Feb. 19, 2009
By Mal Boright
Last Saturday, the Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team barbequed the cords in popping visiting North Country Union High 71-33.
Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Chris Beaton (2), a Champlain Valley Union High junior, drives against a North Country Union High player on Saturday. The Redhawks won the game 71-33, and faced North Country again after press deadline on Wednesday in an opening round playoff game.
Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Champlain Valley Union High sophomore Jake Donnelly (1) puts up a shot against North Country Union on Saturday.
On Wednesday, North Country, 10-10 and seeded 10th in the Division 1 playoffs, was back at Bremner Gymnasium for a playoff test with the 12-8 Redhawks, a ticket to the quarterfinals riding on the outcome.
The game was set to be played after press deadline, and the winner would play again on Saturday, facing the victor between 15th-seeded Mount Mansfield Union (3-17) and second-seeded Rice Memorial High (18-2).
In running past the Falcons, the Redhawks canned 26 of 51 shots from the floor, the second straight game they unleashed a 50-plus percent shooting bonanza on a foe. CVU popped the strings at a 55 percent clip (23-42) in a stellar 74-64 triumph at Essex High (13-7) last Thursday night.
“When we are unselfish, we are a good offensive team,” coach Scott Bliss noted after the North Country victory. “We were unselfish and we got to the rim.”
There was little doubt about the game’s outcome as CVU rolled up a 19-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and carried on swishingly to a 35-16 halftime advantage.
The trio of Js — Jack Jesset, Jake Donnelly and John Donnelly — all finished in double figures in scoring and with plenty of other solid marks as well. Jesset had 13 points while leading in rebounds and assists with 12 and six. Jake Donnelly collected 16 points with two rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.
John Donnelly had 15 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot.
An improving bench, led by guard Chris Beaton with seven points, contributed a total of 25 tallies, six rebounds and four assists.
Defensively, the Redhawks limited the Falcons to 10-of-38 shooting from the floor.
In the win over Essex, a team that had handled CVU earlier in the season at Bremner Gym, Jake Donnelly hit 6 of 10 shots from the floor and 7 of 11 from the line for a game-high 19 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.
John Donnelly collected 18 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two assists, while Ryan Poirier dropped in 15 points, including a pair of treys, pulled down five rebounds and passed off for three assists. Robert Russ chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Jesset got eight points to go with five rebounds and three thefts.
The first quarter was problematic. CVU committed eight turnovers against the Hornets’ trapping 2-1-2 zone while Essex bolted in front behind four (count ‘em, gulp, four) three-point buckets.
But then the Hawks got the hang of quick passing over and around the shifting zone, stopped the treys on the defensive end and proceeded to shoot the lights out. The good shooting was a very good thing, since the Hornets hit 50 percent themselves (27-54).
Coach Seth Emerson’s junior varsity Redhawks whacked North Country 52-29 to finish the season with a glowing 16-4 record.
North Country Union (33)
Ingram 4 8-12 16, Pinard 2 2-4 6, Patten 1 0-0 2, Grondin 0 0-0 0, Batista 2 0-0 5, Royer 0 2-8 2, Medley 0 0-0 0, Kennison 0 0-0 0, Warner 1 0-0 2, Adam 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 12-24 33.
Jesset 5 3-5 13, Ja. Donnelly 4 7-7 16, Jo. Donnelly 7 0-0 15, Poirier 1 0-0 2, Duke 0 0-1 0, Beaton 3 1-1 7, Russ 0 0-0 0, Nigh 1 0-0 3, Hurd 1 2-4 4, Gale 3 0-0 6, Leckerling 0 2-2 2, Lambert 1 1-2 3. Totals 26 16-22 71.
NCU 5 11 13 4 – 33
CVU 19 17 14 21 – 71