Jan. 22, 2009
By Mal Boright
Winners of three of its last four games before the exam week break in the schedule, the 7-5 Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team returns to the Metro Division battles Friday night when Mount Mansfield Union High blows into Bremner Gymnasium for a 6:30 varsity fixture.
The Cougars won only two of their first 13 games and will have the claws out as they try for a late run into the playoffs.
CVU coach Scott Bliss thought the arrival of the break was a bit untimely for his Redhawks, who easily put away Spaulding High of Barre 66-55 last Thursday night in their final contest before exam head scratching time.
“We worked the ball around and were much better tonight,” Bliss said after the game.
The improved performance made up for a series of misfires the previous Monday night, when the Redhawks had to strike in the second half to pull out a 52-45 win over an underdog Colchester team in the town by the bay.
In the victory over Spaulding, the Redhawks got balanced scoring, some early points off the bench and control of the boards to vault into a 23-point lead early in the final reel before the Crimson Tide closed the gap at the end.
Senior frontcourt veteran John Donnelly had another blooming blast for the Redhawks, netting 27 points, hauling in nine rebounds while adding an assist and a steal. Donnelly, who nailed a trio of treys from out yonder, was 10-for-14 from the floor and four-for-four from the charity line, an exercise in accuracy seldom matched.
He was joined in double figures by fellow seniors Jack Jesset and Paul Poirer, both with 12 points. Jesset added nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. Poirier nailed two net snappers from three-point land, snagged four steals, copped four rebounds and passed off for two assists.
Spaulding, 6-7, had some initial success, running to an early 9-2 lead by scoring on its first four possessions. But Donnelly, with 10 first quarter points, helped steady the Redhawks with help from Chris Nigh and Robert Russ, who launched three-pointers.
CVU took a 20-19 lead into the second quarter and then began to pull away, leading 42-32 at the half. A third quarter 17-6 burst iced it.
Sophomore Evan Tullar led Spaulding with 12 points while senior Ethan Blouin got 10.
CVU hit 23 of 49 shots from the floor and took a 28-14 haul from the boards. The Tide, which connected on 14 of 23 shots in the first half, wound up with 21-for-45 shooting.
Coach Seth Emerson’s junior varsity combine continued its current rampage with its seventh straight victory, 53-45 over the Tiny Tide. CVU’s jayvees are 10-2 for the campaign.
Blouin 4 2-2 10, Tullar 6 0-1 12, Matz 2 0-0 4, Ballard 2 0-0 5, Durham 2 0-0 4, Hickey 1 0-0 2, Lawson 1 4-5 7, English 1 4-4 6, Hart 0 0-0 0, Dutil 2 1-1 5. Totals 21 11-13 55.
Jesset 4 4-6 12, Ja. Donnelly 1 2-2 5, Jo. Donnelly 10 4-4 27, Poirier 5 0-1 12, Russ 1 0-0 3, Beaton 0 0-2 0, Nigh 1 0-0 3, Hurd 0 2-2 2, Bunbury 1 0-0 2, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Rensch 0 0-0 0, Duke 0 0-0 0, Leckerling 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-17 66.
Spaulding 19 13 8 15 – 55
CVU 20 22 19 5 – 66