By Mal Boright
Call it the last rumble of the rampaging Redhawks (or at least this edition).
With four members of the last two Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team (47-0 last two seasons) helping out, the Vermont all-star squad of graduated seniors unloaded a 79-66 licking on New Hampshire’s stars Saturday afternoon at Keene State’s Spaulding Gymnasium.
Hey, Vermont victories in this game do not happen that often. After the triumph, the overall record in the annual series remained in New Hampshire’s favor, 17-12.
The difference probably is not surprising, given that the neighboring Granite State has well over one million folks to some 600,000 for tiny Vermont.
“This team really came together and cheered for each other and helped each other out,” said Vermont head coach Ute Otley of CVU after the contest.
The teamwork was admirable for Vermont, which had an edge (19-16) in assists plus a huge 61-45 advantage on the boards that was 41-26 on the defensive end as New Hampshire stayed with an outside gunning game rather than going inside to its sizeable post players.
The Granite Staters pegged away 28 times from international waters and sank only eight while Vermont launched only nine from outside the arc but nailed five, all from Rice Memorial’s Hailee Barron, named the winners’ most valuable player. She led the victors with 17 points while adding four assists, three rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.
The CVU four all had solid performances.
Emily Kinneston, Vermont’s Miss Basketball for the last two years, was, well, herself. She had 13 points, hitting six of 13 shots. She cruised in among the tall timber to rip down a team-leading 13 rebounds, passed off for three assists and was officially credited with three thefts of the ball while actually forcing several more N.H. turnovers.
Amanda Beatty worked efficiently down low in elbow country and dropped in six of nine shots from the floor, plus a free throw for 13 points. She added two rebounds and a steal.
Kaelyn Kohlasch was three-for-four from both the floor and foul line for nine points. The steady guard also made two rebounds and blocked a New Hampshire shot.
Amanda Lougee thrived in the big crowd and came away with four points, five rebounds and a blocked shot.
There was plenty of other help. Burlington High’s Ilona Maher was a tough inside presence with 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Morgan Raiche of West Rutland High worked the boards for 11 rebounds while hitting five points.
Mount Abraham Union’s Ashley Fay, a speedy guard, popped four of five shots for nine points to go with a pair of assists.
Vermont got a quick start, storming to early 7-0 and 12-4 leads as all five starters scored.
But New Hampshire started hitting shots and came back to a 22-21 advantage. But then, Barron rapped for order. The Rice guard, who gave CVU some anxious moments in her four years as a starter, snapped the twine for two straight treys to put Vermont up 27-21.
After a New Hampshire deuce, Beatty connected for two hoops and a free throw and Kinneston bagged a hoop. Vermont was up 34-24 and rolled on to as much as a 71-47 lead in the second half before New Hampshire mounted a late but futile rally over the final seven minutes.
For the game, Vermont was 43.4 percent (33-76) from the floor while New Hampshire went just 30.8 percent (24-78).
Barron said she enjoyed playing with the Vermont stars, some of whom have been four-year foes, but likened it to AAU where they had played together in the past.
Inside operator Heather King from Lebanon, N.H. High was New Hampshire’s most valuable player. She had 17 points, five rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes.
Crowd numbers were in the 100 range and Vermont appeared to have the loudest and most enthusiastic cheering.
“It was like a home game for us,” said Otley.