SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – For the second straight winter, Springfield has not had any success chasing victories on their boys basketball schedule. I will say a similar thing this winter to what I said last winter, these athletes deserve a standing ovation. Whether it is due to lack of confidence, lack of talent or a combination of both or other factors, one thing is certain. Most anyone would be proud to be their coach. They basically don’t give up.
I was in attendance when they lost their 18th game of the season at Hartford 59-19. A play early in the game, when the Cosmos were starting to take command, accentuated the character of this team. Dakota Bushey, one of the players who has grown the most on this team, drove the lane and there was contact, leading to him losing control of the ball. Bushey glanced at the official, accepted there wasn’t going to be a whistle and hustled back on defense. No excuses. Just keep playing hard.
That is what the Cosmos boys basketball team is today. Players who come to play every night, do their best, and control what they can. I repeat; they give no excuses.
The 59-19 loss at Hartford, may or may not have been the low point of the season. There were moments that night, when the resolve of a player or two could be questioned, as it appeared they were about to hit a “is this really worth it?” moment. However, they closed out the season with two more strong efforts, while bowing to a red hot Windsor team 58-30 and Hartford at home on Senior Night 63-40, in each case, putting another “I did what I could” notch on their belt.
The Cosmos were 0-3 the last time we wrote about them coming off two straight losses by over forty points, one to Mount Saint Joseph 87-41 the other to Green Mountain 78-32. There have been competitive games since, but most of the time, they lose by 30 points or more.
In the final seventeen games, they fell to Bellows Falls 87-54 and 39–34 with GJ Scherington 16 and Taylor Hunter 15 the top scorers in those respective encounters, were beaten by Woodstock 64-52 and 70-31 with Hunter 17 and Bushey 10 pacing the offense and fell in single games to Otter Valley 56-33 and Brattleboro 65-26 with Bushey 14 and Hunter 13 top scorers.
Single games were also played with Arlington 54-48 where the Green and White played one of their best games down the stretch, battling back from a big deficit to challenge the Eagles, in a game in which Bushey led the way with 20 and Mill River 80-30 when Bushey sparkled with 19. The Cosmos also fell in single contests with Burr +Burton 78-28 (Chris Hopkins 8), Fall Mountain, 54-44, a game they competed well in, (Scherington 18), Leland + Gray 53-49, in another close one. Hunter had 22 points, a team season high in that one and equaled that production against Windsor, in a 78-44 loss, the next time out. Noah Zierfac’s 13 led the way in the second Windsor loss, which was the only outing in the last seven games in which Hunter was not the leading scorer.
Springfield is expected to stay in the Marble Valley League’s B Division next year, but with a modified schedule of non-league games. B Division teams are usually aligned to play each of the A Division teams once, but Springfield has been spared that burden and has the opportunity to schedule 10 non-league games of their choosing. This is a step in the right direction and will hopefully make them more competitive in the near future.
Coach Mike Ruppel can be proud that this team definitely grew as the season went along and of the six teams they played twice this winter, the score was more competitive in five of those six second meetings, a good sign.
Ruppel said “I am proud of the players for competing every day throughout the season. We will miss our seniors next year, but they have helped lay the foundation for a strong program. Now the work of becoming better players begins. We need our younger guys to put in a lot of work in the offseason and to improve their game and be ready to step up come next winter.”