By DONNA FLANDERS
St. Albans Messenger Sports

ENOSBURG — The Milton Yellowjackets remained undefeated through six games with a 55-51 boys basketball win over the defending Division II state champion Hornets on Jan. 10.

The first quarter alone saw six lead changes, ending with Milton up 13-11. Casey Caforia started things off for the Hornets by draining a three before Milton’s Tre Sherwood put an offensive board back up for two. Parker Snow and Caforia scored the next four points to put Enosburg up 9-4 with 4:51 on the clock. Deven Creamer sank a three for Milton, which was followed by Sherwood’s strong baseline move to tie it up at nine a minute later. Ian Jennings’s steal and score put the visitors ahead 11-9, and Colby Ducharme expanded the lead with a move along the baseline. With 20 seconds remaining in the quarter, Enosburg’s Tommy Benoit scored on a layup to close the quarter.

Milton came out strong in the second quarter, going on a 7-1 run to take a lead it would hold until midway through the third. The Yellowjackets got points from Tyler Farrar, Sherwood, and Jennings, while Enosburg only made good on one foul shot from Snow.

With Milton up 20-12 just 2:30 in, Dylan Murphy of Enosburg made a strong move underneath and Caforia made a great move between two leaping defenders to score, though he was given a technical foul as he thought he was fouled. Jennings made both free throws for Milton to make it 22-16.

was able to push past last year's defending champions as they improve their undefeated start to the season to 6-0. Murphy came up with another basket inside, followed by Swainbank finding a hole in the middle to pull the Hornets team within two at 22-20 with 2:30 left in the half. Milton’s Sam Patterson made the sweetest score of the game with some acrobatic moves in the middle for a 24-20 lead. Sherwood and Ducharme added baskets for Milton, while Snow converted a Murphy pass underneath for a 28-22 halftime score.

Parker Snow was the big gun for Enosburg in the third quarter, scoring 12 points and tying the game up with 5:58 on the clock.

Enosburg coach Chad Lovelette was pleased with his seniors’ play, particularly with holding Jennings to 13 points after he had scored 38 and 36 in Milton’s previous two games.

“Parker had an excellent game for us tonight, offensively.

He was big and strong and undersized, honestly, most of the time. And I thought Casey did a fantastic job on Ian. He’s been scoring 20 to 30 points a game and he held him to 13.

“That was our main focus coming in tonight, to shut him down. And we did, although he made some big baskets at the end of the game with guys all over him.”

The Hornets took their first lead since the opening quarter at the 3:03 mark when Murphy found Snow lurking under the basket, making it 36-34 Enosburg. It was a shortlived lead, as Milton’s Deven Creamer’s 3-point play sent Milton into the fourth quarter up 37-36.

Milton did not lose this lead, opening it up to as much as 10 before the scrappy Hornets pulled back within four before the final buzzer.

Hunter Bosley came in and gave the Hornets some quality minutes, grabbing a couple of boards and putting up a shot underneath in the quarter as well as Snow, Swainbank, Caforia and Murphy adding points. Seth Herrity and Jennings kept Milton in the lead by draining a couple of threes in the quarter and Jennings, as Lovelette noted, made a couple of huge baskets for the Yellowjackets as well.

Parker Snow led all scorers with 20 points and added seven rebounds and two steals, while Caforia finished with 11 for Enosburg (4-2). Swainbank had 10 points and a team high eight rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.

Murphy added six while Benoit and Bosley had two apiece.

For the Yellowjackets, Sherwood and Jennings led the way with 13 points each. Creamer and Patterson finished with eight points each, Herrity seven, Ducharme four, and Farrar two.

Patterson and Jennings led the rebounding effort with four each, while Herrity and Sherwood grabbed three, Creamer and Ducharme two, and Farrar one. Creamer handed out two assists, with a rebound and an assist by Colby Mason and a rebound and block from Javante Sovey.

Milton coach Chris Brown was happy with his team’s play against the Hornets, coming off a 24-0 season and the program’s first basketball state championship. Brown said the Jackets’ 18 fourth-quarter points were pivotal.

“Getting some good scoring in the fourth made the difference in tonight’s game for us,” Brown said.

“This was a hard-fought game from both teams, and our biggest test of this year so far. Enosburg executed well on both ends of the floor, and they play well on their floor.

They are well coached, play hard, and have started off well this season.

“A good win for us.”

Despite the loss, Lovelette was also pleased with his squad’s play against a deep and talented Milton team that has won by 20 or more in four of its six victories.

“This is the second game in a row that we have come out and played with great effort. We played hard the whole game and I am happy with that. We came in hoping to compete. That was my hope and we did that.

“That’s a good thing. Milton is a very athletic team. I stressed at halftime that we had to be patient. We have to keep the score down. That’s the kind of team we are. We have to do all the little things. We have to pass the ball. We can’t be the one-pass-and-shoot team. We have to make the other teams play defense for more than 10 seconds. We have to make them work.”

* * *

On January 8, Ian Jennings topped 30 points for the second straight game, dr3opping 38 on visiting Lamoille as the undefeated Yellowjackets cruised to a 62-42 Division II boys basketball victory Monday night.

After a strong defensive effort that held Lamoille to just a pair of field goals in the first half, with the hosts up 26-12, Jennings scored all 18 Yellowjacket points in the third period for a 44-22 lead going into the fourth. The junior hit six 3-pointers.

Senior captain Seth Herrity turned in an outstanding game at point guard, contributing six assists, five steals, and five rebounds as Milton improved to 5-0.

“Another solid team defensive game, with all 12 of the Milton players seeing action in a solid win against a good Lamoille team,” coach Chris Brown said.

Jennings also led Milton’s effort on the boards with seven rebounds. Deven Creamer added seven points and five rebounds, while Tre Sherwood scored four with five rebounds and four steals, and Javante Sovey added three points along with an assist.

Milton also got two points each from Herrity, Colby Ducharme (3 rebounds, 3 steals), Sam Patterson, Tyler Farrar, and Damion Mitchell (rebound). Andrew Harvey (steal, assist) and Colby Mason grabbed two rebounds each.

“We knew that we needed a strong effort tonight against Lamoille,” Brown said. “They play very hard and have some athletic players. In the first few minutes we were getting outworked, but our guys stepped up and really cranked up the energy. We are starting to see some good potential in the type of team we could be by the end of the season, and our guys know that we have a lot to work on and are up to the challenge. Playing great D and having some nice scoring runs puts us in a good position.

“Ian Jennings had a great scoring night, with eight other players scoring as well. Seth Herrity and Colby Ducharme — in his first start this season — did a great job running our sets and pushing the ball. I also think Andrew Harvey gave us some needed composure when Lamoille starting to make a run on us early in the 3rd quarter.

Nate Selby led the Lancers (2-2) with eight points.