Randolph 63, Woodstock 36: Hosts shake off foul trouble in boys basketball game

By BEN HOOKE

For the Valley News

Published: 12-25-2023 1:35 PM

RANDOLPH — Early in the first quarter of the Woodstock High boys basketball team’s Friday night game against Randolph, Woodstock coach Scott Brooks could be overheard telling his squad the game was a “gut check.”

And after cutting a deficit to five points early in the third quarter, the Wasps looked like they might be up to the challenge.

But the physical Galloping Ghosts, buoyed by a rowdy crowd, outmuscled the visitors and ran off to a 63-36 victory on the strength of second-half surge after overcoming early foul trouble.

Senior forward Ezra Lockhart finished with 10 points to lead the Wasps, who fell to 1-3.

Randolph’s duo of versatile senior forward Ethan Davignon and junior guard Shea Fontanella led all scorers with 20 and 18 points, respectively.

The Ghosts employed full-court man-to-man pressure from the opening tip, and Woodstock countered with a number of zone defenses.

Randolph’s physical advantage was on display early on. Box outs and hustle earned the hosts a number of offensive rebounds that were converted into second-chance points, while the Wasps struggled against the aggressive pressure and found few clean looks at the basket.

Out of a mid-quarter timeout, Woodstock found a liability in the Ghosts’ physical play: foul trouble. With multiple Randolph starters forced to the bench with two fouls, the Wasps strung together a solid run to close the first quarter down by a manageable 26-15 margin.

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With Randolph starters still sitting, Woodstock had its best quarter of the night in the second period, cutting the lead to single digits with a gritty defensive effort that held the Ghosts scoreless for long stretches. Randolph held an eight-point lead at the half.

Both teams re-introduced their starters in the second half, and Woodstock managed to keep the momentum going with a nice offensive stretch. Seven points in the opening two minutes of the half, capped by a triple from senior guard Jackson Martzolf-Tan, brought the Wasps within two scores at 36-31 with plenty of time to play. Randolph was forced to take a timeout.

That would be the high point for the visitors. A 19-0 run from the Ghosts over the rest of the third quarter and start of the fourth blew the game open. Woodstock’s offense ground to a halt as turnovers mounted.

With the game effectively decided midway through the final quarter, both sides removed their starters to allow an ovation from the fans and allow reserves a chance to play.

Woodstock is scheduled to host Green Mountain (3-3) on Wednesday. Randolph (3-1) travels to Capital League foe Thetford (4-0) on Friday.