‘Hawks seeking a first-round playoff game
Feb. 23, 2012
By Mal Boright
The North Country Union boys basketball quintet brings a 6-13 record to Bremner Gymnasium Thursday night, where the 10-9 Champlain Valley Union Redhawks hope to extend their current win streak to three and enhance their postseason position.
Coaches said following CVU’s late blooming 49-42 victory at Essex Monday that there could be a home playoff game and a seeding as high as fifth depending on outcomes Thursday and Friday. Pairings come out early this coming week.
Monday’s triumph was the Redhawks’ second in four days in which they put the hammer down in the fourth period to break away from a tenacious foe also in the hunt for playoff enhancement.
“It wasn’t pretty, “ exclaimed coach Scott Bliss after his team’s second win of the season over the 8-11 Hornets.
But while perhaps not pretty, the Redhawks’ tough defense, rebounding and inside passing game proved effective in the tense, late going.
A see-saw affair bent in Essex’s favor in the fourth quarter when tough inside dude Tom Carton (23 points) put back an offensive rebound and moments later canned two free throws to give the Hornets a 37-36 edge with 6:14 left.
Essex would score only five charity shots down the stretch (0-for-11 from the floor) as the Redhawk defenders mobbed up under the Essex basket and kept enough arms in the air out deep to discourage would-be three-point tries.
Leading the CVU hard-nosed challenge was senior John Keen, crashing his way around Muscle City for six rebounds while notching six points in the final reel. He finished with 12 rebounds and 10 points.
CVU got the lead for good at 42-39 when Brad Bissonette (15 points) swooped in for a layup on the payoff end of Ryan Brogna’s steal. Bissonette, fouled on the shot, hit the free flip with 3:16 on the clock.
After Carton sank two free throws to get the Hornets within one, Keen clicked on an inside layup after a Bissonette pass, and hit a fast break layup with 1:59 left to get the Hawks in front (46-42).
A sizeable presence for CVU was solid sophomore center Lucas Aube with 13 hard earned inside points and six rebounds (three on the offensive). Other contributors included Jumping Joe Chavalier with two blocks and an assist in the second quarter and Austin Busch, who came off the bench at point guard and passed for three assists. Bissonette came up huge in the second period with two treys and a total of eight points.
CVU shot a good 43 percent for the game. Essex fired ‘em up at 27 percent — 1-for-14 in the closing segment.
Late heroics were also the rule last Thursday (Feb. 16) in a 59-52 win at Colchester against a Laker five that had nipped the Redhawks in Hinesburg. CVU outpopped Colchester 27-9 over the game’s final five-and-a-half minutes.
Bissonette led scorers with 15 points while Aube was again a star in the trenches with 13 points and eight rebounds. Keen potted 12 points.
Brogna, the Hawks’ defensive clamper, helped hold Laker ace Anthony Granai to two points over the final three quarters after the Colchester slash and drive ace had unloaded 10 in the opening reel.
Coach Seth Emerson’s junior ‘Hawks are 13-6 after bowing 61-52 to the youthful Hornets.
CVU 49, Essex 42 (Monday)
B. Bissonette, 5 3-4 15; Keen, 4 2-4 10; Aube, 6 1-4 13; Whitbeck, 0 1-2 1; Kohlasch, 0 2-2 2; Beaudry, 1 0-0 2; S. Bissonette, 1 1-1 3; Brogna, 1 1-2 3; Chevalier, 0 0-0 0; Busch, 0 0-1 0.
Totals: 18 11-20 49
Mulcahy, 0 5-6 5; Valley, 0 2-4 2; Carton, 7 7-8 23; Barnes, 0 0-0 0; McGrath, 2 0-0 4; Olsen, 0 0-0 0; Warren, 0 0-0 0; Salerno, 2 2-4 6; Forbes, 1 0-2 2; Trick, 0 0-0 0; Goodrich, 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 12 16-24 42
CVU 14 9 13 13 – 49
Essex 13 13 7 9 – 42