South Burlington — The Rice Memorial High School Green Knights dominated the glass, outrebounding the St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers 51-24, and used that to their advantage to claim a 49-38 win over the Academy on Monday night on Bernie Cieplicki Court. Included in that rebounding edge … a 24-6 domination on the offensive glass.
Down 4-2 in the first quarter, Rice used second and third opportunities to put together at 13-2 run and open up a 15-6 lead after the first quarter. They build that lead to 12 in the second quarter before St. Johnsbury used a 7-2 run at the end of the quarter to close within seven at 27-20 at halftime. After Rice stretched the lead back to 11 early in the third, the Hilltoppers chopped the advantage to six, and on three straight occasions came up the floor with the chance to bring it closer, but were unable to do so. Rice took the lead back to nine at the end of three and eased home to the win.
Sophomore Kendrick Gray, hampered by foul trouble and held scoreless in St. Johnsbury’s seven point win over Rice two weeks ago, led the Green Knights on this night, scoring 15 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. His classmate Ben Shungu added 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Junior James Wells, who did not play in the first meeting, scored seven points and grabbed eight boards and senior Matt Maynard contributed six points while grabbing off ten caroms.
Maynard also did a solid defensive job on St. Johnsbury’s Vlad Cobzaru, holding the Hilltoppers’ leading scorer to a season low six points. Tristen Ross led the Academy with ten points, while Josiah Kimball added nine. Kimball and Cobzaru each pulled down seven boards.
With the win Rice improves their record to 13-3. The loss, their first to a Vermont opponent this season, drops St. J to 14-3.