BENNINGTON — The second season begins anew for Vermont boys basketball and all three of our local teams will start the playoffs at home.
In Division I, Mount Anthony comes in at 17-3, the Patriots' best season since 2011 and they face No. 13 Spaulding tonight at 7 p.m. at Kates Gym.
Mount Anthony led by senior Jonas Parker, who is the top scorer for the Patriots this year, averaging 21.3 points per contest. Tyler Champagne and Damon Burgess also average in double figures for 17-3 MAU, whose only losses this season are to the three teams ahead of them in the standings.
MAU averages 71.2 points per game, including a high of 94 against the same Spaulding team during the North-South challenge at Rutland in December. They outscored their opponents by nearly 20 points a game this year.
"It was clearly a good shooting day, we had 36 in the first quarter," said coach Dan Sleeman. "That's a decent team though, their best player missed time with a concussion this year. They had a tough game with CVU, the No. 5 seed and they played [No. 1] Burlington tough for three quarters, it's not a walk in the park."
Spaulding is led by 1,000-point scorer Matt Allen, who had 33 points in the December game against the Patriots.
"We have an advantage offensively with our size, we feel comfortably because we can do a lot of different things offensively," Sleeman said. "Accounting for [Matt] is important, making the others beat us."
Sleeman said he sent a message to his team that they can't look past the Tide.
"We knocked off a 4 as a 13 [seed] a couple years back," Sleeman said. "We have a lot of veterans, all those opportunities we could have come out and underestimated [our opponent], but they haven't done that. We're 0-0, they are too and everyone cranks it up a notch [in the playoffs]."
If MAU wins its opening round matchup, they'll face the winner of CVU and St. Johnsbury in the second round.
Also in Division I, Burr and Burton Academy snuck into the eighth seed and a home game against No. 9 Brattleboro tonight at 7 p.m. at E.H. Henry Gym. Both teams finished 11-9 this season, with BBA ahead by two index points, 45-43.
The Marble Valley League foes faced off twice this year, with the Colonels winning both times — 55-43 at BBA and 56-41 at Brattleboro.
BBA was outscored by 28 points overall and have lost four of five to end the regular season.
The Bulldogs are led by Griffin Stalcup and Carter Vickers, each of whom have had multiple 20-point games and double-doubles this season.
Some other options on offense include Cam Bunker, Eric Fenton and Sean Apps, along with the Little brothers, Dylan and Bryce.
If BBA wins in the opening round, they'll face the winner of Burlington-North Country.
In Division IV, Arlington is the No. 3 seed after a 15-5 campaign and they'll face No. 14 Mid-Vermont Christian on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Eagles' Nest.
Arlington has done a nice job this season protecting the home court, going 9-1 with only a loss to Proctor on the ledger.
The Eagles are led in scoring by Nathan Mattison, but they're extremely balanced, with more than half of the roster having at least one game with 15 points this season.
Seniors Austin Hawley, Mattison, Lucas Stroffoleno and Brandon Gamble are leading the way with junior Jared Lacoste as well.
If Arlington wins in the opening round, they'll face the winner of Danville-West Rutland.