May 26, 2018

Cougars visit CVU boys Friday in regular season hoop finale


By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

They may not yet be likened to the Guns of Navarone, but the Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team unveiled long range weaponry at Bremner Gymnasium Tuesday night that softened up visiting North Country Union High for the Redhawks second victory in five days over a quintet that had defeated them earlier in the season.

CVU dropped eight three-point bombs, seven in the first half, in a 74-62 triumph that hiked its record to 7-12.

North Country, with just eight players dressed and coming off a Monday night home win over Spaulding High, never could totally recover from the Hawks’ early bombardment and left town with a 6-13 mark.

Coach Michael Osborne’s CVU crew will close out the regular season Friday (at 6:30 p.m.) with a senior night home session against 14-4 Mount Mansfield Union, another team that whipped it (66-48) earlier.

It was generally hot hands Tuesday for CVU as nine players scored in the cord-snapping night, in which the team shot an even 50 percent from the floor, hitting 24 of 48 attempts.

They clicked for the same percentage from out deep.

It was a big turnaround from the 20 percent shooting of the early part of the campaign.

“If someone had told me then we would hit eight-of-16 from beyond the arc I would not have believed it,” said Osborne, adding that shooting drills have paid off.

It was a huge night for guard-forward Chris Reiss, who unloaded five treys in his game high of 24 points, going seven-for-12 from the floor and five-of-eight from the charity stripe. He also picked nine rebounds off the glass as the Falcons kept a congregation of bodies around big Lucas Aube (7 points, 4 rebounds).

Matt Howell nailed a pair of first-half threebies and finished with 10 points. Foul-plagued Richard Baccei had a triple and five points to go with three assists in limited playing time.

Zach Evans came off the bench for eight points and three assists.

Another solid job off the pine came from junior Nick Lynn with four points, five rebounds, an assist and two blocked shots in less than 16 minutes.

CVU bolted to a 39-22 lead by halftime, but North Country opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run to get within five points (41-36) of the lead. The Redhawks recovered with a 14-4 run of their own—Reiss with a crushing trey—and there was little doubt about the outcome after that despite some late hot shooting by the Falcons.

North Country, 25-for-59 from the floor, got 18 points from guard Matt Duncan and 14 from guard Tyler Jenne, who knocked down four treys.

Last Thursday, the Redhawks rapped South Burlington High 47-32 in the Rebels’ sanctuary as Baccei fired up 13 points and Aube nailed down 10.

Osborne said his team was bothered by a South Burlington zone in the second quarter but handled it after intermission to take charge, thanks to a 19-5 third quarter advantage.

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