ADDISON COUNTY — The four local high school boys’ basketball teams did not set the state on fire this winter. Only Vergennes crested .500, and injuries prevented the talented Commodores from reaching what might have been championship potential.
But each team benefited from fine individual performances that are recognized here on the 2010 Addison Independent Boys’ Basketball All-Star Team.
No one did more than VUHS senior Connor Merrill, who repeats as the Independent Player of the Year. Coach Peter Quinn’s Commodores finished with a 13-9 record, and Merrill had help: Three teammates — including two sophomores — join him on the Independent squad.
First-year coach Nathan Bellomo’s Otter Valley group finished at 6-15, the next-best local mark. Two OV seniors merited recognition here.
Coach Bill Leggett’s Eagles finished at 5-16 in the tougher Lake Division, including a remarkable 27-point win over Division II finalist Missisquoi. Two Eagles, a senior and a junior, are honored here.
Coach Chris Altemose’s Tigers won just once after several athletes elected not to play this winter, but competed hard to the end. A senior and a junior made the Independent squad.
Selections were made based on observations, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
CONNOR MERRILL, VUHS SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. NOTES: Averages of 18.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game led all local players ... Shot 55 percent on two-point attempts and chipped in 1.7 assists per game ... At six-six, possesses an array of effective moves on the baseline and in the lane, three-point shooting range, and fine ball-handling skills ... Excellent team or individual defender ... Reached 1,000 points in Commodores’ first-round playoff win.
QUINN’S QUOTES: “He was clearly one of the top five players in the state. He’s just a great all-around player ... He was a great teammate. He had a great year, and he made it a great year for everyone else on the team ... He treated everyone with respect. He worked hard ... He was so devastating down low ... He’s got so many ways to score ... Defensively, he really controlled the paint. By the second half of games, guards would approach the paint, and they would take a left or right turn.”
LOGAN WILLIAMS, VUHS SENIOR. NOTES: Explosive scorer at guard who averaged 16.1 points on 48.5 percent shooting from two-point range ... Contributed all-around with 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game ... Improved his ballhandling, ability to attack the basket and defense this winter ... Dangerous in the open court.
QUINN’S QUOTES: “Logan is delightful. He’s been really fun to coach. He has a lot of energy and a lot of heart ... He’s just a pure shooter ... He made a lot of progress in his shot selection this year ... He scored a lot more in the paint in the second half of the year ... He was a much better defensive player this year.”
JOE MASSORES, OV SENIOR. NOTES: Swingman who led an OV team that often struggled to score with 11.7 points per game ... Also averaged 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 assists ... Hit 32 percent of his three-point attempts despite being the focus of opposing defenses ... Hard-working defender and smart player with solid ballhandling skills.
BELLOMO’S QUOTES: “He had a good year ... We ran pretty much everything through him ... He’s an all-around athlete ... He was like an extension of the coaching staff out there ... He was a guy you would like to duplicate ... He was one of our top two defenders. He could guard anyone on the court.”
BELA DOBKOWSKI, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. NOTES: Solid all-around forward who averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game ... Tough rebounder and smart defender who typically guarded other teams’ best scorers when the Eagles played man defense ... Has three-point shooting range and the ability to attack the basket and finish.
LEGGETT’S QUOTES: “He was a leader by example ... He played most of the opponents’ toughest offensive threats, and had very quick feet. He closed off the basket really well ... He’s got nice touch. He’s a threat inside and out ... He pounded the boards ... He was a steady ballplayer for us.”
BRENDAN BURRELL, MUHS JUNIOR. NOTES: Guard who enjoyed a late-season surge ... Finished with averages of 9.9 points, 5.2 rebounds (a high for area guards), 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals ... Quick and athletic, played bigger than his size ... Strong defender and decent ballhandler and passer whose shot started to fall regularly down the stretch.
ALTEMOSE’S QUOTES: “By the end of the season he was playing really well. I was impressed with the way he finished the season for us ... He’s a very, very tough competitor ... He holds himself to high standards. He works hard at it ... Zone or man, whatever we were in, he could guard ... He became one of the leaders of our team.”
CAM SKERRITT-PERTA, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. NOTES: Fine shooter and solid ballhandler who led Mount Abe with 10.85 points and 2.9 assists per game ... Had three-point range and made 82.7 percent of his free throws ... Showed a steadily increasing grasp of the nuances of point guard in his first varsity year ... Used his quickness well on defense.
LEGGETT’S QUOTES: “He was very dangerous with his shot ... You can’t leave him alone. He can shoot ... He plays decent defense ... He’s quick and athletic, and he handles the ball well ... I liked where he was at this year ... He did a great job of maturing in his decision-making and getting other people more involved.”
COLLIN CURLER, VUHS SOPHOMORE. NOTES: Stepped in when senior teammate Jackson Alexander went down with a season-ending injury, and ran the team well while averaging 6.5 points on 51.7 percent shooting, 3.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals ... Scrappy defender ... Protects the ball well ... Unafraid to attack the basket ... Scored 21 points vs. Missisquoi.
QUINN’S QUOTES: “He won a couple games for us with strong play in the fourth quarter ... He got better and better as the year went on ... He’s fearless ... He was an emotional leader for the team ... He plays with tremendous intensity ... He really works at getting better ... I really liked that he can play the game fast.”
JAKE BUSHEE, VUHS SOPHOMORE. NOTES: Rangy six-three forward who quietly averaged 6.6 points while shooting 53 percent ... Showed nice touch under the basket and 15-foot range ... Averaged 7.0 rebounds, played tough interior defense and added 1.4 assists per game.
QUINN’S QUOTES: “Jake did everything I asked of him ... He’s a strong rebounder, and as the year went on he became a strong defensive presence, too ... People don’t realize what a good shooter he is ... I have big expectations for him next year, both offensively and defensively ... For a sophomore stepping in, he did a great job.”
BRADLEY CHRISTIAN, OV SENIOR. NOTES: Rugged six-three center who led OV with 7.7 rebounds a game with a high of 14 vs. Windsor ... Played solid positional defense, anchoring OV’s back line ... Averaged 5.9 points, third best for OV, many on the break, where he was effective, or on putbacks.
BELLOMO’S QUOTES: “He was a space-eater ... He was our last line of defense ... He might have led our team in taking charges ... His touch improved ... He’s so big and strong ... Bradley was one of the fastest big guys from end to end ...His job was to defend, rebound and run the floor, and he did them well.”
DEVIN BRADFORD, MUHS SENIOR. NOTES: Talented forward who supplied many of the Tigers’ points, leading the team with an average of 12.2 ... Also used his six-four frame to lead MUHS with 9.5 rebounds, the second-highest local average ... Also averaged 2.4 assists and 2.0 steals.
ALTEMOSE’S QUOTES: “He was a challenge for the other team ... He was our best rebounder. He cleaned up a lot of rebounds for us ... He’s got athletic ability. He’s got some size. He’s got decent quickness ... He’s a gym rat. He loves the game.”
Reporter Andy Kirkaldy is at email@example.com.