Dec. 16, 2010By Mal Boright Observer correspondent
Tuesday was opening night for the girls basketball team at Champlain Valley Union High’s Bremner Gymnasium and rookie coach Jeff Evans was asked if he had the usual first game jitters.
Whoops. Wrong question.
Rookie coach? No siree.
Evans, who took over the varsity helm this season from retired Stan Williams, came from a few years with girls junior varsity and freshmen. Before that, he spent a decade as boys varsity coach.
Over at the visiting Mount Mansfield Union High bench, first year Cougar chieftain Cat Arnold was guiding her initial contest.
Mount Mansfield, with a tough inside game, took an 18-16 lead at intermission, only to have Evans put his team into a terror zone and occasional press in the second half to scramble away with a 40-27 victory.
With veteran guards Carlee Evans and Amanda Kinneston hustling to disrupt MMU guards at the top of the zone and Shae Hulbert, Elana Bayer-Pacht and Remi Donnelly collapsing on the inside, the Redhawks opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to pull in front 23-18. MMU never got closer than three after that as the CVU defenders forced seven third quarter turnovers and limited the Cougars to two hoops in 19 tries in the entire second half.
The deciding offensive hammer blows came late in the third period when Donnelly fed Lazrin Schenck for a three-point cord cutter from out front. That basket was followed by a Sara Riordan swisher from the same area after a pass from Kinneston.
A Carlee Evans trey to open the fourth quarter, on a pass from Caroline Limanek, put the Redhawks in front 34-22 and the issue was resolved.
The Cougars hit seven of their 14 first half shots with an effective inside presence. Meanwhile, the Redhawks struggled to find the range early, making only three of 14 tries in the second quarter.
But once the defense kicked in after halftime and turnovers put the frisky Redhawks into effective transition situations, the shots started to fall with more regularity.
Carlee Evans had a busy all-around night with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Hulbert garnered eight points and four rebounds while Limanek pulled down seven rebounds and hit for four points. Kinneston had four steals.
Hannah Nichols, operating at guard and forward, collected nine points and six rebounds for MMU. Center Erin Simmons got five points and six boards.
A pair of road games are coming up for the Redhawks, who travel to South Burlington High Friday night and then to Vergennes Union High on Tuesday. Both games start at 7 p.m.
MOUNT MANSFIELD UNION (27)
Davis 1 0-0 2, Fisher 1 5-7 7, Simmons 2 1-2 5, Nichols 3 2-2 9, Youngman 0 0-0 0, Decatur 1 0-2 2, Duncan 1 0-0 2, Bugbee 0 0-0 0, Cheney 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 8-13 27.
Hulbert 3 2-6 8, Bayer-Pacht 1 1-2 3, Donnelly 3 0-0 6, A. Kinneston 2 0-0 4, C. Evans 2 2-2 7, Riordan 1 0-0 3, Giles 0 0-0 0, Leach 0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 3, Lozon 0 0-0 0, Limanek 1 2-2 4, E. Kinneston 1 0-0 2, R. Evans 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 7-12 40.
MMU 11 7 4 5 – 27
CVU 8 8 15 9 – 40
(Junior varsity score: CVU 52, MMU 10)