August 1, 2014

Outlaws top seed in league’s season-closing tournament

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

While The Vermont Outlaws (under age 17) had a rare tough last seven days, coach Tim Albertson’s squad nevertheless snared top seed with its 6-3 league record in the season-closing tournament this weekend in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The Outlaws will open play Saturday morning against either the fourth-seeded Colchester Junior Cannons or fifth-seeded OEC (Orleans-Essex-Caledonia), who meet Friday in an opening round.
The Outlaws, coming off a 2-5 week, take a 17-19-1 season mark into the event which goes through Sunday.
Last Saturday and Sunday, the Outlaws were in a tournament in Ottawa, Ont. where they captured one victory in four contests, beating Central New York 18-8 Saturday afternoon.

Vremonter at Large: Basketball in the summer?

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By Mal Boright

Some thoughts managed to find their way through a thick Vermonter’s skull during last weekend’s trip to the Vermont-New Hampshire Twin-State basketball contests featuring graduated senior stars in Keene, N.H.

The unannounced gathering of 100 or so fans and general lack of significant interest by the news media in the two states leads one to wonder if these games would have more relevance if played in March after the state championships in Vermont and New Hampshire.
These games deserve better. They are still alive and hooping thanks to the work of Essex High’s Jeff Goodrich and other dedicated individuals who brought the contests back to life last year at Essex.
Coaches asked about the March idea seem supportive but with some reservations.
Some decades ago, the top division boys’ champions in the two states went on to the New England Interscholastic Tournament at Boston Garden each March. So, there is a precedent, even though it has some years on it.
One thing hasn’t changed. It can be quite wintry in March and in Vermont and New Hampshire that is basketball time.

In their 79-66 win, the Vermont girls were solid throughout the lineup with all players on the 12-person roster making contributions.
At one point in the second half, Vermont coach Ute Otley of Champlain Valley Union High put her CVU four of Amanda Beatty, Emily Kinneston, Kaelyn Kohlash and Amanda Lougee on the court along with guard Ashlie Fay of Mount Abraham Union.
In what would be their last hurrah as a unit, it was indeed a hurrah as they outscored New Hampshire 8-2 before making way for other teammates. The Vermont lead under their care went from 61-45 to 69-47.

CVU boys head coach Michael Osborne was as assistant with the Vermont team. Before the games, Osborne was talking about team members who had been impressive in practice and at the top of the list was Jason Manwaring of little Williamstown High.
Manwaring, playing inside against New Hampshire size, proved Osborne is a prophet as he canned 23 points in 28 minutes. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and came up with four steals to earn the team’s Most Valuable Player award.
Vermont, victimized by poor early shooting, bowed 91-75 to a big and quick New Hampshire outfit.

There was a passing thought to harp about the apparent fact that Granite State roads are in much better shape that those in Vermont. Yes, the ones this scribbler was on Saturday and Sunday were smooth and solid, even the two lane jobs.
However, there was road construction up and down Vermont’s Interstate highways, and since Route 2A here in Williston sits in all of its newly repaved glory, perhaps best not to rattle the road cage.
At least for now.

Honors for ex-CVU gridder Matt Long

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Matt Long was recently awarded a plaque as an inductee into the 2014 class of the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.
The award requires outstanding skills on the gridiron but also brains in the classrooms. A recipient must have at least a 3.2 grade average for his entire college time.
Players at Division 2 and Division 3 schools are eligible for consideration.
Long’s football travels took him from an all-state end at Champlain Valley Union High to Wesleyan University. There, he became a key player for the Cardinals, who in his senior season last fall rolled up a 7-1 record and co-championship with Middlebury and Trinity of NESCAC. It was the team’s best season in 40 years.

CVU players help Essex to Legion crown

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With Davis Mikell, Deagan Poland and Hayden Smith in key roles, former Champlain Valley Union High baseball stars helped the Essex American Legion baseball team capture the state title Tuesday at Castleton State College.
Essex, with one loss going into the final day of the double elimination tournament, needed to defeat Addison County twice to claim the crown.
Mikell hurled a three-hit 14-strikeout effort in a 5-3 opening victory. The big righthander then came on in relief for a one-two-three, two-strikeout closing job in the ninth as Essex scored a 3-2 triumph in the second game.
Poland socked a double in the first game and an RBI single in the second.
Mikell on Friday fired a three-hit 3-0 win over Brattleboro while whiffing 13 batters.
The Essex team will advance to the New England Regional Tournament starting Aug. 7 in Middletown, Conn.
Mikell and Poland were named to the All-Tournament team.
The CVU players joined Essex after the S.D. Ireland unit was dissolved prior to the start of the season due to low numbers for tryouts.