.
Other mushers passed Petit's team while his dogs held their sit and stay-in, and it's the second year an unexpected setback has thrown Petit off track. Last year he had a lead as well before getting lost in a blizzard that threw him off the trail.
The winner is expected to cross the finish line in Nome perhaps as early as tomorrow.