Jan. 21, 2010
By Mal Boright
With more than a week to ponder last Friday’s nudging by a better-than-its-record (3-8), youthful, Rice Memorial High squad, coach Scott Bliss and his 8-4 Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team will launch their post-exams playoff position drive Monday night. The Redhawks tip off at 7 p.m. at Mount Mansfield Union High in Jericho Center.
The two teams have already met in Hinesburg, with CVU rolling to a 56-42 win in the season opener for both teams. The Cougars took a 5-6 mark into this week.
The Redhawks had a few days off to study for exams and also ponder lessons from Friday’s final seconds, 51-49 loss to the Knights.
What in the first period appeared to be a blooming blowout for the Hawks turned into a Knight-scapade into the fourth period, when CVU rallied from an 11-point deficit. The Redhawks tied the score at 49 on a Chris Beaton layup from a Jake Donnelly feed with 33 seconds showing.
Rice junior Chris McCormick, an adept ball handler, took the throw-in and roamed the length of the floor, getting a pick at the top of the key and rolling to the hoop to sink a pressure layup for the win. It was McCormick’s only bucket.
The CVU view: Ouch!
Rice, the defending Division 1 champions, started two freshmen and a sophomore and played just one senior for limited time. The Knights looked very young indeed during the opening reel, as CVU broke out to a 13-4 edge, creating seven turnovers and limiting the visitors to a single hoop in five tries. Chris Nigh and Robert Russ nailed treys to pace the Hawks’ offense.
But the second quarter turned into an ice palace for CVU, which chilled to one swisher in 10 shots. Thanks to four free throws, the Hawks trailed the now settled Knights by only 23-19 at intermission.
Casey Tipson, a mobile freshman guard for Rice, hit 8 of his team-high 15 points in the period, including a threebie.
The game stayed close through the third period until Rice used a seven-point run early in the fourth reel to open a 44-33 edge.
But Donnelly (15 points, 5 rebounds, at least 3 assists and 4 steals), Beaton (6 points, 4 assists) and Will Hurd, with clutch rebounding and a big trey with 1:16 remaining, sparked a CVU comeback that forged the late deadlock.
McCormick then went coast-to-coast for the winners who, according to a staffer, have played well this season against the better competition.
Rice 4 19 13 15 – 51
CVU 13 6 12 18 – 49
Rice Memorial (3-8)
Hayes 1-4 1-2 4, Willingham 2-2 0-0 4, Maynard 2-5 4-4 9, Poland 3-8 1-2 7, Tipson 5-13 3-5 15, Ratta 2-5 0-0 4, Rensch 3-4 0-0 6, McCormick 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-43 9-13 51.
Donnelly 4-12 7-11 15, Nigh 2-6 0-0 6, Hurd 2-5 3-6 9, Russ 5-9 0-0 11, Beaton 2-7 2-2 6, Clayton 1-2 0-0 2, Karnes 0-0 0-0 0, Rensch 0-2 0-0 0, Leckerling 0-2 0-0 0, Gale 0-0 0-0 0, Hart 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 12-19 49.