Green Mountain men focused on ‘next play’

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Jared Carithers is one of the top scorers for the Eagles, averaging 15.6 points per game and shooting 42.6 percent from 3-point range.
Green Mountain athletics photo

After starting their season with a four-point setback to Keene State, the Green Mountain men’s basketball team has won six straight. That includes an exciting 91-81 victory against Colby-Sawyer – their first win against the Chargers since the 1994-95 season.

“Colby-Sawyer is such a well-respected program and is the (North Atlantic Conference) defending champions, so for us to go up there and get a road win was huge for us culturally,” said second year head coach Anthony Leonelli.

The team’s win against the Chargers shows progress under their second year head coach, who inherited a squad that had won just 12 games in four seasons.

“When our staff got here the program had won 12 games in a four-year span, so we had to build this thing pretty quickly and I am excited that our vision for the program is starting to take shape,” said Leonelli. 

Leonelli’s vision has guided the Eagles to first place in the NAC as of Monday evening, along with some momentum heading into a pair of conference contests this week against Lyndon State and Johnson State.

Additionally, the Eagles have relied on Leonelli’s motto of ‘next play,’ two words that have helped the squad overcome early season adversity, especially against Lesley and John Jay.

“We are constantly talking about moving onto the ‘next play’ within games and also in the course of a season,” said Leonelli. “You never want to celebrate too much over something good or hang your head about something bad, so to be present and get on to the next thing as quickly as possible is what we’re focused on.”

Expect Leonelli’s squad to continue utilizing ‘next play’ for the remainder of the season, especially in NAC play.    

Ouimette shines for Connecticut College

It has been an exciting start for the Connecticut College women’s basketball team, especially freshman forward Payton Ouimette, who has helped guide the Camels to a 6-0 record.

Ouimette has been the spark behind the Camels’ current winning streak, making an immediate impact during her initial collegiate contest with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and one block in an 85-34 win against Clark. One day later, she recorded her first double-double in a Camels’ uniform with 12 points and 16 rebounds, which helped her team defeat Rutgers-Newark and start their campaign 2-0 for the second straight season.

Since her first weekend, Ouimette has recorded a quartet of double-doubles, while leading the unit with 70 rebounds. She is second on the team in points (75) and steals (12), and has converted 15 of 19 free throws.

“Payton had an immediate impact on our program,” said coach Brian Wilson. “She established herself right away as a rotation player and has taken on a leadership role already with our team. I think her performance in practices and games earned her credibility with her teammates and she is not afraid to speak up when something needs to be said.

“She brings an energy and enthusiasm to practice every day and the next time I need to tell her to work hard will be the first time.” 

‘One game, one practice’ at a time for Castleton women

Seven games into the 2015-16 season and Castleton women’s basketball coach Tim Barrett is relying on the old adage of one game at a time, one practice at a time. And so far, it has helped the Spartans race out to a 6-1 record.

Castleton started the season winning five straight, including a 68-57 road contest against New England College - the team the Spartans defeated last season in the NAC championship.

Their only blemish was a four-point setback to Maine-Farmington last Friday evening, but Castleton did not dwell on the loss as the team defeated Thomas the following day by a score of 60-30 to bump their conference mark to 2-1.

Castleton is led by the reigning NAC Player of the Year, Jade Desroches, who has netted 95 points. Lindsey Sabo has been clutch behind the arc, connecting on 20-of-47 trifectas, while Bryana duPont has helped the team in rebounding, tallying 47 caroms.

Additionally, Ali Jones, Makayla Farrara and Amanda Beatty have helped the Spartans offense, netting 46, 38 and 29 points, respectively.

“The expectations for this group is high,” said Barrett, “but we must continue to get scoring balance and develop our interior players. It is important we take it one practice, one game at a time and continue to get better.

“During our first five games, we continued to improve on the offensive end of the flood and were pretty consistent defensively, allowing an average of 43 points.”

Barrett seems content with his team’s performance thus far, but knows the Spartans will need its senior leadership and consistent performances to continue the success of the program, which has won at least 22 games each of the past four seasons, while capturing three of four conference crowns during that span.

“We must get strong leadership from our three seniors (Jade, Ali and Bryanna) as we strive to get better each day without taking any steps backward,” said Barrett. “Getting scoring balance and continuing to take pride in our defense will give us a good chance of going into semester break on a ‘high note.’ ” 

Matt Noonan

Matt Noonan is the head editor and founder of, a New England Division III college sports blog that covers basketball, football and lacrosse. Noonan's work has been featured on,, and, and has appeared in the Boston Globe, along with other digital and print outlets. No stranger to Division III, Noonan spent time as an Athletics Communications Assistant and Sports Information Assistant at MIT, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Wheaton College, and was recently an Associate Producer at Lax Sports Network where he oversaw a trio of weekly shows, while assisting producers, on-air talent, production assistants and directors with daily programming. Noonan graduated from Wheaton College in May 2010 -- Go Lyons! -- and currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts.